Justice for Magdalenes Research with Adoption Rights Alliance and Hogan Lovells
Justice for Magdalenes Research partnered with Adoption Rights Alliance and Hogan Lovells to launch the “Clann Project,” an evidence-gathering and advocacy partnership between these two voluntary Irish survivor advocacy groups. The project gathered witness evidence and advocated for legal, policy, and practical measures to benefit individuals, families, and communities affected by the forced separation of unmarried families in Ireland throughout the 20th century. “Clann” means “family” in Irish. Since 2015, the Clann Project has had three aims: to empower people affected by forced family separations to engage with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes established in 2015; to contribute to the national historical record and influence the cultural response to ‘historic’ church-related abuses by creating a public archive of evidence; and to help achieve reparation for the human rights abuses suffered. The Clann Project has worked with 164 witnesses living in Ireland, the U.K., the U.S. and elsewhere, the majority of whom had never made any official complaint to a public body about their treatment, and none of whom were offered legal or advocacy support by the national Commission. In April 2018, the Clann Project submitted a 149-page Group Report to the national Commission, summarizing the evidence gathered (including archival evidence); providing human rights and constitutional legal analysis of the facts recounted; and recommending legislative, policy, and practical reparation measures. In March 2018, Hogan Lovells lawyers delivered 73 witness statements to the Commission and assistance remains available. The Clann Project is a transformative example of how lawyers can work with victims/survivors of “historic” systematic abuses in Ireland in the public interest and in furtherance of human rights, including the right to truth.
Four tremendous projects were shortlisted for this award.