Posted By: July 21, 2023

DECLAN OWENS, RIGHTS & SECURITY INTERNATIONAL, LOBBIES CONGRESS  AGAINST SHAMEFUL BRITISH LEGACY BILL                                                                         

Friday, July 21, 2023

The London-based Rights & Security International organization took its concern about the British Government Legacy Bill to Capitol Hill in the week of Sunday, July 16, 2023.

It dispatched its County Down-based Northern Ireland Human Rights Officer, Declan Owens, to brief Congressional Staffers of the House and Senate.


Mr. Owens is superbly qualified for the task being both an attorney and Barrister with a long record of human rights involvement. And being born and reared in the North of Ireland gives him added insight and real-life experience.

Rights & Security defines its work as follows: “Our principled, expert work ensures that the safeguards of international human rights law remain in place for everyone, and helps stop governments from sliding into secrecy, impunity, and oppression. Our work ensures that movements for justice and equality can flourish without being wrongly silenced.”

Mr. Owen’s visit was facilitated by the well-known Washington-based The Raben Group, which describes itself as: “The Raben Group is a national public policy firm committed to opening the doors of power and influence for lasting inclusive change. We were founded with a lofty goal and an audacious spirit: to make this nation greater and to move public policy in a sensible, humane direction.”


On Thursday, July 20, 2023, Shawn Gaylord, Principal, The Raben Group, hosted in his headquarters a Briefing by Declan for local human rights organizations. Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President, and Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President, represented the Irish National Caucus.

Declan explained the urgency for US support to highlight the injustice of the Legacy Bill, which is likely to become law in September. He said: “Victims and survivors of the Troubles will have criminal prosecutions and civil claims shut down by the British Government to protect their military veterans from truth, justice, and accountability by providing them with ‘conditional immunity’, effectively an amnesty based on weak standards of evidence.

Therefore, we suggest that the Irish Government could, and should, take a case against the British Government to the European Court of Human Rights, which would be a powerful intervention on behalf of the many victims and survivors of the Troubles, including many Irish citizens.”

Fr. McManus said, “Declan gave an excellent Briefing. He is a very impressive ambassador for his organization, and for human rights, equality, and solidarity in Ireland, north, south, east, and west. It was an honor to meet him. And apart from the Briefing, we were delighted to meet with him on two other occasions while he was in Washington.”


Fr. McManus concluded: “During the Briefing, I singled out the remarkable leadership of Belfast Protestant Raymond McCord, Sr. —the best-known campaigner against the Legacy Bill. His son Raymond, Jr. was brutally assassinated in 1997, and the British government has gone to extraordinary lengths to cover up his murder, which was committed by British Agents and police informers. Because Raymond is a Protestant, the British government

finds it extremely difficult to deal with his case. They can deal with State-sponsored killing of Catholics because England has been doing that for 854 years. I also pointed out that just like with the Partition Bill, December 23, 1920, the Legacy Bill cannot become law without the Royal Assent of King Charles III—the great-grandson of King George V, who gave the Royal Assent to the Partition Bill.”.