Tag Archives: Peace news in Ireland


Report on violence against women and girls in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Women’s Policy Group research findings on this topic are published in a 66-page report with a summary at https://wrda.net/2022/04/14/womens-policy-group-publishes-mens-violence-against-women-and-girls-research-report/ and a link to the full report. There is a powerful case study at the start of the report and the statistic thatin their anonymous online survey, which had 1065 responses, 83% of  women  had been impacted by men’s violence against women and girls but only 21.4% reported this to the police. The three key themes emerging were “1. The importance of education, 2. Our justice system is failing victims, 3. Men’s violence must be directly addressed.“

Bystander’ approach at Stormont to gender violence

The Ending Violence Against Women and Girls directorate at Stormont, which is working on a strategy on the issue, organised a conference on 28th June which heard from USA activist Jackson Katz. The ‘Bystander’ approach (which title might be misconstrued) to gender violence and bullying prevention, advocated by Katz and others, instead of focusing on women as victims and men as perpetrators of harassment, abuse or violence, concentrates on the role of peers, wherever they may be, in challenging violence and sexism. “The goal is to help people move from being passive bystanders to being empowered and active ones, and thus contribute to a change in the social acceptability of harassment, abuse or violence.” NI Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey quoted that “Statistics from 2019 show that during the 18/19 period, 69% of all domestic abuse crime victims were women and 86% of all perpetrators were men.” Wordsearch ‘Bystander approach’ and ‘Jackson Katz’ for more info on the ‘Bystander’ approach.

Stiofán Nutty joins Mediators’ Institute as first CEO

Stiofán Nutty has been appointed and started work as the first CEO of MII/The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland. Welcoming his appointment, President of the MII Ber Barry-Murray outlined his wide ranging and relevant work experience, and said he will support the MII Council in the implementation of its vision and strategy and be responsible for the operational management of the Institute. See photo at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/52153375801/in/dateposted/ The MII website is at https://www.themii.ie/

Enda Young as new director of Mediation NI

Enda Young has been appointed as the new managing director of Mediation Northern Ireland/MNI, taking up the appointment in September. Welcoming Enda to MNI, co-chairs of the Board of Trustees Dr Catherine Turner and Rosie Timoney commentedWe are delighted to be able to welcome Enda to the role of Director. Enda represents a bridge between the past and the future of the organisation. He brings not only a wealth of experience but great creative energy to the role, and we look forward to working with him to shape the next chapter of MNI’s story.” https://mediationnorthernireland.org/

Another trial postponed: Edward Horgan, Dan Dowling

The trial of Edward Horgan and Dan Dowling for a nonviolent action at Shannon Airport in April 2017, due to begin on 15th June, has, disappointingly, been postponed to January 2023. A backlog of cases was cited as the reason. See http://www.shannonwatch.org/content/another-trial-peace-activists-begins (written before postponement of the trial).

ICCL launches 5-year plan

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties/ICCL launched its strategic plan for 2022-2026 at its AGM on 30th June; this covers work in the four areas where it feels it can make a real difference in the promotion and protection of human rights: the administration of justice, equality and discrimination, democratic freedoms, and digital rights. See www.iccl.ie

l ICCL’s report to the UN Human Rights Council, which examines Ireland’s record on 4th and 5th July, can be found at https://www.iccl.ie/report/new-report-on-civil-and-political-rights-in-ireland/ while It is expected the rights body will hold the government to account on issues such as facial recognition technology, trans and intersex rights, and Direct Provision. The session will be available to watch from 3pm on Monday 4th and continuing on 5th July; https://media.un.org/en/search/search/categories/meetings-events/human-rights-treaty-bodies/human-rights-committee

CR Week in the North: “Change starts with us”

Co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, Good Relations Week in Northern Ireland will run from Monday 19th to Sunday 25th September this year with an anticipated programme of up to 300 events from a diverse range of organisations.. It will include a mixture of workshops, lectures, panel discussions, feature talks, podcasts, music and dance performances, storytelling and exhibitions. It aims to focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to highlight the political, social, economic, and environmental challenges we face and how good community relationships are fundamental to enabling work together to promote inclusive and sustainable growth. Info and link for registration at https://www.community-relations.org.uk/news-centre/good-relations-week-2022-change-starts-us

l The CRC Small Grants Scheme to help community and voluntary groups throughout Northern Ireland engage in Community Relations work is open until 16th December this year. See https://www.community-relations.org.uk/community-relations-cultural-diversity

Spirit AeroSystems military drone cancelled by British MoD

The project developing the ‘Loyal Wingman’ drone at Spirit Aerosystems in Belfast for the British Ministry of Defence/RAF has been cancelled at design stage, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-61984792 While not stated it is clear that this is because the design does not work for the purpose intended although the chair of Spirit AeroSytems pronounced that there were “useful results” from the work.

CAJ, Human Rights Consortium oppose ‘Removal of Rights’ Bill

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Consortium, which has the involvement of almost 170 civil society organisations, has strongly opposed the UK’s attempt to remove the Human Rights Act. Kevin Hanratty, director of the Consortium, said “The proposed legislation is a power grab on an epic scale which will limit the rights of individuals to hold the government to account for its actions………The UK Governments proposals, if enacted, would represent a substantial weakening of rights and a violation of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement by effectively scrapping the Human Rights Act (HRA)……The proposals are clearly at odds with the views of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland and across the UK who value the role that this legislation has played in protecting us.” http://www.humanrightsconsortium.org/uk-legislation-condemned-rights-removal-bill/

lCAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, has strongly opposed the UK’s ‘Bill of Rights Bill’ stating that it could more aptly be called a ‘Removal of Rights Bill’ since it will weaken existing protections and destroy rights instead of protecting them. They state “Amongst other things, this law is a direct attack on the Good Friday Agreement. Full incorporation of the European Convention in domestic law was a key aspect of the Agreement. Since then, the Human Rights Act has become part of the fabric of good governance in Northern Ireland, not least by underpinning the police reform process. “ See https://caj.org.uk/2022/06/22/caj-deeply-concerned-about-the-removal-of-rights-bill/

CCI helping traumatised children in Ukraine

Chernobyl Children International (CCI) is providing children on the frontline with vital rest and recuperation in their homeland. Children in the Chernobyl zone (Ivankiv region) are facing a double tragedy; firstly, from the physical war in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and then upon liberation by the Ukrainian Army, the subsequent exposure to a detrimental elevation in radiation levels from what is being called the second but “invisible war” of radiation. CCI have partnered with humanitarian organisation, Caritas Ukraine, to provide a safe ‘haven’ in the Carpathians in Western Ukraine, for children to travel to for a much-needed break from the hostile environments that they are currently living in. See https://www.chernobyl-international.com/ and you can donate through the website.

Videos from GAAW and StoP: War, EU militarisation

The video of the recent Galway Alliance Against War and Free Assange Ireland webinar “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth” can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDtihvVuXng including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and Harry Browne. The video of the StoP/Swords to Ploughshares webinar “EU militarisation, Irish neutrality and the war in Ukraine: the case for peace” with contributors including Miriam Ryan, Niamh Ní Bhriain, Jan Oberg and Eamon Rafter is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqniPJg70xU

Corrymeela: Courage to lament

A video of an ecumenical service organised by Corrymeela on 21st June, and others, to reflect on the conflict in and about Northern Ireland and the future is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xmvzqmy7ao using the biblical practice of lament. https://www.corrymeela.org/

Museum of Peace

The virtual Museum of Peace put together at St Andrew’s University in Scotland is worth a visit: https://peacemuseum.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/


See https://www.icanw.org/vienna_declaration_action_plan_overview for next steps in eliminating nuclear weapons.

War on West Papua

A new and informative website on West Papua is online at https://www.waronwestpapua.org/  – it has been put together by WagePeace, War Resisters’ International, and Make West Papua Safe. As well as background information it lists the countries and companies arming Indonesia and thereby assisting its occupation of West Papua (which has no democratic mandate). There will be a launch webinar on 6thJuly at 10am Irish time: see https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2022/new-website-war-west-papua-and-launch-event


Shannon trial of Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers

The jury began their deliberations on 29th April in the trial of Ken Mayers (85) and Tarak Kauff (80) for an action at Shannon Airport in March 2019; with no decision after a couple of hours, the jury were sent home for the weekend. Both men are US citizens and members of Veterans for Peace. The trial itself began on Monday 25th April at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin; Mayers and Kauff pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage, trespass, and interfering with airport operations and safety. On St. Patrick’s Day 2019 the two men entered Shannon airport to attempt to search and investigate any aircraft associated with the US military that were there; when they entered there were two US military aircraft at the airport and one civilian aircraft on contract to the US military. They were prevented from searching these aircraft by airport security personnel and Gardai and were arrested and detained at Shannon Garda Station overnight and then charged with criminal damage to the airport fence. They were committed to Limerick prison where they were held for two weeks until the High Court released them on bail conditions which included the seizure of their passports, and they were thus prevented from returning to their homes in the USA for over eight months.

Such trials always reveal fascinating and revealing details about the state and various agencies. One such detail concerned John Francis, Chief Airport Security Officer at Shannon since 2003; when asked if was aware of the prohibition on the transport of arms through the airport unless a specific exemption is granted, he said he was unaware of whether any arms were in fact transported through the airport or if any such exemption had ever been granted. He said that the Omni troop flights were “not scheduled,” “they can show up any time,” and that he “wouldn’t be aware” if a plane carrying weapons was coming through the airport or whether any exemption had been granted to allow such transport.

