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Dawn Train

Number 218: April 2014

Irish launch of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
This takes place at the Irish School of Ecumenics - Loyola Institute building (facing rugby pitch), Trinity College Dublin, on April 10th 2014 at 7pm. The speaker is Noel Sharkey, Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Professor of Public Engagement in the University of Sheffield and Chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. All welcome. Over the past decade, the expanded use of unmanned armed vehicles has dramatically changed warfare, bringing new humanitarian and legal challenges. Now rapid advances in technology are resulting in efforts to develop fully autonomous weapons. These robotic weapons would be able to choose and fire on targets on their own, without any human intervention, raising numerous ethical, legal, moral, policy, technical, and other concerns with fully autonomous weapons. Giving machines the power to decide who lives and dies on the battlefield is an unacceptable application of technology. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is an international coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to ban fully autonomous weapons. Organised by Afri in association with the International Peace Studies Programme, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin See their Facebook event page: For Afri see - The Irish School of Ecumenics Loyola Institute Building at TCD was officially opened in late March.

Afri Famine Walk: Famine and food sovereignty
The annual Afri Famine Walk from Louisburgh to Delphi Lodge, Co Mayo, takes place on Saturday 17th May on the theme of ‘Famine and Food Sovereignty’. Further information from Afri at (and in the May issue of Nonviolent News).

INCORE: Sites of conscience
The next meeting in INCORE’s Accounts of the Conflict Seminar Series is a talk by Liz Silkes entitled 'Archive Development and Civic Engagement at Sites of Conscience' taking place at 12.00 p.m. on Wednesday 16th April 2014 in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast BT3 9HQ A light lunch will be served after the seminar at 1.00 p.m. RSVP by 9th April to Janet Farren, or ph 028 7167 5575.

Shannonwatch on Garda ‘no search’ policy
Shannonwatch say that recent disturbing revelations in relation to the behaviour of Garda management and the Minister for Justice give new significance to statements made by members of An Garda Síochána about instructions not to search suspected CIA rendition and US military aircraft at Shannon Airport. Over the last eight years, Gardai of various ranks have told members of Shannonwatch that an “instruction” or “policy decision” or “letter of advice” has existed in relation to the searching of these aircraft. In 2006, in a conversation with a member of Shannonwatch, a detective superintendent referred to a “letter of advice” from the Attorney General to the Garda Commissioner that US military and CIA associated aircraft at Shannon were not to be searched, and other evidence exists since then. Shannonwatch have sought clarification from the Attorney General, expressing concern that if any such instruction or letter of advice was issued it might be in conflict with Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000 and Geneva Conventions (Amendment) Act, 1998. Shannonwatch are calling on the Minister for Justice to investigate and clarify the matter immediately. For more information phone 087 8225087 or e-mail or see a more detailed piece at

Amnesty welcomes Irish ratification of Arms Treaty
Amnesty International has welcomed Ireland’s ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which took place on 2nd April, the first anniversary of the ATT’s adoption by the UN General Assembly. But the organisation also expressed disappointment that so many states that backed the ATT’s adoption have yet to even sign it. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said “Some states that supported the ATT at the UN appear to be continuing arms transfers to countries where there is a clear risk they will be used for serious human rights violations and abuses. For example, having signed the ATT in June 2013, the Czech Republic as recently as December 2013 sent tens of thousands of firearms to Egypt’s security forces. These forces have killed hundreds of protesters during demonstrations following the military’s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.” See here

Community Dialogue move
Community Dialogue have moved to Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts, Duncairn Complex, Duncairn Avenue, Belfast BT14 6BP (corner of Antrim Road and Duncairn Avenue in the former Presbyterian church building there). Other contact details remain the same: e-mail and ph 028 90351450, (do look at their publications and reports section).

