SDLP MP Claire Hanna has warned that the UK government’s proposed legacy legislation risks eroding public confidence in and undermining the authority of, Northern Ireland’s institutions of law, order and justice.
South Belfast MP Claire Hanna was speaking after the Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee at Westminster where Alyson Kilpatrick outlined that the Bill is not, and cannot be made, Human Rights compliant.
Claire Hanna MP said:
“The evidence provided by the Human Rights Commission on the UK Government’s proposed legacy legislation was comprehensive and compelling. The Chief Commissioner has clearly outlined that this Bill is not human rights compliant and cannot be made compliant through amendment in the House of Commons. This confirms our own view that the legislation is fatally flawed, cannot be rehabilitated and risks doing irreparable damage to confidence in the institutions of law, order and justice in Northern Ireland.
“Imperfect as the peace process has been, one of the successes of the last 25 years has been the new beginning to policing and the reform of justice. That progress is being put at risk by politicians in London who have repeatedly demonstrated that do not understand and do not care about the layered complexities of peace and policing in Northern Ireland. In the face of united opposition from every political party, victims and survivors and every representative group here, Brandon Lewis and Boris Johnson are pushing ahead with these proposals. The political and moral turpitude of that act, given everything that victims have been through, is beyond the pale.
“The government’s refrain that they have been forced to act because nothing else has worked is self-serving and false. We have an agreed way forward on legacy investigations contained in the Stormont House Agreement – an international treaty which with implementation and tweaking can deliver. Families involved with Operation Kenova, for example, are seeing the benefit of new investigatory techniques which are delivering new information, comfort and closure for those who have been denied truth for decades. The cold reality is that the government’s proposals are all about shutting down truth, denying justice and protecting their own interests.
“We will always defend the interests of all victims and survivors and pursue their rights to truth, justice and accountability. This legislation cannot be rehabilitated and we will work with other parties to oppose it.”