Shannon: D'Arcy, Farrell 'guilty' with 2 weeks suspended sentence
On Tuesday 24th June in Ennis District Court, Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell received a 2 week suspended sentence (suspended if they agree to sign an unspecified bond to stay away from the airport) and a small fine. This followed their conviction for 'interfering with the proper use of an airport'. On 1st September 2013 both peace activists had carried out a protest by going onto the runway at Shannon Airport wearing bright orange 'Gitmo suits' and carrying placards that detailed their objection to a prospective invasion of Syria. They were then detained by the Airport Police and handed over to the Gardai who arrested and charged them under airport bylaws.
Whilst neither activist contested the main facts of the case the accusation that they had interfered with the 'proper use' of the airport was strenuously challenged by Magaretta D'Arcy, acting for herself, who fielded five witnesses; Clare Daly TD, Dr. Tom Clonan, Former Irish Army Captain and Irish Times security analyst, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire, and Dr. John Lannon and retired Army Commandant Dr. Edward Horgan (both of Shannonwatch). The defence witnesses gave expert, credible and passionate evidence that Shannon Airport is habitually used as a 'virtual forward operating base' for the US Military.
There were, of course, issues at contention in the trial. One that arose during the prosecution's case was a discrepancy in the evidence given by two of its witnesses in relation to whether or not there are US military personnel stationed permanently at Shannon, whereas Dr Tom Clonan stated for the record that there is a permanent US Military liaison office at Shannon; the senior officer, who he knows by name, is a Lt. Col who reports directly to the US military base in Stuttgart and was not accountable to the airport or Irish authorities.
AVP International Gathering, public session on 15th July
Over 160 delegates from 40 countries are gathering in Maynooth for the World Gathering (IG) of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) which runs from 13-19th July. The theme of the gathering is Diversity and Sustainability. On Tuesday 15th July there is a public session from 2.00-5.00 pm that will consider a range of perspectives from an Irish perspective on violence/non-violence. Contributors include Ellen O'Malley Dunlop, Director, Rape Crisis Centre, Peter McVerry, Jesuit Centre for Justice, Dublin and Geoffrey Corry, Facilitator of political dialogue workshops for many years. This session has been organised by AVPIG in conjunction with the Edward Kennedy Institute for Conflict Prevention. If you would like to attend this session, please send an email to: email@example.com as places will be limited.
INNATE launches posters set on peace, green, rights issues
INNATE has launched a set of, currently, 54 mini-posters, A4 size, for free home or office printing on topics including Conflict, Dealing with the past, Gender issues, Green issues (including climate change), Human rights, Irish historical, Militarism (including war and armaments), Nonviolence, Northern Ireland, Nuclear power, Peace, Power, and Religion. They are in PDF format and are intended for use on notice boards and personal spaces. Most require a colour printer and good quality copier or photo paper. They are all downloadable from the INNATE - click on 'Posters' on the home page. Additional posters will be added occasionally.
The posters are being displayed at the War Resisters International Triennial in South Africa in July, and some in Derry in September. INNATE also has a leaflet available on request for other people wanting to produce their own PDF mini-posters.
Airing Erris 3: Policing of Corrib Gas, Sunday 6th July
The third instalment of the series of events entitled "Airing Erris" organised by Afri will focus on the policing of the Corrib Gas project and will take place in An tSeanscoil, Ceathrú Thaidhg, Co. Mayo from 1.00 - 3.30 pm on Sunday 6th July. This will feature Denis Halliday, Margaretta D'Arcy, Gemma O'Doherty, Bernard McCabe, and Willie Corduff, chaired by Donal O'Kelly, with a special message of solidarity from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. See also www.afri.ie or contact Afri at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone 01 - 882 7563/7581. The event will be live-streamed by Atlantic Stream at new.livestream.com/AtlanticStream
Chernobyl children fly in
The first plane full of children from the affected regions of Chernobyl arrived into Ireland on 22nd June as part of Chernobyl Children International (CCI) annual airlift of children who come from impoverished backgrounds, institutions and foster homes in the heart of the contaminated Chernobyl zone. They will be hosted by Irish families throughout 17 counties in Ireland as part of CCI's Summer Rest & Recuperation Programme.
