US call for monitoring of Orange marches
Benjamin Gilman, Chairperson of the US House International Relations Committee, has joined with the Irish-American Unity Conference in calling for international observers to monitor this year's sectarian marches in the Six Counties.
Gilman declared that such marches are corrosive to peace and reconciliation in Ireland:
``These marches should be eliminated in their entirety since they undermine the intentions of the Good Friday Agreement by insulting Catholics and inciting civil unrest. If this goal cannot be met at the present moment, then the marches should be closely monitored by the international community in order to deter the possibility of any violence.
``On the heels of the re-establishment of the power-sharing government in the north of Ireland, there is an expectation that the terms of the Good Friday Agreement will be completed quickly, including the realisation of a comprehensive programme of human rights legislation,'' Gilman noted.
He said that the marching season had come to the fore once again because of the April through October sectarian marches that are predominantly initiated by the Loyal Orders, a secret society which Catholics are prohibited from joining.
Gilman has joined with an array of Irish-American groups and international human rights organisations, among them Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, in denouncing these marches as sectarian in nature and an impediment to the reconciliation envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement.
Gilman said the House International Relations Comittee supports the work of international observers and urges other qualified people to contribute in a similar way to help bring about reconciliation in Ireland.