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Survivors of Murder Victims Opposed to the Death Penalty to Launch New Group on International Human Rights Day
12/9/2004 8:50 AM


Renny Cushing
MVFHR executive director
2161 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
[email protected]

Dec. 8, 2004 – Survivors of murder victims who oppose the death penalty will observe the launching of a new organization at 11 a.m. Friday at the United Nations in New York City.

The new organization, Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, will be unveiled as part of International Human Rights Day, celebrated Dec. 10 of every year. On hand to welcome the new organization will be leaders of the abolition movement, both in the United States and abroad.

Renny Cushing, executive director of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights and himself a murder victim survivor, said the decision to launch the new organization was made at the Second World Congress Against the Death Penalty, which was held this past October in Montreal. At that conference, a recommendation was made to launch an international network of family members who oppose the death penalty.

“Our organization is both pro-victim and anti-death penalty,” said Cushing, a former New Hampshire state legislator whose father was murdered. “When I was a lawmaker, I was an advocate for laws that benefited victims. And I also sponsored legislation to abolish the death penalty. I believe in victims’ rights and I believe in human rights. Both go hand in hand.”

The new group will include relatives of murder victims as well as relatives of those who have been executed. Among the speakers at Friday’s event will be Bud Welch, whose daughter Julie died in the Oklahoma City bombing; Robert Meeropol, whose parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed during the McCarthy era for allegedly spying; and Bill Pelke, chairman of the board of directors of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, who lost his grandmother to murder.

At the ceremony, national abolition leaders will discuss the important role MVFHR will play in the abolition movement as well as the importance of bringing a national and international human-rights focus to the death penalty debate in the United States.

NOTE TO REPORTERS: The founding ceremony will take place on the top floor of the Church Center for the United Nations at 777 UN Plaza. To get there, enter the building on the 44th Street side of the UN Church Center Building, sign in with the security guard and take the elevator to the 12th floor.