The Commissioner and Victims and Survivors Forum have urged politicians to consider the impact of legacy legislation upon victims and survivors in an open letter following their NIAC appearance.
The continued Government silence on details of proposed legacy legislation is unacceptable to Victims and Survivors in Northern Ireland and across Great Britain. That was the message today to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee investigation into the proposed legacy legislation.
Following their submission to the Committee the Commissioner Judith Thompson and Victims Forum members Mary Moreland and Emmett McConomy on behalf of the Forum, issued an open letter to all MPs and the members of all regional Parliaments explaining that while the Stormont House Agreement Institutions were not perfect and would have benefited from a codesign for implementation, the arbitrary and sparsely detailed new proposals do not have the confidence of those they are meant to serve.
The letter called on them as political representatives to recognise that this legislation would impact on victims and survivors throughout the UK and was not simply a Westminster solution to a Northern Ireland problem.
Addressing the issue that the proposed changes to Legacy investigations will potentially close thousands of investigations permanently, including the deaths of police officers and soldiers as well as people from all constituencies, is not going to deliver what is intended and is certainly not going to deliver what victims and survivors want.
Historic events can be investigated and many families who want them can be given answers. To do this we need Legacy investigations which thoroughly interrogate evidence, dedicated to delivering for families.
The Commissioner acknowledged that at a civic and political level there continues to be a war of words about the harm inflicted on different individuals and communities during the conflict, which in itself is often to the detriment of those who suffered.
“The purpose of our open letter directly to all MPs and regional parliamentary representatives is to demonstrate to them that changing approaches to how we address the legacy of our past without full victim consultation is unacceptable. Processes can only work if there is consultation, engagement and momentum.
“It is essential that all political representatives are fully engaged with victims and survivors in their communities if we are to ensure that we finally address the past and move forward to build a better future,” She explained.