The ‘Upstanding - Stories of courage from Northern Ireland’ series has now produced the booklet to complement the DVD produced earlier (see NN 210). 44 pages A5. The booklet features sixteen diverse accounts from people - women, men, young, old - who have stood up to violence, discrimination or prejudice in Northern Ireland. It provides a window into often untold stories of courage that individuals have shown in the context of a divided and often violent society.
While designed for use in schools across Northern Ireland and beyond to explore what it means to show courage and stand up to violence in difficult circumstances, the booklet and DVD are suitable for use in youth and adult groups as well. A guide to support classroom use will be ready by December and there will be training sessions with educators on how to use the resource in educational settings. For more information contact Sean Pettis via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Produced as part of ‘Facing our History, Shaping the Future’, a Corrymeela Community project in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves. For more information visit www.storiesorcourage.net (where the booklet will be available in due course, including the paper copy by paying for postage and packing) and www.corrymeela.org
Corrymeela’s annual Christmas Open Day takes place at the Corrymeela Centre, Ballycastle on Sunday 15th December from 2.30 – 5 pm, all welcome, with lots of different activities. Meanwhile Corrymeela Christmas cards and calendars are available, in different styles, see the website at www.corrymeela.org or contact the Belfast office, ph 028 9050 8080.
Strong Statement by Ireland at UN High Level Meeting
Irish CND has welcomed the Irish statement at the first ever United Nations High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, held on 26th September in New York. Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore addressed the renewed focus on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapons detonation, speaking of "the humanitarian imperative for nuclear disarmament." The Irish CND response is available at irishcnd.org while the Minister's statement is at www.dfa.ie
Armed US plane at Shannon airport
Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore stated in the Dáil on 15th October that a US military aircraft “armed with a fixed weapon” landed at Shannon but claimed that “It would appear that this was an isolated incident which took place as a result of an administrative error and I have noted the steps taken by the US authorities to ensure that there is no recurrence.” (only ‘unarmed’ personnel are meant to pass through).
Both PANA (Peace And Neutrality Alliance) and Shannonwatch have ridiculed this claim, as PANA points out “The vast majority of US soldiers, including military air crews and US military aircraft, travelling through Shannon are either engaged in military exercises or on their way to or from military operations. These personnel virtually never travel abroad on such missions without carrying with them their personal hand-held weapons such as assault rifles and pistols and associated ammunition”.
Shannonwatch point out that “The aircraft in question was a US Air Force Hercules AC-130W, registration 87-9288. It arrived in Shannon on September 5th and departed the following day... When it comes to international movement of military and CIA operatives and aircraft, US assurances are worthless.....For years Shannonwatch have been asking for proper inspections of US military planes at Shannon They now reiterate their demands for regular and routine inspections until such time as the US military use of the airport is finally ended.” For more details see www.shannonwatch.org and www.pana.ie
Amnesty International: “Time to deal with the past”
Amnesty International has launched a major research paper on “Northern Ireland: Time to deal with the past” which analyses the existing mechanisms for investigating human rights violations and calls for a new overarching mechanism to investigate the past. Briefing events are being held during November at Stormont and Westminster. The full report (80 pages) is available at www.amnesty.org Amnesty International NI, 377 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 3GP, e-mail email@example.com and phone 028 90643000.
Amnesty has also welcomed the publication of “Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland” by Anne Cadwallader, a book which sets out in extensive detail new allegations of widespread collusion at many levels between the RUC, the UDR and UK government officials and loyalist paramilitaries in the 1970s. Many of the cases covered in detail in the book, involving shootings and bombings by UVF paramilitaries — in and around Armagh, Portadown, Dungannon and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in the Republic of Ireland — now known as the ‘Glenanne Series’, also feature in Amnesty International’s report “Northern Ireland: Time to deal with past.”
CAJ submission to Haass all-party talks; deaths, sectarianism
The Committee on the Administration of Justice’s submission to the Haass all-party talks includes detailed analysis of the current situation in relation to dealing with the past and investigating Trouble-related deaths. See www.caj.org.uk (dealing with the past) and www.caj.org.uk (equality and other issues). Its recommendations include: A new mechanism should be established to investigate unresolved cases of Troubles-related deaths; the organisation should be established by statute as a fully independent entity with a ring-fenced budget and take over the current responsibilities of the Police Ombudsman, HET and the PSNI in respect of investigating Troubles-related deaths; the organisation should have a security-cleared unit with access to all intelligence material held by the PSNI and other agencies; the personnel of the organisation should not include any current or former Northern Ireland police officers, nor anyone involved in the past with any armed group involved in the Northern Ireland conflict etc.
