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Murphy - International Monitoring Body - Smokescreen For Exclusion

6 January, 2004

Speaking this afternoon in advance of the launch of the International Monitoring Commission tomorrow, Sinn Féin Assembly Group leader Conor Murphy said that 'the IMC is outside the terms of the Agreement and its powers contradict democratic norms'.

Mr Murphy said:

"The International Monitoring Commission is outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. It is ironic that the only aspect of the Joint Declaration which the two governments have advanced upon is the IMC. They have repeatedly failed to implement their commitments on policing, demilitarisation, human rights and equality, all of which are within the terms of the Agreement.

"The legislation gives the power of exclusion to the British Secretary of State. Such powers contradict the democratic norms and the rights of the electorate. Indeed the British Secretary of State who has been given these powers is himself in breach of the Agreement by virtue of his refusal to lift the suspension of the political institutions.

"Successive British Secretaries of State have suspended the Assembly on four occasions, at the behest of unionism. Nobody should be in any doubt that the additional powers given to the British Secretary of State will be used similarly.

"The IMC reports will be based upon information supplied by securocrats. The IMC will be no more than a smokescreen to validate arbitrary acts of exclusion by the British Secretary of State." ENDS

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