Neutrality Bill defeated
A private members' bill to include Irish neutrality in the constitution was defeated in the Dáil on 6th March with Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour all opposed, in a vote which went 85 to 25. For the debate see here. Also on the PANA website at is a video interview with Roger Cole about Irish neutrality and the Neutrality Bill. A former PANA-sponsored independent public opinion poll showed 78% of the public support Irish neutrality.
AVP basic training, May
Alternatives to Violence Project is organizing a basic training workshop the 8th to 10th May 2015 in Quaker House, Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin. AVP is a volunteer movement involving an experiential process where people share and learn peace building skills to live a life of non violence whether in their personal life, at work or in their community. This workshop builds awareness and skills in establishing self-esteem, affirmation, trust and cooperation, awareness of violence/non-violence, transforming power and conflict resolution. On completion, participants may wish to go on to do a second level workshop and then complete AVP training (T4F) to become a Facilitator. This workshop will be led by experienced facilitators within AVP and is open to anyone. If you are working with young people or in communities where there is conflict, it can really help you make a difference. For more information or to book a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org (Cost of the workshop €20).
Most of AVP Ireland workshops take place in prison, with inside and outside participants and facilitators. For more information, check the Facebook page or email email@example.com
Afri Famine Walk
Afri's annual Famine Walk will be held on Saturday 16th May in Louisburgh, County Mayo. The Walk will be preceded by a Food Sovereignty Assembly similar to that held in Castlebar in 2014. More details to follow – see Afri website http://www.afri.ie
Shamrock, Shame and Shannon marks St Patrick's Day
Actors Donal O'Kelly and Dylan Tighe were involved in a theatrical performance in Shannon Airport the day before St Patrick's Day to mark the real role Shannon plays in the USA's wars and renditions in contrast to the shamrock-forelock tugging of St Patrick's Day. This along with a 'cycle of nonviolence' was organised by Afri in association with PANA. See here and an interview with Donal O'Kelly is available here. You can join the Afri mailing list at www.afri.ie
Trident as an issue in North in UK general election
British CND, PANA (Peace and Neutrality Alliance), the Peace People, and INNATE all support there being no replacement for Trident nuclear weapons system in the UK, and raising the issue with parties and candidates in Northern Ireland during the current UK/Westminster general election campaign which culminates in voting on 7th May. British CND's briefing for the election is online. This does not include coverage of Northern Irish political parties but it may be useful in helping find ways to raise the issue.
Deepening Reconciliation, new Glencree book
Deepening Reconciliation – Reflections on Glencree Peacebuilding is a new 207 page book from Glencree published to mark 40 years since the founding of the organisation. Glencree has extensive experience in practical peacebuilding and this is a way to share some of the learning with other practitioners, academics and the general public as a contribution to deepening the work of reconciliation. The chapters are descriptive of this work as well as reflective and are written by the people involved in programme delivery; the publication is based on the narratives and learning of Glencree programmes. Edited by Eamon Rafter, the book costs €20 including postage and can be ordered via the Glencree website -look out also for book launches in Dublin in April and Belfast in May. The website also has the chairperson's report which was given to the Glencree AGM in February. Personnel news from Glencree includes the resignation of Peter Keenan as chair last September after 6 years and the appointment of Barbara Walshe as chair designate. This and other news is in the Glencree Spring newsletter, available on the website.
Mediation Theory and Practice, Belfast
This accredited training (OCN Level 3, 9 credits) will be delivered by Mediation Northern Ireland over 8 days in May and June, running one day a week on Tuesdays from 5th May to 23rd June inclusive. The course aims to equip participants to understand the anatomy of conflict, the principles and practice of mediation and how, when, why and where to use it, an understanding of the five stage mediation model, the practice of co-mediation, and an understanding of what is necessary to run a mediation service. It introduces a basic mediation process for use in a two party dispute or in constructive relationship building and is aimed at a wide range of people within any organisation who will benefit from the skills. The fee is £1,200 standard rate and £600 community and voluntary/individuals rate. Contact Rob Colwell on 028 90438614 for further details of e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.mediationnorthernireland.org
Stop Climate Chaos: Deep disappointment on Climate Bill
Stop Climate Chaos expressed deep disappointment at the end of March about the Irish government's refusal to take on board concerns about the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, which passed its Second Stage. Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said: "We are deeply disappointed at the government's unwillingness to listen to concerns expressed not only by Stop Climate Chaos but by their own party colleagues. Fine Gael and Labour backbenchers have voiced their concerns with aspects of the Bill in the Dáil in recent weeks but the Minister's statement ... clearly shows that none of these issues will be addressed.......These include some of the most important proposals for actually tackling climate change, such as a long term emissions reduction target and an independent advisory council. Minister Kelly has argued that setting national targets would interfere with the EU process but this just doesn't stand up. Other member states have managed to pass climate laws with long-term targets, the most recent of which is Finland which passed a climate law earlier this month with an 80% emissions reduction target for 2050. If the Government is going to reject such important recommendations they must find a stronger rational for doing so." Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) is a coalition of 28 civil society organisations campaigning to ensure Ireland plays its part in preventing runaway climate change, see www.stopclimatechaos.ie and follow SCC on Twitter @SCC_Ireland and on Facebook.
