Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Waging Peace for refugees from Darfur conflict

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:37 PDT

Waging Peace Canada, based in Vancouver, is conducting a campaign to bring more attention to the strife in Darfur. Much of the group’s efforts are focussed on Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring country of Chad. One of their representatives, Anna Schmitt, sent this account in May.

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One Harper issues apology for residential schools, another Harper forgives

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:27 PDT

A much-anticipated apology was the centre of attention in Ottawa June 11, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged the damage done to many Aboriginal Canadians by the notorious residential schools system.

The apology was seen by many as a crucial component of the long sought resolution of the scandal, in conjunction with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) now being conducted…

One key observer of the apology and the reconciliation process is Elijah Harper. The former MP, best known for his role in defeating the Meech Lake Accord, participated in the launching of the TRC, and like Fontaine, he is also a survivor of the residential school system.

“It was a great day; it’s a new beginning,” he told CC.com in an exclusive interview by phone from Ottawa, a few hours after the events on Parliament Hill. “The prime minister, by expressing the apology, is helping the healing begin.” Most importantly, he said, “the government asked for forgiveness. On a personal level, I do forgive. I had done so already.”

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In the long run . . .

Filed under: children and youth,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:50 PDT

Erin VanWiltenburg and Reuben Jentink, two students at the University of Victoria, are in the midst of a long run across Africa – from Walvis Bay in Namibia to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. Their plan is to covering 4,200 kilometres in 100 days, from April to September. This is the equivalent of one marathon per day. The goal of their See Them Run project is to raise money to support sustainable education in the countries they run through… more

See Erin’s and Reuben’s blog with reports and video clips

Ireland: Ahern to join global conflict resolution group

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:39 PDT

Former Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Bertie Ahern has accepted an invitation from the World Economic Forum (WEF) to participate in a new global problem-solving organisation.

Mr Ahern yesterday confirmed that he will become a member of the Global Agenda Council on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

It is one of 68 such councils that have been established by the WEF as part of a new initiative to bring 700 participants together to suggest “10 breakthrough ideas for improving the state of the World”.

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Children of conflict: stress takes its toll on both sides of border

Filed under: children and youth,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:30 PDT

Sleeping problems, fears, and fits of aggression are just some of the many symptoms of severe stress affecting the majority of children in Gaza and Sderot.

They live on the frontline of the world’s oldest conflict, which in the past eight years has killed 5,848 people, wounded thousands more and traumatised countless families. Raziel has spent four years in therapy; Nour has been seeing counsellors for six months.

But Israeli and Palestinian researchers suspect the toll is worse than either the number of deaths or psychological symptoms of this protracted conflict suggest.

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Interrogation video shows Khadr crying, pulling hair

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Latin America & Caribbean,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:25 PDT

There is a drone of a ventilation fan as Omar Khadr sits alone in an interrogation room somewhere in the bowels of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he begins to sob.

Dressed in orange, then 16 years old, the Toronto-born terror suspect sobs, and sobs again. He seems to say “kill me,” over and over again. Kill me.”

This morning, lawyers for Mr. Khadr released this and other video segments of Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents interrogating Mr. Khadr. The segments are only part of four days of taped interviews from Feb. 13, 2003, that the lawyers plan to release later today in Edmonton.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ordered the federal government to release the tapes and a series of related documents to the lawyers, who had launched successive actions to obtain the formerly confidential files.

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New ICC Prosecution: Opportunities and Risks for Peace in Sudan

Filed under: Africa files,Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:24 PDT

BRUSSELS – Today’s application by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a warrant of arrest for Sudanese President Omar Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur creates both big opportunities and big risks for peace in Sudan.

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Seeking asylum in Canada

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:24 PDT

While Americans were watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, a Canadian federal judge fired off a legal Roman candle by ruling that an immigration panel had erred in denying refugee status to a U.S. Army deserter named Joshua Key. The sparks are still flying Up There, though, as usual, most Americans haven’t taken note. They should. The judge ruled that Key may be entitled to asylum in Canada because of evidence that the U.S. may have violated the Geneva Convention in the conduct of its counter-terrorism operations in Iraq.

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Leading nun says nonviolence must be restored to the core of faith

Filed under: Nonviolence,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:20 PDT

Women of faith have a special calling to restore religion’s principles of nonviolence in a conflicted world, Sister Joan Chittister has told more than 2,000 women at a gathering in the USA.

The remarks came in a keynote address to the seventh triennial Gathering of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Sister Joan’s address on women, religion and war challenged the audience to reclaim religion from those who would misuse it “to justify a world at war.”

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Marathon looks to breach Beirut’s sectarian rifts

Filed under: children and youth,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:46 PDT

BEIRUT – The patter of children’s feet as they ran along Beirut’s former Green Line during World Vision’s peace marathon Sunday morning replaced the memories of gunshots that echoed through those same streets years ago. Dozens of children from Muslim and Christian backgrounds took part in Mnerkod Sawa, Mnousal Sawa (We Run Together, We Arrive Together) to demonstrate their commitment to live in peace and unity in an area still struggling with divisions created by the Civil War.

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