Friday, 18 September 2009

Join the International Day of Peace – September 21

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:18 PDT

The United Nations’ International Day of Peace – marked every year on September 21 – is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

Established by U.N. resolution in 1982, “Peace Day” has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small.

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Preventing Violent Conflict: Assessing Progress, Meeting Challenges

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:10 PDT

How well does the international community work to prevent the outbreak of new wars? In a new special report, “Preventing Violent Conflict: Assessing Progress, Meeting Challenges,” USIP’s Lawrence Woocher examines the current status of conflict prevention as an international norm and the level of political commitment by world powers. Woocher finds [that] [m]uch attention is focused on reactive approaches to conflict – rebuilding and resolving – but prevention must hold the same level of importance.

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Analysis: Closer to war than to peace in Casamance?

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:10 PDT

ZIGUINCHOR – On a recent morning in Ziguinchor, the main city of Senegal’s Casamance region, pre-school children sang the national anthem in a bright blue classroom as muffled artillery fire sounded several kilometres away.

Neither war, nor peace.

Recent clashes between the army and separatist troops in Casamance have underscored that the 27-year conflict is far from over, and observers warn that recent years of relative calm must not be taken for granted.

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Upcoming meetings can rally support for UN-backed nuclear treaty, says official

Filed under: Disarmament,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:50 PDT

A set of meetings to be held next week at United Nations Headquarters could have a significant impact on efforts to bring the treaty banning nuclear testing worldwide into force, a senior official leading those efforts said today.

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Colombian activists still face killings and torture, despite progress – UN expert

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Media and Conflict,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:50 PDT

Killings, torture, threats and arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders reportedly by both guerrillas and law officers persist in Colombia, despite the Government’s recent efforts to improve their lot, a United Nations expert said today.

“Much remains to be done to ensure a safe and conducive environment for human rights defenders,” Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya said in a press release in Bogotá, the capital, at the end of a 12-day mission to the country, which has been wracked by violence between the Government, rebels, paramilitary groups and criminal gangs for over four decades.

Human rights activists, including journalists, trade unionists, magistrates, lawyers, students, women defenders, and indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders “have been killed, tortured, ill-treated, disappeared, threatened, arbitrarily arrested and detained, judicially harassed, under surveillance, forcibly displaced, forced into exile, or their offices have been raided and their files stolen, because of their legitimate work in upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she added.

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Q&A: ‘Stiglitz-Sen Moving in the Right Direction, but Slowly’: Hazel Henderson

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:49 PDT

ROME – Hazel Henderson is a futurist, an economic iconoclast, founder of Ethical Markets Media, and author of the books Building A Win-Win World, Beyond Globalization, Planetary Citizenship, and Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy. Her main focus is exploring the “blind spots” in conventional economic theory.

She has devoted her research to the creation of an interdisciplinary economic and political theory with a focus on environmental and social issues. For instance, she has investigated the “value” of fresh water and clean air, needed in huge amounts to sustain life, but taken for granted.

In the wake of the publication of the “Stiglitz-Sen report” – which says that countries need to find ways to measure well-being alongside raw economic growth, her views couldn’t be more pertinent.

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Reducing media bias through regulation

Filed under: Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:49 PDT

There is a crisis in media and journalism, and policymakers have to tackle both political and commercial influence in the media.

Political bias has been thoroughly analysed in the economics literature, but commercial bias has received markedly less attention than it deserves.

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An Interesting Understanding of the Security Council and the ICC

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:48 PDT

I imagine there will be much gnashing of teeth over the Goldstone Commission’s report — the meme of the day seems to be that because the Commission was on a fact-finding mission, it wasn’t permitted to infer from those facts that war crimes or crimes against humanity were committed…

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Justice in Gaza

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Middle East,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:47 PDT

I ACCEPTED with hesitation my United Nations mandate to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war and international human rights during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza last winter. The issue is deeply charged and politically loaded. I accepted because the mandate of the mission was to look at all parties: Israel; Hamas, which controls Gaza; and other armed Palestinian groups. I accepted because my fellow commissioners are professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation.

But above all, I accepted because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war, and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm.

In the fighting in Gaza, all sides flouted that fundamental principle.

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Goldstone’s Gambit: The Man Behind U.N. Report

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:46 PDT

Johannesburg — Ask Richard Goldstone what possessed him, a Jew and self-described supporter of Israel, to accept the job of chief United Nations investigator of alleged war crimes committed in Gaza last winter, and the legendary South African judge invokes his past.

