Human Rights Body calls on Government to give ‘Urgent Clarification’ on Stormont House Agreement

The Secretary of State has been asked by Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) to provide urgent clarification on the status of the Stormont House Agreement following comments he made in Dublin.

A key part of the draft legislation on the Stormont House Agreement concerns a range of controversial legacy matters and a consultation is currently underway on a Victims’ Payments Scheme.

However, the Secretary of State, Julian Smith, was quoted in the press as saying that the British Government was ‘dedicated to the Stormont House Agreement’. He added that they were talking at the moment about how ‘to ensure the Stormont House Agreement is implemented in full.”

Ulster Human Rights Watch Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, has asked if the 2014 Stormont House Agreement was a done deal, then why were people being asked to respond to a public consultation.

Mr Schmidt said: “Mr Smith must shine a light on what is actually going on. If the Government is committed to the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, we must ask why the pretence of listening to the views of our organisation and others who represent innocent victims and survivors of terrorism.

“If this is a sham exercise, and the Stormont House Agreement is as good as a done deal, the government stands accused of pulling the wool over our eyes. Is Mr Smith closed to our views and concerns? Is he deaf to the legitimate objections to a range of proposed legacy measures such as a Historical Investigations Unit, the really awful ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ or ‘collusion by another name and an oral history archive which will assist the terrorists of yesteryear to re-write the past?

“Mr Smith owes us all an explanation. I have today written to him seeking clarification or confirmation that we are, indeed, now wasting our time preparing formal responses.”

Human Rights Body Urges ‘Big Response’ to Victims’ Payments Consultation

A Northern Ireland human rights body is calling on all innocent victims left physically or psychologically injured during the ‘Troubles’ to respond to the Government’s Consultation on a Victims’ Payments Scheme.

Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW), which is based in Lurgan, said there are only ten days left to respond to the Consultation and it was vitally important to register opinions and views.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, “We would have liked to see the consultation period extended to allow more time for victims and organisations to deliver responses, but that is unlikely to happen.

“That means the pressure is on to meet the 26th November deadline. This is too big an issue to be ignored or let go by default. The consultation can be done online or a written submission can be made.

“Either way, Ulster Human Rights Watch can help you make your views known on the proposed compensation scheme. Is it fit for purpose? Are the monetary amounts satisfactory? Is there enough in the scheme to exclude people injured ‘by their own hand’?

“The last thing we want is to see the completely unacceptable situation where terrorists are rewarded for their actions. The Government has given assurances on this front but we must be certain there is no wriggle room for the gunmen or bombers to qualify for payments.

“We would urge you most strongly to make a submission. We can advise on how to make sure your voice is heard and also assist in completing the consultation on your behalf.”    

Ulster Human Rights Watch services are free and they can be contacted on: 028 3834 4500 or by email:

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