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Irish Government challenge to Troubles Act 'vital for victims here and around the world'

Amnesty International has today welcomed the decision by the Irish Government that it will pursue a legal challenge to the UK Government’s controversial Troubles Act at the European Court of Human Rights. Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland Deputy Director, said:

“The Irish Government is doing the right thing for victims, for the rule of law and for the upholding of human rights. Victims’ rights to truth, reparations and justice must be realised. This challenge is vital for victims here and around the world, who face the prospect of similar state-gifted impunity.

“The UK Government doggedly pursued this legislation which shields perpetrators of serious human rights violations from being held accountable. It’s important that the Irish Government takes this stand.

“This State-level challenge is very welcome and made necessary by the UK government’s actions. Victims should be at the heart of how the ‘Troubles’ is addressed, not swept to the side with denial of rights imposed. We hope this critical litigation will bring all Troubles victims closer to the justice they deserve.”

Fiona Crowley, Research and Policy Manager, Amnesty International Ireland, said:

“We strongly welcome the government taking the correct course of action and pursuing this at the European Court of Human Rights. This case carries local and international significance for the protection and promotion of rights.

“It is heartening for the victims that they will not have to shoulder the responsibility for challenging this legislation on their own. Like the Irish government, they have always been clear in their opposition to the Act."

Scale of Opposition to the Act

The Act has been overwhelmingly rejected by victims and victims’ groups as well as Amnesty and other human rights organisations, Northern Ireland political parties and the Irish government. It has also prompted serious and repeated concerns from the US Congress, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteurs, the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers.

A victim led challenge, supported by Amnesty International, has had its hearing in Belfast High Court with judgment reserved.


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