Sunak and Biden must discuss Troubles legacy Bill, says Amnesty International

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Government plans to deal with the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland should be on the agenda when Rishi Sunak meets Joe Biden, Amnesty International has said.

The organisation has called on the Prime Minister to scrap its Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, stating that it erodes the Good Friday Agreement.

The legislation proposes offering immunity for people accused of crimes during the Troubles as long as they co-operate with a new truth recovery body.

It would also would stop future court processes or inquests.

Along with Amnesty International, victims’ groups have expressed opposition to the Bill.

Several protests have taken place over the last several weeks, with victims’ families carrying banners and placards demanding truth and justice for loved ones.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will meet with US President Joe Biden during the latter’s visit to Northern Ireland.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland deputy director, said the Troubles bill must be on the agenda.

“Biden and Sunak’s meeting is a key moment to acknowledge the Good Friday Agreement’s achievements, but we cannot ignore the reality of UK Government actions that recklessly undermine it,” she said.

“It rings entirely hollow that the Prime Minister is celebrating the Agreement whilst simultaneously pursuing a legislative agenda that erodes the rights commitments central to it.

“The Prime Minister must scrap the widely-opposed Troubles Bill that violates the Good Friday Agreement, and end threats to the European Convention on Human Rights which has been a cornerstone of Northern Ireland’s peace settlement.”

Speaking last week, Irish deputy premier Micheal Martin said the Irish Government wants the UK Government to pause progress of the legacy Bill and re-engage with Northern Ireland political parties and victims’ groups.

He also said the Bill would need to be human-rights compliant.

The Bill has already passed through the House of Commons and is currently being considered in the House of Lords.

A string of amendments were suggested in the House of Lords, including a provision that would ensure that any person engaged in activities that preclude reconciliation – such as glorifying terrorism – would not be eligible for immunity.

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