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Sinn Féin call on British to withdraw OTR Bill in absence of amendments

20 December, 2005

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP and the party spokesperson on victims issues Philip McGuigan MLA today accompanied a group of relatives of those killed through State Violence for discussions with Peter Hain at Hillsborough. The delegation discussed the proposal from the British government to include State Forces in the current legislation which is supposed to deal with OTRs.

Mr Doherty said:

"In the course of recent weeks Sinn Féin have in discussions with the British government sought to bring the proposals on OTRs back to what was agreed at Weston Park. The legislation is a major breach of that Agreement and an act of bad faith on behalf of the British government.

"Sinn Féin are absolutely opposed to the inclusion of the British Crown Forces in this legislation. There are no British OTRs. Their inclusion is an attempt to misuse the OTR issue in a further attempt to hide the truth about British state violence and collusion . This is totally unacceptable to Sinn Féin.

"Sinn Fein, our party activists, families and friends were a primary target for British controlled loyalist death squads. Sinn Fein stands full square behind the families in their campaign for justice and the truth.

"Gerry Adams told Peter Hain when they met a week ago that if the British government are not prepared to change the legislation to remove this inclusion of British state forces then the legislation should be withdrawn.

"Today's meeting provided some of the victims of state violence with an opportunity to explain to Peter Hain directly the hurt which has been caused by his proposal to include British state forces in the legislation.

"Sinn Féin took the opportunity today to emphasise again our view that, since the British government is not prepared to make the required amendments, Sinn Fein totally reject the legislation as unacceptable and we asked that it be withdrawn in its entirety. Sinn Fein will certainly not participate in any mechanisms established as a result of this flawed approach.." ENDS

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