Arms trade networking, fighter drone development in Belfast
An online cross-border network of people interested in or working on arms trade issues has grown out of a seminar organised by INNATE. It is quite informal and shares information, perceptions and possibilities for work on this issue, and will be organising open seminars. Anyone interested welcome; contact INNATE email@example.com
A major issue of concern in this area is the recent commissioning by the UK Ministry of Defence of an armed jet drone to be developed by Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast (formerly Bombardier) by 2023 at a cost of £30 million; see https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/50883490988/in/dateposted/ for links and details.
Féile Bríde – Seeds of the Heart - and Afri’s video report
Afri’s 29th Féile Bríde gathering takes place on line on 6th February from 3pm to 5pm. There have been 28 such gatherings as part of community events organised by Cáirde Bhríde in Kildare, taking place around Brigid’s Day in February – but this year due to Covid restrictions it has to be a virtual event. The title is ‘Seeds of the Heart’ and it will look at issues to do with care for the planet and ‘welcoming the stranger’, among others. Contributers include founders of Síolta Chroí, Karen Jeffares and Gareth Conlon; Sinéad Fortune; Ruairí MacKiernan; Pete Mullineaux; Sikhulekile Ruth Ndlovu; Grace Wells; and RoJ Whelan.. There will be music from Kila’s Dee Armstrong and friends. For further details and booking, which is free, see the website at https://www.afri.ie/ This is updated from information which appeared in the January news supplement
– A 10-minute video report on Afri’s work in 2020 can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uEeGm0NUpc
ICCL work in 2021
A short 2-minute overview of the Irish Council for Civil Liberty’s priorities for 2021, given by its director Liam Herrick, can be seen at https://vimeo.com/507083586 See also https://www.iccl.ie/ Menahwile ICCL have stressed the obligations under international law of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to fully investigate the killing of George Nkencho by gardaí, including the need to look at the possibility of racial bias, and to include and update Nkencho’s family at all stages of the investigation; see website for more details.
CAJ annual report
The annual report from CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, is available at https://bit.ly/3n8arko (also available through the website) and gives an excellent picture of the detailed and multifaceted work done by the organisation in 2020 as it faced many different challenges It includes a Chairperson’s Foreword from Anna Bryson who took over that post from Louise Mallinder at the start of 2020. Paula Gourley took over as Office and Finance Manager from Liz McAleer https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/49592467992/in/dateposted/ in March 2020. See also https://caj.org.uk/
PSNI receive report of illegal activity by UK
On 22nd January activists, accompanied by a banner proclaiming ‘UK Nukes Illegal’, handed in a letter to the Police Service of Northern Ireland headquarters at Knock, Belfast. This asked what the PSNI would be doing regarding the UK acting illegally in continuing to hold nuclear weapons, given that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons came into effect in international law that day. Signatories on the letter included Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. See https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/50862311953/in/dateposted/
Peace Brigades International: New coordinator, annual report
Eimhin O’Reilly is the new Consultant Coordinator of Peace Brigades International Ireland, having taken over this role from Karen Jeffares, who initiated and founded the PBI Ireland country group in 2014, was Coordinator until April 2020, and also very involved with PBI internationally. Karen has now moved on to Síolta Chroí (Seeds of the Heart), based on a farm in County Monaghan. Eimhin is a recent returnee from the PBI Honduras field project, and has worked in Latin American solidarity both in the region and in Ireland. PBI/Peace Brigades International annual report for 2020 is available on their website at https://www.pbi-ireland.org/ along with other material and videos.
