Corrymeela: Carafest at Easter, new executive director sought
Corrymeela’s Carafest Festival of Faith and Reconciliation at Corrymeela, Ballycastle, will take place from Friday 30th March at 4:30pm to Monday 2nd April at 2:00pm. The full programme will be available on the website from 10th March but will includeformer Beirut hostage Brian Keenan, Na Leanaí the children of renowned folk act, The Sands Family), Theologian Professor Siobhán Garrigan, Stephen Fischbacher will be bringing his unique style of children’s music, celebration, dance and insight for some music workshops, Claire Mitchell will be sharing insights on writing, politics and identity, Paul Hutchinson will be speaking about writing, creativity as well as showing some films, and Lilian Vellem will be speaking about the current situation for refugees and asylum seekers. There are a variety of ticket options with a single whole weekend ticket and no accommodation being £60, or family ticket £110. Day or evening tickets are also available. See details at /www.corrymeela.org
Corrymeela is recruiting a new Executive Director who “will demonstrate significant leadership experience and operational management. S/he will bring experience of motivating, leading and developing teams, be an engaging and inspiring communicator with excellent interpersonal and stakeholder management skills at all levels – from funders, donors to staff and volunteers.” The closing date is 12th March, further details on Corrymeela website.
PANA: PESCO conference report, US military bases
In addition to a variety of speakers, a hundred people attended the conference on PESCO (the EU’s euphemistically and benignly named Permanent Structured Cooperation on military matters), at the Mansion House, Dublin on 17th February, which was organised by PANA, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance www.pana.ie and the People’s Movement people.ie The PowerPoint Presentation ‘Danish opt out from the EU Defence Policy’ by Lave Broch can be downloaded from the PANA Website and shows something of what Ireland could aim for.
PANA and the People’s Movement have called for Ireland “to immediately formally withdraw from all military and financial commitments under PESCO......We pledge ourselves to work with like-minded groups within the EU also committed to opposing the accelerated militarisation of the EU.” This statement was adopted at the conference and has been endorsed by Shannonwatch /www.shannonwatch.org
Meanwhile John Lannon represented Shannonwatch and PANA at a Campaign Against US Foreign Bases conference in Baltimore (USA not Cork! – Ed) in January that committed the US peace movement to building a more active international campaign (Videos at noforeignbases.org). As a follow-on PANA is coordinating an international peace conference in Dublin on Friday 16th to Sunday 18th November this year (details later).
Nobel women call for an end to Rohingya genocide
Three Nobel peace laureates - Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland – have concluded their visit to Bangladesh in relation to the current Rohingya crisis. The group included Ann Patterson, also from Northern Ireland. The three women Laureates - in partnership with Bangladesh women’s organization Naripokkho - spent time listening to stories, meeting over 100 women refugees in the Cox’s Bazar area, and travelling to “no man’s land”, where thousands of Rohingya have been stranded between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“The torture, rape and killing of any one member of our human family must be challenged, as in the case of the Rohingya genocide,” said Mairead Maguire. “Silence is complicity.” The Nobel peace laureates were impressed by the strength and resilience of the women who had survived such horrific crimes. One woman at the Thyankhali camp told them, “Why should we feel shame? We were tortured. We don’t need to feel shame about that.”
The Laureates are calling for the perpetrators of these crimes to be brought to justice before the International Criminal Court. “With over a million Rohingya displaced, countless dead or missing, and rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war, it is well past the time for the international community to act,” said Shirin Ebadi. Among other points the Nobel Laureates are calling for no forced repatriation and the government of Myanmar to take immediate action to address the systematic discrimination of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, and ensure the Rohyinga’s right to nationality, land ownership, freedom of movement and other fundamental rights. For more information and photos see nobelwomensinitiative.org See also www.peacepeople.com
Dáil calls time on fossil fuel exploration
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has described the 9th February Dáil vote in favour of the Climate Emergency Measures Bill as "historic". The Bill, proposed by People Before Profit TD Brid Smith, would end the issuing of licences to explore for oil and gas in Irish waters. It passed the second stage debate and was referred to the Climate Action Committee by 78 votes to 48, with cross-party support emerging to overcome Government opposition to it. See bit.ly/CEMBill18 for the bill, the Stop Climate Change briefing is at bit.ly/SCC010218 and Friends of the Earth news item at www.foe.ie
Food sovereignty, Maynooth
A Food Sovereignty Event, organised by Maynooth University in collaboration with Afri will take place on April 14th and will include speakers, workshops, music and discussion. More information available soon - check out the Afri website www.afri.ie For a short film on last year’s event, see www.afri.ie
AVP workshops and work continue Recent workshops run by the Alternatives to Violence Project Ireland (AVP) include ones in Mountjoy (two workshops, one for facilitators including from several other prisons), Cork (two), Portlaoise, and Shelton Abbey prisons. Forthcoming workshops include ones for Shelton Abbey, Mountjoy West, the Dóchas Centre, Wheatfield, Limerick (women) and Portaloise. Three Irish AVP facilitators attended the international AVP Gathering in Nepal in November and there is a short report on the website, and also the 2017 annual report. See also photos https://www.flickr.com
AVP is a training programme enabling participants to deal with potentially violent situations in new and creative ways. Workshops are non-residential, run by trained facilitators and experiential (not based on lectures). Workshops use the shared experience of participants, interactive exercises, games and role-plays to examine the ways in which participants respond to situations where injustice, prejudice, frustration and anger can lead to aggressive behaviour and violence. See avpireland.ie which includes contacts.
Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS)
The Global Campaign on Military Spending includes GDAMS – Global Days on Military Spending: This year, the IPB (International Peace Bureau www.ipb.org) Global Day(s) of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) will include the period from 14th April to 3rd May. This way, GDAMS includes the U.S. Tax Day on April 17, when Americans pay their taxes and debate their use, together with the previous week-end, when most of the U.S. actions will take place. GDAMS 2018 will also include May 2nd, the date of the release of the annual world military expenditure figures by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Moreover, May 3rd is the Constitution Day in Japan. This way, GDAMS can help taking actions on Japan prime minister Abe’s attempts to amend war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japan Constitution (this being the main hook in Peace Boat 2018 GCOMS efforts). And May 3rd will also be the last day of the 2018 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Material online at demilitarize.org includes further information on GDAMS and a PDF handbook for campaigners wanting to reduce military spending.
Fly kites not drones
This is an activity for young and old in solidarity with children living under the threat of armed drones. On or around 21st March you can plan an kite flying event to celebrate Nao Roz, Persian New Year; this is the 5th year of the campaign which was started by young kite flyers in Afghanistan. The UK-based Drone Campaign Network at http://www.dronecampaignnetwork.org.uk includes resources and information.
Amnesty International: Northern Ireland fails
Northern Ireland has failed dismally to deal with past human rights violations, end discrimination on marriage equality and to reform its outdated abortion laws, Amnesty International said on 22nd February as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “The State of the World’s Human Rights” highlights repeated failures by the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland governments to put in place adequate mechanisms to deal with the past, and address the backlog and lack of funding for coroners’ legacy inquests. Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager, said: “The collapse of the ‘Stormont talks’ is no justification for the continuing denial of rights. The Secretary of State Karen Bradley must deliver on legacy issues, marriage equality and abortion reform.” See www.amnesty.org/en/documents and /www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/northern-ireland
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