Peaceful events mark G8 summit in Fermanagh
The G8 summit in Fermanagh in mid-June was marked by peaceful demonstrations in Belfast and Enniskillen, and a Fairer World Festival in Belfast exploring many different alternatives, among other events in Dublin and elsewhere. There were no arrests associated with the main demonstrations and only two which could in any way be associated with the G8 coming to Co Fermanagh. Fracking was a theme in Belfast and major theme at the Enniskillen demonstration. See coverage in editorial, Larry Speight and Billy King columns in e-mail and web editions.
A Friends of the Earth briefing on “G8 Economics: The Northern Ireland Experience” (issued before the G8 summit) concludes that “All in all, there is clearly a systemic failure unfolding in Northern Ireland, in which corporate welfare is being prioritised over and above the needs of its people and the environment.” See here
AVP Ireland to host International Gathering, July 2014 Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Ireland is honoured to be hosting the forthcoming AVP International Gathering (AVPIG) in Maynooth College from 13th - 19th July 2014. This Gathering will be attended by 150+ AVP facilitators and people interested in learning about AVP, from well over 30 countries worldwide. By hosting the International Gathering in Ireland, we hope to significantly contribute towards the development of an enlarged European AVP regional network.
As Hosts, AVP Ireland is working alongside international colleagues in preparing for this International Gathering. Meetings are held regularly and via skype on all aspects including preparing the programme, dealing with registration queries, raising finance for scholarships. There are three themes guiding the programme content for the Gathering. These include understanding new forms of violence (cyberbullying etc.), sharing new ways of working with AVP in diverse community contexts and AVP with young people. All who come are invited to contribute and lead workshops.
A central feature of the programme will be a day long workshop led by our AVP colleagues in Wheatfield prison for delegates. AVP will be welcoming colleagues from as far as El Salvador, Guatemala, Nigeria, Congo, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, North America, the UK and many many countries for the week. Registration is now open for the Alternatives to Violence International Gathering 2014 at www.avpinternational.org
The Alternatives to Violence Project is a grassroots, international, volunteer movement committed to reducing interpersonal violence in our society. AVP workshops present conflict management skills that enable individuals to build successful interpersonal interactions, gain insights in themselves and find new and positive approaches to their lives. AVP is an experiential programme, helping empower people to live a life of dignity and peace, without violence. AVP works with people irrespective of their background, origin, age, gender, race or preferences- those who participate in the programme do so by choice, not coercion. AVP is not passivism. It requires participants to be active, thinking, reflective and creative contributors, open-minded listeners, open to a spirit that transforms difficult and dangerous situations into new pathways towards peaceful resolution and community growth and acceptance.
AVP Ireland was established in 1995 and is a company with charitable status (Chy 14196). The Board meets at least twice yearly; facilitators meet on the first Tuesday of each month and rotate between the prisons and in the community. AVP Ireland does not have an office but uses Quaker House as its registered address. AVP Ireland workshops average 25 per annum, mainly in the prisons – Mountjoy, Wheatfield, Arbour Hill, Dochas (Women’s), and also in communities - Bedford Row, Travellers, Darndale. AVP Ireland employs a part-time administrator who assists in setting up workshops and supporting the work of volunteers. If you want to find out about participating in an AVP workshop in Ireland, please contact our Administrator Suzanne McCabe at: 085 7356278.
AVP originated in 1975 with an inmate group in Green Haven Prison in Duchess County, New York, USA, while they were working with youth gangs and teenagers at risk. They sought assistance from the Quaker project on community conflict, and from that original partnership of inmate and Quakers, AVP was born. The AVPIG is presently supported by AVP International, the Quaker Concerns Fund (Ireland), The Robert and Kezia Stanley Chapman Trust and Cashel Blue. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, is Patron of the Alternatives to Violence International Gathering.
Irish CND: Hiroshima Day, Nuclear Abolition
This year sees the 68th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Irish CND is planning its traditional commemoration in Merrion Square, Dublin at 1.00 p.m. on 6th August. If you would like to help hold a commemorative event wherever you are, please let ICND know and they can advise on practicalities.
