NI: NI legacy mechanisms must be ‘human rights friendly’
A range of NGOs have called on the Irish and British governments to ensure that legacy mechanisms agreed in talks between the leading Northern Ireland political parties are “human rights friendly”.
Talks aimed at breaking the political dead-lock in Northern Ireland are reportedly reaching their close, though BBC News reports that some legacy issues may remain unresolved.
The talks were convened after a row developed over the Stormont House Agreement struck last year and the role of proscribed paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland.
A statement issued on behalf of Amnesty International, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, the Pat Finucane Centre, Relatives for Justice, and Rights Watch UK says the political parties have a “moral obligation to victims and survivors”.
It reads: “The Stormont House Agreement reached last December, an agreement which involved the two governments, offered the real possibility of an independent investigatory mechanism for families who have been bereaved through the conflict-the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).
“The independence of the proposed HIU has been put at risk by the apparent insistence that ‘national security’ caveats are inserted in the legislation. This is flagrantly outside the terms of the Stormont House Agreement. Families, many of whom have been waiting decades, will not accept a process that is not independent.
“As NGOs working in this area we wish to urgently remind the two Governments and the political parties that ‘national security’ can never be used to justify withholding information on human rights violations.
“The Governments have international legal obligations. The political parties have a moral obligation to victims and survivors. Any agreement which does not have the human rights of victims and survivors at its core will fail.”