The PFC is a non-party political, anti-sectarian human rights group advocating a non-violent resolution of the conflict on the island of Ireland.
PFC believe that all participants to the conflict have violated human rights. The PFC asserts that the failure by the State to uphold Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
“all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”,
is the single most important explanation for the initiation and perpetuation of violent conflict. It is therefore implicit to conflict resolution that Article 7 be implemented in full. The PFC campaigns towards that goal.
Below is an outline of some of our activities
- Justice for the Forgotten — JFF, a project of the PFC, provides support and advocacy to victims and survivors in the Republic including those bereaved and injured in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
- Networking with human rights NGOs and parliamentarians in Ireland and abroad.
- Long-term involvement on a wide range of issues surrounding policing and the criminal justice system.
- Facilitating dialogue between the two communities in the North through private contacts, workshops and public meetings on potential truth processes etc.
- Individual casework with families who have lost loved ones and creating support structures for families. See Recovery of Living Memory Archive elsewhere on website.
Inherent to the work of the PFC is our core belief that;
- the conflict has produced a legacy that will prove destablising and destructive to any efforts at peace building and reconciliation unless that legacy is faced openly and honestly;
- the criminal justice system is wholly inappropriate to the task of truth recovery, restorative justice and reconciliation in respect of the legacy of the conflict.
As part of our strategy to address point 1 a central focus of our work has been (and will continue to be) to research and document individual cases of conflict related loss of life following a specific request from a relative. Underpinning this is a human rights based approach which dictates that relatives have a ‘right to truth’ in respect of each individual loss. We have developed a certain level of expertise in terms of our advocacy and research and this has been recognised both at a statutory and parliamentary level.*
The first challenge for the PFC has been to ‘piece together the missing pieces of the jigsaw’ in terms of those incidents where our help is sought. The second and more difficult challenge (point 2) has been to find innovative alternatives for families seeking redress as a result of having lost relatives. The inability of the criminal justice system to provide for ‘justice’ in terms of cases which may go back a generation is self evident. The majority of family with whom we work have little or no confidence in the prosecution service or the courts.
There is an argument that the past has the potential to destabilise the present and hinder reconciliation between these islands. If denied or left unacknowledged the past has the potential to destabilise. Equally the blunt instrument of the criminal justice system is both inappropriate and compromised. The PFC is committed to supporting the ‘right to truth’ of each bereaved family through innovative and creative processes designed to meet the needs of victims and survivors.
*The research carried out by the PFC has been commended by a Sub-Committee of Dail Eireann. In the context of policing the PFC proposed and participated in a ground breaking initiative in respect of a cross border advisory group as part of a murder investigation.