Irish plan for UN SCR 1325 launched
The Irish implementation plan for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women and peacekeeping was launched on 25th November. Members of the National Action Plan Consultative Group included a wide variety of women’s and civil society groups. The launch was performed by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and former president Mary Robinson. Contact: Conflict Resolution Unit, Department of Foreign affairs and Trade, 80 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, ph 01 – 408 2000, e-mail email@example.com and www.dfa.ie where the Plan will be online very shortly and it has also been published in paper form. Links to other national plans can be found on the Banúlacht website at www.banulacht.ie
Meanwhile, and despite considerable pressure from women’s and civil society groups, the UK refuses to include Northern Ireland under its plan for implementing 1325 – Margaret Ward, chair of Hanna’s House, has said that ‘the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is ongoing and if UNSCR 1325 had existed at the time of its negotiation it would have provided a mechanism to ensure that women were adequately represented at the peace talks and in formal peace building institutions.'' www.hannashouse.ie
Non Adoption of a protocol on cluster bombs
Pax Christi Ireland has been participating at various meetings of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) since mid 1990s addressing issues related to landmines, blinding laser weapons, explosive remnants of war and cluster munitions but it is for the first time that Pax Christi had to campaign for the non adoption of a protocol (on cluster munitions) in the CCW. The CCW is a convention based on the principles of international humanitarian law, i.e. the protection of the civilian population during armed conflicts on the basis of which it can restrict or prohibit certain types of conventional weapons.
After four years of a series of yearly meetings of the CCW on cluster munitions, the two-week meeting ended with the non adoption of the protocol on cluster munitions on Friday 25th Nov at the UN in Geneva. The effort to muster support for the protocol was led by the US and strongly supported by Russia, China, Israel, India and others. It was strongly opposed by Norway, Austria and Mexico and another 47 countries reflected in their statements made at the meeting to protect the high standard set by the Oslo Treaty of Cluster bombs.
The text of the protocol put forward for the adoption was very weak. It would have legitimised the use of cluster bombs already prohibited by the Oslo Treaty on the basis that they violate international humanitarian law because of their high failure rates and their wide area effects. This would have caused serious regression from the legal perspective, setting a precedence of enacting a weaker law after a much higher standard has already been set. Germany, France, Ireland and a few other countries who are also members of the Oslo treaty worked for the adoption of the protocol as did the US, Russia, China, Israel, India and a few others. The European Parliament resolution, Joint Statement made on behalf of UNDP, UN Human Rights Commissioner and UN Humanitarian Affairs, the ICRC were strongly opposed to the adoption of the tabled weak protocol. The implementation of the Oslo Treaty is of paramount importance for the protection of the civilian population from the unacceptable harm caused by cluster bombs. - Tony D’Costa, General Secretary, Pax Christi Ireland, 52 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6, ph 01 – 496 5293, paxchristi.ie
Ireland played an important role in the adoption of the cluster weapons treaty – see NN 160, 159, 156.
Gaza bound ships hijacked again
The journey of the Irish boat Saoirse, and the Canadian Tahrir – which were at sea en route to Gaza as we produced the last issue – was the latest of eleven flotillas to try to overcome the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel. There were 14 Irish people on board the Saoirse when it was seized by Israeli forces in international waters on 4th November and then taken to Israel against their will. The aim of the action was “to show solidarity with the ordinary people of Gaza who have lost their basic freedoms as a result of a blockade imposed by the military forces of Israel, and to take action that would contribute to the end of that blockade.”
