CAIN able to continue
CAIN, Conflict Archive on the Internet, has received sufficient funding from Initiatives of Change to continue operating for the next couple of years and to use new technology in the archive – although it still seeks further funding. The most used online resource on the conflict in Northern Ireland, it has been under threat of being mothballed (the site become static but still being online) and funding was urgently required. The three staff involved will continue to be based at Ulster University’s Magee campus – it is a project of UU. https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/
On UK’s commitment to ‘no diminution’ of rights in NI
The UK made a commitment that there will be ‘no diminution’ of a number of rights set out in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) as a result of Brexit and it has committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland’s laws keep pace with future changes to certain EU human rights and equality laws. An article by Robyn Scott, Communications and Equality Coalition Coordinator, CAJ, in (page 9 of) the February issue of ‘Just News’, the publication of CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice, looks at this area and identifies six different potential breaches of the ‘no diminution’ commitment which it outlines. ‘Just News’ is available on the CAJ website at https://caj.org.uk/ and go to Publications.
Talk by Chris Cole on drones
Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK will be giving a talk at 7.30pm on Tuesday 16th March on ‘Drone Wars 2021: The growing use of drones on the battlefield and the home-front’. John Maguire will give a short response, filling in some Irish context, followed by discussion. The platform will be Zoom; it is an open meeting organised by the new network on the arms trade in Ireland; contact email@example.com to receive an invitation. The next business meeting of the network on the arms trade is one week previous to this, 7.30pm on Tuesday 9th March and contact the same address for inclusion.
Letter issued by groups on Belfast armed drone development
Nobel Peace Laureate Máiread Maguire and eleven civil society groups or organisations signed a recent letter to the media (and to the appropriate ministers) expressing concern on the development by Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast (formerly Bombardier) of an armed fighter drone for the British Ministry of Defence. They stated “The Northern Ireland ‘peace process’ risks becoming a Northern Ireland ‘war process’ “ and “ It is sad that the UK should be investing in this war technology, and doubly sad that it is being done in the city of Belfast which deserves better.” See full letter at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/50977311207/in/dateposted/
Gaza bikes appeal
Stephen Wood has a crowdfunding appeal out to send second hand bikes to a youth project in Gaza. They are for the Palestinian Youth Corps (PYC) which is a Gaza based volunteer organisation committed to community development, freedom and human rights. See https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stephen-wood-2?utm_term=RwgWjkGeq for details.
Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) European conference
A 3-day European conference in February, organised by Nonviolent Peaceforce, looked at Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP – including monitoring, accompaniment, being present and working with people at risk etc). Originally scheduled as a face-to-face gathering and the final leg of a worldwide project operating for some years, the European event was ‘caught by Covid’ and took place online. Previous sessions had been held in Manila (December 2017), Beirut, Nairobi, Paynesville (North America), and Bogota (January 2020). Reports from these conferences are available at https://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/what-we-do/developing-and-expanding-the-field and the European report should join the rest by autumn 2021. Northern Ireland, the Western Balkans and Kosovo featured in one of the sessions. See also https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/50973503687/in/dateposted/ See report later in this issue
Covid control breaches by US military at Shannon
Shannonwatch have called for the cessation of US military and military contracted flights landing and refuelling at Shannon Airport following a series of Covid breaches where US military personnel stayed overnight in local hotels, contrary to regulations, and without any tests. http://www.shannonwatch.org/
Corrymeela podcasts on Irishness and Britishness
Corrymeela has started a series of weekly podcasts on questions of Irishness and Britishness, for this year when the centenary of partition is marked, as well as the first year of the Brexit regulations. Hosted by Pádraig Ó Tuama, there are some very well known and fascinating speakers. See https://www.publictheologyireland.com/podcast The main Corrymeela website is at https://www.corrymeela.org/
The vision of Síolta Chroí (Seeds of the Heart) is a more connected world where ecosystems are restored and thriving, humans are working in cooperation with wider nature and one another and everyone has the opportunity to explore their full human potential. Given Covid restrictions, how some courses (communication, food growing, permaculture, yoga and foodgrowing) will take place is uncertain but details can be found at https://sioltachroi.ie/ Síolta Chroí, Aghcloghan, Carrickmacross, Monaghan, ph 087 9018581.
Dates slip by on data control
ICCL, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, continues to be active on data issues. They state that there is growing concern that the DPC/Irish Data Protection Commission is not up to the task of regulating the big tech companies headquartered in Dublin. It is the chief regulator of these companies under the GDPR. Recently, an opinion from the European Court of Justice pointedly described “persistent administrative inertia”, and EU’s Parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), is calling for an infringement procedure against Ireland for failing to enforce the GDPR. Go to https://www.iccl.ie/ and click on ‘Digital & Data”.
World Beyond War Ireland series videos
Go to https://tinyurl.com/9pvcjuee to see the videos from the series A World Beyond War – Conversations on Alternatives, and other material. Speakers in the series were Denis Halliday, Clare Daly, Dave Donnellan, Suad Aldarra, Yaser Alashqar, and Ed Horgan. WBW Ireland is at https://worldbeyondwar.org/ireland/ See report later….
Afri’s Féile Bríde ‘Seeds of the heart’ video
Links to the video of this year’s Afri Féile Bríde can be found as follows: YouTube: https://youtu.be/Arpcp3Irz64 and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/103508859693611/videos/774921813462472
QCEA launches peace mediation report
QCEA/Quaker Council on European Affairs has launched a new 72-page report called ‘Peace Mediation: from Concept to successful implementation, learning from Quaker experience’. It focuses on the implementation of the new ‘Concept on EU Peace Mediation’ which was published at the end of 2020. It advocates for learning from Quaker experience in mediation and conciliation and using the learnings for practical guidance, underlining the unique Quaker approach to mediation based on trust, independence, principled impartiality, long-term engagement as well as humility. It can be downloaded at http://www.qcea.org/2020/12/new-report-on-peace-mediation/
Church and Peace on EU security policy decisions
Church and Peace has evaluated some of the arms and security policy decisions taken under the German EU Council Presidency; Read the statement at: https://www.church-and-peace.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Statement-on-security-policydecisions-EU-February-2021.pdf
Front Line Defenders (FLD), in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Resistance Studies is offering an at-home screening of the powerful documentary film Nasrin, followed by a panel discussion with Jeff Kauffman and Marcia Ross (director and producer of Nasrin), Mary Lawlor, (United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders), Reza Khandan (Iranian activist & husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh), and Iranian women human rights defenders (WHRDs) Mahdieh Golrou and Rezvaneh Mohammadi on Tuesday, 9th March at 7pm (GMT). Register by 5th March to see the film (you will be sent a password protected link to see the film in your own time): www.eventbrite.com/e/nasrin-documentary-screening-panel-discussion-tickets-139619033287 The discussion will be live streamed via the Front Line Defenders’ Facebook and Youtube channels; see https://www.facebook.com/FrontLineDefenders/ and https://www.youtube.com/c/FrontLineDefenders The main FLD website is at https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/
– FLD’s ‘Global Analysis 2020’, available on their website, lists 331 human rights defenders killed in 2020 as well as detailed analysis of issues affecting those working in this field.
Voting procedures in decision making
A recent presentation by Peter Emerson of the de Borda Institute, running for 32 minutes, on this topic can be found at https://vimeo.com/507305964/d5db98342f See also http://www.deborda.org/
Feasta (and Feasta)
The annual report for 2020 from Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustaiability, can be found on their fascinating and detailed website https://www.feasta.org/ under ‘Documents’ along with a huge amount of other material. Their ‘Theory of Change’ can be found under the ‘About’ button.