Gee swizz: G8 for Co Fermanagh
David Cameron has announced that the G8 conference will take place in Co Fermanagh in June 2013 (17th and 18th June). It being the UK’s turn to host and organise the event, Cameron has chosen a place within the UK borders which is most difficult for most people to get to who might have critical views on the event and the stands taken by the countries concerned. Plans are already under way locally by green and peace activists to mark the occasion; watch this space or get in touch if you want to be included in planning and action, the working idea being to present positive alternatives to the official government approaches.
Afghan visit by Peace People: 2 Million Friends campaign
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, and Ann Patterson of the Peace People are visiting Kabul on International Day of Human Rights, 10th December, at the invitation of the Afghan Peace Volunteers to join them in their ‘2 Million Friends’ and ‘Ceasefire’ campaign and they will join with the Voices for Creative Nonviolence delegation from the USA. The Afghan Peace Volunteers are a grassroots group of Afghans who seek a life of nonviolence, equality, self reliance and unity across ethnic and national lines; they have no religious or governmental affiliation. They are asking two million friends around the world to remember that in the last 40 years over two million Afghan people have died from violence. Afghan Peace Volunteers believe that a non-military nonviolent solution is the way forward and say “A ceasefire in Afghanistan is an urgent necessity of conscience in the face of an ongoing preventable humanitarian emergency.” On 10th December they will visit the UN in Kabul to urge the Secretary General to broker a multilateral ceasefire between all parties currently warring in Afghanistan.
Austerity hitting human rights, says Amnesty International
Amnesty International Ireland organised an international conference on economics and human rights in Dublin in November. This heard that austerity measures are undermining human rights for people living in Ireland, and millions more around the world. It examined how other countries, including fellow EU members, have successfully used constitutional human rights protections to direct funding to particular services and to evaluate austerity measures proposed by governments. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “The Government is determined to fulfil its obligations to the bondholders and institutions like the ECB and the IMF. But Ireland promised the UN Human Rights Council last year it would protect human rights here during the economic crisis. So what about its obligations to the Irish people, to protecting our rights to housing, health and education?”
The conference heard that polling in Ireland shows support for rights like access to healthcare and adequate housing has remained high throughout the recession, and enjoy overwhelming support for their constitutional incorporation. Despite this, and support from the opposition parties, the Government has refused to give the Constitutional Convention a mandate to examine these issues. See http://www.amnesty.ie
Amnesty International has called separately for the Constitutional Convention to examine how fundamental human rights such as health, housing or income, could be better protected in Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Constitution of Ireland). “Members of the Constitutional Convention, both political delegates and those members of the public selected to represent the people of Ireland, have an opportunity to ensure that the convention looks at what really matters to people, by adding these rights to their agenda.” said Colm O’Gorman of AI.
Military spending and development
There are many elephants in many rooms which the peace movement deal with but one with tragic consequences on a daily basis is the way that military spending in the poor world – to the profit of the rich – wreaks havoc with economic development and human security. “Opportunity costs: Military spending and the UN’s Development Agenda” is a new 52 page publication (A4) from the International Peace Bureau (IPB). This states the facts on military spending, considers relevant global development goals, looks at the financing of sustainable development, considers a variety of questions and objections, and looks at the way forward. It is available on the IPB website IPB is based in Geneva and the e-mail address is email@example.com
A report on the recent IPB Council meeting which was held in Dublin is included in the e-mail and web editions of this issue of Nonviolent News.
CAJ news including ‘The Policing You Don’t See’
CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Northern Ireland continues its important work and recently published its annual report for 2011/2012 – as outgoing chairperson Les Allamby notes “The breadth of engagement within the report is striking.” Kieron McEvoy is the new chairperson.
“The Policing You Don’t See” is a major new report from CAJ: Five years on from the formal 2007 transfer of primacy for ‘national security’ to the Security Service (MI5) following the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement, a CAJ research report examines the impact of the transfer to MI5 on accountability in what has been the most sensitive area of policing, covert policing and the running of informants. CAJ director Brian Gormally states “There is overwhelming evidence from official inquiries that there were many abuses in covert policing in the past. These did immense damage to the rule of law and arguably prolonged the conflict...... Unfortunately, the secret Security Service – implicated in past abuses – has not been .. reformed and has been put in charge of a highly important area of mainstream policing.” The report is available online.
