We have discussed this issue and will do so again as these negotiations proceed, as this is one of the complex areas of negotiation on which we need to make progress. We are making some.
As co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government is determined to ensure it is fully protected in all its parts throughout the process of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. This includes the rights and equality provisions of the Good Friday Agreement that are central to the peace process. Our EU partners have shown solidarity and support in respect of Ireland's unique issues and concerns, including the protection of the agreement.
On 8 December, the joint report between the EU and UK negotiators was agreed. It included important commitments in respect of protecting the agreement in all its parts. The draft protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, which forms part of the draft withdrawal agreement, translates these commitments into a legal framework. The protocol proposes that the UK would ensure no diminution of rights, including by respecting EU non-discrimination law, and that this commitment would be implemented through a dedicated mechanism. The protocol also proposes that the UK would facilitate the related work of the institutions and bodies of the Good Friday Agreement, which includes the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the joint committee of both human rights commissions in both jurisdictions. The protocol also clearly acknowledges that the people of Northern Ireland who choose to identify as Irish and therefore as EU citizens, will continue to enjoy the rights, opportunities and benefits of EU citizenship.
More work is required between the UK and EU on rights and equality issues, as is provided for in the joint report. The Government will continue to engage intensively on these issues, working with our EU partners, the Commission task force and the UK to ensure that the commitments made to date are delivered on in full. There has been a great deal of engagement on this issue in particular. While we are not making a great deal of progress in some areas, I am told that there is considerable goodwill on both sides where the issue of citizens' rights is concerned. We are making some progress in that regard.