Nuclear Abolition Week, 6th-13th July is organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and is intended to raise awareness of the unacceptable harm caused by nuclear weapons, and the urgent need for a ban. Irish CND will be participating in the international events promoted by ICAN. These include the thought-provoking Share Your Shadow campaign. For more details see here. You can sign ICAN's online petition calling for a start to negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons at www.goodbyenuk.es/petitions/new
Irish CND AGM took place on May 13th in the Mansion House, Dublin. The guest speaker, Louise Sarsfield Collins of the Irish Red Cross, outlined humanitarian perspectives in relation to nuclear weapons, including the inability to provide any adequate humanitarian response and the ways in which a nuclear attack could be seen to contravene international humanitarian law. For more, see irishcnd.org/node/94
Contact email@example.com Website www.irishcnd.org and phone 086-3621220.
Mediation Theory & Practice in Belfast
Mediation Northern Ireland (MNI) are running an 8-day accredited training course on Mediation Theory and Practice in Belfast on Thursdays beginning on 12th September 2013 and ending on 31st October. The course is accredited by the Open College Network as a Level 3 course earning 9 credit points equating to an NVQ Level 3, an Advanced Diploma or an A Level. The course introduces a basic mediation process for use in a two party dispute or in constructive relationship building. Prices are structured differently for multiple bookings, community & voluntary organisations, and individuals. Please contact Rob Colwell ph 028 9043 8614 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further. Further information is on the MNI website at www.mediationnorthernireland.org
FOE oppose new NI planning powers for OFMDFM
Friends of the Earth NI campaigners staged a silent protest outside Parliament Buildings at Stormont on 24th June to denounce amendments, subsequently passed and continuing their process, which they said undermine public participation in the planning system. These grant new powers to OFMDFM allowing them to designate "Special Economic Zones" where it would be much easier to get planning applications passed without opposition (and to some extent bypassing the Department of Environment – others accused the DUP and Sinn Féin of a power grab). Other amendments would make it much harder for anyone to challenge decisions in the courts. In a statement released before the protest started the campaigners said: "The public is today losing its voice..... Once these amendments are carried, our secretly funded politicians will have unprecedented power over how land in Northern Ireland should be used, and what kind of economy, society, and environment we will live in in the future.” http://www.foe.co.uk/northern_ireland/ FOE-NI, 7 Donegall Street Place, Belfast, BT1 2FN, ph 028 9023 3488, e-mail: email@example.com
Unequal relations? CAJ research
In June the Committee of the Administration of Justice (CAJ) launched new research which finds that a combination of factors, including decisions and advice by the Equality Commission, have led to a situation whereby equality initiatives, and the purpose of the Section 75 equality duty and Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) in Northern Ireland, are being undermined by the present interpretation and application of the ‘good relations’ duty. The research examined Equality Commission advice in three areas – policies on public authorities flying flags, the Irish language and on economic and social rights – and makes recommendations. See here
Chernobyl children in Ireland for summer respite
The first flight carrying 300 children from the affected regions of Chernobyl arrived into Ireland on 20th June as part of Chernobyl Children International (CCI) annual airlift of children. The children who come from impoverished backgrounds, institutions and foster homes in the heart of the contaminated Chernobyl zone are being hosted by Irish families throughout 11 counties in Ireland as part of CCI’s Summer Rest & Recuperation Programme. Despite these challenging times, Irish volunteer host families continue to raise funds locally throughout Ireland to support the children. Research has shown that taking children out of their home environments for even short periods of time has positive effects to the overall health and well-being of the children. The arrival of this summer’s children brings the total number of children who have benefited under the scheme to over 22,500 children since the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. CCI, Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Kinsale Road, Cork. Ph 021 431 2999, http://www.chernobyl-international.com and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Pax Christi International AGM
Pax Christi International held its AGM in June, in Berlin. The event was attended by representatives of the Pax Christi sections and the International Secretariat. The 2013 AGM was dedicated to the renewal of the international leadership structures for the period 2013-2016. Strengthening the Pax Christi International movement through knowledge-sharing and coordination planning around core issues pertaining to its mission, was also on the agenda. Ms Marie Dennis (USA) and Msgr Kevin Dowling (South Africa) were re-elected as International Co-Presidents of Pax Christi International for 2013-2016 and Fr Jan Peters SJ (Netherlands) was re-elected as International Treasurer. The 2013 AGM included sessions on the economic roots of conflict, drones and automated war systems, the current situation in Syria, and other issues of common concern. Participants also received input and shared experience on campaigning, advocacy and networking. [An interview with Marie Dennis appears in Nonviolent News 204]
