The UK Joint Committee on Human Rights Wednesday condemned the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, saying the legislation is a risk to human rights law. The bill would offer conditional amnesty to those accused of killings and other Troubles-related crimes.The committee warned that the bill’s conditional amnesty provisions would fail to meet the minimum standards required to ensure an effective investigation into cases concerning death and serious injury, and the bill could cause the UK to commit human rights violations if it does not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.The committee also expressed concern over the risk of non-compliance, stating:We are not convinced that the approach put forward in the Bill will address the longstanding problems identified by these cases. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has urged the UK Government to reconsider its approach and to address its concerns regarding the Bill’s compatibility with the Convention. The Bill’s current approach risks the UK failing to comply with the outstanding judgments of the ECtHR, which is a breach of the UK’s obligations under the Convention.In response to the report, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said:The current system is failing; it is delivering neither truth nor justice for the vast majority of families. It is letting down victims and veterans alike. The legislation as a whole complies with our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the government continues to engage constructively with all stakeholders regarding their concerns, and how these might be addressed as the bill proceeds through Parliament.The bill was passed by the UK House of Commons in July, and now faces consideration by the UK House of Lords before it can became law.The Northern Ireland Troubles was a sectarian conflict lasting from the 1960’s to 1998 resulting in regular violence and the deaths of over 3,500 people. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 brought an end to much of the violence, but discussions continue on of how to deal with the lasting impacts of the conflict.

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