During their stay in Ireland, the children will gain respite from the high levels of radiation to which they continue to be exposed as a result of the Chernobyl explosion. The summer is a particularly dangerous time in the Chernobyl regions as the intense heat contributes to the redistribution of radioactive materials. The arrival of this summer's children brings the total number of children who have benefited under the scheme to over 24,700 children since the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. A month in Ireland with clean air and food can add up to two years to the life of a child, CCI estimate. CCI, Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Kinsale Road, Cork, ph 021 431 2999, www.chernobyl-international.com Facebook: and twitter: @Chernobyl
Ireland's Tax Model: Stop Hurting the Global South
Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI) has called on the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to act to ensure that Ireland's tax model stops hurting countries of the Global South. The global justice organisation was responding to the Department of Finance's examination of the impact of Ireland's tax system on developing countries [the public consultation has now closed].
Nessa Ní Chasaide, Coordinator of Debt and Development Coalition said, "While Ireland has a stated position of support for improved tax transparency, it has failed to lead the way in making essential changes that would force corporations to report fully, on a country by country basis, on their profits and taxes. Minister Noonan has also refused to reveal who the real, beneficial, owners of companies in Ireland are. DDCI calls on Minister Noonan to urgently establish a publicly accessible register of the identities of the real owners of companies, trusts and foundations to ensure an end to the practice of shell companies registering in Ireland."
DDCI has launched a campaign calling for a public register of the beneficial owners of companies, trusts and foundations. DDCI's submission to Government on the spillover analysis can be found here For DDCI see www.debtireland.org phone 01 6174835.
Centre for Democracy and Peace Building launched
Mid-June saw the launch of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building in Northern Ireland with prominent figures at the helm; chair John Alderdice, directors Jeffrey Donaldson MP and Liam Maskey, and CEO Eva Grossman. Its stated aim is "to uphold and share the values and principles of democracy in order to build peace, stability and reconciliation" which it seeks to do at home by supporting the peace process and abroad by sharing learning from Northern Ireland. More information at democracyandpeace.org or CDPB can be reached at 55 Knock Road, Belfast BT5 6LB, e-mail: email@example.com
Women and men as partners for peace in MENA
Following the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Consultation of WPP (Women Peacemakers Program) and ABAAD (Resource Centre for Gender Equality), civil society organizations from the region developed a joint statement on the importance of nonviolent conflict resolution, in line with the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the Women, Peace & Security agenda. The statement includes 5 recommendations for effectively advancing UNSCR 1325 in the region. See here
'Dublin Peace Festival/Week'
Dublin Peace Week consists of different cultural and recreational events held in Dublin City from 29th June to 5th July, hosted by a variety of individuals and organisations –"The objective is to promote a culture of peace among and between individuals and within society in Dublin." If you have no objection to an organisation seemingly associated with Prem Rawat (previously known as Guru Maharaji of Divine Light Mission - do a word search under any of these names) then see www.dublinpeacefestival.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dublin Peace POD is a newly-forming peace discussion and action forum that will be launched as part of the Dublin Peace Week on 2nd July at 7.30 pm in Doyles Bar, 9 College Street, Dublin 2 [Ed – we don't know whether there are direct links to the Festival apart from being part of it]. There will be stories from peace builders, planning for International Peace Day on 21st September, and music.
CAJ on TBUC and equality
CAJ/ Committee on the Administration of Justice has produced two briefing papers on the proposal in the Northern Ireland Executive's 'Together: Building a United Community' (TBUC) Strategy, to bring forward legislation to change 'Equality Impact Assessments' (EQIAs) required under the existing statutory equality duty to formally include 'good relations' considerations and to turn the Equality Commission into an 'Equality and Good Relations Commission'. Briefing Paper 1 is entitled " 'Good Relations' and Equality Impact Assessments, safeguards and background" www.caj.org.uk/contents/1248 and Briefing Paper 2 is "The Equality Commission's Raymond McCreesh Park investigation implications and analysis for proposed 'Equality and Good Relations Impact Assessments'" These papers think through some of the important issues arising in this area. The home page of CAJ website at http://www.caj.org.uk/
Mairead Maguire at Sarajevo peace event
Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire of the Peace People spoke at the June Peace Event in Sarajevo marking the centenary of the start of the First World War, which had the theme "From a world of peace and violence to a culture of peace and nonviolence". She spoke out strongly for the abolition of militarism. See www.peacepeople.com
PCI Peace Award to Jesuit Refugee Service Syria
The 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Award has been granted to the Jesuit Refugee Service Syria (JRS Syria) for its outstanding dedication in providing emergency relief to Syrians since the war began in 2011. Established in 1988, the Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and non-violence in different parts of the world. In the Middle East and North Africa, JRS began its work in 2008 in response to the huge number of Iraqi refugees fleeing the conflict in their country. Following the violent events in Syria from 2011 onwards, JRS Syria is now mainly focusing on emergency relief to those in greatest need, medical support and educational activities to enhance reconciliation and co-existence amongst people of different socio-economic and faith backgrounds. See www.paxchristi.net
Tipperary Peace Award goes to Richard Haass
The 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award has been presented in June to Richard Haass "who played a very significant role in assisting the peace process in Northern Ireland". www.facebook.com
Coillte/BNM merger a danger to Ireland's environment?
