Friday, 21 January 2011

Unite, Confuse, and Inspire: Creating a More Inclusive Atmosphere in Israel

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

Reflecting on 2010, it’s clear that racism in Israel has reared its ugly head. A recent poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 51 percent of Israelis support equal rights between Jews and Arabs, while 53 percent think the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country. Thepoll also established that Jewish Israelis find the idea of living next to an Arab more troubling than any other minority, and that in the event of war, 33 percent of Israelis support the idea of putting Arabs into internment camps.

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Governor-General honours veteran of the war on war

Filed under: Disarmament,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:00 PDT

It isn’t exactly the halcyon days of peace activism, when no-nukes marches pulled Canadians into the street. But you could argue that it’s a movement that wears a suit now, and internationally, has reached the zenith of its power among political elites. Through it all, Ernie Regehr has been a solid constant amid the flickering fashions of Canadian peaceniks.

Mr. Regehr co-founded Waterloo-based Project Ploughshares, a church-backed peace organization, in 1976, before the peace movement became modish in the last throes of the Cold War, and stuck with it through the decades as the movement differed over complex wars in places like Afghanistan.

Now 69, the modest Mr. Regehr, respected for his expertise even by opponents, will get a bit of bling to mark that career: Governor-General David Johnston will on Friday award him the Pearson Peace Medal, last bestowed on General Roméo Dallaire in 2004.

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What Sparked Tunisian Revolution?

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:59 PDT

Samer Shehata: A police state exercising total suppression of freedoms is more brittle and open to falling than a semi-authoritarian regime.

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Why peace is the business of men

Filed under: gender,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 15:28 PDT

Looking for a way out of Afghanistan? Maybe it’s time to try something entirely new and totally different. So how about putting into action, for the first time in recorded history, the most enlightened edict ever passed by the United Nations Security Council: Resolution 1325?

Passed on October 31, 2000, more than a decade ago, that “landmark” resolution was hailed worldwide as a great “victory” for women and international peace and security. In a nutshell, SCR 1325 calls for women to participate equally and fully at decision-making levels in all processes of conflict resolution, peacemaking, and reconstruction.

Without the active participation of women in peacemaking every step of the way, the Security Council concluded, no just and durable peace could be achieved anywhere.

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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Archbishop calls for greater religious freedom in Myanmar

Filed under: Media and Conflict,Myanmar,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:32 PDT

The leading prelate in Myanmar (Burma), one of the world’s most repressive nations, is calling for greater religious freedom.

Quoting Pope Benedict’s recent Message for the World Day of Peace, whose contents he delivered to government officials, Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon said that “every person must be able to freely exercise and to manifest, individually or as a community, their religion or faith, both in public and in private, in the teaching, in the practice, in the publications, in the worship and in the observation of rites.”

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The school where Rwanda’s ex-soldiers get a second chance

Filed under: children and youth,Disarmament,Rwanda — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:03 PDT

The village school in Nyanza, south of the Rwandan capital of Kigali, is a place where former Rwandan soldiers can get off to a fresh start. Those who once knew only how to fire a gun are taught carpentry, weaving and masonry skills.

The Rwandan conflict sparked the mass killings of Tutsis [and moderate Hutus] that led to the genocide of 1994. It later spilled beyond the country’s borders into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), fueled by ethnic violence in North Kivu.

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UN probe must include all armed groups

Filed under: children and youth,International Law: War,Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:02 PDT

Any UN Commission of Inquiry must be truly objective and should investigate all parties to the conflict in Burma. Practically, the threat of an investigation could do much to discourage violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Politically, a comprehensive investigation might be less likely to antagonise the regime and could engender the support of more of the international community. Only such an impartial investigation could set the stage for real national reconciliation.

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Former Maoist child soldiers learn to shoot – with camera

Filed under: children and youth,Media and Conflict,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:01 PDT

Kathmandu – It was not a desire to change the world but his grinding poverty that made Nar Bahadur Sunuwar join the underground Maoist guerrillas when he was only 12.

Living in a village in northern Nepal’s almost inaccessible Humla district that was four days’ trek away from the district headquarters and had no electricity, running water, telephone, health post or even radios, Nar Bahadur’s family were even worse off than other villagers because they were Dalits – considered untouchables.

The boy, who felt like an ox caught in a trap, heard that if he joined the Maoist rebels, he would be fed and clothed well, would be able to roam around as he pleased, and also get to carry a gun, an important attraction and point of prestige.

So, he ran away from home and joined the underground party that had started a ‘People’s War’ against the state, only to find that he had changed one prison for another.

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U.S. shouldn’t turn ‘blind eye’ to child soldiers

Filed under: children and youth,International Law: War,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:01 PDT

In April 2007, the Child Soldier Prevention Act was introduced into Congress. President George W. Bush signed the act into law in late 2008. It was designed to restrict and bar U.S. military aid or assistance to countries which were responsible and involved in the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The Child Soldier Prevention Act falls under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. William Wilberforce was a British politician, philanthropist and leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade during 1800s.

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2011 Canadian School of Peacebuilding June 6-24, 2011 | Applications now; late fees for applications after April 1

Filed under: Conferences, Events,Dispute resolution and negotiation,Indigenous Peoples,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:49 PDT
Friday, 1 April 2011

Monday, 6 June 2011 to Friday, 24 June 2011


Please consider taking a course at this year’s Canadian School of Peacebuilding.  Check out the our website for more information. This third annual Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP), a program of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), will be held in Winnipeg, MB, from June 6 – 24, 2011. Three 5-day sessions, each with three or four courses running concurrently, will be offered for academic credit or for professional training for practitioners.

Apply online today. Apply and pay now to reserve your spot.  After April 1, a $50 late fee is added. (A few people have had trouble with the online form.  If it is not working for you – click here to get a PDF registation form which you can fax, post or scan and email.)