Countering the militarisation of young people
Young people are encouraged in various ways to see the military as necessary and valuable; something to be supportive of, not to question. Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, War Resisters’ International’s new book “Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It” documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this. ISBN: 978-0-903517-27-0, UK price: £5.00. See http://wri-irg.org/node/21880
SCI camp ‘No Muos’ in Sicily
This special Service Civil International camp will support the local movement called "No Muos" in Sicily. This pacifist movement is fighting against the installation and implementation of an American satellite system called Muos. This US army base telecommunication system has caused serious health issues for the local communities and is increasing its military installations without any consensus of the local communities and authorities. This camp, running from 3rd – 17th August, is open to 5 international volunteers and to 5 Italian volunteers, all experienced and motivated with a good capacity of adaptation and flexibility. See here for further details and (in Ireland) contact Voluntary Service International, 30 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, ph 01 8551011, web: http://www.vsi.ie F: facebook.com/VsiIreland
Tools for Solidarity
The latest (June 2013) Tools for Solidarity newsletter can be downloaded at www.toolsforsolidarity.com and go to ‘Newsletters’. Tools For Solidarity is a non profit making development organisation from Northern Ireland run entirely by volunteers. It is actively working for a more equitable distribution of power and resources in the world. It is a voluntary charitable organisation based in Belfast and Downpatrick which supports artisans and communities in some of the poorest countries in the world by providing high quality refurbished hand tools and machines. Tools For Solidarity collects, refurbishes and ships out old and unwanted hand tools and sewing machines to skilled tradespeople in Africa. This act of solidarity enables them to become more self reliant and have some hope for the future. Tools For Solidarity, Unit 1B1 Edenderry Industrial Estate, 326 Crumlin Road, Belfast BT14 7EE, ph 028 9074 7473, and e-mail email@example.com
Church and Peace: Seek the welfare of the city
"Seek the Welfare of the City – the Prophetic Mandate of the Church" was the title of the international conference of Church and Peace, the European network of Christian communities, churches and peace organisations, which was held 31st May to 2nd June at the Christusbruderschaft Community in Selbitz, Germany. "We refuse to pray at the altar of the military industrial complex, which drives so many of the world's economies." the conference was told by the British New Testament scholar Lloyd K.Pietersen. During his address he tackled the question as to what the apostle Paul's attitude would be to the Occupy Movement of today. The conference called for two key themes at the Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which will be held in Busan, South Korea, in the autumn, to be: 1) Peace education; and 2) The development of credible alternatives to the UN doctrine of military intervention in accordance with a responsibility to protect. Papers from the conference are on the Church and Peace website at http://www.church-and-peace.org
Creation Time 2013 - Water Justice
Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) point out that Christians around the world will again be joining together from 1st September to 4th October to celebrate Creation Time. This year's theme is 'Water Justice', corresponding with the United Nations’ International Year of Water Cooperation. Resources are available on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland website - http://www.ctbi.org.uk
If you would like your church to become more eco-friendly but aren’t sure where to start, ECI recommends celebrating Creation Time on at least one Sunday as a good starting point and also to include one prayer for the environment in services throughout the year. Another good starting point they recommend is to go through the ECI church check-list, which can be found in the first section of its Resources at ecocongregationireland.com/modules.
Syria: Peace initiative
Since September 2012 the Peace in Syria Initiative has undertaken consultations inside and outside Syria. Between 2nd and 8th June 2013, the Peace in Syria Initiative met with high ranking government officials, opposition and religious organisations. Its aim is to contribute to the end of the war and the suffering by helping create favourable conditions for the advancement of the political process through dialogue and negotiations. Its report includes conclusions and recommendations. See www.peaceinsyria.org for further information.
EU arms exports
CAAT, the Campaign Against Arms Trade in Britain, has, along with the European Network Against Arms Trade http://www.enaat.org, put together an interactive guide with details of arms exports broken down by source and destination country, year, and type of goods. It includes Ireland and the UK. See www.caat.org.uk (home page) and go to ‘EU Arms Exports Browser’.
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