British amnesty proposals are an affront to victims & survivors - Kearney
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said the Tory government should abandon its plans for amnesty for British state forces and live up to its legal obligations by fully implementing the Stormont House Agreement.
Writing for An Phoblacht, the South Antrim MLA said:
“Seven years on and the Stormont House Agreement has still not been implemented. There is only one reason for this failure, and that is a refusal by the Tory government to meet its international legal obligations.
“One consequence is that families in the north of Ireland whose loved ones were killed as a result of actions by British state forces and their agents, or by state sponsored death squads, including those decisions made by British cabinet ministers, have been denied access to legacy inquests for up to fifty years.
“The unilateral action by the Tories by publishing a Command Paper proposing amnesty legislation at the behest of the British security, intelligence and defence establishment on 14 July, and at the very outset of this process, was a cynical and destabilising intervention.
“These same proposals were unanimously rejected by all parties in the northern Assembly on 20 July.
“Since then, these have been rejected by all victims and survivors, eminent NGOs, international human rights institutions within Europe and the United Nations, and other leading figures in the international community, most notably US Congress representatives. Twenty-one bipartisan members of Congress formalised their objections to Secretary of State Andrew Blinken in correspondence on 14 November.
“The Command Paper proposals published are not human rights compliant.
“The fact is that the Tory government amnesty proposals are an affront to victims and survivors.
“The reality is there has been no intensive engagement and no working groups since this process was announced. And no progress has been made.
“It is now clear that the Tories were never serious about doing so. They have been kicking the can down the road and have again attempted to ‘play’ victims and survivors. The ‘process’ has been a smoke screen.
“Sinn Féin will not be part of any sham process, or worse; any stroke designed to undermine attempts at finding a resolution of legacy issues, and we will not be involved in any attempts to erode or deny the human rights of victims.
“Suggestions that no alternatives exist to the British Command Paper are bogus; implementation of the Stormont House Agreement is the only way forward.
“There is no justification for further stalling.
“The Tories don’t care about anyone in the north of Ireland, and they care even less about their international obligations under the GFA and to the overall peace process.
“It is for that reason the involvement and concern from the US, and wider international community is so critical in this period.
“As 2022 approaches we have turned full circle once again. The gains of the peace process are being threatened by the indifference and recklessness of another British government.
“The peace process must be protected; and the Good Friday and Stormont House agreements must be implemented in full.”
Read Declan Kearney’s full blog here: https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/28234