Online volunteering with Voluntary Service International
Short-term online International Volunteer Projects are a great way to meet and connect with people from all around the world and to continue working towards peace and social justice, all from the comfort of your own home! VSI’s current opportunities cover a range of topics including climate change, sustainable solutions, history about the global peace movement and writing Wikipedia articles. Volunteers will be provided with the following supports: support and advice, and an initial induction and training. Volunteers do not need to have any prior knowledge or required skills to take part. You can read about VSI’s volunteers’ experience learning from home and find out more about the available opportunities at https://www.vsi.ie/news/2021/01/25/environmentally-aware-online-project-with-seeds-ic-1/ and https://www.vsi.ie/news/2021/01/06/online-wikipedia-for-peace-project-writing-about-s/ To apply, interested applicants will need to fill out a short application form found at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSda5s5tgH1EWNZauxjJE6fUQXzMmDVE_1-gUrOSewDFkgI4og/viewform Applicants will also need to send VSI a motivation letter stating their interest as well as confirming their availability during the project. Email VSI at firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information, please visit the website: https://www.vsi.ie/
Shannon discussion video
An hour long recording recording of ‘Exploring the Hidden Truth about Shannon Airport and U.S. Global Warfare’, a December 2020 seminar hosted by the Human Rights Law Clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway is available at bit.ly/2LPvo60 It involves discussion between John Lannon, Lynn Boylan and Saoirse McHugh.
Church and Peace: Building peace from the ground up
The Britain and Ireland region of Church and Peace is organising an online day event of talks, workshops and worship exploring how to respond to hate, and how to build the church up as a place active for peace. It is on 13th March and more info and how to register is at: https://www.church-and-peace.org/en/2021/01/online-conference-13-march-2021/ See also https://www.church-and-peace.org/en/ A short report on a Church and Peace discussion in December 2020 on ‘How to Dismantle White Privilege’, with a link to a more detailed report., appears at https://www.church-and-peace.org/en/2020/12/acknowledging-whiteness/
QCEA Peace Education seminar
“The possibilities of peace education: Evidence and opportunities” is an online seminar taking place 20th – 22nd May organised by the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) and Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) and open to anyone interested in peace education. The gathering will provide a space for people from across Europe to come together online, make new connections and reflect over the course of three days. It will explore how education can sow the seeds of sustainable peace and heal divisions and how peace education can become mainstreamed in EU and national policies at a time of increasing polarisation and conflict. See https://www.qcea.org/home/events/conferences/
PANA: The importance of neutrality to European peace movement
Irish peace groups and MEPs from the Left group of the European Parliament convened a Webinar in mid-December to discuss issues of crucial importance to the peace movement in Ireland and Europe. Chaired by Clare Daly MEP members of the public heard from PANA Chair Roger Cole on the history of Irish neutrality. Özlem Demirel MEP spoke about the accelerating militarisation of Europe under the EU’s mechanisms for a “common defence.” Ed Horgan (Shannonwatch) discussed the failure of the United Nations as an institutional forum for peace-keeping. The final speaker, Mick Wallace MEP spoke about the worsening geopolitical environment in EU foreign affairs, and the continuing importance of evicting the United States military from Shannon Airport.
PANA goes on to say “The European Defence Fund is portrayed to EU citizens as necessary for common security against terrorism or the Russian threat. In reality, this structure will justify huge subsidies to the arms industry and the research and development of weaponry that will aggravate international tensions rather than contribute to peace. Research carried out by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance show the EU collectively is the second largest supplier of weapons in the world after the US, and about a third of those exports go to the Middle East, and to other areas of conflicts or growing tensions. According to Roger Cole ‘one of the most horrific examples is undoubtedly the war in Yemen where presently European-made weapons are being used to commit war crimes and human rights abuses, with a devastating famine as consequence’. (details on PANA Website)” https://www.pana.ie/
l The PANA website has a link to the book by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, “Coalition of the Unwilling” about their 2014 attempt to inspect a USA warplane at Shannon, subsequent trial, and the issues concerned.
Irish Centre for Human Rights seminars
Upcoming online lectures and seminars from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, include one on ‘Aggression and its victims’ on 15th February (3.30-5.00pm); international law has not traditionally recognised individuals as victims of the crime of aggression but recent developments may indicate a change on this. On 22nd February, from 1-2pm, Dr Catherine O’Rourke, Director, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, will give a seminar on her new book, ‘Women’s Rights in Armed Conflict under International Law’. More details at https://www.nuigalway.ie/irish-centre-human-rights/newsevents/dates-for-your-diary-2021.html
Feasta: new podcast series
With a huge amount of material on their website, Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, is continuing their podcasts with a new series for 2021 entitled ‘Bridging the gaps’ (co-organised with the European Health Futures Forum). https://www.feasta.org/