The Canadian School of Peacebuilding has been created to serve practitioners, professionals, activists, students, non-governmental organizations and faith-based groups engaged in peacebuilding. Its goal is to serve peacebuilders around the world by bringing them together in a collaborative learning community, nurturing and equipping them for various forms of peace practice and exposing them to some of the most significant, emerging ideas and teachers in the field.

Click here to watch a short videos of Karen Ridd, Marc Gopin, Ovide Mercredi or Howard ZehrCheck out the 2011 CSOP Teaching faculty to see how we draw on renowned local, national and international instructors of peace.

See the complete course listings of 10 different 5-day courses offered this June.  Anyone working in peace, justice or development should consider taking these classes.  The School aims to equip, network and sustain the peacebuilders of the world. This School is offered with support of 35 partners, sponsors and collaborating academic programs.

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Monday, 17 January 2011

Wikipromises | By Johan Galtung

Filed under: Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:41 PDT

ALFAZ, SPAIN, Jan (IPS) – In 2010, Wikileaks caught the world’s attention and contributed to greater openness. The new year is a traditional time to make wishes and promises. Here is a list of promises that I wish would be made -and kept!

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North and South Sudan: Challenge of Forming Cooperative Ties

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:37 PDT

Analysts say the two states have plenty of issues to negotiate, including boundaries and citizenship.

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Climate Conversations – Turning environmental destruction into a crime against peace

Filed under: Environment,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:32 PDT

LONDON  – Criminalising ‘ecocide’ – the destruction of ecosystems – is an idea that “just has to come,” says David Hart, an environmental lawyer and advocate of ‘wild law’.

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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Gun control’s prospects after Tucson

Filed under: Disarmament — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:29 PDT

The public opinion climate for more regulation of guns is significantly chillier today than it was two or three decades ago. In 1990, 78 percent of the public told a Gallup poll that they felt that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made stricter; in October of last year, just 44 percent said this. A sizable shift in public sentiment has taken place in just the past two years. The percentage of the public saying it’s more important to control gun ownership than to protect the rights of Americans to own guns dropped from 58 percent in April 2008 to just 50 percent in a September 2010 Pew Research Center poll. There is a very large partisan divide on the issue, with 70 percent of Republicans but only 30 percent of Democrats saying it’s more important to protect the rights of gun owners than to control gun ownership.

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Rehabilitation of Confucius complete | @MARKMacKINNON

Filed under: Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:22 PDT

Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher condemned by Mao Zedong as an enemy of China’s Communist Revolution, is now sharing space with the Chairman on Tiananmen Square…

In recent years, however, the Communist Party and many ordinary Chinese have quietly moved to re-embrace Confucius – particularly his emphasis on ethical behaviour and respect for authority – as the country searches desperately for a post-Maoism ideology. “For the government, there’s appeal in a philosophy that preaches harmony at a time when a yawning rich-poor gap and anger at corruption have fuelled instability,” the Shanghai Daily wrote on Friday.

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Bitterness gives way to hope in Sudan independence vote

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:19 PDT

Over the past week, citizens of Southern Sudan have been voting in a referendum that is widely expected to result in Africa’s largest country being split in two, after years of conflict between north and south…

I was there to gauge the appetite for independence, and Elijah became very animated when I asked how he felt about the prospect of Southern Sudan breaking away to form a new country.

“It will be great for us because then we can be at peace. We have been suffering for so many years,” he told me.

This is a common refrain here.

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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Tunisia: Gang violence mars celebration of popular uprising

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:03 PDT

The sudden flight of ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has left a mood of confusion and fear. Soldiers and tanks controlled central Tunis but armed gangs continued to loot and burn amid fears that the ex-dictator’s militia were behind the violence.

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Protesters make the case for peaceful change

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:50 PDT

With soldiers at checkpoints examining vehicles on the main routes into town, residents of Sidi Bouzid retired to their houses at dusk Saturday in line with a nationwide 5pm.

After a day of peaceful protests in the small town where the suicide of a young, unemployed man last month sparked the wave of protest that lead to the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, some residents barricaded their streets after groups of armed men were reported by residents to have entered some homes in the neighbourhood on Friday night, stealing goods and attacking women.

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Friday, 14 January 2011

Children in War: More Reason to Hope

Filed under: children and youth,Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:51 PDT

From Afghanistan to Sudan, from the Philippines to the Central African Republic, there are more than 20 situations listed in the United Nations Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict detailing the use of girls and boys as soldiers — slinging AK-47s and forced to murder before they are old enough to understand death.

To make matters worse, war itself has changed and cruel tactical innovations have developed as a result. Children are made to strap suicide vests on their tiny bodies and sent into crowds where, if they falter, an adult can remotely detonate the devices. Beyond soldiering, children are often collateral damage as the result of air strikes or heavy combat amongst the civilian population. If they survive, many are left behind as orphans or burdened with permanent psychological scars.

While this bleak picture is the reality, we are not without hope. I’ve met these children. I have heard their stories. Their incredible resilience after years of war, disruption of their education, rejection from their villages, is astounding.

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Creating a new generation of peacemakers in Uganda

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:50 PDT

For more than 20 years, northern Uganda lived in the grip of a civil war that killed over 300,000 people, displaced 1.8 million more, and forced 36,000 child soldiers as young as seven years old to fight in the resistance movement.

Although a truce brought an end to the violence in 2006, much work remains to secure a lasting peace.

In November, The Rotary Foundation awarded a US$16,096 global grant to the Rotary clubs of Rubaga, Uganda, and Lambert Airport, Missouri, USA, to provide training in peace-building to 200 teachers and 1,300 students at 10 high schools in the region.

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