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    peter mcverry 1Pope Francis, in everything he says and does, takes the side of the poor and marginalised over and against the wealthy and powerful. He challenges the global structures which deny many their basic human rights and maintain people in their poverty and suffering, while enriching the few, says Peter McVerry SJ. 

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  • Will Francis Comment on Neoliberalism?

    pope moneyPope Francis’ visit to Ireland is a cause of excitement to many and dismay to others. Beneath the flurry of events associated with the World Meeting of Families and the simmering controversy around protests, his visit is an opportunity to reflect on one of the major emphases of his papacy, says Kevin Hargaden.

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  • Prisoner Amnesty for Papal Visit

    pope prisonersEoin Carroll's article in the Irish Times looks back to the arrival of John Paul II in 1979, when 76 prisoners were granted early release, and questions why there is no mention of an amnesty to coincide with the visit of Pope Francis.

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  • Safe Spaces For Young People in Prison

    youth day 2018The theme of International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth, something that resonates strongly with the work in prison and penal reform that the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is involved in. The centre has long been an advocate for changes in the prison system for young adults, whom we view as a discrete demographic group, worthy of particular consideration.

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About the Centre

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice works to combat injustice and marginalisation in Irish society, through social analysis, education and advocacy.

The Centre highlights complex social issues, informs opinion and advocates for governmental policy change to create a fair and equitable society for all.

Analysis on our Key Issues

People in prison are amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society. The majority have left school early, experience literacy and learning difficulties and have a history of unemployment... Click here to view all of our material on Penal Policy

Environmental protection has emerged as a key element of social justice debates in recent decades... Click here to view all of our material on Environmental Justice

The right to a safe and secure place to live is one of the most basic human rights, it is fundamental to enable people to live a dignified life... Click here to view all of our material on Housing Policy

In our political discourse, every question of human flourishing seems to be reduced to bottom-line thinking. This focus on riches impoverishes our shared discourse and has serious negative consequences for society Click here to view material on Economic Justice

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice focuses on a number of other issues... Explore all here

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Exploring Social Justice

Why Care - Social Justice Awareness for Younger People

Gerry O'Hanlon SJ & Peter McVerry SJ: Signing up to new rights agreement

Madam, – This Thursday, representatives of states from around the world will gather to sign a new international agreement aimed at strengthening the protection of economic, social and cultural rights for individuals. The new Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights creates a mechanism through which individuals, whose rights in areas such as employment, health, housing and education have been violated, and who have not been able to achieve justice in their own countries, can apply to the UN for assistance in finding a resolution.

At a time when the protection of economic and social rights has never been more important, it is extremely disappointing that the Irish Government does not intend to sign the new Protocol.

We urge the Irish Government to adopt an approach that is consistent with its stated strong commitment to global respect for human rights, and its decision that Ireland seeks election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2012. We are concerned that Ireland’s failure to sign the Optional Protocol this month will send a regrettable signal to other states, including those in the global south, that it is acceptable to deny access to remedies to victims of human rights violations.



The Optional Protocol is not about obtaining compensation, nor is it about trying to use the UN to embarrass national governments; rather it seeks to enable the UN to work with individuals and governments to find solutions.

By signing the Protocol the Irish Government can demonstrate its commitment to protecting economic and social rights in Ireland and elsewhere.

We, the undersigned, call on the Taoiseach to show leadership on this issue; we urge the Government to sign and ratify the protocol this week, thus making a public commitment to increase access to justice for those whose essential rights have been violated and whose human dignity has been ignored. – Yours, etc,

OLGA MCDONOGH, ActionAid Ireland;

SALOME MBUGUA, AkiDwa;

COLM O’GORMAN, Amnesty International Ireland;

MAEVE TAYLOR, Banúlacht;

JILLIAN VAN TURNHOUT, Children’s Rights Alliance;

JOHN MOFFETT, Christian Aid;

DEIRDRE MURRAY, Comhlámh;

HANS ZOMER, Dochas;

ANNA VISSER, European Anti-Poverty Network;

NOELINE BLACKWELL, Free Legal Advice Centres;

DEIRDRE CARROLL, Inclusion Ireland;

MARK KELLY, Irish Council for Civil Liberties;

NIALL BEHAN, Irish Family Planning Association;

LIAM HERRICK, Irish Penal Reform Trust;

DAMIEN PEELO, Irish Traveller Movement;

JOHN STEWART, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed;

Fr GERRY O’HANLON, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice;

FRANCES BYRNE, One Parent Exchange Network;

MARY CUNNINGHAM, National Youth Council of Ireland;

Fr PETER McVERRY, Peter McVerry Trust;

DAVID DALTON, Plan Ireland;

DON RYAN, Teachers Union of Ireland;

DEIRDRE GARVEY, The Wheel;

JUSTIN KILCULLEN, Trócaire;

HELEN KEOGH, World Vision International,

C/o Amnesty International

Ireland,

Westmoreland Street,

Dublin 2.

© Irish Times, September 22 2009

Click here to view article

Posted in Criminality, Prisons and Justice News

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