Dr Fintan Lane, national coordinator of the Irish Ship to Gaza organization, who was on board the Saoirse and who also participated in last year’s Freedom Flotilla when nine people were killed by Israeli commandos, said: “It was a violent assault involving up to 20 Israeli naval vessels, including four or five large warships. Our two ships were completely surrounded and corralled tightly together to such an extent that they actually collided, causing severe damage to the stern of the MV Saoirse. More damage was inflicted during the Israeli attack. We were simultaneously fired on with high-pressure water cannons from three gunboats, causing the electrics on our bridge to spark and smashing windows on the portside of our vessel. I was directly hit by one of the water cannon and knocked down a stairwell from the fly-bridge to a deck below.” The 27 participants in all (from the two boats) were held for around a week before being repatriated. But boats will sail again…… See irishshiptogaza.org
Amnesty International: Dublin celebration of 50 years
To mark its 50th anniversary Amnesty International is holding a celebration in St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin 2, at 5pm on Saturday 10th December, International Human Rights Day. St Ann’s Church is symbolic as the first ever place in Ireland where an Amnesty candle was lit. The celebration will bring together supporters of Amnesty International, allowing old friends to come together and share stories. Sinead O’Connor, Eleanor McEvoy and Brian Kennedy and a number of other special guests will provide music on the evening. The event is free of charge and open to all, but places are limited. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International, said “This event is a celebration but also an opportunity to renew our determination to keep fighting for women and men imprisoned simply for what they say or think, to keep working for human rights, until they are all free”. Contact: Justin Moran, Communications Co-ordinator, Amnesty International 01 863 8300, 085 814 8986, www.amnesty.ie
West Bank Settlements and “Silent Transfer” -
West Bank Settlements and “Silent Transfer” - The stories of displacement in Yanoun, Burin, and Al Hadidiya - is the title of a meeting organised by INNATE in Belfast on Monday 16th January 2012 at 7.30pm. At this meeting, Máiréad Collins will present her experience of life in the Occupied Palestine Territories with a focus on the impact of illegal Israeli settlements on three communities there. Holding a PhD in politics, with a focus on transitional justice, moral philosophy and Northern Ireland, from QUB, Máiréad worked as a human rights observer and accompanier for EAPPI, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (see http://www.eappi.org ) from June-September 2011. She has blogged for www.rightsni.org and Amnesty International's Belfast and Beyond blog on her experiences there. Further details from INNATE and the meeting is at Corrymeela House, 8 Upper Crescent (off University Road) in Belfast at 7.30pm on 16th January. All interested welcome.
Chernobyl Children International Gift Campaign
Chernobyl Children International has launched its annual Christmas Gift Campaign with some unique gifts to choose from; far from Chernobyl being 25 years old this year, the accident continues to affect millions of people in the surrounding regions.. Adi Roche, CEO, CCI said ‘from just €30, a gift or a donation no matter how big or small will illuminate the darkness for many children who have no hope this Christmas. Sponsor a Nurse or a Doctor to help save more lives, buy a life-saving gift of surgery for children on critical waiting lists or support our new baby hospice programme’. For more information on how to buy a gift, simply call 0818 25 25 25 (in the Republic) or visit chernobyl-international.com online and donate a gift of your choice. Corporate gifts are also available.
The original Borda count and partial voting
The de Borda Institute has long since advocated the Modified Borda Count (MBC), not least because it allows for partial voting. It is, after all, a win-win decision-making procedure, whereas the more usual majority vote is definitely win-or-lose. But maybe the MBC is what Jean-Charles de Borda had in mind when in 1781 he first advocated his points system of voting. Alas, what has come to be known as the BC does not allow for partial voting, and, as a result, a BC can all too easily degenerate into a plurality vote; that, however, is what le chevalier bitterly opposed! Social Choice and Welfare has just published Peter Emerson’s The original Borda count and partial voting, so hopefully, all will now use the MBC and the world will be much more peaceful. The article is available on-line.
WRI Prisoners for Peace
War Resisters’ International (WRI) marks 1st December as Prisoners for Peace Day, supporting all those around the world who are imprisoned for being conscientious objectors or resisting war and war preparations. It’s not too late to send a message of support and the list can be found at wri-irg.org and the up to date list at wri-irg.org You can also support the work financially to War Resisters' International, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX, Britain, email firstname.lastname@example.org INNATE is an associate member of WRI.
NI: FOE criticises ‘Programme for poor government’
The Programme for Government in Northern Ireland has failed to address many of the issues that Friends of the Earth has been campaigning on – the Green New Deal; a strengthened planning system; legally binding greenhouse gas reduction targets; and an independent environmental protection agency. Commenting on the Programme for Government, Friends of the Earth Director James Orr said: “We looked long and hard at this Programme for Government to see if it would address the big issues facing Northern Ireland and found only disappointment. If this document is setting out the Government’s work programme it looks like the next four years will be wasted years, and Northern Ireland will be left behind in the new global low carbon economy.”
