Relatives Protest Over Troubles Legacy Proposals During PM’s Visit

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Ballymurphy Victims

By Rebecca Black (PA)

A demonstration has taken place in Hillsborough, Co Down during a visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his government’s proposals for dealing with Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

Some of the families of the 11 people killed by soldiers in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971 protested against the plans to offer an effective amnesty for Troubles-related crime.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will see immunity offered to some depending on their co-operation with a new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery.

The new body aims to help individuals and family members to seek and receive information about Troubles-related deaths and serious injuries.

It is also designed to produce an historical record of what is known in relation to every death that occurred during the Troubles.

The proposals leave open the route of prosecution if individuals are not deemed to have earned their immunity.

Amnesty International has urged the UK government to “pull back from a dangerous course of unilateral action on legacy of the conflict”.

Grainne Teggart, campaigns manager for Amnesty International UK, said the government is on a “collision course with rights and the rule of law”.

“They must pull back, now, from a dangerous course of unilateral action on legacy and the protocol,” she said.

“We have yet to see a real departure from plans to legislate for a de facto amnesty. We will be watching closely, along with victims, to see if the strong objections and warnings on lack of human rights compliance have been listened to.”

Ms Teggart also expressed concern at the government’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

She said any unravelling of the international agreement between the UK and EU “could threaten guarantees within the protocol, including essential human rights protections for people in Northern Ireland”.

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