Rights Watch (UK)

Legacy of the conflict

BIRW’s project seeks to support groups, families and individuals in dealing with the legacy of the conflict by helping them to establish the truth about what happened to themselves or their loved ones and, to the extent possible, to obtain justice for human rights abuses. We will use the lessons learned from those victims’ experiences and from their interaction with institutions such as the Historical Enquiries Team and the public inquiries to feed into our wider monitoring programme of the transformation of institutions in the post-conflict period, and support our contribution to national policy making.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1048335)




  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



PROJECT AIMS BIRW aims to make state institutions, particularly those in the criminal justice system, operate for the benefit of all in Northern Ireland, by strengthening the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland. We aim to make access to justice and truth a realistic option for all those affected by the conflict in Northern Ireland, by encouraging victims to utilise new and existing structures for truth-recovery and ensuring that their treatment is human rights compliant. We will liaise with other human rights and victims’ groups to maximise the impact of our work and to achieve best practice throughout the human rights sector. We will lend our expertise to other NGOs by sharing information, acting as a point of reference, and holding seminars on key issues. This project will directly contribute to supporting the community and voluntary sector, particularly in developing an awareness of human rights and their interaction with the state. Finally, we hope to increase awareness will increase of the human rights lessons to be learnt from the conflict and peace process, especially among policy makers and that those responsible for upholding and implementing human rights will be held to account. Our target group is anyone whose human rights have been affected by the conflict and those working with such people. PROJECT NEED BIRW has monitored the conflict and peace process for nearly 20 years; our experiences show that although the chance of a re-emergence of violence is slim, protection, promotion and engagement with human rights, still has a substantive way to go. The legacy of human rights abuses in Northern Ireland is not necessarily confined to the immediate family of the victim. The failure of the criminal justice system to produce justice and closure, combined with the effects of collusion and impunity, has meant that whole communities have lost faith in the police, the courts, the civil service, the intelligence services, the security forces, and even governments. By encouraging institutions to incorporate human rights compliance into their work, and monitoring the degree to which they achieve such compliance, BIRW will contribute to the strengthening of those institutions and enhance their ability to restore public confidence across Northern Ireland’s communities. By working with other NGOs, to strengthen Northern Ireland’s civil society, we can ensure that local people can contribute to the national policy debate on issues such as access to justice, respect for human rights by the police and the rule of law. MONITORING AND EVALUATION We currently evaluate our work by feed-back from our partners, our clients and our funders; by regularly reviewing our successes and failures to see how we can improve; and by assessing our impact on the work of those institutions that we aim to influence. In this context, we can directly see results in the numbers of people using BIRW’s services to access justice, the success of that access; the increased capacity of NGOs and victim’s groups can be measured in the exchange of information such as the number of meetings or seminars, and the number of subsequent submissions or consultations by such groups. BUDGET Total annual cost £25,071 £26,325 £27,641 Total cost over 3 years £79,037