British government must respond to UN intervention and withdraw amnesty proposals – O’Neill

Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill has welcomed the intervention from UN experts on British government proposals for amnesty and blanket impunity as the basis for dealing with the legacy matters.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“I had written in recent weeks to the British Secretary of State urging him to listen to the voices of victims and their families and withdraw controversial legacy proposals and instead commit to fully implementing the Stormont House Agreement in a human rights compliant manner. 

“The British government amnesty proposals are clearly an attempt to put state forces beyond the reach of the law and to continue to deny truth to families. 

“The proposals have been rejected by the Assembly.  It is now clear that if implemented, they will also potentially breach international law.

“Not for the first time, UN experts are shining a spotlight on the cynical and duplicitous intent of the British government’s amnesty proposals which also seek to ban all prosecutions, impede investigations, and preclude victims’ civil claims.  

“It is the view of the UN experts that these proposals ‘would effectively institute a de-facto amnesty and blanket impunity for the grave human rights violations committed during that period’.

“These British government amnesty proposals are a flagrant and open disregard of international obligations and established human rights norms and practices.

“This intervention by UN experts, at this time, is a further signal that the international community is alert, awakened and aware of the British government’s cynical intent to cover up their dirty war in Ireland.  

“The UN intervention is a real wake-up call –  to Britain’s legacy intention – for all who seek to uphold and protect the rights of all victims.  

“Sinn Féin remains fundamentally opposed to any proposals for an amnesty or statute of limitation.

“In light of the intervention from UN experts I am calling on the British government to listen to the international community and withdraw their controversial amnesty proposals without further delay.” CRÍOCH/ENDS