[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 15 May, 2005, 04:45 GMT 05:45 UK
Campaigning sisters up for award
Gemma, Paula and Catherine McCartney
The McCartney sisters took their fight to Strasbourg this month
The sisters of Robert McCartney - the Belfast man fatally stabbed outside a Belfast pub - have been nominated for an international humanitarian award.

His family have maintained IRA members were involved in carrying out and covering up the killing, on 30 January.

Their relentless campaign has attracted a nomination for the annual Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

The five will hear if they have beaten other contenders during an event at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire on Friday.

The women's brother - a 33-year-old father-of-two - was beaten and stabbed near Belfast city centre after a row in a bar.

He died later in hospital.

Tolerance and friendship

Their quest for justice has taken them to the White House and the European Parliament, where they have won support from politicians and leaders.

Also shortlisted for the humanitarian award are tycoon turned philanthropist Tom Hunter, vocal critic of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe; Archbishop Pius Ncube; and former head of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Romeo Dallaire.

Glasgow minister John Miller has also been nominated for his community work for the poor in the city's Castlemilk area.

Robert McCartney
The killers of Robert McCartney are being protected, his sisters claim

A panel of five judges led by the Scottish Parliament's inaugural Presiding Officer, Lord Steel, will choose the winner.

The award is meant for those who best uphold the principles of tolerance, friendship and humanity, as represented in the poetry of Burns.

The winner will receive 1,759 guineas, a sum representing the year of Burns' birth and the coinage of the time, and a hand-made inscription of his poem A Man's a Man for a' That.

Previous winners include Sir John Sulston, pioneer of the Human Genome Project, and Yitzhak Frankenthal, founder of an Israeli peace group for bereaved families.

British-born lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who has long defended clients on death row in the USA, is also a recipient.

BBC NI's Nicola Weir:
"The five will hear if they have beaten other contenders during an event at Culzean Castle"


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific