Human rights groups 'a curse' - Trimble
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble yesterday described the
human rights "industry" as "one of the great curses of
The Nobel Peace Prize winner was attending an International
Congress on Victims of Terrorism in Madrid.
He said: "One of the great curses of this world is the human
rights industry. They justify terrorist acts and end up being
complicit in the murder of innocent victims."
But Mr Trimble acknowledged the ambiguity of terms such as
victims or terrorism.
"What about an activist who dies as a result of their own
actions? You may not think of that individual as a victim but
they have a husband or a wife or children," he said.
Robin Kirk, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, last
night criticised Mr Trimble's remark, saying: "To call human
rights defenders a curse is clearly unhinged and absurd."
Meanwhile, the Ulster Unionists have pledged to reform a
branch of the party in Kilkeel, County Down, after the local
association dissolved in protest at the Trimble leadership.
Some 26 members of the party, meeting in the town's Orange
hall on Monday night, walked away from the party complaining
that David Trimble was too moderate.
Those who left included James Donaldson, father of Jeffrey
Donaldson, the MP who quit the party in December and joined
the Democratic Unionists earlier this month.
The Donaldson family is still based in the area and wields
considerable influence. Mr Donaldson snr said yesterday he
would consider his future. It is understood his joining the
DUP remains an option.
The UUP holds just one of the six Assembly seats in the
So far, the Donaldson defection has cost the UUP one
Westminster seat, making the DUP the largest unionist party in
the Commons; three Assembly seats; and at least 150 members.