38 peace activists have been brought before the courts in Ireland on similar charges since 2001. Fuller trial reports are available on the Shannonwatch website at http://www.shannonwatch.org/ and at https://tinyurl.com/44pus3x5

Meanwhile an Irish Times/Ipsos poll has shown strong continued support in the Republic for Irish neutrality https://www.tiny.cc/3t6ruz And the Neutrality Bill proposed by People Before Profit in Dáil Éireann which would have meant a referendum on the issue of enshrining neutrality in the Constitution was supported by Sinn Féin, Labour, Social Democrats, Aontú and Independents with 53 votes but was was rejected by government parties Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens with 67 votes. The Peoples Movement have a protest against EU militarisation at Dáil Éireann on Wednesday 18th May at 1pm. https://www.people.ie

Doolough Famine Walk – Tackling global warming & global warring

Afri’s Famine Walk in Co Mayo is back on the ‘real road’ on Saturday 21st May (after two years online); walkers will gather in Louisburgh for conversation, talks and music before being ferried by bus to the start of the walk, retracing the steps of several hundred people who made this journey in search of food during An Gorta Mór, walkers will make their way through the spectacular Doolough Valley marking the tragedy of 1849 but linking to contemporary events. Registration from 12.00 noon in Parish Hall, Louisburgh. Beginning at 1pm. The title is ‘Tackling global warming and global warring – Breaking the cycle of hunger and displacement”. Walk leaders include Robbie McVeigh and Catherine Connolly TD. Registration €25, unwaged €15, children free. See https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/afri-famine-walk-2022-tackling-global-warming-and-global-warring-tickets-325178085407

Elements of Change

This community-led sustainability festival celebrating culture, creativity, and climate action organised by Cultivate takes place in Cloughjordan Ecovillage on 25th and 26th June with multiple venues including: Talks and interactive workshops; Bands, musicians, and DJs; Locally sourced and organic food; Crafts and gift stalls; Children’s entertainment; Conversation cafés etc. Details at http://www.cultivate.ie/community-resilience/1330-elements-of-change-festival-2022 Adult full price tickets for the weekend €50.

A renaissance of the peace process?

It may have taken place in September 2019 but the recently published report of a one day conference on this topic (sponsored by CAJ, ICCL, QUB Human Rights Centre and the George Mitchell Institute at QUB) makes for fascinating and useful reading: https://caj.org.uk/2022/04/04/conference-report-a-renaissance-of-the-peace-process-what-kind-of-society-do-we-need/

Back to normal for AVP, seeks volunteer facilitators

The Alternatives to Violence Project/AVP is ‘back to normal’ in its prison workshops and is looking for new volunteers who would make a commitment to stay for a few years and available 4 – 5 full weekends a year, prepared to undertake the training and committed to the AVP ethos, with an open and non judgemental mindset. Rewards include learning new skills in facilitation and conflict resolution – and fun as well as serious work. If interested contact dorothee@avpireland.ie or text 0851512582 to schedule a phone call. There will be open information meetings for potential new volunteers in June, September and December. More info on AVP at https://avpireland.ie/

VSI – Return to short-term international volunteering projects

Are you interested in making a difference in your free time and finding a cost-effective way to explore Europe? VSI/Voluntary Service International have resumed sending in-person volunteers on short-term projects in Europe. Their staff team have put together a list of projects which focus on their core values including solidarity, environmentalism, and human rights. Visit www.vsi.ie/volunteer/ivp.html to learn more about these opportunities and how to apply. Or contact VSI’s Programmes Officer, Eiméar, by email programmes@vsi.ie or phone +353 852104197.

Corrymeela Belfast office move

Corymeela has moved its Belfast office to the Russell Centre (ex-Russell Court Hotel) on the Lisburn Road. While this will be used as a staff and meeting location there will be no receptionist and only used as a meeting place by invitation; normal queries and post should go to Ballycastle, phone 028 20762626 or email welcome@corrymeela.org and postal address The Corrymeela Centre, 5 Drumaroan Road, Ballycastle, BT54 6QU. https://www.corrymeela.org/

IAWM Ukraine demo

The Irish Anti-war Movement has a Stop The War in Ukraine demonstration on Saturday 7th May at 2:30pm at the Spire in O’Connell Street Dublin. The aims of the protest are: Immediate withdrawal of all Russian Forces from Ukraine, Solidarity with the Russian Anti-War protesters, and No NATO escalation. https://irishantiwar.org/

New PANA website

The Peace And Neutrality Alliance has revamped its website at www.pana.ie while older material is still available.

UN Chernobyl Remembrance Day

This took place on 26th April, the 36th anniversary of the explosion there, while Adi Roche, Voluntary CEO of Chernobyl Children International (CCI) pointed out that “The catastrophic Russian Invasion Assault on Ukraine, which began at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in February has potentially triggered a second ‘invisible’ war, as radioactivity in the Chernobyl Zone is being re-released into the atmosphere……Chernobyl is not something from the past; Chernobyl ‘was forever’, Chernobyl ‘is forever’; the impact of that single shocking nuclear accident can never be undone; its radioactive footprint is embedded in our world forever and millions of people are still being affected by its deadly legacy. ….” https://www.chernobyl-international.com/

Jesus and nonviolence

A talk by Johnston McMaster on ‘Jesus and nonviolence’ in the Irish situation is available on the Corrymeela website at https://www.corrymeela.org/news/220/jesus-and-nonviolence-a-new It was originally part of a workshop in the Four Corners Festival in Belfast and a photo from another presentation of it is at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/51988133747/in/dateposted/ Meanwhile the paper by John Dear on the same topic and event is included in the email and web editions of this issue of Nonviolent News; John Dear is the director of www.beatitudescenter.org where he offers and hosts zoom workshops on Gospel nonviolence.

Arts Activism Toolkit

Creativity in our actions is key to communicating and breaking through barriers. If you word search for ‘arts activism toolkit’ you will come up with a variety of different material; one very useful recent example can be found at https://www.tshisimani.org.za/2022/04/11/imagingingotherwise-arts-activism-toolkit/

World military expenditure tops $2 trillion for first time

Total global military expenditure increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms in 2021, to reach $2113 billion. The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62% of expenditure, according to SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. See https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2022/world-military-expenditure-passes-2-trillion-first-time SIPRI’s paper on trends in international arms transfers can be found at https://www.sipri.org/publications/2022/sipri-fact-sheets/trends-international-arms-transfers-2021

Global Days of Action on Military Spending continues until 12th May with the theme ‘Give Peace a Budget’; see https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/demilitarizeday and https://demilitarize.org/

Human rights in Tibet

The grave situation in Tibet under China’s sinicization policy is shown in the annual report from the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) available at https://tchrd.org/2021-annual-report-on-human-rights-situation-in-tibet-released/

Julian Assange

The British Courts have paved the way for the UK Home Secretary to sign the extradition order for Julian Assange to be dispatched into the hands of the USA justice system and the defence have one last chance to get the extradition decision overturned and Assange released from HMP Belmarsh. You can sign the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) petition at https://rsf.org/en/free-assange-petition-april-2022


Russians against the war on Ukraine

The Russian Movement of Conscientious Objectors has listed Russian statements against the war. There are celebrities, movements, professional groups and open petitions. The list is in Russian and in English and it will be updated but even it is not fully comprehensive .it shows remarkable courage and widespread rejection of the war by people in Russia. .https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTpUj_oFMQ9kwIe0hyFP-Yv_DTcKp_z0H2DVEsNhcC44nsEyzZokIuaosaP3cXZh9D5XZvYnGcffDzI/pub?urp=gmail_link

– In Ireland there have been demonstrations including Belfast, Cork and Dublin, in the case of the last both at the Dáil and the Russian embassy, involving Ukrainians, Irish people, Russians and others. Keep your eyes peeled for things happening locally or DIY. The email and web editions of this issue of Nonviolent News include a summary of statements by civil society and peace groups, and other analysis..

Organised by the Ukrainian community in NI, there will be a ‘Peace in Ukraine – No to war!’ demo, gathering at Custom House Square, Belfast, at 4pm on Saturday 5th March before walking to City Hall.

Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW)

GAAW was set up just over twenty years ago to campaign for peace and Irish neutrality at the time of the lead up to the US war on Afghanistan. It has successfully opposed the militaristic Salthill Airshow, sought to to free Assange; campaigned against EU militarism and the US wars waged via Shannon airport – on Shannon its work ranges from educational to direct action. Recently it called for an end to all naval exercises in Irish waters. https://www.facebook.com/groups/312442090965 GAAW produces an occasional newssheet, to subscribe send an email to galwayallianceagainstwar@gmail.com

Thales Belfast: a call to transition

A small demonstration will take place at the biggest bomb factory in Belfast, Thales, in Alanbrooke Road, Castlereagh, Belfast on St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, at 11am, calling on Thales to use its engineering expertise and large workforce for producing socially useful products rather than weapons of destruction. As well as missiles and related military equipment they are developing laser/energy field weapons for the Ministry of Defence in London. Those attending are asked to bring bubble making materials to symbolise positivity. The event is organised by INNATE in association with StoP/Swords to Ploughshares network. Contact innate@ntlworld.com

Monitoring May Assembly elections in the North

From 2nd to 8th May, 2022, Sustainable Development Assistance International (SDAI-AIDD), a Canadian non-profit, is organising an International Election Observation Mission for the 5th May elections in Northern Ireland. 50 international election observers are volunteering to monitor at polling stations and vote counting centres with the goal of promoting a fair and peaceful election in Northern Ireland. SDAI is looking for the assistance of local people to volunteer to drive international election observers on election day and vote counting day (5th and 6th May). The project is also open to local observers who are able to be politically neutral in their observations and do not appear to be politically biased; they would need to attend observer training on 3rd May and preferably the debriefing on 7th May in Belfast. They are also looking for donations of local baking for the international observers to enjoy on training and debriefing days in Belfast. If you are able to help, please contact SDAI on their website https://www.sdai-aidd.ca/

Organic Centre Rossinver

The Organic Centre nestled in the heart of rural Rossinver, Leitrim looks forward to 2022 with the hope of brighter days ahead. As an educational charity, it specialises in promoting all things organic, sustainable living and biodiversity. The Organic Centre was founded in 1995 by local organic growers, and farmers. Developed on a 19-acre green field site at the foot of limestone hills beside Lough Melvin, it became a pioneering organisation, at the forefront of organic growing, and action for climate change. From the beginning there was 6 weekend courses which took place in 1997. Now, the centre looks forward to over 85 courses ranging from growing to renewable energy as well as 16 free events including Biodiversity Day, and Apple Day. Coming soon we welcome back our well-loved potato day https://www.theorganiccentre.ie/page/whats-on-5, a free friendly event, on March 6th from 12-4pm, with demonstrations, tours, and an onsite market.

