Speaking in relation to the DUP intention for a Bill before the Assembly seeking to change the definition of a victim Relatives for Justice Chairperson Clara Reilly said;
‘There needs to be equality for all victims of the conflict. The DUP are yet again seeking to manipulate people’s trauma and play politics with victims and survivors.
‘Instead they should be focusing on needs, healing our divisions and encouraging reconciliation – where now a shared future?
‘Equality and sensitivity are the themes that should be adapted and vigorously pursued by all political leaders with regards to victims and survivors in healing the hurts of the past.
‘The DUP are well aware that their proposed Bill needs cross community support and both the SDLP and Sinn Fein are on record as stating that they would not support the DUP’s narrow and exclusive definition which would essentially discriminate against thousands of bereaved relatives and people injured.
‘The DUP talk about criminality and wrongdoing and yet fail to recognise that all sides engaged in the conflict carried out actions that constituted wrongdoing and human rights violations. This includes the state.
‘Do we then say that because there was collusion and shoot-to-kill on the part of the state that this should also exclude members of the RUC and the British army from being defined as victims and survivors? We in RFJ would say no and that everyone affected by the conflict should be treated equally. The current legislation provides for this.
‘In the last Executive both Dermott Nesbit and Denis Haughey recognised the centrality of inclusiveness, equality of treatment and sensitivity for everyone affected by the conflict. Their legacy was the 2006 Victims and Survivors Order which enshrined those principles in legislation.
‘This has been a very successful working definition and one of the key positive developments within a sector that has otherwise been embroiled in controversy on this issue, much of it created by negative politics.
‘We would encourage the DUP to play a more positive and constructive role concerning this matter and not in these times of economic hardship to waste taxpayers resources within the Assembly by grandstanding and early electioneering when they are quite aware of the outcome.’