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In memoriam of James Hurley SJ, co-founder of AIHK

24 Apr

In memoriam of James Hurley SJ, co-founder of AIHK

By Rev. Hans Lutz, founding member of Amnesty International Hong Kong

On 13th April 2020 James Hurley passed away in Ireland at the age of 93. James was born in Ireland and entered the formation for the Jesuit Order at the age of 18. He came to Hong Kong in 1952 and started his ministry in 1960. He served as chaplain to Catholic students organizations. He was sensitive to their aspirations. As a result of his involvement he was considered a “radical” among his fellow priests.

Like myself James joined AI as an international member. We received the newsletter which invited us to write on behalf of prisoners of conscience and we paid our membership fees. In the early 70s a visitor from England suggested that we should find out how many AI international members were in Hong Kong. The International Secretariat informed us that there were five or six. James Hurley and I decided to form a group and to obtain the recognition of the IS. In the following years James continued to support the development of AI in Hong Kong. He faithfully showed up at AGMs.

Later James became the priest of the Christ the Worker Church in Ngau Tau Kok. He embarked on a “mobilisation” of the parish. He established a Justice and Peace Group and promoted the work of AI. At one time a member of the parish served a treasurer of AIHK.

Members of his family were involved in the struggle of the Irish for the independence from Great Britain. This must have prompted his engagement for justice causes. He himself was deeply concerned with developments in Northern Ireland. For example he visited the mother of Bobby Sands after his death as a result of his hunger strike. James always had a clear standpoint and supported just causes. He left his mark in the lives of many. He was a great man. May he rest in peace.

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