The centre also hosts a one year, full time fully funded course in organic horticulture an incredible opportunity to study in relaxing surrounds, it is closing for applications soon. https://msletb.ie/further-education-and-training-fet/search-courses/?sfcw-courseId=328174 An array of weekend courses throughout the year range from organic growing, renewable energy, mindfulness, cheese making and more. Check out the Organic Centre’s website and social media channels for more information on courses, events, the Grass Roof café, and the onsite and online shop including a Zero Waste and Craft sections. Or just keep up to date on the news from the camera for the resident wild life that make the environment of the centre their home. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2785829048376230&ref=sharing

Licensing as a mediator with MNI, MII

Mediation Northern Ireland (MNI) has launched their first annual licencing process for mediators (with two levels, an Entry Level Mediation Licence for mediators who are just starting out, and a Mediation Practitioner Licence). Licensed mediators will, for an annual fee, have access to various supports including monthly CPD/Continuous Professional Development, supervision, inclusion in a register of practitioners, networking and conference participation. Contact licencing@mediationnorthernireland.org and see also www.mediationnorthernireland.org

Full information on Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII) licensing of mediators can be found on their website at https://www.themii.ie/ and click on ‘Membership’. There are several categories of individual members, including advanced membership, and corporate membership for groupings of mediators, with specific entitlements for each category which are outlined on the website. Only MII Practising Certificate holders are approved by MII to mediate, and they are bound by the MII Code of Ethics and Practice.

Belfast Hiroshima

Belfast-based artist Deepa Mann-Kler has created an app, AR Peace Wall, for the Cupar Way ‘peace wall’ in Belfast where people scan a code placed along the wall and virtual reality technology transforms the location to Hiroshima 75 years ago when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city and explores peace building. Download the app at https://visitbelfast.com/partners/ar-peace-wall-app/ (and word search for further information).

Police Reform North and South

The ‘Police Reform North and South: Learning from the past and planning for the future’ seminar takes place from 9.15am to 5pm, Thursday 24th March at the Westin Hotel, Dublin or virtually. It follows on from the ‘PSNI@20’ conference in November 2021. Co-organised by CAJ and ICC, this is an opportunity to reflect on past successes, current challenges, and risks for the future around human rights and policing. Speakers include prominent policy makers, academics, practitioners, and others with a direct involvement in police reform and oversight. Book through link (and more info) at https://caj.org.uk/ and see also https://www.iccl.ie/

CAJ 40

In addition to coverage of a variety of current issues, the February 2022 issue of Just News, the publication of CAJ/The Committee on the Administration of Justice, looks back over its start 40 years ago with fascinating pieces by some of those most involved at the very beginning. Download at https://caj.org.uk/2022/02/25/just-news-february-2022/

Front Line Defenders lecture: Palestine/Israel human rights

The annual FLD lecture is entitled ‘Politicizing Human Rights in Palestine/Israel’ and given by Anat Biletzki

who is the Albert Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy at Quinnipiac University and Professor of Philosophy (retired) at Tel Aviv University. It will be given in 3 cities; Dublin on 14th March, Galway on 15th March and Belfast on 16th March (time –teatime’ but varies according to location). More info and booking links at https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/annual-front-line-defenders-lecture

Rights and equality in NI under Brexit and the Protocol

The confusing world of who has what rights in the North after Brexit is tackled in a 27-page guide to ‘Human Rights and Equality in Northern Ireland under the Protocol: A practical guide’ which has been produced by the Social Change Initiative, the Human Rights Centre at QUB, and the Donia Human Rights Center, University of Michigan. It is available at https://www.socialchangeinitiative.com/human-rights-and-equality-in-northern-ireland-under-the-protocol-a-practical-guide

Gospel nonviolence

Those who may be interested in the Christian gospel nonviolence approach of Emmanuel Charles McCarthy can listen to an Irish radio interview with him from 1996 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq4lcAXE75s or transcript at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GKI28UrcU39pf98uMr30wUJFDTQHun2f/edit

Eco-Congregation Ireland annual review

A short 4-page review of the work of ECI In the last year is available on their website at https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/2022/02/25/eci-annual-review-2021-available/ To receive the ECI e-newsletter, simply send an email with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject-line to info@ecocongregationireland.com


St Brigid strides and strives again

At noon on St Brigid’s Day, 1st February, members of StoP (Swords to Ploughshares), accompanied by Brigid of Kildare delivered a letter, a copy of the Downpatrick Declaration and a St. Brigid Peace Cross to Minister Simon Coveney at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. StoP is a network of peace groups throughout the island of Ireland who are deeply concerned about the recent heightening of tensions between Russia and NATO, the increasing militarisation of the EU, the Irish Government’s development of a weapons industry and their increasing moves towards more militarisation.

In the context of the current tensions relating to Ukraine, the letter expressed deep disappointment that Ireland, instead of playing the role of an independent neutral arbiter, is walking in lockstep with the more militaristic voices in Europe and with NATO. StoP believes that Ireland, as a neutral country should be working for de-escalation and dialogue, not participating in a ramping up of hostilities or adding more weapons to a world already vastly over-supplied with arms. Part of the reason for Brigid’s appearance at the Department of Foreign Affairs is to ensure that St Brigid’s Day (including the new public holiday in the Republic beginning in 2023) is used to support Ireland’s role in promoting peace. Photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/51856475871/in/photostream/ and video at https://www.facebook.com/afriireland/videos/743625159944103

Afri’s Féile Bríde: Moving towards the light….Conflict and climate

The annual Féile Bríde will take place online on Saturday, February 5th from 3pm to 5 pm. This year’s theme is “Moving towards the Light: Meeting the Challenges of Conflict and Climate”. Afri sayWe are inspired by the way in which so many young people, especially, have taken up the challenge of tackling the climate issue and are demanding action from governments that will put care for our planet central to everything we do…..We will also examine the wider issue of violence and war and how it affects people – especially in the global South.”

Some of those contributing include – Host: Ruairí McKiernan, author and activist; Lighting the Flame, Rita Minehan; Our Climate on Fire, Ciara Murphy; A Vivid Spark: The Downpatrick Declaration, John Maguire; From Darkness into Light, Richard Moore; The Fire and the Light: Abjata Khalif, freelance journalist and a development worker from Kenya and Chair of the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network; Sharing the Light of Peace, Mairéad Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate; Music by Tommy Sands. Registration is free but donations are appreciated and welcome in supporting Afri’s activism, campaigning and development education work. More info and registration link at https://www.afri.ie/category/date-for-your-diary-feile-bride-2022/ Donate upon registration or www.afri.ie/donate

World Beyond War series: Realities and consequences of war

Every Wednesday evening from 7 – 8pm from 16th February to 16th March there is a series of conversations on “Bearing witness to the reality and consequences of war” organised by the Irish chapter of World Beyond War (WBW). Details are as follows: 16th February at 7pm; Nick Buxton and Niamh Ni Bhriain (Transnational Institute, Amsterdam) with Eamon Rafter (Irish Chapter WBW), respondent: Yuri Sheliazhenko. 23rd February: Lara Marlowe (Journalist, The Irish Times) with Brian Sheridan (Irish Chapter WBW), respondent: Joe Murray (Afri). 2nd March: Malalai Joya (Human Rights Activist, Afghanistan) with Peadar King (Irish Chapter WBW), respondent: Mary McDermott, CEO Safe Ireland. 9th March: Máiread Maguire (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) with Ed Horgan (Irish Chapter WBW) respondent TBC. 16th March: Caoimhe Butterly (Irish Human Rights Activist) with John Lannon (Shannonwatch), respondent TBC. As the WBW states, “How do we bear witness to an unbearable reality?……What happens in our name, and for our comfort?…..” Inputs will be followed by contributions from the audience. Information and booking at https://worldbeyondwar.org/wednesdaywebinars/

Peace groups in Ireland through the years

INNATE has published online a 15-page chronological listing of around sixty peace groups in Ireland since the 19th century. This includes groups who have worked for peace in Northern Ireland as well as those concerned with international peace issues. It lists links and resources for those wanting to follow up the story of particular groups and is available in the Pamphlets section of the INNATE website at https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/pamphlets/   INNATE coordinator Rob Fairmichael said “Peace movement history is important for many reasons including the inspiration that it can provide and, in the Northern Ireland context, the challenge it provides to both state and paramilitary narratives of the Troubles”. 

Responses to Ukraine crisis

Afri issued a statement about the Ukraine crisis which is available on their website at https://tinyurl.com/mr2kt28a This deplored military escalation on both sides, pointed to the real possibilities of negotiation but also the terrible toll that violence and war currently extorts. It also pointed to the role of the arms industry in conflict and the Irish government’s role in giving the USA military access to Shannon, and encouraging the arms industry. StoP, Swords to Ploughshares (the Irish network opposing the arms industry and militarisation) also issued a statement, available at https://www.facebook.com/groups/457937902289814

CAJ: Can Stormont rollback the ‘hostile environment’?

Report launch, 10.30am to 12.30pm, Wednesday 23 February 2022, Zoom (online only) Commissioned by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Immigration Project, barrister Mark Bassett has authored a legal research paper mapping out the interface between devolved and non-devolved matters in respect of immigration and associated issues. This report examines where Northern Ireland Executive departments would have the legislative competence to push back against the hostile environment, as well as similar Home Office policies that have a detrimental impact on migrant rights. Questions to events@caj.org.uk.and register via Eventbrite and more details at https://caj.org.uk/2022/01/26/can-stormont-rollback-the-hostile-environment/

CAJ’s annual report for 2021 can be found at https://caj.org.uk/2021/12/10/caj-annual-report-2021/

AVP/Alternatives to Violence Project

A short annual report and update on AVP Ireland’s work can be found on their website at https://avpireland.ie/bye-bye-2021-welcome-2022/ AVP Ireland is a community of volunteers inside and outside prisons who run experiential workshops in conflict resolution and restorative practices; it is for anyone who wants to learn to build better relationships, prevent conflict and resolve it when it occurs and who is willing to share their skills and experience.

