Belfast Telegraph

UN day honouring terror dead 'must include Northern Ireland Troubles'

By Adrian Rutherford

A victims' group has urged the United Nations to include the Troubles in a new annual event for people who died through terror.

The UN General Assembly has designated August 21 as a date to honour and support victims and survivors of terrorism.

The first International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism was held last Tuesday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it is about recognising the impact of terrorism on the lives of ordinary people worldwide.

A European day for terror victims is held each year and is marked at Stormont, organised by TUV leader Jim Allister.

However, Kenny Donaldson from the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) said victims of the Troubles should receive international recognition.

"There has existed a European Day for Victims of Terrorism for many years which we mark here in Northern Ireland through the initial efforts of Jim Allister MLA," he said.

"We are very encouraged that the UN is now following suit.

"Terrorism knows no borders and the ethos of SEFF has always been that victims of terrorism should work collaboratively across nation states in furthering their objectives - it should not be solely the preserve of terrorism to do so."

Mr Donaldson said the organisation has a strong partnership with victims of Eta terrorism in Spain and plans are afoot to develop links with terror victims from other countries.

He added: "We have written to the UN and have requested that the Northern Ireland Troubles and the terrorist campaign which ensued would be reflected within the events planned to commemorate this new set-aside day in 2019.

"What occurred was not a war, it was not a conflict, it was a terrorist campaign."

More than 3,600 people were killed and thousands more injured during three decades of violence.

An analysis by the Washington Post showed that 18,475 people died from terrorism worldwide in 2017. The UN said that, last year, nearly three-quarters of all deaths caused by terrorism were in just five countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Syria.

Explaining the International Day of Remembrance, the UN said: "Victims of terrorism continue to struggle to have their voices heard, have their needs supported and their rights upheld.

"Victims often feel forgotten and neglected once the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack fades, which can have profound consequences for them."

Mr Guterres said: "I welcome the decision of the General Assembly to establish an International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism.

"We must lift up the voices of victims and survivors of terrorist attacks, who consistently call for accountability and results."

Belfast Telegraph

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