UHRW participates in European Memorial Day for victims of terrorism

Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) took part in yesterday’s European Memorial Day for victims of terrorism.

The event took place at La Mon House Hotel where, on 17th February 1978, twelve people were killed and twenty-three injured in a PIRA incendiary bomb attack, classified as a crime against humanity.

The Memorial Day was organised by Jim Allister MLA. It took the form of a minute’s silence in memory of murdered victims followed by some victims who told their stories.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “It is important to remember what happened and the terrible price that was paid by innocent victims of terrorism.

“There have been barbaric acts perpetrated by terrorists from all sides and today, we are left with hundreds of victims, many of whom have to live with appalling injuries that affect them every day of their lives.

“This year’s Memorial Day took place at La Mon House where the barbarity of the PIRA was exposed as a crime against humanity. Sadly, those who were most seriously injured in the La Mon bombing could not attend this event because of the trauma they are still suffering from. A huge price was paid by decent, law-abiding people at the hands of those who thought nothing of planting bombs and murdering and maiming innocent people.

“I am grateful to Mr Allister and his staff for once again organising this important annual Day of Remembrance in Northern Ireland. It is a dignified event and Ulster Human Rights Watch is honoured to have been asked to participate in it.”

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Teebane update

The thirty-year commemoration of the bombing of the workers’ van at the Teebane crossroads took place on Sunday 16 January 2022. A Christian service was organised at the roadside in front of the memorial stone where the bomb exploded, killing eight innocent men who were on their journey back home after an honest day’s work, as Reverend William McCrea said. The minister had encouraging words for the bereaved families and their close friends as well as those injured in the same incident, reminding them of the two pilgrims on the way to Emmaus who invited the Lord Jesus Christ to be their guest. He then became their host before he was recognised as the risen Saviour. Earlier on Reverend Ivor Smith had opened in prayer, making mention of the need of the victims to be supported every day of their lives since the tragedy took place.

Jean Caldwell was gently supported by both her daughters, standing either side of her. She expressed her disappointment that no one has ever been made accountable for this act of terrorism, which deprived her of her beloved husband. Reverend McCrea stated that those responsible may have escaped the justice of men, but will not escape the justice of God and he hinted that some of them may already have faced divine justice.

It was encouraging to see so many people attending the Christian service. This tragedy and its victims of terrorism have not been forgotten. Following the report issued by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) there remain questions to be answered and issues to be addressed. For this reason, a complaint has been lodged and accepted for investigation by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI). This complaint deserves to be supported by as many victims of the Teebane atrocity as possible. If they wish to do so, those bereaved or injured are invited to contact the Ulster Human Rights Watch Advocacy Service to access support.

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