Annual Report 2013: Highlights failures in Northern Ireland to deal with the past

Amnesty International’s global annual report is a country-by country survey of the human rights record for 2012 of 159 individual countries and territories, including Northern Ireland.   

Amnesty International’s Annual Report for Northern Ireland highlights problems including ongoing violence and threats of violence by both republican and loyalist paramilitary groups and the continuing failure of the UK government to establish an independent, thorough and effective inquiry into the 1989 killing of lawyer Pat Finucane.

On a more positive note, Amnesty International welcomed the reforms being carried out by the new Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland to ensure the quality, thoroughness and independence of historical investigations into police misconduct, after a period of concern which included the quashed 2011 report into the Loughinisland killings.

Amnesty also noted with approval the establishment of an inquiry by the Northern Ireland Executive into institutional child abuse during the period 1922-1995. Amnesty had campaigned for the inquiry alongside abuse victims for a number of years.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

"It is clear that Northern Ireland continues to struggle with the legacy of its recent past. As this 2013 report shows, the UK government has failed to put in place adequate mechanisms to deal comprehensively with many killings over many years of violence. 

"The year ahead provides new opportunities to not only reform and improve existing mechanisms - and we welcome some steps already being taken in that direction - but also to think anew about how an overall process to deal with the past can be agreed, so that Northern Ireland's past does not also become its future."

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