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Right of Reply: False accusations in the mirror

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:44 PDT

Ken Roth’s article “Don’t smear the messenger” (August 26) – responding to my critique of the Goldstone mission under the authority of the UN Human Rights Council – reminds me of what is termed the “false accusation in the mirror,” where you accuse the “other” of what you yourself are doing. On the eve of the Goldstone report’s release, Roth’s false misrepresentations and ad hominem diatribes warrant a response.

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Africa: Post-conflict security in need of women

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:05 PDT

Women need to get involved more actively and more equally in the reform of the security sector in post-conflict states, says Ecoma Alaga, a Gender and Security Sector Reform (SSR) expert of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa. Alaga presented a policy paper in a seminar on SSR and the Protection of Women in Africa on Tuesday, which was attended by leading experts in the field of gender, peacekeeping and SSR.

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Brazil may ban sugarcane plantations from the Amazon, Pantanal

Filed under: Environment — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:02 PDT

Brazil will restrict sugarcane plantations for ethanol production from the Amazon, the Pantanal, and other ecologically-sensitive areas under a plan announced Thursday by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration, reports the Associated Press.

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Faith leaders’ summit will precede major G20 meeting in US

Filed under: Environment,Humanitarian work,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:59 PDT

A major Faith Leaders Summit will precede the G20 Summit of world leaders in Pittsburgh, United States, setting out a priority agenda for tackling poverty and environmental damage.

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Why Obama is Right on Missile Defense—What’s Next?

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:55 PDT

Critics of President Obama’s move to reconfigure the proposed missile shield in Europe have accused the administration of kowtowing to Russia in the naïve hope of increased pressure from Moscow on Iran. In a new policy outlook, Kimberly Misher contends that the president’s decision was the right one based on technical, financial, political, and security considerations.

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Development, Security and Transitions: Challenges and Opportunities for International Engagement in Fragile States

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:48 PDT

My presentation is intended to provide an overview for the other panellists addressing the nature and challenges of modern peacebuilding and stabilisation efforts, and the changes that have occurred over past decade or so that require a much more comprehensive approach and have raised the stakes in terms of the consequences for failing to effectively stabilise fragile societies. I will discuss the associated — if not causative — factors related to instability, conflict and fragility, and how these impact on the interlocking challenges these societies and their international benefactors face in creating or restoring stability and sustainability…

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Peace activist and promoter has new cause: saving house

Filed under: Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:18 PDT

YOUNGSTOWN — Like the house she lives in on Wick Park, Therese Joseph is a keystone of her community, standing against the prevailing current.

Joseph (formerly Powell) owns the grand, turret-crowned home at 204 Broadway. It’s on a street of old mansions that, for the most part, have fallen into disrepair as the neighborhood declined.

Her spacious home serves as the headquarters for Peace Action — Youngstown. It’s the local chapter of Peace Action for a Sane World, which is the nation’s largest grassroots organization for peace and social-justice causes. She is co- chairwoman of the chapter.

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Family of injured peace activist considering suit against Israel

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:15 PDT

The family of peace activist Tristan Anderson, formerly of Grass Valley, is considering filing suit against Israel.

The Israeli government recently issued a statement denying responsibility for injuries Anderson sustained after being shot by the Israeli army during a peaceful demonstration on March 13.

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Arnado wins first World Vision Peacemaking Award

Filed under: gender,Indigenous Peoples,Peaceworkers in the news,Religion and peacebuilding,Southeast Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:38 PDT

QUEZON CITY – Atty. Mary Ann Arnado, secretary general of Mindanao People’s Caucus, a network of Bangsamoro, indigenous peoples and Christian settlers who promote peace and facilitate dialogue, is this year’s World Vision International (WVI) Peace Prize Awardee for Peacemaking for her dauntless pursuit to promote peace in a non-violent yet effective way.

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Fall of the Wall competition: Reconciliation on Berlin’s Bernauerstrasse

Filed under: children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:34 PDT

On the 9th of November 1989 I was not even born. In fact it would be nearly 15 years – almost as long as it took the Russian zone of post-war Berlin to first acquire its wall in 1961 – before I properly came into the world. And yet the frenzied woodpecker tapping of a thousand hammers on concrete was in a real sense the overture to my conception.

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