Belfast Telegraph

Lack of Northern Ireland truth process 'feeding tribal myths'

By Michael McHugh

The failure to establish a truth process into the Northern Ireland conflict encourages tribal myth-making, the Human Rights Commission has said.

An unresolved sense of neglect and injustice is triggering problems and wider society is suffering while a mechanism for recording actual memories is absent, departing chief commissioner Professor Michael O'Flaherty said.

Former US diplomat Richard Haass is currently holding talks aimed at addressing the legacy of 30 years of violence and disputes over parades and flags.

Prof O'Flaherty said: "Some of our most vulnerable people remain at the margins, with inadequate acknowledgment of their suffering; many people are dying without ever being able to share their stories of pain and loss.

"There is not a day that goes by without the unresolved sense of neglect and injustice triggering societal problems.

"The lack of a truth recovery process means that tribal myths will continue to trump actual memory."

Prof O'Flaherty added that many of the traditional foundations of transitional justice, changing from conflict to peace, had already been installed.

"Crucial building blocks, such as those for truth recovery or the addressing of the needs of non-fatal victims of the conflict, have not been put in place.

"Most glaring has been the absence of an architectural plan for the overall construction. Our society is suffering by reason of these omissions."

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