Amnesty welcomes abuse inquiry progress and repeats call for justice for Magdalene women and clerical child abuse victims
Amnesty International has welcomed the progress announced today by the Historic Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry in investigating allegations of widespread abuse and repeated its call for similar mechanisms to be established for victims of clerical child abuse and former residents of Magdalene Laundry-type institutions. The Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry specifically excludes victims of clerical abuse who were not residents of Children's rights's homes, or abuse victims in institutions who were aged 18 or over. Today the HIA announced that it has received 363 applications from victims to date and that the first public hearing of the statutory inquiry will take place in January 2014 in Derry/Londonderry. Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said: "The Inquiry has already made notable progress in hearing the testimony of many victims of institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland. We would urge other victims, who have not yet come forward, to make their applications before the cut-off date of November 29th this year. “This Inquiry has very significant potential to help deliver truth and acknowledgment for victims and we support its work. We are mindful, however, that no such inquiry has been established by the Northern Ireland Assembly for victims of clerical child abuse and former residents of Magdalene Laundry-type institutions aged 18 or over. “In May Amnesty International published research which set out a compelling case for an effective human rights response from the Northern Ireland Executive for both these groups of victims, yet we are still to hear a response from Ministers. Abuse victims deserve better than that. Michael Connolly, who was a victim of clerical child sexual abuse in the 1970s, said: "The progress of the Northern Ireland inquiry into institutional child abuse is very welcome, but it does nothing for many other victims who were abused as Children's rights in parishes or who suffered as adult women in Magdalene Laundry-style homes. We repeat our appeal to the Northern Ireland Executive to hear our call for justice and either widen the terms of the current inquiry or establish a separate parallel inquiry."