The British government confirmed its plans to move forward with its contentious Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill on May 10 at the opening of Parliament.

"My Government will prioritise support for the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and its institutions, including through legislation to address the legacy of the past [Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill]," the Queen's Speech, which is drafted by the British government and outlines policies and proposed future legislation, said in part.

The ceremony is steeped in history and tradition and has remained largely unchanged for centuries.

This year for the first time The Prince of Wales will read The Queen’s speech. It is drafted by the Government, outlining policies and proposed future legislation. #QueensSpeech

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 10, 2022

After the Queen’s Speech was delivered, Northern Ireland’s Secretary of State Brandon Lewis expanded upon what the legacy legislation will look like in a statement: “The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill will address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past by focusing on information recovery and reconciliation and will provide better outcomes for victims, survivors and their families.

“It will also deliver on our commitment to veterans who served in Northern Ireland, and help society to look forward. The Bill will further develop proposals set out in a Command Paper last year to ensure they better meet the needs of people most impacted by the Troubles.

“A new approach will be taken to immunity for those involved in Troubles-related incidents. An independent body will now only grant immunity from prosecution on a case-by-case basis, based on an individual’s cooperation with the body’s inquiries.”

This bill will address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past by focusing on information recovery and reconciliation and will provide better outcomes for victims, survivors and their families.#QueensSpeech

— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) May 10, 2022

Lewis first introduced the proposals last July, which include a proposal to "introduce a statute of limitations to apply equally to all Troubles-related
incidents, bringing an immediate end to the divisive cycle of criminal investigations and prosecutions, which is not working for anyone and has kept
Northern Ireland hamstrung by its past."

The proposals have been met with pushback from victims' relatives groups, Irish politicians both north and south, as well as American politicians and groups.

Now, Relatives for Justice, an Irish-based NGO that provides support services to the bereaved and injured during the conflict in Ireland, is speaking out after the UK has signaled it intends to move forward with the legislation.

“This proposed Bill is specifically designed to remove the rights of all victims to effective independent investigation, remedy, accountability, and ultimately justice," Relatives for Justice CEO Justice Mark Thompson said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It significantly undermines the rule of law, rights, and entitlements enshrined not only within the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), but also international law.

“In the two decades since the GFA successive UK governments, with the NIO, PSNI, and MoD, have done everything in their power to thwart the application of the rule of law in order to shield the State from exposure of their role in the conflict.

“This proposed Bill places the British government in control of a deeply flawed process by which they alone determine who to punish, attribute blame, and continue its programme of anonymity and impunity, all this whilst lecturing victims that this is in their best interests.

“This is typically self-serving and primarily in the interests of privileging State perpetrators and their agents.

"Overall however this proposed Bill privileges all perpetrators to the detriment of victims and their rights.

“The British government has once again opted to abandon its agreement on legacy with the Irish government and all the executive parties by acting unilaterally."

Justice Thompson concluded his statement by saying: “Victims of all persuasions and from all backgrounds will once again look to the Irish government, Irish-America, the Council of Europe, and the UN to uphold their legal rights secured by the GFA and stand up to the UK government by rejecting this outrageous proposed Bill.”