Dealing with the Past: Implementing Stormont House Agreement
This conference takes place on Monday 18th May from 09.30-17.00 at the Ulster University, York Street, Belfast campus; the conference is organised by Amnesty International, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (QUB) and the Transitional Justice Institute (Ulster University). The December 2014 Stormont House Agreement provides for a set of new institutions to deal with the past in Northern Ireland namely: - The Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) 'an independent body to take forward investigations into outstanding Troubles-related deaths' - An Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) 'to enable victims and survivors to seek and privately receive information about the deaths of their next of kin' - An Oral History Archive ' to provide a central place to share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles' - An Implementation and Reconciliation Group 'to oversee themes, archives, and information recovery' The SHA also provides that recommendations for services for victims and survivors including a Mental Trauma Service. The implementation of the above SHA commitments will require detailed legislation. Government plans that draft legislation will be published for consultation this summer, with it then being introduced into Westminster in the autumn term. This conference brings together expertise in academia, NGOs and other practitioners to discuss, examine and provide an independent perspective on the key elements of such legislation. For more information contact Emma Patterson-Bennett email@example.com or ph 028 90316016.
WAVE wins major UK award / Mental health effect of Troubles
WAVE Trauma Centre, a Belfast-based charity providing care and support to anyone bereaved, injured or traumatised by the violence in Northern Ireland, has won a GSK IMPACT Award. WAVE beat over 350 charities across the UK to win the accolade, which recognises excellence in health and wellbeing and includes £30,000 in unrestricted funding. Further details about WAVE's work can be found at www.wavetraumacentre.org.uk
Recent Ulster University research, on behalf of the Commission for Victims and Survivors, found almost 30% of the population in the North suffer mental health problems and nearly half of those are directly related to the Troubles, see here.
Feasta members Willi Kiefel and Seán Conlan have been involved in a unique collaboration between charities, unions and other organisations, with a goal of "promoting greater understanding of what a low carbon future might bring for Ireland ". These organisations have arranged for a series of 'Climate Conversations' being held in Dublin including "'Exploring the Challenge', 'A New Economy', 'Sustainable Use of our Land', 'Prophetic Voices' and 'The Call to New Horizons'. The next event is on 8th April and broadcast live on the web. See www.climategathering.org
Disarmament for Sustainable Development
Pax Christi International and the International Peace Bureau invite faith-based organisations and religious communities worldwide 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. In addition, the campaign supports all efforts to limit or eliminate weapons that impact negatively on communities in conflict zones. Weapons programmes divert public funds from health care, education, disaster relief and other vital services. The nine nuclear-armed nations for instance spend in excess of US$105 billion each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Funding allocated to national disarmament efforts is minuscule by comparison, and the principal UN body responsible for advancing nuclear abolition has an annual budget of just over $10 million. It is time to redirect money towards meeting human needs. All are invited to join the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) campaign. In 2015, the day of action is on 13th April. See demilitarize.orgwww.paxchristi.net and www.ipb.org
Video on INNATE poster set
A five minute NVTV interview with INNATE coordinator Rob Fairmichael about the INNATE poster collection, during the Posters for Peace exhibition at Duncairn, Belfast, can be seen here and go to 50:47 minutes in (the last item).
Veterans for Peace – IRA veterans video
A five minute Guardian video on UK Veterans for Peace interaction with former IRA members in Northern Ireland can be seen here. The UK Veterans for Peace website is at www.veteransforpeace.org.uk
Death of Narayan Desai, 1924-2015
War Resisters' International has paid the following tribute to Narayan Desai: "We mourn with sadness the passing of Narayanbhai - teacher, trainer, author, spinner: total revolutionary. We celebrate a long life rich in history though never in funds, Narayan grew up in Gandhi's ashram, the son of Gandhi's personal secretary and biographer, Mahadev Desai. A devotee of Jayaprakash (JP) Narayan's work and call for TOTAL REVOLUTION, Narayanbhai set up the Institute for Total Revolution after JP's passing in 1979. He was a founder of the World Peace Brigades and Peace Brigades International, a chairperson of the War Resisters International, and a leader of India's Shanti Sena (Peace Army) and many other organizations and movements. From 2007 until very recently, he held the post of Chancellor of the Gujarat Vidyapith, the Ahmedabad university founded by Gandhi in 1920."www.wri-irg.org
Amnesty questions PSNI training of Burmese police
Amnesty International has questioned Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) involvement in the training of Burmese (Myanmar) police in crowd control after students, monks and journalists were reported to have been beaten with batons at a peaceful protest 90 miles north of Yangon on 10th March. The police action followed similar incidents the previous week when violence - including the police deployment of local thugs - was reportedly used to disperse and arrest student protestors. Amnesty described the violent police crackdown on largely peaceful protesters as an "unnecessary and excessive use of force".
In November 2013 the NI Policing Board approved the secondment of a PSNI officer to support the Myanmar Police Force as part of a European Union programme, while in February a delegation of senior officers from the Burmese police were hosted by Derry Police and Community Safety Partnership to discuss crowd management and community policing.
Amnesty International Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said: "Given the latest incidents of police brutality in Burma, we call on the Chief Constable and the Northern Ireland Policing Board to suspend any involvement with current EU police training in the country, until such time that it can be demonstrated that such training is not contributing to the sort of serious human rights abuses currently taking place." www.amnesty.org.uk and follow on Twitter: @AmnestyNI
Origin of ISIS
A useful 12 minute Ben Swann 'Truth in Media' video, addressed to a USA audience, on the origin of ISIS.
Pax Christi International on Syria
A mid-March statement by Pax Christi International "on the violent conflict in Syria: ending the war and saving lives must be top priority" is available here.
Peace and Neutrality: International, National Perspectives
A short report on this meeting organised by Afri in February, particularly looking at Costa Rica, can be found here.
Counterterrorism, Women, Peace and Security
A report on the panel discussion "Counterterrorism Measures and Their Effects on the Implementation of the WPS Agenda", organised by the Women Peacemakers Program along with three other organisations in New York in March, can be found here.
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