Amnesty welcomes United Nations recommendation to NI Executive to investigate Magdalene Laundry and clerical child abuse

Amnesty International has welcomed recommendations from the United Nations Committee Against Torture that the Northern Ireland Executive should establish inquiries into clerical child sex abuse and abuses in Magdalene Laundry-type institutions in the region.

The recommendations came in the Concluding Observations of the powerful UN Committee, just published, after it had scrutinised the human rights record of the UK Government. Amnesty International gave evidence to the UN Committee as part of its fact-finding in advance of hearing from UK Government representatives.
 
Similar recommendations from the United Nations Committee Against Torture in 2011 prompted the Irish Government to establish the review by Senator Martin McAleese into Magdalene Laundries in the Republic of Ireland, which was published in February 2013.
 
Only last week Amnesty International published research into clerical child sex abuse and abuses in Magdalene Laundry-type institutions in Northern Ireland and launched a campaign for independent and effective investigations into allegations of abuse.
 
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

'Now that the United Nations has echoed the call by Amnesty International for the Northern Ireland Executive to establish inquiries into these human rights abuses, it becomes unimaginable for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister not to respond.
 
'We are due to meet Ministers in the coming weeks and we will be urging them to take prompt action to meet fully the recommendations of the UN Committee.'

The full text of the relevant section from the Committee's report is as follows:

Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry

'24. While welcoming the establishment in May 2012 of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which will investigate the experiences of abuse of children in residential institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995, the Committee regrets that some victims, such as women over 18 who were confined in Magdalene Laundries and equivalent institutions, as well as clerical abuse survivors, will fall outside the remits of the inquiry (arts. 2, 12, 13, 14 and 16).
 
The Committee recommends that the State party conduct prompt, independent and thorough investigations into all cases of institutional abuse that took place in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995, including women over 18 who were detained in Magdalene Laundries and equivalent institutions in Northern Ireland, and ensure that, where possible and appropriate, perpetrators are prosecuted and punished, and that all victims of abuse obtain redress and compensation, includingthe means for as full rehabilitation as possible, in accordance with the Committee’s general comment No. 3 on implementation of article 14 by States parties.'

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