ICCL on hate crime

The Coalition Against Hate Crime Ireland (led by ICCL) has said politicians are not hearing the voices of people who are targeted by hate crime as they legislate on the issue. The Oireachtas Justice Committee has so far conducted one session on the legislation, with no representation from key affected groups like LGBTI+ people or people with disabilities. Ahead of the publication of the bill, there is no calendar for further engagement. ICCL is also concerned that the Justice Committee Hearing focused only on hate crime and did not engage in sufficient scrutiny on the section of the legislation dealing with hate speech; it says ”though the issues are related, they are distinct and must be treated as such in law”. More details at https://www.iccl.ie/news/rights-group-calls-on-politicians-consult-communities-targeted-hate-crime/

– The current issue of ICCL’s Rights News includes a summary of work in the last year…and a look back over the 45 years of ICCL, click on the link at https://www.iccl.ie/news/rights-news-2021-45-years-of-the-human-rights-movement-in-ireland/

Seminar on Development Education and Social Justice

The Centre for Global Education (CGE)and the Centre for Global Development (UCC) invite participation in a seminar titled ‘Development Education and Social Justice’ which will debate the content of Issue 33 of “Policy and Practice” (which is on the title theme). The speakers are: Gertrude Cotter (Lecturer, UCC, Chair); Shawna Carroll (Okayama University, Japan); Eilish Dillon (Department of International Development, Maynooth University); Joyce Raanhuis (Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa). The event will be held online on Tuesday, 1st March at 12.00pm. For more info and to register see https://www.eventbrite.com/e/development-education-and-social-justice-seminar-tickets-256847938097 and CGE website is at https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/

Leinster gathering for Eco-Congregation (ECI)

Eco Journeys – Past and Future’, on Saturday 12 February from 10.30am – 12.00 noon is an event open to those in Leinster who are interested in learning how to start their church’s eco journey, work towards their ECI Award and develop their work into the future. Three faith communities who have received their ECI Award will share and there will be an opportunity for discussion, questions and ideas sharing. If you would like to attend, contact https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/ See also https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/

MLK resources from FOR USA

The Fellowship of Reconciliation in the USA has produced a new curriculum and study guide to go with their 1957 comic/graphic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story(also available from them in printed form). While some of the material is specific to the US, educators and facilitators may find other material useful, especially with or even without the book. See https://forusa.org/martin-luther-king-and-the-montgomery-story-curriculum-guide/

Nonviolent News Supplement to issue 295, January 2022

Please note this is a short supplement with mainly time-limited or immediate information, not a full issue (the next one will appear at the start of February).

Launch of Downpatrick Declaration
The Downpatrick Declaration was launched on 7th December at the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick. This is an important challenge to people and governments in both jurisdictions in Ireland to live up to their aspirations and expressed beliefs (as stated in the Good Friday Agreement and the Constitution of Ireland/Bunreacht na hÉireann) for the peaceful resolution of conflict, and also for avoiding militarisation and engagement in the arms trade.  The Declaration was launched by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire.

A short, 10 minute, video of the launch is available on the website at https://www.downpatrickdeclaration.com/ where you can read the Declaration, sign it, and request to receive further information in future. A full video recording of the launch will appear on the website soon. Emanating originally from Afri, and backed by  INNATE, StoP, and a wide variety of figures from civil society and the arts, the Downpatrick Declaration will be the focus of campaigning around building peace and avoiding the increasing militarisation which is taking place North and South of the border.

While named the ‘Downpatrick’ Declaration after the three Christian patrons of Ireland (Patrick, Brigid and Colmcille) associated with Downpatrick, it is not a specifically Christian document but recalling the commitment to peace of these three great figures and the wider history of Irish engagement in peacemaking. 

Afri: Desmond Tutu commemoration, Féile Bríde and other events
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with his wife Leah, has been a long time patron of Afri and following his death on 26th December, Afri commemorated his life, and connections with issues in Ireland; this was through an online event which took place on 30th December.  This ran for just over an hour and a half and the video can accessed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3x-iW1r0tmeKx9SAdgMOsw along with a shorter video of Desmond Tutu speaking about his links with Afri.

In a statement Afri said “We in Afri join with the world in expressing our sadness at the passing of our hero and patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. We also add our voice to the chorus of praise that has risen up since his death, not only for his unique contribution to the dismantling of apartheid but also for his stance on many important issues including freedom for the Palestinian people and the urgent need to tackle climate change. We are full of grief and gratitude and we express our sympathy especially to Desmond’s wife Leah and his family.

Desmond Tutu identified war and the war industry as one of the great evils of our time, pointing to the immoral wastage of resources which it represents as well as the extent to which it destroys people and wreaks havoc on our precious planet. When it drives people from their homes in their millions, government representatives wring their hands but then slam the doors to refuge against them.

On the occasion of the burial of such a great peacemaker, we ask: why is Ireland increasingly joining the war mongers club? Why are we increasing spending on weapons of death and why are we encouraging Irish businesses to get involved in producing weapons? Why are we encouraging our Universities and other educational institutes to get involved in military research?  A recent conference sponsored by the government explicitly sought to link up companies and colleges with wider networks of military activity.

This initiative, by a government led by Michael Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan, does not represent the will of the Irish people who have consistently expressed their support for Ireland to maintain its neutrality and to concentrate on promoting peace and disarmament, rather than joining military alliances or adding more weapons to a world already awash with the tools of war.

In the name of our great patron, Desmond Tutu, we call on the government to reverse this decision and instead follow the Archbishop’s example of promoting peace and non-violent conflict resolution.” 

- A 10-minute video report on Afri’s work in 2021 can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAMgxwjhmww&t=491s 

- Meanwhile Afri’s programme for 2022 includes its Féile Bríde which takes place, online, on Saturday 5th February with the topic "Moving Towards the Light: Meeting the Challenges of Conflict and Climate"; further details on Afri’s website www.afri.ie in due course and in the February issue of Nonviolent News. Other dates during the year include the Doolough Famine Walk on 21st May and Hedge School in TU Dublin in November.

Nonviolent Communication retreat in Ireland, February
From 24th February until 5th March, there will be a 9-day International Intensive Training in Nonviolent Communication (NVC), the first in Ireland. The trainers will be Donal Gannon, John Kinyon, Dian Killian and Shona Cameron; the venue is the Lucan Spa Hotel, Co Dublin. It promises to “help you bring nonviolence and peace into all areas of your life. In this event, you can discover skills that will help you improve the quality of your relationships, deepen your inner peace, and increase your contribution to the world.”  The purpose of this training is defined as  giving people the opportunity to live the process of Nonviolent Communication in community over an extended period of time, in order to develop the mindsets and practical tools to help  in three areas: personal and professional relationships, inner transformation, and contribution to others and social change. Further details at https://www.cnvc.org/2022-Ireland-IIT though the fee may be impossible to meet for many people.

Peace groups listing
INNATE has a draft document out for consultation listing peace groups in Ireland since the 19th century. This went out with the last e-mail edition of Nonviolent News and will be finalised at the end of January and go online then.. Additions and corrections are sought; if you need a copy of the draft please contact innate@ntlworld.com 

IFOR: Call to mark first anniversary of nuclear ban
IFOR/International Fellowship of Reconciliation has called on people to use a variety of means to mark the first anniversary, on 22nd January, of the coming into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). https://www.ifor.org/    INNATE’s mini-poster on this, for home printing, can be found under ‘Nuclear weapons illegal’ at https://innatenonviolence.org/wp/posters/ 

UNAC: Call to free Julian Assange 
A statement from the United National Antiwar Coalition in the USA calls for freeing Julian Assange and points out that New York Times reporters who analysed confidential Pentagon documents on US airstrikes, following in Assange’s footsteps in reporting US war crimes, have not been charged. They included analysing  “50,000 U.S. airstrikes on Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan conducted under the Obama and Trump administrations. The Times on-the-scene reporters subsequently confirmed tens of thousands of civilian casualties – collateral damage.“The [Pentagon] documents,” according to The Times, “identify children killed or injured in 27 percent of cases; in The Times’s ground-breaking reporting it was 62 percent.” “

You can read the UNAC statement and support the call to free Assange at https://unac.notowar.net/peace-and-justice-organizations-call-for-freedom-for-julian-assange/ 

The next, full, issue of Nonviolent News is for February with a deadline of 1st February.

Nonviolent News 293

NIO breach equality on proposed Troubles amnesty

In a victory for civil society, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) and Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) have welcomed a report from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), published on 29th September which concludes the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) breached its Equality Scheme in relation to its proposed legacy bill. The ECNI investigation was triggered by a complaint from CAJ and PFC, made in July 2020.

Daniel Holder of CAJ said: “We welcome this investigation report by ECNI, which shines a light on haphazard Donald Trump-like policy making on legacy by the NIO. Its notable that the NIO departed from applying its Equality Scheme procedures properly at the same time that it unilaterally ditched the Stormont House Agreement. An equality assessment should have been carried out and made available on the policy at the earliest possible stage to highlight the impact of this change would have, including on victims and their families.” See https://caj.org.uk/2021/09/29/ecni-nio-investigation/ and https://patfinucanecentre.org/

The UN Human Rights Council has been examining concerns related to the Northern Ireland Office’s impunity proposals. The UK proposes introducing legislation that would include a statute-bar on investigating conflict related incidents, along with an unconditional and unqualified amnesty for conflict related offences. CAJ’s written statement to the Human Rights Council on these developments is available on their website. Amnesty International also input to the UN Human Rights Council and Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager for Amnesty UK, said: This blueprint for writing-off conflict related violations not only breaches the UK’s international and domestic human rights obligations, but unduly interferes in our justice system and undermines the rule of law. It sets a very dangerous precedent.” https://www.amnesty.ie/amnesty-and-troubles-victims-address-un/ and https://www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/Northern-Ireland

Another report, from experts at CAJ and the School of Law at QUB, on the UK government’s ‘Command Paper on Legacy’ concluded that the proposed amnesty is broader than even that introduced by Chilean dictator Pinochet and cannot deliver truth for victims of the Troubles. See https://tinyurl.com/3wf3ncp5

Practical peacemaking wisdom from the North

Emily Stanton’s new book, based on her doctoral research, has been published by Routledge. It is entitled “Theorising Civil Society Peacebuilding: The Practical Wisdom of Local Peace Practitioners in Northern Ireland, 1965-2015”, https://tinyurl.com/59zwn4cn It includes new information about the role of civil society in peacemaking in the North and, as it details in the title, develops a theory on the practical wisdom of local peace practitioners. ISBN 9780367496838, 236 pages, though unfortunately, in terms of availability, it is priced as an academic publication (the e-book is £33). The information leaflet for Emily Stanton’s peace trail “Untold stories – Touring Belfast’s grassroots peacebuilding history”, also mainly based on her doctoral research, is available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/43899692560/in/album-72157676326740807/ and the frame beside that. Nonviolent News (e-mail and web editions) will review her book in the near future.

