Northern Ireland: As Haass flies in, parties and governments urged to deliver on 'past'

As former US diplomat, Dr Richard Haass visits Dublin and London to hold talks with the Irish and UK governments, Amnesty International has called on both governments and the Northern Ireland political parties to agree new proposals to delivering truth and justice for Troubles victims.

Amnesty has previously called for the implementation of the Haass Talks draft Agreement on dealing with the past in Northern Ireland, describing the former US diplomat's proposal as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" for victims of human rights violations and abuses to secure truth and justice.

Amnesty has now called on the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK and Irish governments to reach final agreement and to take forward the proposals by drawing up the necessary legislation to ensure they are fully human rights-compliant.

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

"Almost five months have now passed since the inconclusive end to the Haass Talks.

“Enough is enough – parties and governments now need to deliver for all victims.

“With elections out of the way, parties and governments must come together to finish the job started under the chairmanship of Richard Haass. The draft proposals must now be refined and built upon to ensure they are in line with international human rights standards and do not replicate Northern Ireland's current patchwork approach to the past.

"The UK and Irish governments have crucial roles to play, including by ensuring any necessary legislation is passed in London and Dublin, providing financial backing for the process and cooperating fully with the new mechanisms.”

The draft Haass Agreement, published on 31 December, contains comprehensive proposals on dealing with the past. The draft’s Agreement’s publication followed several months of intense negotiations between the five Executive parties in Northern Ireland, chaired by former US diplomat Richard Haass. The proposals were made public in draft form, as there was no consensus among the parties to the talks when the deadline for Agreement expired at the end of 2013, although three of the five Northern Ireland parties have since backed the proposals on dealing with the past.

In September 2013 Amnesty published an 82-page report - Northern Ireland: Time to deal with the past - which found that the previous patchwork system of investigations in Northern Ireland have proven inadequate to the task of establishing the full truth about human rights violations and abuses committed by all sides during the three decades of political violence.

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