Three parties back contract for victims

Kenny Donaldson
Kenny Donaldson

A charter for victims and survivors has received the full backing of three of Northern Ireland’s political parties.

The “victims’ contract” was drawn up by campaign group Innocent Victims United (IVU), which had called on political supporters to put their names to the document – with a deadline of Wednesday.

The contract calls for parties to back a 10-point list which includes a promise that they will push for laws criminalising glorification of terrorism, and opposing amnesties for Troubles crimes.

Yesterday, IVU’s spokesman Kenny Donaldson said the UUP, TUV and UKIP had given their backing to all 10 points.

Others – the Greens, NI Conservatives, SDLP, NI21 and Alliance – all offered backing, but not for all of the points.

While the DUP was broadly supportive, it has drawn up its own policy document on victims, which it launched yesterday.

After revealing the full roster of support, Mr Donaldson said: “As an organisation we want to thank those political parties and candidates who directly engaged with the contents of our victims’ contract.

“Sadly a number of political parties did not, and that in itself will send out a message to the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism and other Troubles-related violence.”

He said that the PUP did not respond, and that when presented with the contract, Sinn Fein indicated its “outright opposition” to it.

When it comes to the DUP, he said: “IVU respects the right of the DUP to launch its own commitments for innocent victims of terrorism which our membership will take time to consider.”

The TUV’s Jim Allister was quick to round on the party, saying: “When your party is in coalition with the victim makers it is difficult to pretend you are standing up for victims.

“The DUP document issued yesterday is a very poor substitute to the contract.”