[Sinn Fein]

11th April 2002

Sinn Fein Response to Victims' Strategy

Sinn Fein Equality Spokesperson, Newry Armagh MLA Conor Murphy responding to the Victims' Strategy launched by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister has said that it is vital that we do not reinforce a `hierarchy of victims'.

Mr Murphy said:

``We very much welcome the fact that we finally have a Victims' Strategy coming from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.

``However, it is fundamentally important they we do not reinforce the `hierarchy of victims' that has existed in the past here. Grief is grief and everyone who has suffered as a result of the conflict needs to be fully supported. This most definitely means that republican victims and victims of state violence must be recognised on an equal basis to, for example, the RUC injured and bereaved.

``If we are to build a truly inclusive response to all victims and survivors of the conflict then there is an onus on statutory agencies to work with all victims groups and all departments need to bound by a Code of Conduct that will give the concept of `inclusive value' meaning when they are dealing with victims of the conflict.

``Meeting the needs of victims and survivors of the conflict can not look to disproportionately apportion blame. We need community-based research to identify the true impact of the conflict.

``At present the issue of criminal justice and compensation currently lies with the NIO, Sinn Fein believe that bringing this forward will enable a even handed approach to compensation to be developed.''

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