We are pleased to share this letter from the Legacy Gender Integration Group.
The Legacy Gender Integration Group has been working since April 2015 towards the development, and implementation, of the Gender Principles for Dealing with the Legacy of the Past. At this critical juncture in negotiations for the legislation and implementation of legacy elements of the Stormont House Agreement, we have distilled key demands for any formal process to deal with the past. We are asking that political parties, government actors, non-governmental organisations, and individuals, include these key demands in advocacy, lobbying and awareness-raising activities concerning dealing with the past, human rights and equality.
In order to ensure that gender is integrated holistically throughout all the institutions including but not limited to design, policies, processes, practices and decision making matrices, remits, leadership, staffing, numbers and criteria for recruitment and expertise in each work team, staff training, assessments, workflow, analysis of all cases and themes, lens for allocating budgets, monitoring and evaluation, we are calling for the following:
- Explicit commitment to gender sensitivity in the enabling legislation;
- Gender Integration Oversight Group, with legislative footing and the necessary powers and resources, to be established to oversee all of the work of the legacy institutions;
- Provision for victims and survivors to make a single transferrable statement for use throughout all the mechanisms, which can be added to or amended as necessary;
- Gendered harms resulting from conflict deaths – such as the loss of income, personal and family security, physical and emotional harm, and the ongoing denial of accountability – to be documented throughout the legacy process, both in individual statement-taking activities and in macro thematic activities;
- Recruitment and staffing criteria that ensure that the institutions are staffed by multidisciplinary teams and are not exclusively police-staffed and police-led, and that lead to a degree of gender balance in staffing throughout all levels of the legacy institutions.
- Processes that ultimately favour disclosure as a means of providing healing to victims;
- Resources to NGOs with local expertise, where trusted relationships already exist with victims. Services located within the community, rather than exclusively within the NHS or statutory sector, to mitigate against potential exclusion. Long term, structured support to be available to those who wish to engage, and to be available prior to, during and after engagement.
The Group is keen to work with other individuals and organisations to integrate the Gender Principles into relevant work and advocacy. We are grateful for the support to date and look forward to working further with allies towards shared objectives.
Legacy Gender Integration Group
Yasmine Ahmed (Rights Watch UK)
Sara Duddy (Pat Finuncane Centre)
Claire Hackett (Falls Community Council)
Mary McCallan (Solicitor)
Gemma McKeown (Committee on the Administration of Justice
Andrée Murphy (Relatives for Justice)
Catherine O’Rourke (Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute)
Emma Patterson-Bennet (Committee on the Administration of Justice)
Leah Wing (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Healing Through Remembering)