Bloody Sunday: Financial compensation is only one part of the right to remedy

Responding to media reports that the UK Ministry of Defence had contacted solicitors for families of many of the victims of Bloody Sunday to make compensation offers, Amnesty International said that financial compensation is only part of the right to remedy and pointed out the failure to prosecute soldiers responsible for the events of 30 January 1972. On that day, British soldiers opened fire on a civil rights march, and shot dead 13 people and wounded 14 others, one of whom died subsequently. In 2010, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry concluded that none of those killed or injured that day bore any responsibility for the shootings; all of them were innocent.  

John Dalhuisen, Deputy Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme, at Amnesty International, said:

“It is now unequivocally clear from the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that the way in which British soldiers killed 14 civil rights marchers and wounded others, was a completely unacceptable human rights violation.

“Lord Saville’s report, published over a year ago, rightly called those deaths and injuries ‘unjustified’ and ‘unjustifiable’.

“That Inquiry formed an important, if very late, first part of the right to remedy, as enshrined in international human rights law and allowed the victims and their families to learn the truth about what happened.

“Compensation, including financial compensation, may form another part of the right to remedy.

“However, the right to remedy also includes an obligation upon states to bring prosecutions against those responsible for violations. That, sadly, has not happened almost 40 years after the killings.

“The UK authorities have failed, so far, to take appropriate steps to ensure accountability and to bring those responsible to justice. That needs to be addressed urgently.”

Amnesty International takes no position on the appropriateness of the particular payments, if any, that may be agreed in these cases.

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