Thursday, 10 September 2009

UK: A third of parents would discourage children from joining army

Filed under: children and youth,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:23 PDT

Almost a third of parents would actively discourage their children from join the army according to a new poll.

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Pakistani bishop urges re-think of ‘war on terror’

Filed under: Religion and peacebuilding,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:23 PDT

A leading Pakistani bishop says that the ‘war on terror’ in Pakistan has had a negative effect on Christians in the Muslim-majority country, following further attacks on them.

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Niger Delta amnesty: Peace cannot be dictated

Filed under: Africa files,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:22 PDT

The Niger Delta amnesty won’t bring real or lasting peace to the region, Sabella Abidde tells Pambazuka News, because despite the government’s haste to hurry through a deal, it hasn’t set out its plans for what the amnesty will mean in practice for local communities. The amnesty is a ‘band aid’ solution for a ‘festering wound’, says Abidde, which if left untreated has the potential to ‘undo’ Nigeria.

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Saro-Wiwa Settlement

On International Law Reporter, Prof. Cogan links to a short piece by Ingrid Wuerth describing the recent settlement reached in the lawsuit … in New York filed under the Alien Tort Statute by the relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa against Shell.

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Why don’t you break the silence? It’s time South African men spoke out against rape

Filed under: Africa files,gender,Human Rights,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:15 PDT

The death of Nigerian human rights lawyer and social justice activist Gani Fawehinmi, continued political violence in Zimbabwe, the deportation of African workers from Israel, and a rallying call for South Africa’s men to start speaking out against rape are among the stories covered in Sokari Ekine’s fortnightly round-up of the African blogosphere.

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Are resurgent Ugandan rebels backed by Khartoum?

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:14 PDT

Between 2004 and 2008, I made six visits to remote bush camps of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), one of Africa’s most feared rebel groups.

The camps were deep in the wilds of northern Uganda, northeast Congo and southern Sudan. On each trip, I encountered small bands of dreadlocked child soldiers. Most had been snatched from their homes in northern Uganda and forced to carry arms for the cult-like group that became famous for cutting off the lips of its victims…

Today, the group that has long terrorised northern Uganda is on the offensive again. This time, it is said to be a multi-national force, better armed and operating across a swathe of central Africa.

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Wiwa v. Shell: The $15.5 Million Settlement

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,Environment,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:13 PDT

The Ogoni region of the Niger delta became the focus of international attention in the early 1990’s, when residents began to protest the environmental degradation and harm to local communities associated with the large-scale extraction of oil. The government of Nigeria used violent means to quell the protests, resulting in the death of and injury to activists, and ultimately in the arrests of several people, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, the leader of the movement. Saro-Wiwa and others were accused of murder, tried before a special tribunal, and hanged on November 10, 1995. Family members, along with other residents of the Ogoni region involved in the protests, sued Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, Shell Transport and Trading, and a company official and Nigerian affiliate, alleging that they acted in concert with the Nigerian government’s conduct, including torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment, summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, and crimes against humanity. The case, brought thirteen years ago in federal district court in New York, settled for $15.5 million on June 8, 2009.

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ABSTRACT: Indigenous Systems of Conflict Resolution in Oromia, Ethiopia

Filed under: Africa files,Books, reports, sites, blogs,Dispute resolution and negotiation,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:12 PDT

This paper describes the role of the Gadaa system, a uniquely democratic political and social institution of the Oromo people in Ethiopia, in the utilization of important resources such as water, as well as its contribution in conflict resolution among individuals and communities.

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ABSTRACT: Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy [updated 12 August 2009]

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:09 PDT

After the first Gulf war, in 1991, a new peace process consisting of bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon achieved mixed results.

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ABSTRACT: Including Local Voices in Conflict Assessment

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:05 PDT

The 2008 Accra Action Agenda on Aid Effectiveness, signed onto by the US, concluded that broad country ownership, including governments, civil society and the private sector, is critical to aid effectiveness. A whole of government, interagency approach to US interests requires the development of a whole of community infrastructure for including local voices in conflict assessment, policy planning and program implementation. Donors will benefit from local participation in conflict assessment in a variety of ways.

