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NI Human Rights Commission responds to proposed legislation on dealing with the past

23 May 2022

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has responded to the UK Government’s proposed Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill.

Chief Commissioner Alyson Kilpatrick commented:

"The Commission has been involved in this issue for many years. It is one that has continued to cause distress to people already traumatised by conflict.

We have always approached this issue mindful of the sensitivities and possibility for further harm. We promised the government that we would consider any proposals put forward in an objective manner and without any preconceived ideas. We also promised, however, that we would, as we are obliged, hold the government’s draft legislation to the standards of domestic and international human rights law.

We have not had an acceptable amount of time or prior consultation to enter a detailed written response today but having worked over-time and at speed we are sure that this Bill is substantially, in fact almost certainly fatally, flawed.

We will, as soon as able, publish our detailed analysis but draw attention immediately to the incompatibility with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and therefore the breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 that will surely follow."


For interview requests, with the Chief Commissioner please contact Jason McKeown on 07769361156 or email

Notes to Editors

  • The UK Government introduced the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill to Parliament on Tuesday 17 May. To read the contents of the Bill and for more information, see here.
  • In June 2020 the NI Human Rights Commission provided a submission to the NI Affairs Committee Inquiry into Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past: UK Government's New Proposals. Read in full here.
  • In August 2018 the NI Human Rights Commission provided advice to the Northern Ireland Office consultation on ‘Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past’. Read in full here.
  • The NI Human Rights Commission is a statutory public body established in 1999 to promote and protect human rights. In accordance with the Paris Principles the Commission reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of measures undertaken by the UK Government to promote and protect human rights, specifically within Northern Ireland.
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