ICCL: The right to protest in Ireland
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, suported by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, has recently been engaged in a consultation exercise on the right to protest and the resulting preliminary report is available at www.iccl.ie
Consultations took place in Cork, Ennis and Dublin along with other discussions. The 25 page Preliminary Report includes a short outline of constitutional rights as well as the relevant parts of the European Convention on Human Rights and general principles of international law. It then goes on to detail issues raised at the different consultations before looking at trends and making key observations and preliminary recommendations. ICCL Director Liam Herrick stated:
“The salient point for us has been that, while the government and An Garda Síochána [AGS] are supportive of large protests taking place on the main thoroughfares of Ireland, when it comes to protesters living on the margins of society or protesting outside of the media spotlight, the garda and state response can be much more heavy-handed”.
One of the areas of greatest concern relates to those living in Direct Provision (Liam Herrick again):
“We are extremely concerned that the rights to assembly, to free expression and to free association are being curtailed by private operators of Direct Provision centres, allegedly with the support of An Garda Síochána. Residents informed us that their meetings have been labelled “illegal”, that people have been escorted in handcuffs to public spaces where they are “allowed” to protest, and that food and benefits have been withheld in response to peaceful protests.”
The report includes the following preliminary recommendation: “The principles of non-discrimination and human dignity are central to the full enjoyment of the right to protest and should be protected and promoted by AGS. Human rights training focused on non-discrimination and human dignity should be mandatory within AGS training and any violations of these prinicples should be promptly and effectively investigated and remedied.”
Possible reprieve for CAIN
Following the consultation about the future of CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet), Ulster University has decided to allow a nine month period (August 2019 to end of April 2020) for staff to explore the opportunities that have been identified during the consultation process.
The aim during that period is to secure funding for two to three years that would permit work to be done on the further development of the CAIN archive and the supporting technology. If it is not possible to confirm funding offers then a three-month transition programme will be undertaken (May to end of July 2020) during which CAIN will move to an unstaffed, static archive.
CAIN is a trusted and extensive resource on conflict and politics in Northern Ireland. cain.ulster.ac.uk
Sense or censorship on Shannon? World Beyond War
World Beyond War (a US and international organisation) was refused permission to place advertisements featuring the slogan “US troops out of Shannon” on billboards in Limerick during Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland. A multinational outdoor advertising agency told them that the slogan breached the company’s policy of not displaying campaigns of a religious or politically sensitive nature....despite the fact the same company has previously accepted party political advertising and anti-abortion messages for display. David Swanson, of World Beyond War, said they planned the campaign to promote the international peace conference it is holding in Limerick in October (5th and 6th October, see NN 270).
Although it would have coincided with the US president’s meeting with Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, at Shannon airport, Swanson said the campaign was not designed for that event. The billboard campaign did not proceed at the time of the visit by Donald Trump but Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers, US members of Veterans for Peace, hung a banner from a road bridge near the airport which read “Respect Irish neutrality - US war machine out of Shannon.”
See photo at tinyurl.com “Exit polls show that an impressive 82% of Irish voters say Ireland should remain a neutral country in all aspects,” said Swanson, a radio host and author. “But Ireland is not remaining a neutral country in all aspects.”
Sources: World Beyond War worldbeyondwar.org and PANA http://www.pana.ie For Trump at Shannon see www.shannonwatch.org
Rights Based Return to Power Sharing in NI, Rights after Brexit
One of the basic tools (e.g. Fisher and Ury, ‘Getting to Yes’) in conflict negotiation is, where relevant, to refer to internationally accepted laws and standards. So when the Northern Ireland Equality Coalition issues a ‘Manifesto for a Rights Based return to Power Sharing’ it is an important document – whether political parties acknowledge that or not.
The Manifesto is short – two sides of A4 - but includes details of existing binding rights based commitments made within the peace settlement agreements which need implemented, international obligations and ‘rights deficits’ which need addressed, and policies to ensure power is ‘working within the rules’.
The Equality Coalition is co-convened by CAJ caj.org.uk and UNISON trade union. See www.equalitycoalition.net
Also available at www.equalitycoalition.net is the 60 page report from the spring conference ‘Post-Brexit Citizenship Status: Divided by the Rules?’ which was organised by the Equality Coalition in association with BrexitLawNI, looking at the bewildering new situation likely to be imposed on Northern Ireland.
Places/Cities of Sanctuary
It defines its aims as “a network of groups in towns, cities and local communities which share the objectives of promoting a culture of welcome, and inclusiveness right across every sphere and sector of society, so that wherever people seeking sanctuary go they will feel safe, find people who welcome them and understand why they are here, and have opportunities to be included in all activities.” There are active groups in Belfast, Causeway (north coast), Cork, Derry/Londonderry, Dublin, Ennis, Galway, Limerick, Athlone, Monaghan, Portlaoise and Waterford.
For more information see ireland.cityofsanctuary.org (and you can click on info for each locality).
Tools for Solidarity (TfS)
TfS is working towards setting up a Tool Centre which will refurbish a high quantity of tools and sewing machines in country (i.e. in the recipient country), allocate these resources for vocational training purposes and/or for income generating activities and provide technical training. It is engaged in an in-depth project to decide what project in what country; details are given in the current issue of their Newsletter available on the website at www.toolsforsolidarity.com TfS is a non profit making development organization from Northern Ireland run entirely by volunteers, actively working for a more equitable distribution of power and resources in the world.
