Undermining Human Rights & Rules Based Order
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America. Each week he writes a letter from Ireland with news and analysis. It is featured in the weekly Friends of Sinn Féin USA Newsletter. Be sure you are subscribed to stay up to date.
A Chara, The G7 leaders met this week in Elmau in Germany and were joined by the Leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa, and Ukraine. After their summit, the leaders released a statement that began: “At a time when the world is threatened by division and shocks, we, the G7, stand united. We underscore our resolve to, together with partners, jointly defend universal human rights and democratic values, the rules-based multilateral order, and the resilience of our democratic societies”
Boris Johnson represented the British Government and cosigned the statement. At the same time the leaders were meeting, his government was pushing through two pieces of legislation that undermine human rights and rules-based order. The first piece of legislation, the “Northern Ireland Protocol”, grants British Ministers the unilateral power to amend or disapply their legal agreement with the EU, which prevents a hard border on Ireland. Basically, you either agree to what we want or we do it anyway. The European Commission Vice President speaking in London this week said, “Such an approach amounts to a clear violation of international law.” So much for Britain's commitment to rules-based order or international law. The second piece of legislation relates to the years of conflict in the North. An agreement in 2014, The Stormont House Agreement, committed both governments and all parties to provide the families of all those bereaved in the conflict with the option of full judicial investigations into the killings of their loved ones. In January 2020 the British Government committed to legislate for Stormont House within 100 days. The legislation never materialized. Another broken agreement. Instead, the British Government has introduced legislation that will end all effective investigations including inquests, and block families from taking civil actions. All to provide an amnesty for British actions during the conflict. This legislation will undermine the human rights of families to a full investigation and access to justice. So much for British Government’s commitment to Human Rights. Far away from the banqueting hall of the G7 and the rarified chambers of Westminster, sat the Thompson family awaiting the findings of the killing of their mother in Derry in 1971. Kathleen Thompson, a mother of six was shot dead in the back garden of her home by a British soldier. At the time there was no real investigation and a coverup operation was put in place. Over 50 years later an inquest found the killing “unjustified”. Boris Johnson’s commitment to international order and human rights does not extend to Ireland, our agreements, or the rule of law. The inclusion of Britain as a signatory to the statement solely serves to diminish the standing of all the other nations around the table.