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Injured pension for all leaves no-one behind - McCann

2 June, 2015 - by Jennifer McCann

Sinn Féin is committed to assisting all victims and survivors of the conflict. We have demonstrated that commitment many times over the last 20 years.

We believe that an inclusive and respectful approach ensures there is no ‘hierarchy of victims’ and that everyone is treated equally.

We believe this commitment strengthens the peace and political processes.

As part of that ongoing commitment we want to see a pension for all those who are defined as seriously injured survivors.

We want to see a pension for all those who are defined as seriously injured.

We also want to see a form of reparations for all those bereaved and who similarly face financial hardship.

Sinn Féin fully supports the inclusive position of those who are currently campaigning for a pension for all those severely physically injured.

No one seriously injured should be left behind as we rebuild, reconcile and bind the wounds in our society.

Let us make it absolutely clear Sinn Féin is not putting up any barriers in this regard.

It is the DUP who seek to operate outside of the legislation, the Victims and Survivors Order agreed and passed in 2006, which ensures an inclusive approach to the needs of all victims and survivors.

There has been a range of financial packages established by the British government and the DUP which have benefited members of the British Crown forces including the RUC, UDR, RIR and prison officers.

This has been in addition to specific pensions and schemes for those within these same forces who were injured and bereaved.

For all other victims and survivors there have been no such financial support schemes. This is wrong and Sinn Féin is standing up for all those other victims and survivors.

Everyone affected by the conflict should be treated equally in terms of financial support based upon his or her needs.

Sinn Féin seeks a more inclusive and fairer system to deliver for those victims and survivors who have been excluded from the above-mentioned schemes.

This approach is in keeping with addressing the four key pillars of the conflict: truth, justice, reparations and non-recurrence for all victims not some.

These are internationally recognised principles established by the United Nations and are reflected in the work of Pablo De Grieff, the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth.

The recent Stormont House Agreement by all parties and both governments clearly sets out an agreed framework to deliver truth and justice for all victims and survivors.

Sinn Féin stands by that agreement and we also stand by the Good Friday Agreement which has ensured an end to conflict on the basis of its inclusive institutions and all-embracing ethos.

In dealing with victim and survivors related issues much work has been done by the Victims and Survivors Service, The Commission for Victims and Survivors and the Victims Forum.  And much work needs to be done.

Any future pension for those severely injured during the conflict must be inclusive and compliant with both domestic and international standards.

The British government has a legal and financial responsibility in this regard.

This too means adherence to the existing legislation and the UN principles encompassing the four key pillars of transitional justice.

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