Community Dialogue will be organising a number of events over the next few months dealing with a range of topics and issues. On Thursday 10th April an event entitled: “The Cultural War: Do we have to take sides?” will take place at the Skainos Centre in East Belfast at 8pm. Other events which will take place over April and May will include a series of dialogues exploring the three themes addressed by the Hass Talks, namely Parades, Flags and Emblems and Dealing with the Past. These are aimed to gauge the views and opinions of people at local community level. Over the next couple of months, Community Dialogue will also be facilitating discussions with individual groups and organisations including church based groups, rural groups and single identity and cross community organisations. For further information please contact as above.

Margaretta D’Arcy release
The irrepressible Margaretta D’Arcy gave a press conference immediately after her release from prison on 22nd March, after over 9 weeks inside, and also appeared on RTE’s Saturday Night Show – At the press conference Margaretta D'Arcy continued to refute the charge that she and her co-defendant, Niall Farrell, were interfering with the 'proper use' of Shannon Airport by going onto the runway in October 2012 and again in September 2013 (for which a second trial is pending, in June). They were, she said, in fact highlighting the 'improper use' of Shannon Airport by the US military, who have colonised an Irish airport. For more information see

‘Quiet Peacemakers’ exhibition
'Quiet Peacemakers' is an exhibition of 32 oil portraits by Belfast artist Susan Hughes which was launched at Stormont at the start of April. Featuring people in Northern Ireland involved in peace and reconciliation work, mainly still active though including a few who have now died, it is the artist's take on some of the people who have been working away 'quietly' in this field. The exhibition is available to tour, so if you are interested in hosting it or knowing where it is on, contact or see The exhibition booklet, with colour portraits and notes, is also available as a PDF.

Maguire and Patterson keep her lit despite deportation
Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire, and Ann Patterson, Peace People, joined a Codepink International Women’s Delegation to Gaza coming up to International Women’s Day in early March. This was to draw attention to the ongoing blockade of Gaza by the Israeli Government, now in its 8th year, a policy causing a humanitarian crisis and deep pain and suffering for the people of Gaza, particularly children and women. On arrival at Cairo Airport Maguire and Patterson were held for 8 hours in detention before being put on a flight to London the next morning. Medea Benjamin, Founder of Codepink (and leader of the delegation) was also refused entry and after being held for many hours had her arm dislocated by Egyptian police and deported. See here and here

Irish fracking film
An excellent short, 7 minute, Afri film “The Future for Shale: Fracking in Ireland” by award winning filmmaker Dearbhla Glynn.

Pre-AVP International Gathering workshops, Dublin
In response to requests from those attending the forthcoming AVP/Alternatives to Violence Project International Gathering (13th-19th July, Maynooth College) (see NN 211), the organisers have arranged for a number of workshops to take place prior to this event. The location for these skills workshops is the Church of Ireland Training Centre, 79 Rathmines Road, Dublin 6 and they are open to people outside AVP. The workshops are:

Discernment, (€115 workshop fee - 3 days, includes lunches and one evening meal): 10th-12th July (Arrival on Wed. 9th July). Discernment is the ability to grasp the inward character or relationships, especially when obscured, which leads to keen insight and judgment. Facilitators are Petrus (Indonesia), John Michaelis (Australia), Nadine Hoover (USA), and Subhash Kettel (Nepal).

Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) (€115 workshop fee - 3 days, includes lunches and one evening meal): 10th-12th July (Arrival on Wed. 9th July). HROC addresses both the trauma healing and peacebuilding needs of post-violence communities. Facilitators are Florence Ntakarutimana (Burundi), Adrien Niyongabo (Burundi), and Getry Agizah Anguva (Kenya). -Dealing with behaviour challenges in AVP Youth workshops using Restorative Practices "Shining a Light" techniques (€90 workshop fee - 2 days, includes lunches and one evening meal): 10th-11th July (Arrival on Wed. 9th). The facilitators are Julei Korner (Australia) and Katherine Smith (Australia).

