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(Issues 58-107)
(Issues 1 to 57)
Dawn Train

 

What's new

Nonviolence News July 2017

Editorial: Northern Ireland - Wrong deal, no deal

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Lessons from Grenfell Tower

Readings in Nonviolence: Alternatives to Violence Project impact

Billy King: Rites Again

Number 244: November 2016

Dáil supports fracking ban, SWAN report
A bill proposing a ban on fracking in Ireland passed its first stage in the Dáil on 27th October; it is a private members' motion brought by Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin from Sligo. It looked like the Government would propose an amendment seeking a delay of a year or more on the bill but withdrew it in the face of unanimity on the issue. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency on fracking is due in mid-2017 (and there is currently a moratorium on fracking in the Republic). The decision came on the same day the Dáil voted to ratify the Paris Agreement which is now in force. In the Republic there are shale deposits across Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry.  The Dáil motion now goes to committee. See here and here.

Meanwhile an independent 187-page report (with executive summary) on fracking and water quality by the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) concludes that the carrying out of fracking and other related activities in Ireland is not consistent with achieving and maintaining good water quality and a healthy water environment and therefore should not be permitted. Among other conclusions it says Ireland would not be in a position to properly regulate the industry. See www.swanireland.ie and go to 'Resources and Publications' for the full fracking report.

United Nations works on a global nuclear ban
A resolution on "Taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations" has been tabled at the United Nations General Assembly to mandate the start of negotiations in 2017 on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. This resolution has been put forward by Austria, Mexico, South Africa, Ireland, Brazil and Nigeria with almost sixty co-sponsors; it was opposed by nuclear weapon holding states such as the UK, USA, Russia, Israel and France (out of nine known countries holding such weapons). This follows the recommendation of a UN Working Group, and the overwhelming majority of states supported the call for negotiations in 2017. Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan expressed strong support for the negotiations, and momentum has been building, but how it could get past those nuclear weapon holding states who are members of the UN Security Council and have a veto is not clear. However the movement seeks to build further momentum and put moral pressure on holders, as with bans on landmines and cluster bombs.

Peace museums conference for Belfast, April
The International Network of Museums for Peace will hold its 9th International Conference in Belfast, 10th – 13th April, 2017 with the theme "Cities as Living Museums for Peace"; Visit Belfast and Ulster University are co-hosts. The call for paper, panel and poster presentations is now open and deadline for submissions is 30th November. The conference will include keynote addresses, symposia, workshops, paper and panel presentations, and a poster exhibition, as well as optional visits to historic sites and museums for peace. In addition to the conference theme, current issues and themes related to museums for peace will be discussed. Belfast has been chosen because, despite the fact there is no peace museum there it can be considered a 'living museum'. A local organising committee is in place. Although the participation fee will be £250, the local committee is looking at ways to increase participation. Further details will appear in Nonviolent News in due course. See www.museumsforpeace.org

Front Line Defenders gets new director
Andrew Anderson has been appointed as Front Line Defender's new Executive Director. He has worked for the international protection of human rights defenders for more than twenty years, and has played a key leadership role in building Front Line Defenders; he served as Deputy Director of Front Line Defenders from 2003 and previously worked for Amnesty International. He succeeds Front Line Defenders' former Executive Director Mary Lawlor, who founded the organisation in 2001. In 2015, Front Line Defenders provided €1,178,306 via 454 security grants to human rights defenders in 80 countries. Overall, it helped more than 1,000 defenders facing death threats, arrests, torture, unfair trials and killings. www.frontlinedefenders.org

Afri Hedge School, Blanchardstown
One of the major consequences of war and climate change is forced migration and what has become known as the 'refugee crisis'. The 2016 Hedge School will explore this theme and will include input on Roger Casement, the great internationalist, humanitarian and executed 1916 leader. This year's Hedge School is organised in partnership with the students from I.T. Blanchardstown (where it takes place). The Hedge School seeks to symbolize the kind of resilience and creativity needed to address the crisis facing our world as a result of climate change and the obscenity of the war industry. It takes place on Tuesday 8th November from 9.30am – 4pm. To register for the conference, please email admin@afri.ie See also www.afri.ie

Dublin, Derry, Cork etc....and John Kerry
Five peace group came together to oppose the awarding of the Tipperary International Peace Prize to US Secretary of State John Kerry on 30th October. Galway Alliance Against War, the Irish Anti-War Movement, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, Shannonwatch and Veterans for Peace also held protests at different locations. Speaking on behalf of the five organisations, Edward Horgan of Veterans for Peace posed the question: "What peace has John Kerry achieved and where?" and stated  "The award of peace prizes should be based on truth, integrity and justification". "Terrorist acts by individuals, rebel group and militaries cannot be condoned, and neither can acts of aggression by states" said Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance. "The government that John Kerry represents is guilty of state terrorism. Since 1945 the US has overthrown fifty governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements, supported tyrannies, and set up torture chambers from Egypt to Guatemala......" See here