The Environmental Pillar fear the latest merger, between Coillte and Bord na Mona, could pose a danger to Ireland's environment. The Pillar, which is made up of 27 of Ireland's national environmental NGOs, is now calling on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to clarify the status of the new joint venture and what exactly its remit will be. The Environmental Pillar believe that this focus on short term gains, particularly with regard to biomass production and wind farms, could have a damaging effect on Ireland's wider environment including already vulnerable uplands. "It is this very short term focus that has lead Coillte to fail at its core objective, which is the sustainable management of the public forest resource. This latest proposal to merge Coillte with Bord na Mona, in what appears to be a very loose arrangement to co-operate and focus on biomass, wind farm businesses and tourism in particular appears to be extremely short sighted and strictly profit oriented." environmentalpillar.ie
Prevention of violence against children & youth
The WWSF (Women's World Summit Organisation) Children-Youth section has launched its 2014 call to action and prevention (4th edition) of its annual campaign "19 Days of activism for prevention of violence against children and youth", 1st -19th November, to help create a culture of prevention of violence and abuse. See 19Days.woman.ch the kit includes extensive information of the 2014 main theme: Addiction and Substance Abuse, plus 18 other abuse topics, which you may wish to focus on in your activities this year. You can register your participation online and share your planned activities.
Award to activists for nonviolent resistance
In the wake of the Arab Spring and as nonviolent movements in Ukraine, Thailand, Brazil, and around the world capture the global public's attention, on 18th June two activists were recognized for their courageous use of strategic nonviolent tactics to win human rights and justice, and two prominent scholars honoured for their groundbreaking contributions to the field of civil resistance. The James Lawson Awards are named after and presented in person by James Lawson, a leader in US Civil Rights movement who led the Nashville Lunch Counter sit-ins of 1960 and who Martin Luther King, Jr. called, "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world." The four Lawson awardees are:
Yorm Bopha, a 30-year old leader of a land rights movement in Cambodia who has boldly struggled alongside her community against forced evictions by the Cambodian government. As a result of her nonviolent activism, she was arrested on trumped up charges in September 2012 and became an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience while imprisoned for 444 days. In the face of government retribution, her commitment to nonviolent struggle has not wavered.
Kumi Naidoo, a human rights activist from South Africa and the current International Executive Director of Greenpeace since 2009. Naidoo was an organizer and activist in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and as the international executive director of Greenpeace, has continued to personally commit daring acts of direct nonviolent action for environmental protection. In 2011 Kumi and another activist climbed aboard an oil rig floating off of the coast of Greenland while the crew attempted to repel them with water cannons. Kumi was calling on the Scottish oil company, Cairn, to stop drilling for oil and ensure that Cairn had a response plan for oil spills.
Howard Clark, a radical pacifist and full-time nonviolent activist and researcher who chaired War Resisters' International (WRI). His work and that of his WRI colleagues supported activists around the world to take nonviolent action to advance just and sustainable peace. He passed away in November 2013, and his partner and children will be present to accept his award.
Jacques Sémelin, a professor of Political Science at Sciences-Po Paris (Center for International Research and Studies) and Senior Researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research, who has produced many seminal publications on the use of civil resistance against dictatorships and the political roots of mass violence. He is the world's foremost scholar on understanding how civilian-based nonviolent action can be used to resist perpetrators of extreme human rights abuse and atrocities.