28 October 1999 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Relatives for Justice open Belfast office

by Laura Friel

Poetry and praise were in abundance at the opening of the Relatives for Justice (RFJ) group's offices in Belfast this week. Veteran human rights campaigner and RFJ chairperson Monsignor Raymond Murray provided the poetry at the launch on Wednesday 27 October, while Clare Reilly of the United Campaign against Plastic Bullets acknowledged the work of the RFJ's forerunner, the Association for Legal Justice (ALJ).

Formed in 1970, the group's success lay in the meticulous documentation of human rights abuses. ``The work of the ALJ underpinned the earliest cases taken to the European Court of Human Rights,'' said Clare. ALJ founding members Sean McCann, Francis Murray and Ann Murray accepted a plaque on behalf of all those who had worked so diligently for so many years.

The opening of offices in Belfast follows hot on the heels of a conference held in Dungannon two weeks ago in which relatives of the victims of state violence spoke of their collective experiences. ``The success of the conference,'' said Clare, ``demonstrated the potential of Relatives for Justice to address the needs of families whose loss has been unacknowledged and whose quest for truth and justice has been denied.''

The centre hopes to provide support in a number of ways, as a place to come and as a resource centre offering legal and research advice. ``It's important that relatives have a place to meet, share their experiences and gain support in their endeavours,'' said Clare, ``the focus of Relatives for Justice is meeting the needs of the families.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1