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Northern Ireland: Mother and Baby Home public inquiry welcome step towards truth and accountability

Inquiry must be able to access records and witnesses on a cross-border basis - Amnesty

Amnesty International has welcomed a decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to establish an independent public inquiry into Mother and Baby and Magdalene Laundry institutions in the region and a commitment to implement all other recommendations by the independent Truth Recovery Panel.

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

“We welcome the Executive’s commitment to implement all the Panel’s recommendations including an independent public inquiry and redress scheme.

“Working with survivors from Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries, Amnesty first called for such an inquiry ten years ago and the steps now being taken reflect our long-standing calls for accountability and redress.

“Women in Northern Ireland have told Amnesty that they suffered arbitrary detention, forced labour, ill-treatment, and the removal and forced adoption of their babies – all human rights violations. These are serious issues which merit serious investigation.

“Crucially, the inquiry to be established by Assembly legislation, must have powers to compel witnesses and documentation. Immediate engagement is needed with the Irish Government to ensure that this can be done on a cross-border basis, as many of the relevant institutions and records are based in the Republic of Ireland, beyond the reach of Assembly legislation.”

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