Dated and dangerous: Fossil fuel powering data centres

The issue of fossil fuel used by data centres in Ireland is emerging as a major issue as data centres (115 constructed or proposed) mushroom around the country. A report in The Irish Times 28/9/21 reported that “If all the proposed data centres for Ireland were to be connected they could use as much as 70 per cent of Ireland’s electricity grid capacity in 2030.” A short, 8 minute, video from Afri, “Code Red: The danger of data centres” looks at the issue of data centres with a particular focus on Co Clare: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bucw38roFlc&t=3s

On a more positive and ecological note, another Afri video looks at the work of Siolta Chroí (‘Regenerating people and wider nature’) in Co Monaghan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiGYI1SsxoI and https://sioltachroi.ie/ The Afri website is at https://www.afri.ie/

More ‘made in Belfast’ violence from Thales

Thales, the missile makers and biggest bomb factory in Belfast, have been awarded major contracts for the British Ministry of Defence to develop “directed energy weapons”, which use laser and radio frequency technology. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-58562436 StoP/Swords to Ploughshares, the network opposing the arms trade in Ireland (both jurisdictions and with involvement from a variety of individuals and groups) meets regularly via Zoom and can be contacted c/o INNATE innate@ntlworld.com

White poppies from PPU

The Peace Pledge Union in Britain has white poppies available as usual for the ‘remembrance season’ in November. “They represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war.” White poppies are available in packs of 5, 10 or 100 along with other resources; see https://www.ppu.org.uk/remembrance-white-poppies for details. In Dublin, white poppies are available at the Winding Stair Bookshop, Lower Ormond Quay.

Ireland gives big tech free rein

A report from ICCL/Irish Council for Civil Liberties, published in September, details how, in the words of the author of the report, Dr Johnny Ryan, “The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has failed to send draft decisions to its European colleagues on a very large number of major EU-wide cases. This makes it impossible to uphold data rights and police how Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, use people’s data across Europe.” See https://www.iccl.ie/news/europes-wild-west-damning-new-stats-on-big-tech-in-ireland/ with link to full report.

Irish peace movement history

INNATE is organising two remote/Zoom seminars on Irish peace movement history where a number of speakers will share briefly on a particularly memorable event or experience in the work. The first session, on work to do with peace in Northern Ireland, will be on Wednesday 17th November at 7.30pm, and the second, on international peace work in Ireland, will be at 7.30pm on 24th November. Further info and booking details in the next issue of Nonviolent News.

Church and Peace: Images of God – (Non)Violence

From 3rd to 5th September the AGM and international conference of Church and Peace dealt with the topic of Images of God and (Non)Violence. The participants explored manifestations of hierarchy, dominance, oppression, and violence – whether structural, spiritual, or personal. The aim was to determine the extent to which religious traditions and attitudes are linked to violence, racism, and sexism, to explore the connections between images of God and language, and to look at how language opens up or dictates how we think. It became clear that there is a close connection between authoritarian theology and patriarchal images of God, liturgies, and language patterns, on the one hand, and violence in churches, communities, families, and politics, on the other hand. Churches and congregations worldwide clearly have to grapple with these issues. The presentations, and other material are available on the Church and Peace website: https://www.church-and-peace.org/en/documents/international-conference-2021/

World Beyond War: War Abolisher awards

World Beyond war/WBW has three awards to be made at a 6th October ceremony. The Lifetime Organizational War Abolisher goes to Peace Boat https://peaceboat.org/english while the individual awardee is Mel Duncan and The War Abolisher of 2021 award goes to to Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina in Montenegro https://sinjajevina.org/ Anyone can join the awards ceremony which takes place at 1pm Irish time on 6th October and further details are available at https://tinyurl.com/mfsu2pz8

Green growth?

The issue of ‘green growth’ is a thorny one and generates controversy. A new podcast from Feasta with economic researcher Beth Stratford outlines an agenda that she believes both degrowth advocates and green growth advocates should be able to sign up to. She describes four strategies for reducing growth dependency in the economy while simultaneously improving societal wellbeing. See https://www.feasta.org/2021/01/31/bridging-the-gaps-2021-podcasts-on-ecology-health-energy-well-being/

CCI work on independent living in Belarus

An article on Chernobyl Children International’s work in establishing an Independent Living Home for people with disabilities in Belarus, the first in the country, can be found at https://www.echolive.ie/corkviews/arid-40361606.html The CCI website is at https://www.chernobyl-international.com/

Conflict Textiles

Suitcases: Telling Textile Travels is an online exhibition of 23 international textiles from the Conflict Textiles collection focused on global displacement, both historical and current, its multiple impacts and the experiences of refugees both before and after they arrive and settle in their host country. On 4th October at 2pm, online, there is a guided tour of the exhibition, led by Roberta Bacic and on 6 October at 2pm, also online, an associated event – Conflict Textiles and CAIN: Learning the Language of Textiles, will provide a comprehensive background to the origins, development and mission of the Conflict Textiles physical collection and online archive. See https://www.platforma.org.uk/pf_events/suitcases-telling-textile-travels/ and


Nonviolent News 292

EU and Irish militarisation

The European Network Against the Arms Trade www.enaat.org based in Brussels has produced a new pamphlet on the Militarisation of the EU which can be read on PANA’s website  www.pana.ie “In 2019, the total defence expenditure of the 27 EDA members (including all EU countries except Denmark) stood at €186 billion, marking a 5% increase on 2018. There was also a significant increase in investments in new weapons and military technology: EU Member States spent €41.4 billion on equipment procurement and R&D. There is a great deal of pressure on EU countries to spend more on arms, mainly because of the commitments taken under PESCO ….. but also because of the NATO framework.”

The PANA website also has a statement by its chair, Roger Cole, on Afghanistan: “…The Republic of Ireland backed the war on Afghanistan not just by destroying Irish Neutrality as stated in International law of the Hague Convention of 1907, and allowing millions of US troops land in Shannon Airport on their way to the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq by sending over 200 members of the Irish Defence Forces to take part in the occupation of Afghanistan directly under the command of the nuclear armed military alliance NATO.”

Shannonwatch on Afghanistan

Shannonwatch has welcomed calls for Ireland to do more to resettle and provide international protection for people fleeing from Afghanistan. It also calls on the government to urgently assess its role in creating the conditions leading to the current catastrophic situation there. It continues, “In particular, there is an urgent need to assess and end the use of Shannon Airport by the US military, in light of what the twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan has led to…..The Irish people have never supported the US military use of Shannon. Now is the time to end it.” For more information see http://www.shannonwatch.org/ which also has news of US cargo planes flying to the USA from Afghanistan via Shannon “almost certainly carrying heavy loads of military equipment “.

l A statement by Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire on Afghanistan can be seen at http://www.peacepeople.com/the-afghan-war-200l-2021/

Irish CND Hiroshima Day commemoration, Dublin

The annual ceremony organised by the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, marking the 76th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, took place at the memorial cherry tree in Merrion Square, Dublin on 6th August. The speakers included the President of Irish CND, Patrick Comerford, and Joe Costello, deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, the latter laying a white wreath at the memorial. Joe Costello spoke of pride in Ireland’s contributions to moving nuclear disarmament forward in the international arena, most recently through Ireland’s role in bringing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to reality; Ireland has divested state-held funds from companies involved in the nuclear weapons industry. He also reaffirmed Dublin’s commitment to the goals of Mayors for Peace, welcoming their newly-released Vision for Peaceful Transformation to a Sustainable World. http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/vision/index.html Patrick Comerford warned of the dangers and inappropriateness of nuclear weapons in dealing with the issues facing the world today. The Japanese ambassador to Ireland, Mitsuru Kitano, was another speaker at the event. http://irishcnd.blogspot.com/ The Peace People also organised a commemorative event in Belfast for the anniversary.

WRI: Nonviolence in Action, centenary conference

War Resisters’ International international online conference on activism, solidarity and antimilitarism – marking the WRI’s centenary – takes place in the period 20th – 28th November. See https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/nonviolence-action for more details. There will be a mixture of discussion groups, workshops and plenaries. Participation is free with a suggested donation of $10/€10 towards costs.

Good Relations Week in the North

Good Relations Week in Northern Ireland runs from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September this year on the theme Brighter Days Ahead to celebrate and shine a light on the peace building and cultural diversity efforts of young people and the challenges they are facing. As usual a wide variety of free events can be expected which showcase the work of diverse groups across the North, including some face-to-face events. The event is coordinated by the Community Relations Council. https://www.community-relations.org.uk/good-relations-week

NI Equality Coalition on Covid recovery

The Equality Coalition in Northern Ireland has issued a statement urging decision makers to address inequality, and avoid austeriuty, as part of the pandemic recovery.. Covid-19 has disproportionately affected protected groups such as older people; persons with disabilities and those who are clinically vulnerable; women; black and minority ethnic people; and those with dependents. See www.equalitycoalition.net

Disrupting rights: Putting people at the centre of change

This 18-page resource by Nicola Browne of Participation and the Practice of Rights in Belfast can be found through a link on the Social Change Initiative’s website at https://www.socialchangeinitiative.com/disrupting-rights-to-deliver-real-change as well as at Change from the Ground Up at https://www.changefromthegroundup.org/disruptive-rights

Conflict Textiles

The Conflict Textiles website at https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/conflicttextiles/ is a very comprehensive overview on this topic and listing of current and past events and the arpilleras and other textiles which have appeared in exhibitions. Current online exhibitions include the online Nonviolence in Action: Antimilitarism in the 21st Century (marking the centenary of the War Resisters’ International) https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/conflict-textiles-exhibition-nonviolence-action-antimilitarism-21st-century and seven textiles which appear in the Ulster Museum, Belfast, in the Troubles and Beyond exhibition on Following the Footsteps of the Disappeared.

