AMNESTY International called yesterday for urgent agreement between the British, Irish and Northern Irish governments on a new approach to dealing with the past.
The human rights organisation is calling for a comprehensive mechanism to be set up to review the Troubles as a whole and establish the truth about outstanding human rights violations.
“The current system for addressing the Troubles in Northern Ireland is not meeting the needs of victims or justice,” said Amnesty Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan.
Amnesty’s renewed call came as party and government representatives meet in Belfast to address the issue.
A British government paper for the talks shows that the current approach costs more than £50 million every year.
“Instead of spending £50m per year on a flawed and piecemeal approach to the past, resources should be invested in a new overarching and independent mechanism to investigate past abuses,” said Mr Corrigan.
Such a mechanism would also examine abuses suffered by those seriously injured, including torture and other ill-treatment, which Amnesty argues have too often been excluded from existing processes.
“The two governments and the Northern Ireland parties have a golden opportunity to deliver truth and justice for the victims of human rights violations and abuses after decades of violence and years of delay. They must seize this opportunity,” he said.