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  • Greg O'Loughlin

British Government Should Withdraw Legacy Bill

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has welcomed a call from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights for the British government to ‘consider withdrawing’ their Legacy Bill.


The North Belfast MLA said, “I welcome a call from Commissioner Dunja Mijatović, for the British government to ‘consider withdrawing’ their Legacy Bill and return to 'previously agreed principles' which provide the basis for a human rights compliant approach.


"She has also made it clear that any steps to address the legacy of the past must put the rights and needs of victims at its heart.


“The Commissioner said the Legacy Bill ‘raises a number of serious issues of compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly relating to the closure of avenues for victims to seek truth and justice.


Gerry Kelly added, “The British government’s cruel, callous, and offensive Legacy Bill seeks to give an amnesty to British soldiers who killed Irish civilians and shut down victims’ and families’ access to the courts in an effort to achieve truth and justice.

"The British Government should stop treating victims and their families with contempt and implement the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House in a human rights compliant manner.”


The Committee on the Administration of Justice (An Coiste um Riarachán Dlí agus Cirt) welcomed the call from top European human rights official for withdrawal of NI legacy bill.


CAJ has welcomed the call from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, for UK authorities to consider withdrawing the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, in light of the “widespread opposition” to the bill in Northern Ireland, and the “serious issues of compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights it raises”.


The call came in a report following the Commissioner’s visit to the UK, including Northern Ireland, in June of this year. The report was published today (9 December 2022).


Daniel Holder of CAJ said: “This report from Europe’s top human rights official adds to the chorus of international concern about the legacy bill. The call on the UK to withdraw it is very welcome.”



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