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ABSTRACT: Colombia: A Case Study in the Role of the Affected State in Humanitarian Action

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Humanitarian work,Latin America & Caribbean,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:58 PDT

This case study forms part of a broader research project on the role of the affected state in humanitarian action. It contributes to a comparative study of how a wide range of governments respond to humanitarian crises. In particular, it focuses on the relationship between the state and domestic non-governmental actors and the international community. The overarching research question for the project is: what would good humanitarian governance look like? Colombia offers an interesting case for the project because, while it has middle-income country status, it has been plagued by a decades-long conflict which has caused a large-scale humanitarian crisis that requires international assistance.

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Civil Disobedience and Al Gore

Filed under: Environment,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:32 PDT

About a year ago, Al Gore urged citizens to take direct action and called for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

It seems that a group of activists in West Virginia are taking this call to heart.

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Colombia’s ex-fighters and victims take first steps towards reconciliation

Filed under: Latin America & Caribbean,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:32 PDT

Sitting at one end of the conference panel was a former veteran guerrilla commander flanked by armed prison guards. At the other end of the panel sat a woman whose husband had been murdered by the guerrillas. In the middle of the two, was a government official acting as chair of the International Conference on Reconciliation, the first forum of its kind held in Colombia last week.

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ABSTRACT: Understanding the Armed Groups of the Niger Delta

Filed under: Africa files,Books, reports, sites, blogs — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:32 PDT

This paper attempts to identify MEND and the other main armed groups in the Niger Delta, trace their origins, explain their motivations and influences, and suggest ways of addressing their grievances. It will focus on the armed groups in the three core Niger Delta states of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Delta, the areas that have been worst affected by violence over the past fifteen years.

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ABSTRACT: Can Development Aid Contribute to Social Cohesion after Civil War? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Post-Conflict Liberia

Filed under: Africa files,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:30 PDT

Findings suggest that post-conflict development aid can have a measureable impact on social cohesion. In future work, we hope to use the survey data to uncover the mechanisms that account for this main finding.

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Law and Development: Whither Chinese Constitutionalism?

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:23 PDT

China’s constitution has been described (by Professor Donald Clarke) as the least important document in the Chinese legal system. But constitutional discourse is clearly becoming more important in Chinese law politics, as highlighted by the recent high profile arrest and subsequent release of Xu Zhiyong, a lawyer associated with the Open Constitution Initiative.

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World Bank’s IFC suspends lending to palm oil companies

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,Environment,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:22 PDT

The World Bank has agreed to suspend International Finance Corporation (IFC) funding of the oil palm sector pending the development of safeguards to ensure that lending doesn’t cause social or environmental harm, according to a letter by World Bank President Robert Zoellick to NGOs. A recent internal audit found that IFC funding of the Wilmar Group, a plantation developer, violated the IFC’s own procedures, allowing commercial concerns to trump environmental and social standards. The findings were championed by environmental and indigenous rights’ groups who have criticized World Bank support for industrial oil palm development which they say has driven large-scale destruction of forests in Indonesia, boosting greenhouse gas emissions, endangering rare and charismatic species of wildlife, including the orangutan, and displacing forest communities.

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Fighting radicalism without fighting radicals

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:17 PDT

Washington, DC – Eight years into what was once called the “Global War on Terror”, Western policymakers show a growing recognition that combating violent extremists requires more creative tools. In struggles of this sort, military solutions can have the unintended consequence of exacerbating radicalisation rather than reversing it.

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The US Defence Industry Under Obama: Are the Good Times Over?

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:10 PDT

This article comments on the end of the US defense industry’s “biblical seven fat years” under the Bush administration and the defense budget cuts proposed by President Barack Obama. It describes the nature of the industry, its major projects and how it attempts to cope with the new realities.

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The Dragon and the Anaconda: China, Brazil and the Power Balance in the Americas

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Latin America & Caribbean — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:04 PDT

This brief provides background to the fact that China has surpassed the United States as Brazil’s most important trade partner in April 2009. It describes the business links between China and Brazil, focusing on defense and oil industries.

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