In a useful contribution to the meaning of sectarianism, CAJ proposes adapting the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) definition of racism to apply to sectarianism to read, for example, “‘Sectarianism’ shall mean the belief that a ground such as religion, political opinion, language, nationality or national or ethnic origin justifies contempt for a person or a group of persons, or the notion of superiority of a person or a group of persons.” See www.caj.org.uk or CAJ homepage
Peace Journalism workshop, Belfast
This takes place on 29th November, 9.30 am - 4.30 pm at Riddel Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast. Open and free to the public but pre-registration essential (lunch included), see www.qub.ac.uk for details and booking or contact firstname.lastname@example.org Peace journalism is a relatively new term and can be seen to be at odds with key journalistic principles and with the notion that journalists' only obligation is to accurately report 'the facts'.
Speakers: Deaglan de Breadun, Mike Gilson, Jane Morrice, Malachi O’Doherty with a panel discussion, chaired by William Crawley, including Laura Haydon, Alex Kane, Lyra McKee and Julia Paul. This event is sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University and the Community Relations Council, and organised by Professor John Brewer and Dr Duncan Morrow. www.qub.ac.uk/isctsj See also eamonnmallie.com
Afri Hedge School 2013: Resources, Conflict & Climate Change
The 2013 Hedge School will take place in the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, on the themes of militarisation, conflict and the environment on Tuesday 5th November from 10 am to 4.30 pm in Room A57, A Block. Registration takes place from 9.30 am. The Hedge School is being organised in partnership with the students from I.T. Blanchardstown. All are welcome. Further details on the Afri website at www.afri.ie To book: Contact the Afri office in Dublin on 01 8827563 or email email@example.com
Back on its feet - the Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre
Development is extremely difficult at the best of times, sustainable development even more so but when you have to start a project again - almost from scratch - it can be very difficult to find the energy and motivation to keep going. But when you know that your work is changing lives - here and in East Africa, when you are showing that there are alternatives to trashing the planet and wasting resources, both in terms of people and materials and when so many people support what you and the way you do it then it gets easier.
The fire at the Mwanza Sewing and Training Centre, Tanzania, in July (see also NN 212) destroyed everything in the workshop - sewing and knitting machines, tools, spare parts and sewing accessories and also everything in the office - IT equipment, records and documentation. The staff were shattered and feared for their future but very quickly the decision was taken to rebuild the centre.
Tools for Solidarity is delighted to let you know that the workshop is now back up and running. In late October 57 local tailors received training in dress design, embroidery and maintenance and operation on a week long course. Machines are now being refurbished and distributed. Late October also saw the volunteers from TFS load the 8th container for Mwanza - more than 300 sewing machines, 10 knitting machines and items to help restock the workshop were sent. And so the rebuilding begins... Tools For Solidarity, Unit 1B1, Edenderry Industrial Estate, 326 Crumlin Road, Belfast BT14 7EE, ph 028 90747473, www.toolsforsolidarity.com
The EU – The Military Dimension
The People’s Movement and PANA (Peace And Neutrality Alliance) are organising this conference on 15th and 16th November at the Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. There are four sessions, the first on Friday 15th November at 7.30 pm on “The EU – Democratic and Civil Liberties Deficit”. The three sessions on Saturday are on “The Militarisation of the European Union”, a forum for candidates seeking to be elected to the EU for the Dublin constituency, and “The European Peace Movement”. There are a variety of Irish and international speakers. See MilitaryDimensionConference2013 and www.people.ie
Peace event Sarajevo 2014
6th – 9th June 2014 sees an event in Sarajevo “From a world of war and violence to a culture of peace and nonviolence”, marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, which was triggered by the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914. A wide variety of people and groups are involved or getting involved and themes include active nonviolence, nonviolent intervention/accompaniment, history and peace, economy and war/peace, women for peace, human security, media and peace, active peace policy, science and peace, networking, arts and peace, dealing with the past, sustainability and peace with nature, networking, education for peace, and intercultural dialogue. There are many different opportunities to participate, there or ‘here’. See www.peaceeventsarajevo2014.eu
Afri Board member elected to IPB Board
At the triennial elections to the Board of the International Peace Bureau, held during the IPB's conference in Stockholm in mid-September, Afri Board Member Iain Atack was elected to the IPB Board and Council for the next 3 years. The final statement from the conference "Putting an end to militarism" is available at ipb.org[Source: Irish CND]
Whistleblowing in the wind
