Expect publication Friday 2nd or Saturday 3rd April……
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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/
A World Beyond War? Conversations on alternatives The Irish chapter of World Beyond War (WBW) have a weekly series of online seminars starting at 7pm on Wednesday 13th January and running for 5 weeks. “War: Who wins and who loses? How is it waged and financed? How does it impact the civilian populations of the world? How does it contribute to human misery? What are its effects on the environment? And why it doesn’t have to be like this.” On 13th January the topic is ‘Ireland, the United Nations and the Security Council’ with Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant General Secretary; January 20th, ‘The military industrial complex and politics’ with Clare Daly MEP; January 27th, ‘Militarism and Ecological Destruction’ with Dave Donellan, peace activist; February 3rd,’ Militarism and human displacement’ with Suad Aldarra & Yaser Alashqar, respectively from Syria and Palestine; February 10th, ‘Are militaries lthe most appropriate Peacekeepers?’ with Edward Horgan, former Irish peacekeeper All these are on Zoom from 7pm to 7.45pm. For further details (click on the individual sessions) and booking see https://worldbeyondwar.org/ireland/
Féile Bríde – Seeds of the Heart - and Afri’s video report
Afri’s 29th Féile Bríde gathering will take place on line for the first time in 2021, on 6th February beginning at 2pm. 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. This year’s 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.
Confirmed speakers so far include social entrepreneur Ruairi McKiernan and founders of Síolta Chroí Karen Jeffares and Gareth Conlon. There will be music from Kila’s Dee Armstrong and friends among others. For further details contact email@example.com or see the website in due course https://www.afri.ie/
A 10-minute video report on Afri’s work in 2020 can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uEeGm0NUpc
De Borda seminar: Consensus voting
‘Democratic Decision-making, Consensus Voting in Civic Society and Parliaments’ is an online seminar organised by the de Borda Institute, hosted by Anna Tulin Brett (NUI, Galway) and introduced by Prof Hugh Miall, (Conflict Research Society). This short session takes place on Thursday 14th January from 10.30am. The link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86570929098?pwd=OTVHQkl5Q3ZhUjRwLzFpeDZpNFR4Zz09 Meeting ID: 865 7092 9098 and Passcode: 5G34xF The de Borda website is at http://www.deborda.org/
Arms Trade networking
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 will share information, perceptions and possibilities for work on this issue. The next meeting is online on Tuesday 26th January at 7.30pm and anyone interested is welcome; contact INNATE firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link and report from the last meeting..
Nuclear weapons illegal on 22nd January
The nuclear armed powers may ignore the matter and pretend it isn’t happening but anything to do with nuclear weapons becomes illegal in international law on 22nd January when there is an opportunity for civil society to draw attention to this through the ringing of church bells, and other manifestations of this important development – the day will be marked by various groups and organisations internationally. INNATE has a downloadable poster for home printing, ‘Nuclear weapons illegal’, at http://www.innatenonviolence.org/posters/index.shtml
Holocaust memorial exhibition
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Conflict Textiles has partnered with the Linen Hall Library in Belfast to present a small online exhibition, Light during the darkness: Remembering the Holocaust (12th January – 1st February) with a brief guided tour on 27th January from 2.00 – 3.30pm; there will be inputs from a transnational panel of 5 contributors on Holocaust-related family memorabilia. You can register on https://linenhall.com/events/online-event-light-during-the-darkness-remembering-the-holocaust/ and the exhibition details are at https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/conflicttextiles/search-quilts2/fullevent1/?id=226
Eco-Congregation Ireland gathering
Eco-Congregation Ireland is holding an online meet up on Saturday 16th January 2021 at 11.00am. This online event will be for faith communities to share experiences and ideas. There will be input from a congregation that has received their Eco-Congregation Award, as well as a church on their journey towards their Award. Participants are welcome to bring their questions about any aspect of their ECI journey whether that is about getting started, working towards an ECI Award, the ECI Awareness and Endeavour Certificates or hosting the ECI Climate Justice Candle. If you would like to attend please email Karen Nicholson to register and to get the Zoom link – email@example.com You can also sign up to receive the regular ECI newsletter. https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/