LONDON (AP) — The British government apologized Wednesday to the families of 97 Liverpool football fans who died A stadium crush 34 years agoAs it introduced a charter, it stated that it would sharply reduce the likelihood that others would suffer the kind of injustice that they had suffered.
However, it refused to support calls from campaigners that public bodies, including police, be legally required to tell the truth and actively cooperate with official investigations and inquiries in cases of public disasters.
The so-called Hillsborough disaster occurred on April 15, 1989. More than 2,000 Liverpool fans were allowed into the standing room section behind one goal at Sheffield's Hillsborough Stadium, while the 54,000-capacity stadium was already almost full for the match against Nottingham. Forest.
An original inquest recorded verdicts of accidental death, which the victims' families refused to accept. Those decisions were overturned in 2012 after a far-reaching inquiry into the disaster, which examined previously secret documents and exposed wrongdoing and mistakes by police. In 2016, a jury found that the victims were "unlawfully killed."
The proposed "Hillsborough Law" would include a "duty of candor" on public authorities and officials in such matters.
Instead, under a "Hillsborough Charter" public bodies would pledge to tell the truth in the wake of public tragedies, no matter the impact to their reputations. The government said it was not aware of any deficiencies in the law that would promote a culture of candor among public bodies and their representatives.
New charter comes after six years after a report From James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool, who was appointed to learn the lessons from the disaster and subsequent cover-up.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk apologized on behalf of the government for the way families were treated over the decades and for the delay in responding to the report.
"It certainly doesn't provide closure for families," Chalk said. “Grief is truly a journey without a destination but today is a milestone in that journey.”
Hooliganism was rife in English football in the 1980s, and immediate attempts were made to place blame on Liverpool fans and defend police actions. A false narrative that blamed drunken, ticketless and unruly Liverpool fans was created by the police, a narrative that was only changed by a tireless campaign by the bereaved families.
Organizations that have already signed the "Hillsborough Charter" include the National Police Chiefs' Council, the College of Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, "The Hillsborough families have had to endure many injustices: the loss of 97 lives, blaming fans and an inexcusable institutional defense by public bodies." “I am deeply sorry for what they went through.”
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