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Sinn Fein to address international panel of jurists

19 April, 2006


Sinn Fein North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan will speak to a panel of Eminent International Jurists tonight, Wednesday19th April, in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast at 7.30 pm. The role of the ICJ Jurists Panel is to examine how states across the world uphold international human rights standards and to ensure that the legal and 'security' response of all states to any threat is compatible with international human rights standards. It is part of a scrutiny mechanism of human rights practitioners whose Global Reports provide leverage to compel governments and other state agencies to take measures to ensure they comply with international human rights standards.

Mr McGuigan will tell the panel that both the British and Irish governments, but particularly the British government have and continue to use methods, laws and policies that undermine international human rights standards.

Speaking ahead of the event organised by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Mr McGuigan said:

"It is clear that across the island that both the British and Irish governments have operated a framework of repressive measures that have undermine humans rights. Both governments, but principally the British government have introduced policies and legislation which breach international human rights standards and undermine democracy. British rule has been premised on;
  • Repressive legislation
  • No-jury Diplock courts
  • Internment - imprisonment without charge or trial
  • Torture
  • Political discrimination
  • Shoot-to-kill
  • The policy of collusion
  • State sponsored murder
"The primary responsibility and duty is on the state to ensure that its response to any threat is measured, appropriate and compatible with human rights standards at all times.

" The protracted conflict here in the North of Ireland was a direct consequence of the denial of national self determination and repressive British rule in Ireland. Unionists in government mirrored that same policy of denying to Irish nationalists in the North their civil and political rights for over 50 years.

"The British government has acted outside both domestic and international law to commit acts of violence and murder against persons and against the Irish nation itself. It is within this context that other violent responses from non-state organisations and players have to be considered.

"The Peace Process has delivered real progress but the fact is that both the structures and legislation that breach international human rights standards remain in place and need to be removed." ENDS

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