Trauma Resiliency (€115 workshop fee, 3 days, includes lunches and one evening meal): Resilience and Trauma Awareness is an AVP Advanced Topic workshop, developed to help people who have experienced war, displacement, criminal violence, domestic violence and/or natural disaster. Facilitators include Val Liveoak (USA and El Salvador), Saskia Schuitemaker (Guatemala and New Zealand), Harold Urbina (Nicaragua) and Ann Wallace-DiGarbo (USA).

For further information, please email or look up the website. Please note that it is possible to stay in the venue which provides student type accommodation, for an extra cost, if desired.

Church and Peace AGM and Conference
This is on “Just Policing and Unarmed Intervention: the churchesʼ dialogue on the responsibility to protect (R2P)”, taking place 23rd – 25th May at Kasteel de Berckt, Baarlo, Netherlands. Further details from, and bookings should be made by 15th April to: Church and Peace International Office: Ringstrasse 14, D-35641 Schöffengrund, ph 49 6445 5588, e-mail and

IFOR Centennial in Konstanz 1st – 3rd August
The International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) is this year celebrating its hundredth anniversary. The movement was born out of an international peace conference held in Konstanz, Germany, in early August 1914. The event itself is largely unknown today as well as the fact that there was a significant movement for peace and friendship between the nations at that time. Nor is it widely known that there was a significant pacifist movement in that period. The members of IFOR feel it is important amid commemorations of World War I to mark the existence of a large movement against war and the beginning of a world-wide fellowship whose commitment is to active nonviolence and to resist the temptation of war. IFOR is a grassroots movement with the majority of its members living in the Global South. The celebrations will include a varied programme, from meditation to dancing, singing, sculpturing, as well as exchanging ideas and experiences. See or e-mail

Call for Independent Enquiry into Corrib Gas Policing
In light of ongoing controversies concerning lack of accountability of the Gardaí, and issues about serious shortcomings on the part of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), Afri, supported by a variety of prominent signatories including Desmond Tutu, Denis Halliday and Ed Vulliamy issued a statement to draw renewed attention to serious concerns around the policing of the Corrib Gas Project. This states that local residents have exhausted all available means of redress – including reports to GSOC, the Minster for Justice and the Garda Commissioner – without receiving satisfactory responses and therefore calls for an independent and comprehensive enquiry into all aspects of the policing of the Corrib Gas Project to seek redress and accountability in relation to abuses which the statement said “are, sadly, ongoing.” Further details are available here.

Disarmament for Development:
call to faith-based organisations

Faith-based organisations are invited to join the Disarmament for Sustainable Development Campaign. The main aim of this initiative is to press for an end to the over-funding of military establishments and for the creation of new funds to tackle human insecurity and common threats to the planet. Fr. Paul Lansu has written a background document which can be used for further action within the religious communities.

Permaculture at Cloughjordan ecovillage
Cultivate offer several ways to earn a Permaculture Design Certificate (‘PDC’) at the ecovillage in Cloughjordan. The next offering is the Permaculture Design FETAC course held over three weekends, 10th-11th and 24th-25th May and 7th-8th June 2014. If you continued onto the Applied Permaculture course, to be held in the autumn, this leads to a globally recognised (UK Permaculture Association) PDC, Or, earn your PDC during our intensive 10-day residential course held from 8th to 17th August 2014. Join Graham Bell (author of ‘The Permaculture Garden’ and ‘The Permaculture Way’), Mark Boyle (aka 'The Moneyless Man' - to be confirmed) and the ecovillage's resident experts of permaculture, gardening, farming, perma-facture and green building for this unique (yearly) opportunity to learn invaluable design and practical skills. More info on this and other news at

Pax Christi 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. JRS Syria belongs to an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS programmes are found in more than 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in camps and cities, individuals displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers in cities and to those held in detention centres. The Peace Award Ceremony will take place on 8th June 2014 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the context of the International Peace Event.


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