Last September the Belfast-based Legacy Gender Integration Group produced Gender Principles for Dealing with the Past. This innovative document was the first of its kind to be produced and was well received by all parties in the run into the intensive negotiations on dealing with the past last November. The Gender Principles show how the impact of the conflict on women can be more fully understood, investigated and acknowledged and the link with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, to which the British and Irish Governments are parties.
On Friday, April 15th a delegation of the Legacy Gender Integration Group will brief the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at the US Congress on efforts to incorporate gender principles into post-conflict truth, justice, and reparations in Britain and Ireland.
The delegation will be addressing the Congressional members and will be meeting with key policy advisors in Washington to discuss the need to find appropriate and responsive mechanisms to deal with the past. The briefing tour is very timely as negotiations on the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement mechanisms to deal with the past are likely to begin again in earnest following the May Assembly elections, a matter of weeks away.
The briefings will feature prominent NGO representatives and academics who will provide an analysis of the existing mechanisms and proposals for dealing with the past currently under negotiation. Specifically, the delegation will discuss gendered gaps in victims’ access to truth, justice, and reparations. They will explore how the application of a gendered lens and gender principles for dealing with the legacy of the past can contribute to the effectiveness, quality and scope of what future legislation and processes could deliver.
The Briefing will take place at 10am on Friday 15th April at 2255 Rayburn House Office Building.
Speakers and Bios:
Dr Catherine O’Rourke is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law and Gender Research Coordinator at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University, Northern Ireland. She has an ongoing role in gender and conflict research and policy-making for the United Nations, the British and Irish governments, and for a number of non-governmental organisations.
Andrée Murphy LLM is Deputy Director of Irish NGO Relatives for Justice, which supports persons and families bereaved and injured by conflict. Andrée is involved in legacy advocacy in RFJ including developing strategic litigation and broader partnership work aimed at establishing a truth recovery process post conflict for families. Andrée has been centrally involved in the development of Relatives for Justice mainstreaming of gender in all of its support and research programmes, resulting in the publication of “Dealing with the Past in Ireland: Where Are the Women” published and launched by Relatives for Justice in February 2015.
Mary McCallan qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales, working in private practice before moving to the voluntary sector. Mary was responsible for WAVE Trauma Centres Advocacy and Casework Service, supporting families practically and emotionally to seek information about their bereavement or injury. She has undertaken an LLM in Human Rights & Transitional Justice and is as a Legal Member of the Appeals Tribunals.
Leah Wing is Senior Lecturer, Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a member of Healing Through Remembering (Belfast). Leah has been a consultant to the UN and over 100 governmental, NGO, and educational institutions on the integration of equality into conflict resolution and reconciliation processes. She is co-director of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.
The Gender Principles for Dealing with the Legacy of the Past have been developed by the Legacy Gender Integration Group, an informal network of individuals with gender expertise from civil society and academia came together in April 2015 to work for the integration of gender into SHA legislation and implementation. These women are Claire Hackett (Falls Community Council), Yasmine Ahmed (Rights Watch UK), Emma Patterson-Bennet and Gemma McKeown (Committee on the Administration of Justice), Mary McCallan (WAVE Trauma Centre), Andreé Murphy (Relatives for Justice), Catherine O’Rourke (Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University), Patricia Lundy (Ulster University, IRiSS,) and Leah Wing (University of Massachusetts-Amherst).
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission works to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments, in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress. Further information on the Commission and its membership can be found at: https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/