Press Release Nov13 - Wave Trauma Centre

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PRESS STATEMENT
WAVE TRAUMA CENTRE
20/11/2013
WAVE SHOCKED BY ATTORNEY GENERAL’S ‘PAST’ PROPOSAL
Families & individuals have been shocked by the Attorney General’s interview calling for an end to all
Troubles related prosecutions, inquests & inquiries.
Sandra Peake of WAVE Trauma Centre states:
‘It is wholly inappropriate for the Attorney General to make statements about no further police
investigations, inquests or inquiries without speaking to victims & survivors who have been affected
by the Troubles. To take away all available mechanisms, without any consultation causes further hurt
and marginalises victims/ survivors voices from the debate around dealing with the past. Victims and
survivors have rights which need to be upheld. Victims/ survivors voices need to be at the heart of
political decision making on these issues, not relegated to the sidelines.
Many victims and survivors will interpret this as being told to be quiet so that the rest of us can get on
with our lives. It would be very hard to take that the people who made them victims, can now smile
at them safe in the knowledge that as far as the State is concerned what they did has ceased to matter.
We need to acknowledge the harm that all victims/ survivors have suffered. Many victims & survivors
differ in their needs, with some seeking justice & others seeking truth. But most agree that those who
have been bereaved, injured & traumatised deserve to have processes available that attempt to meet
their needs.
Prosecutions, inquests, and inquiries can be useful tools for getting information & meeting victims
needs. In some cases limited immunities which are transactional & tested can have a place, as in the
case of the Independent Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) or the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. But to talk
about a wholesale stop on investigations is not only wrong, but contrary to Article 2 ECHR.
In the case of ICLVR an immunity is granted for information regarding where the bodies of the
disappeared are located. It has demonstrated success in some cases where information has led to
recovery. The families concerned agreed to such legislation. However it also demonstrates the
fundamental difficulty when those who hold information do not engage. 14 years from the legisaltion
being granted seven families still wait. It could be argued that the information needed of where bodies
are buried should be easier to obtain than families questions around why the disappeared were taken,
who took them, what happened to them and who ordered for them to be disappeared . And still seven
families wait for the location of burial.
The timing of this announcement in relation to the Haass talks & the recent report by the organisation
Healing through Remembering is leading victims/ survivors to question whether our politicians, our
administrative system & society at large have any interest in helping victims and survivors. We need
to refocus on victims/ survivors rights rather than the wishes of those who perpetrated violence
against others.
We would take the opportunity to reaffirm support to those affected, and to urge them to make use
of the services available within organisations such as WAVE and others within the sector’.
Notes for Editors
1) WAVE, a grass roots, cross community, voluntary organization was formed in 1991 to support people
bereaved of a spouse as a result of violence in Northern Ireland. It was expanded later to incorporate
the needs of young people and children and anyone traumatized through ‘the troubles’. Today the
overall aim of WAVE is to offer care and support to anyone bereaved or traumatized through the
violence, irrespective of religious, cultural or political belief. The philosophy and ethos of the
organization is one of inclusiveness i.e. anyone bereaved or traumatized—those physically impaired as
a result of the violence in Northern Ireland and those who care for them. WAVE promotes a respect for
life and an understanding of difference that is seen as enhancing rather than threatening. It affirms and
acknowledges that there are ways of resolving difference other than through the use of violence and
continually seeks creative ways of working through issues that have the potential to divide.
WAVE Trauma Centre
5 Chichester Park South
BELFAST, BT15 5DW
02890 779922
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