CAJ continues its work across the fields of protection of rights, policing and justice, equality, legal issues and casework, and full details can be found on the website where there is an option to subscribe to free updates as well as copies of recent submissions made by CAJ.
WRI: Departure and arrival
Andreas Speck is leaving the War Resisters International (WRI) office in London after 11 years – it is amazing to think that he was in post when the WRI Triennial took place in Dublin in 2002. Howard Clark has written: “.....Andreas has been the epitome of a practical visionary. As the main architect of WRI's Right to Refuse to Kill programme, he has worked for the rights of objectors yet keeping firmly in mind that the point of war resistance is to prevent war and build a better future.” Howard Clark then went on to talk about the many creative pieces of work which Andreas has initiated. The new Right to Refuse to Kill programme worker in the WRI office is Hannah Brock who joins Javier Garate. See http://www.wri-irg.org/ WRI, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX, phone +44-20-7278 4040 & +44-20-3355 2364, skype: warresisters E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointment at NUI Galway and Irish Centre for Human Rights
UN human rights expert, Professor Michael O'Flaherty has been appointed as Professor of Human Rights Law at the National University of Ireland Galway. He will also serve as Director of the University's Irish Centre for Human Rights. Professor O'Flaherty will combine the new roles with his current commitment as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. During the period that Professor O'Flaherty remains at the Northern Ireland Commission (where he has been Chief Commissioner since October 2011) the Irish Centre for Human Rights will be co-directed by Professor Ray Murphy. He is currently a Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and has held a number of important human rights positions with the UN. He is a native of Galway. http://www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights/
Irish Environment website
Irish Environment is a very useful source of information on environmental issues on the island of Ireland, both the Republic and Northern Ireland, as well as issues concerning the EU and wider matters. It is at http://www.irishenvironment.com/ and this site is updated several times a week. Current information includes commentary on issues to help prevent flooding in Dublin Bay by Patrick McCabe, and a look at European Commission studies on fracking.
Chernobyl Children International
Far from Chernobyl being 26 years old this year, the accident continues to affect millions of people in the surrounding regions. In these 26 years Chernobyl Children International (CCI) has worked to bring about changes in the lives of Chernobyl’s children, but the need is still great. The charity’s Gift Campaign has a variety of gifts to choose from, all of all of which will help more children and families receive medical and nursing care, life-saving child cardiac surgeries, community and hospice care and de-institutionalisation programmes for children and young adults throughout the Chernobyl regions. Included in the available gifts is the Christmas Song, ‘Happy Christmas, Christmas Tree’ written by Kathleen Comerford and Liz Madden, available as an itune, where all 100% of the proceeds are donated to CCI. Chernobyl Children International has raised over €92m in aid and assisted one million plus children and adults since the catastrophe through a range of actions, including funding thousands of medical interventions, bringing 22,500 children from affected areas to Ireland for rest, recuperation and treatment. See http://www.chernobyl-international.com/
Feasta are making a seasonal appeal for their work to be supported, and there is the opportunity to give Feasta membership as a gift, make a donation, or purchase some of their books as presents. For 14 years has been providing research on community-based economies, addressing the climate crisis, currency innovation, global risks, multi-level resilience, food security, fairer taxation, fairer trade, and the transition to renewable energy. Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, http://www.feasta.org/ (where you can sign up for e-mail updates). Feasta, Main Street, Cloughjordan, Co.Tipperary.
Rossport round up
The latest Rossport Solidarity Camp bulletin gives a summary of current developments by Shell: In the Aughoose compound, Shell are setting up to begin the construction of a 5km tunnel to house part of their planned onshore section of pipeline, in Glengad Shell have moved back to work and have opened out onto some of the fields and laying bogmats across them, and between Aughoose and the refinery Shell have practically the whole working corridor fenced off (bar where they need to cross the L1202, and the right of way to the shore next to the Aghoose compound. They report Shell saying tunnelling will begin this year. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102733
There is a gathering at the camp on 8th and 9th December. There was a recent performance locally of the acclaimed Ailliliú Fionnuala by Donal O’Kelly. Mrs Margaret Sekaggya, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, recently met with a delegation of ten people to discuss the issues they face with regard to the Corrib Gas Project. In Court in Belmullet in November, one person pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing a Shell lorry and was fined €150, and seven other charges were held over. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102726