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Northern Ireland: response to RTÉ documentary allegations on UK and torture

‘Revelations underscore the need for a comprehensive means of dealing with our troubled past’ - Patrick Corrigan
Allegations in an RTÉ documentary that the UK Government sanctioned the use of torture in Northern Ireland in the 1970s underline the failure to deliver a comprehensive mechanism to deal with the past, says Amnesty International.
In 1971, Ireland took the first inter-state case to come before the European Court on Human Rights, alleging Britain had breached the Convention on Human Rights. The use of torture during internment was central to that case which became known as the “hooded men” case.
The documentary, The Torture Files, further alleges that the UK Government did not disclose relevant evidence to the European Court of Human Rights, in its defence of the case. 
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:
“These latest allegations that the UK government misled the European Court of Human Rights in the ‘hooded men’ case are deeply worrying.
“Tonight’s revelations underscore the need for a comprehensive means of dealing with our troubled past, and the need for all parties to come clean about their role in human rights violations and abuses.”
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said:
“Amnesty’s own research on torture in detention in Northern Ireland in the 1970s was an important factor in these cases being brought before the European Court in the first place, and we will continue to follow developments closely.
“Torture is a crime under international law, and anyone at any level who condoned or authorised it must be held fully accountable.”
Amnesty has called for a comprehensive mechanism to be set up to review the conflict, establish the truth about outstanding human rights violations, and determine responsibility. 
Any such mechanism must also examine abuses suffered by those seriously injured, and victims of torture and other ill-treatment, who have too often been excluded from existing processes. 
See the 2013 Amnesty report, Northern Ireland: time to deal with the past.

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