Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Victims’ relatives group delivers its message to UN and Richard Haass

Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan

A group campaigning for truth and justice will today bring its message to the offices of the UN and Richard Haass in New York.

To coincide with the UN International Day for the Right to Truth, Relatives for Justice (RFJ) has produced a short DVD featuring the words of almost 30 relatives who had loved ones killed during the Troubles.

It will also be shown at an event in Belfast’s Linenhall Library tonight.

“This is about empowering families to say directly and publicly that they want the past dealt with and they want the truth about the killings of their loved ones,” Mark Thompson, director of RFJ, said. “When we talk about truth we want that truth to be universal and for everyone affected by the conflict and whilst our campaign draws on our members' experiences the campaign for truth is an inalienable right for all.”

US Diplomat Dr Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan spent weeks here in talks with the five Executive parties trying to agree a formula for addressing the past as well as the contentious issues of flags and parades.

And the US team told a Congressional Committee recently that it was giving serious consideration to producing another report setting out their own assessments and recommendations — after May’s elections.

The difference between it and the document produced at the end of last year is that this time it will not require a five-party consensus.

This would be a similar approach to the Patten report on policing reform, with the Haass and O'Sullivan team making their proposals in a document that would come with considerable international clout.

“The past is ever present and permeates our political and civic life every day,” Mark Thompson said.

“The appointment by the Executive of Dr Haass and Professor O'Sullivan was recognition of this reality and an attempt to facilitate a constructive way forward.

“We believe that the proposals regarding the past can be implemented for the greater good of all those bereaved and injured.

“All victims and survivors deserve nothing less.

“It's time for healing — it's time for truth.”

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