A human rights organisation is challenging comments made by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) during a sitting of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster.
Ulster Human Rights Watch Advocacy Service (UHRW-AS) described evidence provided by the Deputy Director of the CAJ on the definition of a victim of terrorism as ‘disingenuous’.
The CAJ’s Daniel Holder claimed that a definition drafted by UHRW, submitted to the NIO during the recent Legacy Consultation exercise, would effectively exempt in law all victims of the state including a child killed by a plastic bullet fired by the security forces.
UHRW Advocacy Support Manager, Axel Schmidt, has written to the Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Simon Hoare MP, to clear up any misunderstanding “as to the accurate meaning and interpretation that should be given to the UHRW definition of a victim of terrorism.”
Mr Schmidt set out how the definition applied to victims killed or injured as a result of finding themselves close to an act of terrorism being committed or being wrongly associated with an act of terrorism being committed.
In his letter, Mr Schmidt said: “The purpose of this paragraph, which is an integral part of the definition of victim of terrorism, is to deliberately include innocent people, such as a child killed as a result of the use of force by security forces, contrary to what Mr Holder asserted before the members of the Committee.
“I have to state that the Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) totally refutes the comments made by Mr Holder before the Committee as being disingenuous.”
In a separate comment, Mr Schmidt added: “There has been a misreading or misinterpretation of the UHRW position and this is unfortunate. It conveys a mistaken impression of the definition of a victim of terrorism proposed by the Ulster Human Rights Watch and I believe it is important to set the record straight.”
Mr Schmidt re-states UHRW’s willingness to appear before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee to set out the work that is being done by the Advocacy Service of the Ulster Human Rights Watch on behalf of victims and survivors of terrorism and the position it holds on controversial legacy proposals.