The bill has received widespread criticism for its content, despite the fact that it is about to complete the final step before becoming an act of Parliament. The Northern Ireland Troubles Bill has been a subject of widespread criticism despite its final stage before becoming a law. It was first read in May 2022, and it has been moving back and forth in the two houses over the past year. The bill was sent back to the House of Lords on Tuesday for a second time, this time to consider Commons amendments. The bill is now set to become law, as both houses have agreed on the text. The bill aims to “address and promote reconciliation” by creating the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery. This will limit criminal investigations and legal proceedings as well as police complaints about events that occurred during the Troubles. It also extends the prisoner release scheme.
Multiple groups and individuals have expressed their concern over the bill, including the UN. The UN Human Rights Office issued a social media statement in which they stated that “they deeply regret the passage” as the bill “violates UK’s international obligations on human rights.” They asked the UK government reconsider the bill, and to change its focus towards victims’ rights. Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that “Respecting the rights of victims, survivor, and their family members to truth, justice and reparation, as well as guarantees of non-recurrence, is essential for reconciliatory.” Their rights must be placed at the heart of all attempts to address the legacy of the Troubles.”
The date for Royal Assent is yet to be decided.