de Borda news; Refer-endums and government formation

Open Democracy has published a short piece on looking beyond binary referendums, see https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/why-ireland-needs-look-beyond-binary-referendum-unification/ following University College London’s report on unification referendums in Ireland. Meanwhile on 4th October at 4pm, a week after the German general election, the de Borda Institute will be running a virtual workshop on the matrix vote ‘in’ Germany, a role-play to show how a Bundestag, rather than spending weeks in inter-party negotiations selecting a new Government, could elect one in less than a week. Run in conjunction with the Centre of Conflict Resolution in Munich: http://www.ccr-munich.de/ccr.htm this will be an English language, online matrix vote role play; in the webinar itself, they will elect a proportional, all-party, power-sharing Government, choosing not only who is to be in Cabinet but also in which Ministry… all in just the one matrix vote election.  See https://politicalreform.ie/2021/08/31/pluralism-is-possible/ and www.deborda.org – volunteer participants still welcome/

Season of Creation

Eco Congregation Ireland (ECI) has shared the following resources for Creation Time/Season of Creation which takes place at this time of year: Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference – https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2021/07/21/season-of-creation-2021/; Season of Creation 2021 – https://seasonofcreation.org/; Climate Sunday Resources – https://www.climatesunday.org/; Prayer Vigil for COP26 – https://prayandfastfortheclimate.org.uk/2021/07/31/prayer-vigil-for-cop26/; Eco-Congregation Scotland – resources on COP26 can be found at https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/ See also ECI’s own website at https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/

Feasta’s COP26 youth delegation

FEASTA is supporting the youth climate justice movement by nominating a number of young activists from Ireland and around the world to be delegates as part of FEASTA’s accredited observer status at the UNFCCC at the next climate conference (COP-26) to be held in early November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Their profiles are available on their website at https://www.feasta.org/ (along with a huge amount of other material).

Covid restrictions in Republic

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed the plan to end all Covid restrictions by 22nd October.ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said: “ We hope this will mean the overarching emergency legislation will be allowed to lapse on its 9 November sunset clause. We also hope this means previous government statements – that quarantine and vaccine passports will remain with us for longer – are now null and void.” ICCL also calls on government to commit to ending mandatory quarantine, a form of detention, and the discriminatory use of the vaccine passport, as soon as possible. Without the overarching emergency legislation, which lapses on 9 November, there will be no legal basis for restrictions on movement or gatherings. In the meantime, ICCL has called on Government to relax the regulations for attendance at funerals, which has a deep impact on families and has been one of the hardest restrictions for those faced with it during the pandemic. ICCL’s report on Covid and human rights in Ireland is at: https://www.iccl.ie/resources/publication/human-rights-in-a-pandemic/

Stop excluding military pollution…….

As a result of final-hour demands made by the USA government during negotiation of the 1997 Kyoto treaty, military greenhouse gas emissions were exempted from climate negotiations. World Beyond War has a petition, available at https://tinyurl.com/ytj8effe which includes “We ask COP26 to set strict greenhouse gas emissions limits that make no exception for militarism, include transparent reporting requirements and independent verification, and do not rely on schemes to “offset” emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from a country’s overseas military bases must be fully reported and charged to that country, not the country where the base is located.” https://worldbeyondwar.org/

Local leadership in peace processes

From 13-14 October, Principles for Peace (P4P) and Peace Direct invite peacebuilders, activists, changemakers, and anyone committed to preventing conflict and restoring peace to a two-day conversation on ‘Local Leadership in Peace Processes’ using Platform4Dialogue online discussion platform; this is part of a series of consultations on this topic. Having already established the need for a fundamental shift in how peace processes are undertaken – one that encourages local responsibility and accountability by placing local leadership at the centre and empowering peaceful elements of society to deliver on the foundations of a sustainable peace – the next session will look more at what this entails. They are keen to learn from practical real-life examples of good practices. Further info at https://tinyurl.com/cf53abb8 which includes a registration link.

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INNATE, an Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education, 16 Ravensdene Park, Belfast BT6 0DA, Phone 028 (048 from Republic) – 90 64 71 06, e-mail innate@ntlworld.com and web http://www.innatenonviolence.org Nonviolent News is produced in e-mail and web editions and usually a shorter paper edition. There was no August news supplement due to illness. The deadline for the October issue is 1st October. INNATE networking meetings are held regularly in Belfast, currently remotely; all welcome, please enquire for details. SUBSCRIPTIONS UK£10 or €15 minimum, £5 or €8 unwaged or you can have Nonviolent News e-mailed, suggested donation £5 or €8 minimum. Pay by British or Irish cheque or PayPal; subs are on a calendar year basis.

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StoP the arms trade; Raytheon Derry exit chronicled

StoP, Swords to Ploughshares, is the name of the relatively new network on the arms trade in Ireland. It meets online about every 6 weeks and, as well as business and planning sessions, organises speaker webinars. The last one, in mid June, was on how Raytheon was forced to leave Derry in 2010 due to hard work and campaigning over the period of a decade by FEIC, Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign, and DAWC, Derry Anti-War Campaign. The speakers at this session were all Derry activists in the campaign – Jim Keys, Eamonn McCann, and Goretti Horgan. The video of the speakers, running for just under an hour, is available at https://youtu.be/Y0MxO1GmACQ and it makes for a riveting and rewarding view.

An article by Eamon Rafter, summarising the webinar, appears in the e-mail and web editions of this issue of Nonviolent News.

In addition, there is now an album of Derry Raytheon campaign photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/albums/72157719426151321 consisting of well over a hundred images (with more photos and links still to be added).

StoP is run on a cooperative basis by people from a number of different groups and places, including 5 cities on both sides of the border, and can be contacted c/o INNATE innate@ntlworld.com You can ask to be added to the mailing list.

Shannon Airport viability should not depend on the US Military

The peace and human rights group Shannonwatch have called on the Irish government to avoid using the US military to help keep Shannon Airport open as it struggles to remain viable. In light of the recent Aer Lingus announcement that it was closing its passenger operations at Shannon, Shannonwatch call for a development strategy for the airport that does not include a reliance on the transit of foreign troops and their weapons to keep it open.

US troop carriers, US Air Force planes and other military and diplomatic flights continue to pass through Shannon with worrying regularity” said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. “Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, these flights have continued uninterrupted throughout the pandemic. Not only is this a breach of Irish neutrality, it has also put the health of workers at the airport at risk. Over just three days at the end of May, Shannonwatch recorded nine US military related flights at Shannon.

The Shannonwatch spokesperson said “At a time when Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was quite rightly critical of Israel for failing to protect civilians in Gaza during two weeks of bombing, he is allowing their staunchest ally, the US, to take troops and military planes through Shannon without any oversight or inspection. Both Israel and the US have obligations under international law, as do all States. We cannot be critical of one while supporting another as its ignores the mechanisms of the United Nations and continues to create instability globally”.

Shannonwatch have resumed their peace vigils one Sunday in the month at 2pm at the entrance to Shannon Airport. These call for an end to the US military use of Shannon Airport, and will be conducted in line with Covid-19 regulations. For more information, see http://www.shannonwatch.org/ which includes evidence from June 2021 of arms coming and going from theatres of war, contrary to the assertions of Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Also contact 085 8519623 or email shannonwatch@gmail.com

Peace Brigades International (PBI)

PBI Ireland, founded in 2014, is part of a community of country groups worldwide who work to strengthen and support the protection of human rights defenders that it offers in its field projects. It promotes nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution and contributes towards building a culture of human rights that it believes will lead to a more just and peaceful world. See the website https://www.pbi-ireland.org/ for more details (you can also donate financially via the website). It periodically looks for volunteers for field projects, e.g. recent calls for Mexico and Honduras, typically for one year minimum. You can see its videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKBprJmEBhEBaLMp-fpRrtg

AVP working away

AVP, the Alternatives to Violence Project, is working away ‘quietly’ with six week postal courses, and, for example, has been delivering a course for 5-6 participants in Limerick Prison every month, and have run a first successful pilot workshop in Addiction Response Crumlin (Dublin). Their website is at https://avpireland.ie/ and their newsletter (and link to previous ones) at https://mailchi.mp/a19b6795333e/avp-newsletter-summer-2021?e=df6e54c0da AVP Ireland is a community of volunteers inside and outside prisons who run experiential workshops in conflict resolution and restorative practices. AVP is for anyone who wants to learn to build better relationships, prevent conflict and resolve it when it occurs and who is willing to share his/her skills and experience. Workshops are non residential and are run mostly in prisons around Ireland and during week-ends.

Good Relations Week 2021

This year it runs from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th September and is an opportunity for groups in Northern Ireland to showcase their ‘good relations’ related work. The theme is ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ which celebrates and spotlights the range of projects young people are involved in to break down barriers, unite communities and act as a catalyst for meaningful change in society. See https://www.goodrelationsweek.com/ for more details and registration.

Glencree Journal: Legacy of conflict

There are 19 articles in the online 253 page edition of Glencree Journal 2021 on “Dealing with the legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland through engagement and dialogue”. You can choose from a wide number of areas addressed including loyalist women’s voice, the political theology of Fr Alec Reid, the bottom-down (!) approach to making peace with the past, the churches’ addressing of inter-communal violence, Protestant displacement in Derry/Londonderry, drama in addressing inter-communal violence, women in peace mediation among many others. To download go to https://www.glencree.ie/homepage-highlight/glencree-journal-abernethy-riley-murphy/

Front Line Defenders: Annual report, Cypher ‘zine

Front Line Defenders annual report for 2020 – with a global round up and analysis – is available on their website at https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/ And don’t forget their impressive ‘Cypher’ digital comics magazine illustrating (literally) stories of repression and human rights resistance – see under ‘Visibility’ on their menu bar.

Environmental Justice Network Ireland (EJNI)

EJNI, launched in 2019, is a community of practice connecting interdisciplinary academic researchers, NGOs, regulatory staff, environmental lawyers, representatives from industry and government with community activists and the ‘barefoot lawyers and planners’ . It aims to support communities and individuals that are engaged in both promoting environmental justice and challenging environmental injustice through enhancing knowledge about complex environmental and legal issues that exist on the island of Ireland. See their website at https://ejni.net/ for more details.

