North Ireland. UK ‘immunity’ law could hamper sufferers’ rights, Türk warns

North Ireland. UK ‘immunity’ law could hamper victims’ rights, Türk warns

The High Commissioner for Human Rights acknowledged on Thursday that addressing the violent legacy of community relations in Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the 1990s was “extremely complex and sensitive”.

“Conditional Immunity”

But he warned against plans to grant conditional immunity from investigation and prosecution to those accused of serious human rights abuses and other international crimes, other than sex crimes.

Such an amendment to the Troubles in Northern Ireland (Inheritance and Reconciliation) Bill would incompatible with the UK’s international human rights obligationswhich calls for responsibility, explained Mr. Türk.

There are also concerns whether the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, which the bill would establish, would be able to work independently and undertake human rights-compliant reviews and investigations. male.

Essential justice

In a call for respect for the rights of victims, survivors and their families, the High Commissioner (OHCHR) insisted that their quest for justice and reparations was “essential to the reconciliation”.

The bill risked undermining those rights, he said, also noting that the text had only been made public a week before it was to be considered in Parliament’s upper house, the House of Lords.

“It gives the public and relevant stakeholders, including victims and survivors, lack of time to examine amendments and participate meaningfully in this extremely important legislative process,” said the High Commissioner.

Risk of obstruction

“Concerns remain that the bill would impede the rights of victims, survivors and their families to effective legal remedy and reparations, including by barring most criminal suits and civil actions for disorder-related offences,” he added.

The bill is due for reconsideration at committee stage in the House of Lords on January 24 and 31.

The OHCHR chief urged the UK to “reconsider its approach and engage in new meaningful and inclusive consultations on how best to advance a human rights-centered approach to addressing the legacy of the troubles”.

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