UK: Belfast star Ciarán Hinds calls on Liz Truss to scrap ‘Troubles’ Bill
Letter urges a rethink on Bill opposed by victims of the Troubles
Troubles Bill soon to go to Lords for second reading
‘Victims deserve the same access to justice whether in Belfast or Bristol, Derry or Durham’ - Ciarán Hinds
Video with Ciaran available here
The Oscar-nominated Belfast actor Ciarán Hinds has written an open letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss calling on her to drop plans to push ahead with the Government’s deeply controversial Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, which he said would ‘permanently cut off any prospect of justice for the families and loved ones of those killed during the Troubles’.
In the letter to the Prime Minister, the acclaimed actor urges a rethink on the Bill which he says victims of the Troubles are unanimously opposed to.
The appeal from the Belfast actor comes as Parliament returns from recess (11 October). The Bill is set to be debated at second reading in the House of Lords soon.
Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland Deputy Programme Director for Amnesty International UK said:
“Liz Truss has an opportunity to swiftly abandon this deeply unjust and cruel Bill and send a message that she stands with victims, for justice and the rule of law. Victims rightly expect and demand accountability. No one should be allowed to get away with murder, torture and other serious violations.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing. All eyes are on the Prime Minister’s next move, will her tenure be a departure from this appalling attack on rights or will she shield perpetrators of horrific crimes, at the expense of victims”
Full text of letter
Dear Prime Minister
I am writing to you to urge a rethink on your Government’s proposed Northern Ireland Troubles Bill which will permanently cut off any prospect of justice for the families and loved ones of those killed during the Troubles.
I have an emotional bond with Belfast and Northern Ireland, where I grew up, and it was an honour for me to be able to pay tribute to the city and its people in the recent film ‘Belfast’, which showed how frightening and violent the Troubles were. For the many families who lost loved ones that chapter is not closed, and cannot be, without the healing that only real justice can bring.
The rule of law must apply to everyone, without favour. No-one, whether a state or non-state actor, should be above the law.
I stand with the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, partners and grandparents of the victims, and all those who are united in strong opposition to your proposals set out in the Legacy Bill to permanently deny ‘Troubles’ victims paths to justice. Victims deserve the same access to justice whether in Belfast or Bristol, Derry or Durham.
Families like that of Majella O’Hare, who was 12 years old when she was cruelly robbed of her life, shot in the back by a soldier with a machine gun. Her brother Michael has been fighting for 44 years for the independent investigation to which they are entitled and, despite an apology from the Ministry of Justice, no one has ever been held to account.
Everyone is entitled to justice.
International concern over plans
Concern over the proposed immunity plans has been expressed by the US Congress, the UN, Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights and the proposals are unanimously opposed by victims’ groups.
Killing of 12-year-old Majella O’Hare
Majella O’Hare, a 12-year-old girl, was shot dead by a British Army soldier in 1976. On 14 August 1976, Majella was on her way to church with a group of friends in the Armagh village of Whitecross. They walked past an army patrol and, when she was about 20 or 30 yards beyond it, a soldier shot Majella with his machine gun. In 2011, the Ministry of Defence apologised for the killing, but no-one has ever been held accountable for it.
A video of Ciaran reading the letter available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NmehPX3Aw8
Hinds’ letter is part of Amnesty International UK’s campaign: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/ni-troubles