A Northern Ireland human rights organisation has written to the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, asking her to ‘firmly state’ that the party will no longer support the Stormont House Agreement legacy proposals. Unfortunately, until now, this has not happened and the ambiguous answers provided by various DUP representatives would appear to confirm that they still support these disastrous recommendations.
The open letter, sent to the DUP party leader, signed by both the Managing Director, Robert Campbell, and the Advocacy Support Manager, Axel Schmidt of the Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW), states that these proposals for dealing with the past will, without doubt, have a further detrimental impact on the innocent victims of terrorism.
It further states: “It is clear that representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) took part in the negotiations that produced these proposals, which once scrutinised have aroused grave concerns among victims of terrorism and members of the security forces, who protected society against the terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland.”
The UHRW’s analysis of these proposals, agreed by political consensus during the Stormont House talks and which recommended the establishment of four new bodies to “address the past”, clearly shows that rather than providing a significant improvement on current arrangements as suggested, they will have an adverse and detrimental impact on the victims of terrorism, both civilians and former members of the security forces (armed forces and police).
The letter continues “It is strongly believed among the victims of terrorism we represent that these proposals will undermine the due process of law and will provide the means by which those who engaged in terrorism and their sympathisers could justify terrorism and rewrite the history of the terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland” and, in doing so, will further alienate the innocent victims who already have suffered so much over the intervening years.
“Since these proposals were made public in May 2018, we have repeatedly raised legitimate, grave and well-founded concerns about the four proposed bodies, requesting that the DUP unequivocally disengage from them all so they can be replaced with a proper alternative. Unfortunately, until now this has not happened and the often contradictory and ambiguous answers provided by DUP representatives lead to the strong suspicion that the party is still wedded to these disastrous proposals.
The letter concludes “On behalf of victims of terrorism, including members of the security forces and their families, we would kindly ask you to firmly state that the DUP will no longer support the proposed SHA legislation about the Legacy of the Past.”
To view this letter click here.
To view Newsletter coverage click here.
To view Belfast Telegraph coverage click here