“Whistleblowing - A Practical Guide” by Brian Martin is a new book from Irene Publishing. If you discover some wrongdoing, such as corruption, injustice or danger to the public, what should you do? If you do nothing, the problem will continue. If you speak out, you become a target for attack — and the problem may still continue. Whistleblowing: A Practical Guide tells how to assess your options, prepare for action, use low-profile operations, negotiate official channels, leak, build support and survive the experience. It is filled with sample cases that show what can happen when you make incorrect assumptions or fall into common traps. The advice in this guidebook is based on the author’s contact with hundreds of whistleblowers and dissidents, plus consultation with others experienced in the area. The book can be ordered from www.lulu.com or Amazon, Adlibris and other main on-line bookshops. For discount on bulk orders, or further info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Feasta – Keys to the future
Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of sustainability, has published on its website www.feasta.org a document “Keys to the Future”, a look at its track record since it was founded in 1998, and its potential – “Given its record, what might Feasta contribute?”. Feasta, 1 Ard na gCapaill, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, ph 086 364 2728, and for general information email@example.com
Campaigners working to ban fracking
Environmental activists took to high streets on 19th October to win public support for a Northern Ireland ban on fracking. They were taking part in an international day of action called Global Frackdown Day, which saw campaigners around the planet voicing their opposition to unconventional forms of fossil fuel extraction. Activists set up stalls in Ballycastle, Bangor, Belfast, Coleraine, Enniskillen and Omagh in order to persuade members of the public to sign postcards calling on the First Ministers to lead the Executive in banning fracking in Northern Ireland. www.foe.co.uk and www.globalfrackdown.org
In the Republic events took place in Cahir, Clonmel, Dublin and several in Co Leitrim.
NI Planning Bill deservedly hits the dust
Friends of the Earth welcomed the decision by Northern Ireland Environment Minister Mark H Durkan in October to scrap the Planning Bill 2013. In a statement to the Assembly, the Minister pointed out that amendments to the bill backed by the DUP and Sinn Féin could run counter to the European Convention on Human Rights. Commenting, Friends of the Earth’s Director, James Orr, said the Minister had made the right decision: “Mark H Durkan should be congratulated for showing leadership, and standing up for the people and the environment, in the face of extreme pressure from his Executive colleagues. The Planning Bill was unethical, unworkable, and unlawful. It would have meant the end of the rule of law in planning. Mr Durkan has taken the only sensible option – to scrap it and start again.” Critical analysis of the Bill is available at www.foe.co.uk and consultation_responses
Amnesty – Con Con should examine human rights
Amnesty International Ireland has called for better protections for human rights to be examined by the Constitutional Convention. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “During the course of this year the Constitutional Convention has been examining issues for reform chosen for them by the Government. But on Sunday (3rd November 2013) it will decide for itself which additional issues it will examine in its final sessions next year. At a time of austerity surely this is the time to look at how the Constitution can protect your human rights, to protect your right to a roof over your head or to access the healthcare you or your family needs. We need Constitutional protection for economic, social and cultural rights like health, housing and an adequate standard of living so no government can ever take them away.”
Amnesty International Ireland is calling for Bunreacht na hÉireann (The Constitution of Ireland) to better protect economic, social and cultural rights. AI is working with other civil society organisations on this call, including, ATD Fourth World Ireland, Atheist Ireland, Children’s Rights Alliance, Community Action Network, Disability Federation Ireland, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, National Women’s Council of Ireland, OPEN, Pavee Point and The Wheel. www.amnesty.ie
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) place teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict (also known as accompaniment). Current projects include Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, and on Aboriginal Justice. Other recent projects are also detailed on the website. See www.cpt.org and to read or be sent the newsletter go to www.cpt.org/news/sott
A recent issue of ‘Fellowship’, a magazine of peacemaking published by the USA Fellowship of Reconciliation (Vol. 77, No. 7-12, Summer 2013) is on accompaniment. See www.forusa.org/fellowship
Summer Peacebuilding Institute at EMU
The schedule of the 2014 Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) at Eastern Mennonite University is now available. It will be held from 5th May – 13th June 2014 at the campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. There are a wide variety of courses on different aspects of peacemaking and conflict in four blocks or sessions. Web search for ‘Summer Peacebuilding Institute EMU’.
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