Neutrality or war, Portlaoise
PANA, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, is holding a public meeting in the Parish Centre, Portlaoise on Monday 14th November at 8pm. The speakers are Brian Stanley TD of Sinn Féin and Ed Horgan. See http://www.pana.ie

Building a culture of peace and nonviolence, Belfast
 "Building a culture of peace and nonviolence for the human family" is the title of a talk being given by Máiread Corrigan Maguire, from 3 – 4pm on Sunday 13th November in the Ulster Museum, Belfast, as part of a new initiative entitled 'Collecting the Troubles and Beyond'. She will discuss the role of individuals in building a culture of peace on what is the 40th anniversary of the Victoria Park Peace Rally.  The talk will be followed by tea and coffee and Máiread will be available to sign copies of her book 'The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland'. Attendance is free but booking is essential nmni.com or phone 028 9044 0000 for more info. See also www.peacepeople.com

Irish inaction on climate change
Despite the ratification of the Paris agreement, various groups have continued to point out the inactivity of the Irish government. Stop Climate Chaos points out that "The last national action plan on climate change expired in 2012 and the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced Ireland would fall 70% short of achieving its EU 2020 emissions target. Luxembourg is the only other EU member on track for failure. Rather than spurring action this failure has been used by Government Ministers to make the case for an easier emissions reduction target for Ireland for 2030."

The Environmental Pillar points out that in the Republic "Budget 2017 may have brought measures to move Ireland's transport and energy sectors towards a low carbon future but action across all areas of policy is needed to put the country on a sustainable path." and also that "Ireland has particular challenges in the areas of agriculture, transport, energy generation, and residential energy use. Ratification of the Paris Agreement will be an empty gesture if it is not followed up with actions."

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the first report from the Climate Change Advisory Council, established under the 2015 Climate Action Act to provide the Government with independent, expert advice on how best to achieve a low-carbon economy. FOE described the 3rd November report as a "serious wake-up call for the Government", who will have to respond to the Council's advice when they publish a draft climate action plan before the end of the year. www.stopclimatechaos.ie environmentalpillar.ie and www.foe.ie

Mediators meeting challenges
The Mediators' Institute of Ireland (MII) annual conference took place in Dundalk on 14th October and in her speech MII President Sabine Walsh said "In the past year, the world has become a more contentious place with xenophobia and nationalism on the rise. In Ireland industrial relations have deteriorated and the challenges posed by Brexit will lead to more conflict," stated. "Traditional approaches to dealing these new and emerging challenges are not working. As mediators we are striving to change the yes/no, right/wrong and in/out thinking that has been a feature of both Brexit and the current US election. Mediation provides an alternative and effective approach. We need to change the dispute resolution culture and this weekend we will be setting out to do just that. " She was addressing over 150 delegates at the MII annual conference. www.themii.ie

A report on industrial relations commissioned by the MII and carried out under the auspices of the Edward M Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at the National University Maynooth makes concrete recommendations in relation to training, standards and practice for workplace mediation and identifies areas for further research. See here

Brexit, human rights and equality in the North
The papers and reports from a seminar looking at the human rights and equality implications of the EU/Brexit referendum for Northern Ireland are available at www.caj.org.uk/contents/1451 This event was organised by the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI), Ulster University and the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) in association with the Equality Coalition and featured seven expert inputs.

Human Rights in Northern Ireland: Past and Future: A seminar about the issues facing human rights activists in Northern Ireland in the past and in the future, is to take place on Thursday, 8th December at 11.00 am at the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC), Belfast, as part of the NI Human Rights Festival running from 4th – 10th December and organised by the Human Rights Consortium. See www.nihrf.com and booking info will be there.

Launch of Women War and Peace Book, Dublin
Human rights activist Mary Lawlor will launch the Women War and Peace digital book containing 23 stories of women's experiences during World War II, collected from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Poland, with a foreword by Marian Harkin, MEP.  The launch takes place on Tuesday, 8th November, at the Oak Room, The Mansion House, 2 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 from 6 to 8pm and all are welcome to attend. There are other speakers and the MC for the evening is Freda Manweiler, Company Manager, Smashing Times Theatre Company. The book features 23 women's stories from WWII including women who promoted liberty and actively campaigned against Fascism and Nazism and advocated for peace. It is both a remembrance of women's stories and experiences during World War II and a promotion of human rights, gender equality and peace today.  The book is produced as part of Women War and Peace, a year-long transnational project with four European partners from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Poland; the Irish partner is Smashing Times Theatre Company. The project uses creative processes of theatre and film to promote a remembrance of European history with a focus on women's stories and experiences from World War II and ways to promote peace, gender equality and diversity today. For further information contact Freda Manweiler, Smashing Times Theatre Company Ltd, ph 01 865 6613, e-mail freda@smashingtimes.ie and website: www.smashingtimes.ie

