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 that
in their anonymous online survey, which had 1065 responses,
of women had
been impacted by men’s violence against women and girls but only
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 commented “We 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 6
July at 10am Irish time: see