Tools For Solidarity, 55A Sunnyside Street, Belfast BT7 3EX (it also has engagement in Downpatrick and Camphill Community Mourne Grange.) Ph 028 9543 5972, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CCI: Belarusian Chernobyl children arrive
120 children from the Chernobyl affected regions of Belarus arrived at Shannon on 25th June as part of a long-standing campaign by Irish host families associated with Chernobyl Children International (CCI) to prolong their lives against the ongoing effects of the world’s worst nuclear accident. They are being hosted in nine different counties – since 1986 25,500 children from Belarus and Western Russia have come to Ireland on this programme.
The Summer Rest and Recuperation Programme gives children, who come from impoverished backgrounds and state-run institutions, a health-boosting reprieve from the toxic environment and high levels of radiation to which they have been exposed. During the month-long stay, radiation levels in the children drop by nearly 50% and up to two years is added to their life expectancy. www.chernobyl-international.com Chernobyl Children International, 1A The Stables, Alfred Street, Cork.
PBI Ireland and the situation in Guatemala
PBI (Peace Brigades International) provides protection, support and recognition to local human rights defenders who work in areas of repression and conflict and have requested support. Its signature model of work is Protective Accompaniment where PBI sends teams of highly trained international volunteers to countries where community representatives and HRDs (Human Rights Defenders) suffer repression while carrying out their legitimate, nonviolent, human rights work.
These volunteers provide physical accompaniment to human rights defenders at risk. In May PBI Ireland hosted a visit from Lorena Cabnal, a Guatemalan Maya-Xinca woman human rights defender who PBI Guatemala have accompanied for more than a decade; she spoke at two meetings and also spoke to representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Over the last year there has been a sharp decline in the security situation of human rights defenders throughout Guatemala; 391 attacks against HRDs were registered in 2018, 147 of which were acts of criminalization and 26 were assassinations, which represents a 136% increase on statistics from 2017. The majority of the victims are indigenous leaders and defenders of land, territorial rights and the environment, who have expressed their opposition to specific hydro-electric and mining projects.
www.pbi-ireland.org and email@example.com
Corrymeela reflections and events
There are so many different aspects of Corrymeela’s work that it can be hard to summarise. ‘Corrymeela’ magazine (current issue June 2019) gives this task a very good go, regarding both programmes and people. For general news and updates see the website https://www.corrymeela.org/ which includes information on becoming a Friend of Corrymeela.
Upcoming open events include a summer school on using storytelling in various aspects of life with Pádraig Ó Tuama and Sara Cook, 19th - 22nd August. ‘From Inside Out’ is a conference on Thursday 19th September, in Belfast, featuring first hand insights from families on grief and trauma recovery, intended for anyone who works with individuals or families facing loss, bereavement and trauma. Details on website. Meanwhile “Between the bells – Stories of reconciliation from Corrymeela” by Paul Hutchinson (128 pages) was published by Canterbury Press at the end of May.
CGE Policy and Practice
The new edition of the Centre for Global Education’s bi-annual, peer reviewed, open access journal, Policy and Practice: A Development Review, has been published on the theme ‘The Development, Conflict and Security Nexus: Theory and Practice’. It includes a piece on ‘The Development, Conflict and Security Nexus: Development Education as Peace-building’ by Gerard McCann and an interview by Peadar King with Robert Fisk. Available online at www.developmenteducationreview.com
CGE is at www.centreforglobaleducation.com
WRI: Antimilitarism in movement
The International Conference “Antimilitarism in movement: narratives of resistance to war” organised by War Resisters’ International (WRI)seeks to raise the profile of collective experiences of resistance to militarism, and develop alternatives to the growing militarisation in Latin America countries and globally. The conference will gather groups, organisations and individuals to share and build action strategies, rooted in nonviolence and antimilitarism; it takes place in Bogota, Colombia 30th to 1st August. War Resisters' International, as a network of anti-militarist and pacifist organisations, has sought to make militarisation in different parts of the world visible, creating connections through events and actions, initiating nonviolent campaigns that actively involve groups and local people, and building solidarity and support for those who oppose war and challenge its causes.
Pax Christi International: New vice-presidents
At the Annual General Meeting of Pax Christi International on 26th and 27th June, Pax Christi sections elected two new co-presidents: Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira of Kenya and Bishop Marc Stenger of France. Sr. Wachira and Msgr. Stenger immediately succeed Marie Dennis of the USA and Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa, who have served together as co-presidents for the past 9 years. More information on the website at www.paxchristi.net
Meanwhile Pax Christi’s annual report for 2018 is also available on the website; "The Promise of Peace: Annual Report 2018" covers the highlights from progress on advocacy priorities to the growth of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. It includes updates on projects in Latin America and the Great Lakes region of Africa, as well as reports on the 2018 Peace Prize and more.
QCEA Around Europe
The summer issue of ‘Around Europe’, the publication of the Quaker Council for European Affairs, has a useful overview of the results of the European Parliament elections in May, among other features. www.qcea.org Eco-Congregation Ireland The newsletter of Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) is always packed full of what is happening in the Christian scene regarding green issues. You can see the current issue, sign up to receive it, oir find out ECI contacts at ecocongregationireland.com
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