British Government proposals “undermine human rights protections” - EU Human Rights Commissioner
EU Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic has issued a scathing response to the British government's proposals to end all criminal investigations, block all civil actions and impose an unconditional amnesty for actions during the conflict in Ireland.
The Commission noted that the proposals might bring the British Government “into conflict with its international obligations, notably the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)”
The incorporation of the protections of ECHR into law is an explicit commitment in the Good Friday Agreement.
The intervention of the EU Commissioner follows on from a letter issued by Sinn Féin Deputy President, and joint head of government in the north, Michelle O’Neill to the Commissioner which raised concerns with the British Government’s proposals.
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has welcomed opposition to the British government’s planned amnesty.
The North Belfast MLA said:
“I welcome the intervention of Commissioner Dunja Mijatović, that the British government’s amnesty plan is ‘a step backwards’ which could obstruct reconciliation.
“She has stated that ‘taking the option of investigations and prosecutions off the table, unilaterally, undoubtedly fails to meet the wishes of a significant group of victims’ and ‘the absence of justice can be a major impediment to achieving lasting peace and reconciliation’.
Gerry Kelly added:
“Victims of the conflict and their families cannot be denied access to the courts in pursuit of truth and justice. Sinn Féin will continue to press for the implementation of the Stormont House legacy mechanisms in a human rights compliant manner.”