Feasta: Transformation catalysts

New material on the Feasta website includes Seán Ó Conláin interviewing Dr Sandra Waddock on her decades-long research into the role that certain organisations can play in bringing about societal change on a profound level; look under ‘Bridging the Gaps’ on their website at https://www.feasta.org/ Other new material includes a Feasta submission on the Irish government’s updated Climate Action Plan and a short piece on ‘cap and share’ for meat production (an issue not being tackled in Irish climate plans).

Eco Congregation Ireland: Gold awards

The Eco-Congregation Ireland Gold Award is for those churches who have already received their initial Eco- Congregation Ireland Award but have been continuing work in all four areas of their initial ECI Award, and mentor another parish/community on their Award journey. In June the first three Gold awards went to Westport Eco-Congregation, Co Mayo; Shankill Action for a Green Earth (SAGE), St Anne’s Parish, Co Dublin, and Faith in Action Group, Ballineaspaig Parish, Co Cork. See the impressive details at https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/2021/04/05/eco-congregation-ireland-launches-gold-awards/

People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland

This has a petition to pressure the Irish government to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts and end vaccine inequity by the temporary waiving of intellectual property rights to vaccines and by encouraging pharmaceutical companies to share their know-how, so that the manufacture of vaccines can be scaled up to meet demand. The campaign launch is 1pm on 8th July, online. See https://peoplesvaccine.ie/

Include military pollution in climate agreements

Due to action by the USA in 1997 at Kyoto, greenhouse emissions caused by military forces – a major contributor – is excluded in climate agreements and ‘not counted’ – but it does count to this globe and its people. World Beyond War is putting together a coalition effort to ask the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow in November to include military greenhouse gas emissions in limits on such emissions: “We ask COP26 to set strict greenhouse gas emissions limits that make no exception for militarism, include transparent reporting requirements and independent verification, and do not rely on schemes to “offset” emissions.” See link at https://worldbeyondwar.org/

CAJ on vaccine passports, rights

The wide range of concerns dealt with by CAJ, the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Northern Ireland, is well represented on its website https://caj.org.uk/ including in the July issue of their publication “Just News” which leads with Brian Gormally’s analysis of the human rights implications of vaccine ‘passports’.

INNATE, an Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education, 16 Ravensdene Park, Belfast BT6 0DA, Phone 028 (048 from Republic) – 90 64 71 06, e-mail innate@ntlworld.com and web http://www.innatenonviolence.org and https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland Nonviolent News is produced in e-mail and web editions and usually a shorter paper edition – however It is intended to mail out the ‘missing’ (due to Covid) paper editions of Nonviolent News soon. As usual in summer, there is a short news supplement for August, deadline 2nd August, rather than a full issue; the deadline for the next full issue, for September, is 1st September. INNATE networking meetings are held regularly in Belfast, currently remotely; all welcome, please enquire for details. SUBSCRIPTIONS UK£10 or €15 minimum, £5 or €8 unwaged or you can have Nonviolent News e-mailed, suggested donation £5 or €8 minimum. Pay by British or Irish cheque or PayPal; subs are on a calendar year basis.

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How Raytheon got kicked out of Derry

Raytheon left Derry in 2010 with their tail between their legs after a local campaign to rid the city of this arms company. They had consistently denied they were involved in arms related work in their Derry office – and they were consistently lying through their teeth. An online seminar at 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th June will look at what took place in terms of the campaign to oust Raytheon, and lessons for arms campaigning elsewhere. “Derry’s response to the international arms trade – FEIC off!” is organised by the network on the arms trade in Ireland. The speakers were all centrally involved in the campaign: Jim Keys of Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign (FEIC); Eamon McCann of the Derry Anti-War Coalition (DAWC), involved in the Raytheon 9 occupation; and Goretti Horgan of the Derry Anti-War Coalition, involved with all 3 occupations. The platform will be Zoom and to book to receive the link, or for queries, contact INNATE innate@ntlworld.com Flyer attached for the e-mail edition of Nonviolent News

l The next business session of the network on the arms trade in Ireland is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8th June – if you’d like to join in the session then e-mail innate@ntlworld.com to receive the link.

Corrymeela: Moving from Violence to Peace (and ‘good to go’)

A detailed but fairly short report “Moving from violence to peace” produced by an international working group from Corrymeela and the University of Ohio’s Mershon Center for International Security Studies looks at transitioning from violence to peace; “While the character of violence might differ, from paramilitarism and criminal gangs to civil war and genocide, societies moving toward peace share similar challenges. As such, the lessons gleaned from one context are informative for others…[and] several overlapping themes emerged.” The report can be found via the Corrymeela website at https://www.corrymeela.org/news/210/new-report-moving-from-violence

l Meanwhile their report “Crossing Borders: Brexit & The Book of Ruth” looking at issues of migration, belonging, community and stereotyping can be downloaded at https://www.corrymeela.org/resources/faith-life

l It has been a tough time for everyone over the last year and a bit but when you run a meeting place where people can’t meet….well, that has been hard. Corrymeela have now reopened their Ballycastle Centre to groups and have been awarded the industry standard ‘We’re Good to Go’, which means groups can have confidence that they are implementing all the latest public health guidance to keep them safe. Contact bookings@corrymeela.org or phone +44 (0)28 2076 2626

CAJ welcomes Ballymurphy inquest findings

CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice has welcomed the inquest verdicts and findings into the deaths of ten people killed at Ballymurphy between 9 and 11 August 1971. CAJ states: ”The findings of Coroner Mrs Justice Keegan have vindicated them. It was held that each of the victims was entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, and no valid justification was provided for soldiers opening fire. The Coroner found that there was a breach of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (right to life) as the shooting occurred without the minimisation of risk. The Coroner also found that the original investigations were shockingly inadequate, and the state failed in its obligations to properly investigate these deaths under Article 2 ECHR.” They go on to state this case demonstrates the vital role of an independent investigation in compliance with Article 2 ECHR; “something which many victims in our society are entitled to but are still being denied.” https://caj.org.uk/2021/05/12/statement-on-ballymurphy-inquest-findings/ which has a link to the summary inquest findings.

The right to protest

ICCL/Irish Council for Civil Liberties have pointed out that in mid-May the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign had to cancel a pandemic-safe rally planned for Saturday after gardaí told them they could be prosecuted for organising a protest. ICCL have pointed out that protest is a fundamental right and reiterated its long-standing call for an end to the extreme restrictions on protest: “Government and gardaí are duty-bound to facilitate peaceful protest. They must clarify how people can make their voices heard safely.“ See https://www.thejournal.ie/rally-palestine-dublin-5435406-May2021/ and https://www.iccl.ie/ for more on their monitoring of rights during the pandemic.

Afri Famine Walk session

This is the second year that Afri’s May Famine Walk has been online. The video of the session, including a very useful look at An Gorta Mór by Prof Christine Kinealy, can be found at https://www.afri.ie/category/virtual-famine-walk-2021-talks-music-and-poetry/ Also included is music and poetry, and reflections by Rose Kelly. Afri’s goal is the promotion of global justice and peace, and the reduction of poverty; this includes, but is not limited to, the progressive reduction of global militarisation, and responding to the threat of climate change, corporate control of resources and water, and interference with food sovereignty.

St Patriky: New chapel opens in Belarus

The first ever Eastern Orthodox church named in honour of St Patrick has been blessed and officially opened on the grounds of Vesnova Children’s Institution, where CCI/Chernobyl Children international, in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection in Mogilev, is leading pioneering work on de-institutionalisation to ensure that institutional care in Belarus will no longer be necessary and to enable children to live a free and independent life. The miniature, timber framed, gold domed, Church of St Patrick was funded by the Belarusian Orthodox Church, and was dedicated to “St Patrick”, or “St Patriky, the Enlightener of Ireland”, as he is known in the Orthodox tradition, as a tribute to the work of Irish donors and volunteers for the past 25 years in transforming the lives of the children and young adults who reside in Vesnova. Chernobyl Children International is a non-profit, international development, medical, and humanitarian organisation that works with children, families and communities that continue to be affected by the 1986 Chernobyl accident. https://www.chernobyl-international.com/

Open letter from Mairead Maguire to Presidents Biden & Putin

In late April, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire sent an open letter to Presidents Biden and Putin, some of which is quoted here. The full letter is available on the Peace People website at http://www.peacepeople.com/ “…..I write to you both as World Leaders to ask for your advice and help in these challenging times. I would like to know what I can do, together with my friends, to help avert a Third World War, and prevent further suffering and death for millions for my brothers and sisters around the world.…….Having visited Russia and the USA and having met your peoples, I know they are good, who feel love for each other and humanity. I, believe your people are not, nor do they wish to be, enemies. For myself, I have no enemies only brothers and sisters. Yes, there is fear and anxiety about difference, but this should not divide and separate us, the human family………The artificial enmity between Russia and the USA has gone on too long already, and the world asks you to end this by becoming friends and peacemakers not only for your own people, but for the entire world, especially the children, who deserve your help to survive violence, hunger, pandemics, wars, climate changes…. The war games being practised in Europe are dangerous because something may happen that will trigger a war as evidenced by the two last World wars. We the Peoples of the World, do not want war, we want peace and disarmament, to feed the hungry and provide a better life for all children…….Please, President Putin and President Biden: Make peace not war, start to disarm and give the world some hope…..”

PCI: Young artists invited to contribute on nuclear weapons

As part of its work on nuclear disarmament, Pax Christi International is inviting young people to contribute in a creative way to efforts to finally getting rid of nuclear weapons…..the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force on 22 January 2021. People aged 15 to 35 years old are invited to create a video, animated graphic, or motion graphic or create a non-moving digital artwork (graphic, photography, etc) to express in a creative way why it would be important for countries to join the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Details at https://paxchristi.net/2021/05/10/open-call-artists-for-peace/ Deadline: 15th July.

