Amnesty International report: NI “victims’ families actually consider their treatment a failure.”

So, no further inquiry into Omagh. And at least some of the secrets of the cover up on Bloody Sunday, goes to the grave.

Regarding those who can still answer for their actions, it’s all “I cannot remember,” “I do not recall,” “I have only a very vague memory.” For others, it’s all “Republican code of honour”.

Publishing their new report on Northern Ireland, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s International director for Europe and Central Asia said:

“There’s a cruel irony in the fact that Northern Ireland is held up as a success story when many victims’ families actually consider their treatment a failure.”

He continued:

Over the last decade a patchwork of measures, including isolated investigations, have failed to establish the full truth about the violations and abuses of the past and left many victims waiting for justice.

“The UK government and all political parties in Northern Ireland need to grasp the nettle now and agree a new approach which is capable of dealing fully with the past.”

History is always the possession of the winners they say. In our case, it’s fairly clear who the losers are…


  • Absolutely.
    If one side had won….one side would have got Justice.
    When both side loses …nobody gets justice.
    But to be honest, I dont think the public really care.
    Its not that the hierarchy of victims is merely “political”….it is generational.
    Some people have done well out of the Troubles (thats how the folks on the street see it) and some have been screwed.
    nationalists and Unionists see it in fairly equal measure.
    Victims are not homogenous….some want nothing but a quiet life, some want legality, some want Justice, Some want Truth, some want revenge and some want….frankly a payday.
    But a line can be drawn….maybe it was 1977 or thereabouts…when lawyers got involved and every injustice had a price tag.
    Those of us who remember the earlier years will know that injustice was casual and uncompensated.
    Again nationalists and unionists see that.

    its not just the politicians that see Victims as an inconvenience.
    The Public has never been convinced.

  • between the bridges

    The victims from all sections of the community are forgotten by most and generally used as political footballs or point scoring on the interweb.

  • son of sam

    Is it my imagination,or has Amnesty taken an increased interest in Northern Ireland in recent times?Although my memory may be fallible,I can’t seem to recollect a massive amount of indignation at the consistent breaches of victims human rights by the paramilitaries during the time of the troubles.

  • sherdy

    No one can take away the blame of the bombers on that day, but if Special Branch had not sat on their intelligence of the upcoming atrocity, there would have been 29 less victims and their relatives.

  • Son of Sam…I think youre right.
    Like you my recollection might be faulty but I seem to recall that the pirate radio station Radio Free Belfast gave out the phone number of a prominent unionist at Stormont…and said he was the top local man in Amnesty.
    I dont know if that was 1969 or 1971.
    As I understood it Amnesty has a policy whereby its local activists in say France do not get involved in alleged breaches in that country.
    I thought that was their international policy.
    I also thought it was a reason given by Amnesty here for not getting involved in breaches of human rights here….by anyone.
    There were a few Human Rights lawyers involved in various things in the 1970s and 1980s but I cant recall any Amnesty involvement.

    So like you I am a little surpised that Amnesty seems to be more involved over the past couple of years. I think there is either a change of policy or some kinda turf war going on.

  • toaster

    We need to be clear what a victim actually was.

    Anyone, shot, injured, or maimed by the oppressive, illegally occupying, British forces should have do the trick. Although it needs extended to include the blood on the hands of unionist paramilitaries and their ilk.

  • SirJohnDill

    Note, re. the IRA and Prod paramilitaries, Amnesty’s position on those who used violence for political ends, Amnesty took this clear stand:

    “…the issue of whether or not to adopt prisoners who had advocated violence, like Nelson Mandela, brought unanimous agreement that it could not give the name of ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ to such prisoners.”

    Again working with those who: “… promote and protect human rights through peaceful and non-violent means. …. “

  • Granni Trixie

    Point of information:Amnesty changed its policy a few years ago hence it started commenting on issues within NI. The original policy not to work on issues within ones own country meant that, for example Amnesty would not support those of us who campaigned on punishment beatings. for the record the CAJ also refused to recognise punishment beatings even though they had policing on their agenda.
    You could call it human rights cherry picking.

  • Harry Flashman

    If I am not wrong Amnesty originally only dealt with abuses of human rights committed by state actors rather than non-governmental agencies (the logic being that the state could deal with them). A policy which outraged lefties when Amnesty attacked, entirely correctly, the oppressive and brutal Sandanista regime in Nicaragua (then regarded as just below Jesus Christ and Karl Marx in the pantheon of the great and the good) but was silent on the brutalities of the Contra forces.

    It changed this policy sometime in the late 80s or early 90s I think.

  • son of sam

    Perhaps Patrick Corrigan can enlighten us all.

  • Barnshee

    From memory Amnesty dipped its toe in the NI soup in the 70`s -and retreated hastily.
    I remember getting mail shots seeking donations/membership and some dispute about bias with the subsequent disappearance of Amnesty”

  • Kevsterino

    The biggest obstacle to a solution for victims is there is no way to make the ‘whole’ in so many cases. Paydays may be a way of acknowledging the loss, but I’ve never been sure how to calculate the amount due for a variety of harms done to people.

    I think the report is correct in that agents investigating past wrongs by actors of the state need to be independent, in both appearance and reality. Anything less will ruin public confidence.

    Everybody needs to be equally supportive and subject to the law. How do you get to that point in a place like Northern Ireland?

  • Barnshee

    “No one can take away the blame of the bombers on that day, but if Special Branch had not sat on their intelligence of the upcoming atrocity, there would have been 29 less victims and their relatives.”

    What “evidence” was sat on ?

  • Seamuscamp

    Amnesty International report: NI “victims’ families actually consider their treatment a failure.”

    I would have thought that judgement extends well beyond the cohorts of victims’ families. The situation is irretrievable given the passage of time nd what has gone before. Timeliness is an essential element of justice.

    Another though; what could have been done that would have changed the feelings of betrayal? Easy enough to see where and why it went wrong; given the natures of those who could have made it different, was there a real option?