Vienna Peace Walk and Museum
On October 8th, 2016, Peace Museum Vienna/Friedensmuseum Wien, perhaps most recognizable for its Windows for Peace project in Vienna's First District, hosted an event to raise awareness for "Peace Heroes," peace education and peace action in Europe.  The Peace Walk event, which began at the historic Saint Stephen's Cathedral, proceeded to Sigmund Freud Park - the namesake himself being one of the museum's "Peace Heroes" - and ended with workshops from national and international guest speakers, and was the first of its kind in the region.   The Peace Heroes honoured in Vienna's first-ever Peace Walk were nominated by participating community members for their work to promote conflict transformation, greater social justice, and political or cultural unification in their families, communities, and cultures.  One of the Walk's honoured Peace Heroes, Afghan peace-photographer ("peaceographer") Abdulrab Habibyar, was able to attend the gathering and walk with Peace Museum Vienna supporters- a real highlight for participants and a living response to the museum's tagline question, "What can you do for peace today?".

The family-friendly event brought together over four-hundred participants with the support of partnering organizations. Peace Museum Vienna is dedicated to promoting peace education and peace literacy through the lives of "Peace Heroes": individuals who have demonstrated heroic resistance to injustice, violence, oppression and social divisions.  You can find out more about the organization on their website www.peacemuseumvienna.com

Save Heaney Country
An ongoing campaign is working to stop or reroute a dual carriageway between Toomebridge and Castledawson (A6) going through the landscape which inspired Seamus Heaney and featured in some of his poetry. This campaign had Seamus Heaney's support during his lifetime, the plan was then shelved and more recently dusted down again for building today. It also comes very close to the protected wetland areas of Lough Beg (to the north of Toome and Lough Neagh). Friends of the Earth director James Orr and others have pointed out that is a sensible alternative to the route chosen. You can of course contact the politicians who have responsibility in this matter. For a petition on this see www.change.org or Facebook page

Pax Christi Peace Award 2016
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Pakistan and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan are being awarded the 2016 Pax Christi International Peace Award. These two organisations were chosen as representatives of the nonviolent struggle of the human rights community in Pakistan. In a country where arbitrary detention, torture, deaths occurring while in custody, forced disappearances, institutional injustices against religious minorities, and extrajudicial execution are frequently reported, Pax Christi International "honours the clear and courageous stand taken by practitioners of justice and peace against persistent patterns of violence and human rights violations". The two organisations will attend an award ceremony in Geneva at the World Council of Churches' Chapel on 17th November. See www.paxchristi.net

WPP on Financial Action Task Force
The Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) has put a very useful spotlight on risk avoidance squeezing the possibility for action by NGOs in conflict situations, and in particular on edicts of the Financial Action Task Force, established by the G7 in 1989. See www.womenpeacemakersprogram.org

Development money to fund the military
There is a vicious irony that the European Commission is keen to use the EU's civil conflict management budget, known as the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), to fund equipment and training for the armed forces in third countries. Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, President of Bread for the World (Brot für die Welt, Germany), is highly critical of the initiative. "From a peace policy perspective, tacitly tolerating this breaking of taboos by the European Commission would amount to a capitulation," she says. "What's more, if development funds are also to be "repurposed" and ultimately channelled to the military, there is little hope that the EU and its Member States are serious about sustainable prevention measures that address the causes of conflict, or about peacebuilding." The original German-language press release of 11th October by Brot für die Welt has been published in English and Church and Peace also have a press release in English on the topic www.church-and-peace.org

De Borda on the post-Brexit situation
The de Borda institute has issued a press release on the post-Brexit situation, saying "Brexit: what's done is done.   But lessons should be learnt." It goes on to state:


"1. The democratic process should allow for an accommodation, not provoke a confrontation.
2.  Complex and/or contentious questions should not be reduced to dichotomies.
In theory, if everyone states their individual will, it should be possible to identify the collective will.  The outcome could be inaccurate if some people abstain or state (not their personal 'like' but) their 'dislike'.  {This often happens in binary voting, when people vote (not positively, i.e., 'in favour' of something but) negatively, that is, 'no' or 'out' or 'leave' – to quote the Brexit ballot.}
Therefore, both in the elected chamber and in referendums:
a)   The choice of which and how many options are to be on a ballot paper should be made independently.
b)   Votes should normally be preferential ballots, each a (short) list of 4 – 6 options.
c)    At best, each outcome would be the option with the highest average preference.
d)    If this preferential voting were the norm, majority rule would be obsolescent."

See here for full details.

Mainstreaming gender into peacebuilding trainings
This 74-page manual for trainers was created to assist gender mainstreaming efforts within the peacebuilding training community and is especially geared towards trainers who address personnel working in peace operations. It focuses on four key areas: Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration (DDR); Human Rights and Rule of Law; Negotiation and Mediation; Election Observation. It is written by Dr. Cordula Reiman and published by the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF). It is available for download.

 

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