Global gender gap widens significantly

The times scale needed to close the gender equality gap has increased by 36 years in just 12 months according to the 2021 Global Gender Gap Report unveiled by the World Economic Forum. While the 2020 report showed that 99.5 years were needed to do away with gender disparities, the 2021 report now puts this figure at an average of 135.6 years. The regress, which is believed to have been triggered by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, is the first registered since the earliest issue of the report in 2006. Covering data from 156 countries, the Global Gender Gap Report follows gender-related progress over time among four key dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. See https://tinyurl.com/y99ht2j8 Source: Centre for Global Education E-Bulletin for May 2021, https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/

European arms trade: Answering the difficult questions

A video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIn2Ibka3no on discussing how people can answer the difficult questions about the arms trade when talking to European policymakers, arms traders, colleagues, neighbours, or family members. It is from an April event organised by QCEA/Quaker Council for European Affairs, ENAAT/European Network Against the Arms Trade and Stop Fuelling War.

l A new 40 page report from QCEA on “Climate, peace and human rights – Are European policies coherent?” is available at www.qcea.org/peace/climateand you can find the QCEA periodical ‘Around Europe’ on their home page.

Mahatma Gandhi – Dying for freedom

This 42 minute Deutsche Welle documentary on Mohandas Gandhi is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpZwCRInrgo detailing some of his life and work including his opposition to sectarianism and violence but also why he was assassinated, and his ongoing legacy.

Local ownership in peace processes

On 22nd June, Principles for Peace and Peace Direct invite local activists, changemakers, organisers, healers, and peacebuilders to a one-day conversation on ‘Local Ownership in Peace Processes.’ This will be the first in a series of consultations on the issue. They state “…most of the world’s major violent conflicts are not being resolved, and close to half of all conflicts between 1989 and 2018 have recurred despite political settlements……Local ownership, and leadership are acknowledged as crucial to peace, but most peace processes continue to be externally designed, forcing locals into implementing roles instead of being in charge of their design and planning. Ambitious UN initiatives such as the Sustaining Peace agenda have demonstrated a global political will to change this, but they have thus far failed to establish new good practice for conducting effective peace processes.” Using Platform4Dialogue, this will discuss how local actors conceive of local ownership in peace processes.; it will also consider how to better structure, sequence and build more inclusive peace processes, ensuring that they are genuinely designed and led by local actors. Register at https://tinyurl.com/yckyrtkf See also https://www.interpeace.org/principles-for-peace/ and https://www.peacedirect.org/

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Afri virtual Famine Walk event

For the second year running, because of Covid, Afri is unable to organise its Doolough-Louisburgh Famine Walk, commemorating the people who died on a real famine walk there in 1849 and looking at links to issues today. However there will be talks, music and poetry on Saturday 15th May from 7pm – 8.30pm in A celebration of land, life, freedom and solidarity.’ Those participating include Blanca Blanco (Resource Rights Advisor with Trócaire), Rose Kelly (Teacher, Activist and member of Beyond Extractivism on the Island of Ireland), Professor Christine Kinealy (Author of ‘This Great Calamity’ and Director of the Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac University), Poet Paula Meehan, Harpist Brídín and the MC will be Ruairí McKiernan (host of Love and Courage podcast and author of Hitching for Hope). Details and booking at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/afri-virtual-famine-walk-2021-talks-music-poetry-tickets-151927430033 and the Afri website is at https://www.afri.ie/

Conflict transformation event with Gobnait’s House

From Self to Community: Deepening Connections through Conflict Transformation” is a course running from 17th May to 21st June; sessions will be two hours in length and will be held weekly online. The fee is €300 Euros with half-scholarship available to those who are underemployed or unemployed. This training is designed for mediation professionals and practitioners as well as those interested in an introduction to this field and designed for those who want to add new skills to their tool-kit, and, in particular, core communication, leadership and relationship skills. Gobnait’s House has been created by four women working in peacebuilding, mediation, conflict transformation, and healing from across the world though the geographical base is Limerick. The input on this course will be from Catherine Ali and Susan Hartley; the other members of Insight for Social Change/Gobnait’s House are Debi Parush and Aura Hammer. See https://www.insight4socialchange.org/ and e-mail gobnaitshouse@gmail.com

CAJ: Good Friday commitments, Covid Conversations

A new paper from CAJ/Committee on the Administration of Justice maps the status of the principal commitments relating to human rights (including equality) made as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent agreements that have emerged during the peace process in Northern Ireland. Many of these rights-based commitments still remain unimplemented more than twenty years later and the paper provides detailed and important updates to previous mapping; see https://caj.org.uk/2021/04/09/a-mapping-exercise-mar-21/

CAJ’s analysis of the legality of Covid vaccination/immunity ‘passports’ can be found at https://caj.org.uk/2021/04/15/caj-cautions-against-the-use-of-vaccine-passports/

The Equality Coalition, along with the Transitional Justice Institute and Human Rights Consortium, organised a series of webinars examining a wide variety of human rights issues brought into sharp focus by the Covid-19 pandemic. Videos of these are now available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy32UaNyCOruYMLS1fcVSoA

ICCL on Covid, passports

ICCL/The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has continued to be active on a variety of Covid-19 issues. They state “ICCL has been telling government that vaccine passports should not be used domestically – that establishing a two-tier society, especially when the vaccine is not yet readily available, is a violation of civil liberties.
….. at the Fianna Fail parliamentary party meet
ing [at the end of April], the Taoiseach agreed with us and he ruled out their domestic use based on our campaign.” https://www.iccl.ie/

Irish coroners system not fit for purpose, rights of bereaved

ICCL, with Professor Phil Scraton and Gillian McNaull, has conducted research that showed Ireland’s system of investigating death is inadequate and can compound and even aggravate the suffering of loved ones. Root-and-branch reform was demanded by an independent Working Group in 2000. Twenty-one years later, those reforms have still not been implemented. This failure on the part of successive governments means grieving families are side-lined, marginalised, and left out in the cold as they wait to find answers. A briefing can be found at https://www.iccl.ie/left-out-in-the-cold-press-briefing-on-iccl-coroners-report/ along with a link to the full report of over eighty pages.

Afri: New Global Citizenship education resources

Afri recently launched new global citizenship education resources – you can watch the launch event at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r4ITjJ1j_I&t=4033s This includes three publications designed to support secondary school teachers and other educators to deepen global citizenship education within their classrooms and schools:

1) The Web of Life: Biodiversity, Interconnectivity and An Gorta Mór, written by Nicola Winters and edited by Joe Murray and Dervla King has lesson plans containing a wide-ranging series of workshops on themes relating to biodiversity and interconnectivity with a particular reference to the critical lessons to be learned from An Gorta Mór. The Web of Life presents cross-curricular opportunities in a whole variety of subjects.

2) “Interdependence Day! Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals through Drama for All Ages” is written by Pete Mullineaux. It can be used by teachers at both primary and post-primary level, offering eight projects that are relevant and appropriate to all ages, from children as young as four through to older teenagers. The overarching aim is to encourage a whole-school approach to Global Citizenship Education.

3) “Pleananna ceachta le húsáid taobh le hacmhainní de chuid maidir leis an Oideachas Forbartha” consists of lesson plans in Irish built around three resources previously written for Afri’s Development Education programme: “Exploring Global Issues Through Drama and Theatre”; “Pathways of Peace” and ”Lessons from History.”. Compiled by Miriam Barragry with translation by Mark Doris.

All three are available for download at https://www.afri.ie/publications/education-publications/ and they are available as printed copies at €5 each, plus p&p, from Afri. https://www.afri.ie and e-mail admin@afri.ie

21 Years Too Late Show: Direct Provision

21 Years Too Late Show – Exploring the End of Direct Provision”, organised by MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland) and Amnesty International, was an online event at the end of April, available to view at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4wXfHauAe4sCZeNkWR4cHw MASI is at https://www.masi.ie/ and Amnesty at https://www.amnesty.ie/

Information and analysis from Doras, Limerick, on direct provision can be found at http://doras.org/direct-provision/

CGE: Climate strikes and public activism

The three quarter of an hour video on this topic from an Imagine! Festival event organised by the Centre for Global Education/CGE can be seen at https://imaginebelfast.com/events/the-climate-strikes/ It involves activists Kaitlyn Laverty, Anna Kernahan, Lynda Sullivan (FOE-NI) and chaired by Stephen McCloskey of CGE. CGE is at https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/

Eco-Congregation Ireland

Eco-Congregation Ireland/ECI encourages Christian churches of all denominations to take an eco approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world. It produces a regular newsletter, which you can subscribe to, and its annual report is available on their website; it offers resources and support to churches. See https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/

WRI: International CO’s Day

Every year on 15th May, the International Conscientious Objection Day, WRI/War Resisters’ International organises solidarity with conscientious objectors (COs) and draws attention to their resistance to war. This year there is a particular focus on Turkey – working closely with the Conscientious Objection Association – Turkey (VR-DER). In Turkey, there are thousands of COs who refuse to perform compulsory military service. The right to conscientious objection to military service isn’t recognised and anyone refusing compulsory military service faces lifetime persecution, including continuous arrest warrants and repeated prosecutions amounting to “civil death” – a term being used to describe their exclusion from social, cultural and economic life. More information at https://wri-irg.org/en/CODay2021

World Beyond War drones campaign

World Beyond War has launched an international campaign against killer drones, BanKillerDrones – to ban weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance. They state “This comes at the moment when the Biden Administration is reportedly looking to increase U.S. drone killing and drone surveillance as key to retaining some level of colonial control in Afghanistan, under the guise of countering Al Qaeda, as U.S. troops are removed.” See https://worldbeyondwar.org/wbw-news-action-ban-killer-drones/

The UK-based Drone Wars UK – whose director Chris Cole spoke at a recent arms trade network meeting in Ireland – is at https://dronewars.net/

Aloha national security for Hawai’i

What brings security? Not guns or big guns, that is for sure. A very useful paper on Hawai’i by Pōkā Laenui

in Transcend Media Service https://www.transcend.org/tms/2021/04/a-national-security-system-for-hawaii-built-on-aloha/ may contain some useful lessons for a different island, on the edge of Europe, which also sees itself as a place of welcome (even if the reality for many newcomers may not be quite that). Cèad míle fáilte?

Peace Direct: Pioneering Peace – digital inclusion

In the Covid era, organising for peace online has become a necessity. Peace Direct was involved with other groups in a collaboration entitled Shift Power for Peace working to support peacebuilders internationally, including making small grants – most applications were from Africa. A 40 page report is available at https://www.peacedirect.org/

The state of the world’s human rights

The Amnesty International Report 2020/21 documents the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2020, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty lnternational’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others, at a time when Covid rocked the world and threw inequalities into start relief. See https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/3202/2021/en/

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