Commenting on the commitment to raise the target for greenhouse gas reductions from 25% to 35% by 2025 he added: “The Executive seems to have plucked figures from the sky – 35% by 2025 is only a small step in the direction we need to take and falls far short of where the science tells us we need to be to avoid very serious climate change. Without committing to a strong climate change act any further reductions in greenhouse gases will not be guaranteed. This contrasts starkly with Scotland, England and Wales - countries that not only have much more ambitious targets but a route map on how to achieve them.” See www.foe.co.uk or contact FOE, 7 Donegall Street Place, Belfast BT1 2FN, ph 028 – 9023 3488, e-mail email@example.com
Nuclear weapons discussed at UN General Assembly
The October meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly saw several days of discussion of the current state of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The New Agenda Coalition, of which Ireland is a member, put forward a draft resolution entitled “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments”. Further information is available from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs: Source: Irish CND http://www.irishcnd.org
Death of Richard Douthwaite
We regret to record the death of Richard Douthwaite, green writer and campaigner extraordinaire. A co-founder of Feasta they had this to say: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the loss of Richard Douthwaite, co-founder of Feasta and much-loved colleague and friend. He died [on]....Monday November 14th, after a long illness. We will miss his unique and far-ranging intellect, the clarity of his thought and writing, his warmth and his laughter. Tributes to him are coming in from around the world and you can read them on the Feasta website We invite anyone who would like to do so to leave comments in the tribute section.” There was also an obituary in the Irish Times of 19/11/11 (link included in Feasta web reference).
IFOR Annual Report
The 2010 Annual report of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation is online at www.ifor.org giving details on the work of members around the world, the Women Peacemakers Program, as well as organisational and other matters. INNATE is an affiliate member of IFOR.
Pax Christi International on biosecurity
Pax Christi International calls all people of good will to do anything in their power to contribute to global peace and justice in general and biosecurity in particular. In relation to biosecurity, the lives of substantial numbers of people may be at risk not only through the spread of diseases and harmful, but through attacks aimed at livestock and food supplies. The international community should take all possible precautions to prevent states, terrorist groups, and individuals from obtaining or using such weapons. The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) is the main instrument of international law to achieve this protection.
Pax Christi International made an intervention at the Seventh Review Conference of the BTWC on 6th December 2011. The statement was presented by Trevor Griffiths, delegate of Pax Christi International at the United Nations in Geneva. The Conference takes place from the 5th to the 22nd December 2011 in Geneva. The statement can be read here.
For a self-determined Afghanistan
John Lannon of Shannonwatch attended a one day International Alternative Conference entitled "For a self-determined Afghanistan" in Bonn on December 4th which coincided with a war summit that has also been taking place in Bonn. Here are a few points from his report – the original article is here.
"There are few countries in the world that require as much solidarity as Afghanistan". These were the words of Matin Baraki, a political scientist born in Afghanistan, speaking in Bonn at the weekend. "The people of Afghanistan have been traumatised" he said. "But we have not given up hope".
Afghan participants at the Alternative Conference were clear about what Afghanistan needs. Their country is crippled by poverty, conflict and lack of education. and one of the primary causes of these ongoing problems is the US/NATO occupation. This occupation is what Afghan politicians like Malalai Joya see as one of three enemies faced by the country, the other two being warlords and fundamentalism. It is intended to continue well beyond the much-touted withdrawal date of 2014, and in so doing it will create even greater problems for the people of Afghanistan.
Participants at the Alternative Conference also emphasised the fact that the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is all about strategic interests. In their plundering and destruction of the country, fundamentalists and warlords have now become important allies. Lawlessness and failure to respect human rights - especially the human rights of women - are excuses given for the ongoing occupation. All the while the US ignores the voices of the Afghan people, especially the liberal forces that seek real change.
The Alternative Conference was attended by peace activists from around the world... It was also shameful to have to tell them that Ireland, a supposedly neutral country, is actively participating in the US/NATO occupation by allowing Shannon Airport to be used for troop movements. Ireland has also got 7 troops serving with NATO in Afghanistan. It is therefore part of the war strategy that has fragmented and polarised societies around the world in order to control and dominate.
Over the coming days the future of Afghanistan is being decided in a small city 3,200 miles away from its capital Kabul. It must seem strange to the people of Afghanistan - to those who know about the conference, that is - that their futures are being determined so far away. But it is no accident that they have no say; respecting the human rights of Afghan men, women and children is not what the Bonn war conference is about. Indeed as the US/NATO discourse moves from "counter insurgency" to "counter terrorism", the conference is being used to re-establish old strategies of cooperation with the Taliban and other recent enemies. And the only certainty is that this strategy will bring more violence and suffering to the people of Afghanistan.” See http://www.shannonwatch.org e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 087 8225087
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