Civil Rights Key to Peace in Northern Ireland

I commend the Monitor for the attention it has given to the conflict in Northern Ireland - a tragedy too often ignored by the American media. The editorial ``Hope and Fear in Ulster,'' Nov. 3, rightly calls for a renewed commitment for a negotiated peace. However, no solution will succeed unless civil rights are vigorously applied to all the citizens of Northern Ireland.

To date, the British government has demonstrated little regard for the civil rights of Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. Indeed, Britain has been repeatedly criticized by Amnesty International, the European Parliament, and the Helsinki Watch for human rights violations in Northern Ireland. The imprisonment of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six are only the most notorious examples.

In addition to the endemic discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland in employment, housing, and social services, there is a growing body of evidence that alleges police and army collusion with Protestant terrorist groups to target Catholics for assassination.

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One hopes the peace talks are set in motion as quickly as possible. But, until there is impartial justice and civil rights for all, I fear there will be no hope of peace in this war-torn corner of the world. Terry Jennings, New York

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