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'British must be held to account' - McGuinness

6 November, 2014 - by Martin McGuinness

The British government must be compelled to honour its obligations on dealing with the past, Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has insisted.

Speaking following a human rights conference in Belfast today – addressed by European Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks – Mr McGuinness said the British Government had consistently denied truth and justice to relatives of victims of state violence.

Martin McGuinness said:

"I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with Commissioner Muiznieks today and welcome the continued focus from Europe on this issue.

"In the past, Europe has been at the forefront of exposing the actions of British state forces in the North and ongoing international pressure is required if truth and justice is to be secured for the families of victims of state violence.

"In recent times, we have witnessed families being denied an inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre, the inaction of the PSNI to investigate the actions of the Military Reaction Force, the call for a public inquiry into the deaths of 18 people at the hands of loyalists in Mid Ulster, the PSNI refusal to co-operate with the Gerard Lawlor inquest, the ongoing refusal to honour their commitment to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and the destruction of documents relating to shoot-to-kill deaths just weeks before an inquest was due to begin. 

"All of this is rooted in the British government's failure to honour its Right to Life obligations under the European Convention. 

“It is clear that the British Government fears the truth and I greatly welcome the fact that the Commissioner took the time to come and hear first-hand accounts from the victims of British State violence.

"I also impressed upon him the need for the British Government to be held to account for its failure to uphold its obligations under the convention and to end the stalling and blocking, aimed at preventing families from accessing the truth and justice they deserve.” 

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