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Northern Ireland: UK ‘immunity’ laws may hamper victims’ rights, warns Türk



The High Commissioner for Human Rights acknowledged on Thursday that addressing the violent legacy of intercommunal relations in Northern Ireland from the Sixties to the Nineteen Nineties was “massively complicated and delicate”.

‘Conditional immunity’

But he warned in opposition to plans to provide conditional immunity from investigation and prosecution to these accused of great human rights violations and different worldwide crimes, apart from sexual offences.

Such an modification to the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill could be incompatible with the UK’s worldwide human rights obligations, which requires accountability, Mr. Türk defined.

There are additionally issues about whether or not the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, which the Bill would set up, would be capable of work independently and undertake human rights-compliant critiques and investigations.

Justice important

In an enchantment for the rights of victims, survivors and their households to be revered, the High Commissioner (OHCHR) insisted that their seek for justice and reparations had been “important for reconciliation”.

The draft Bill risked obstructing these rights, he stated, additionally noting that the textual content had solely been made public one week earlier than it was as a consequence of be examined within the Upper House of Parliament, the House of Lords.

“This provides the general public and related stakeholders, together with victims and survivors, inadequate time to scrutinize the amendments and take part meaningfully on this massively vital legislative course of,” the High Commissioner stated.

Obstruction danger

“Concerns stay that the Bill would impede the rights of victims, survivors and their households to efficient judicial treatment and reparations, together with by prohibiting most prison prosecutions and civil actions for Troubles-related offences,” he added.

The Bill is ready for additional assessment on the House of Lords committee stage on 24 and 31 January. 

The OHCHR chief urged the UK to “rethink its method and interact in additional significant and inclusive consultations on how finest to advance a human rights-centred option to tackle the legacy of the Troubles”.

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