Monday, 14 March 2011

Truth commission’s northern tour begins

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:30 PDT

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is in northern Quebec’s Nunavik region this week to launch a series of hearings across Canada North, gathering anecdotes from former residential school students in remote communities.

The national commission began its northern tour Monday in Inukjuak, Que., where it is gathering statements from Inuit former students and others who want to talk about the impacts residential schools have had on their lives.

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Libya Eclipses Ivory Coast In The Media

Filed under: Africa files,Media and Conflict,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:29 PDT

Here’s the scene:

An illegitimate leader thumbs his nose at the international community and sends his security forces and armed supporters into the streets to gun down mostly unarmed opponents, who are demonstrating on behalf of democratic rule. Tribal and regional fault lines give way. Allegations of widespread human rights abuses grow as tens of thousands of displaced people seek refuge in other parts of a war-torn country, or seek safety across international borders.

No, we’re not talking about Libya, where the ever mercurial Moammar Gadhafi has unleashed loyal army units to quash a grassroots rebellion against his 41-year rule. All eyes in the Western media have been turned to this conflict, which has all the signs of turning into a protracted, bloody civil war.

But the earlier scene depicted is not along Libya’s Mediterranean coast but along West Africa’s Atlantic coast, in Ivory Coast…

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Non-violent resistance only way forward for Palestinians

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:29 PDT

Ramallah – The Palestinian National Initiative urged Palestinians on Monday to counter the violence and crimes of the Israeli colonists by adopting non-violent resistance.

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‘The Churches in Northern Ireland are Uninterested in Post-Violence Reconstruction’ – Prof. John Brewer

Filed under: Europe,Human Rights,Religion and peacebuilding,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:27 PDT

‘The churches in Northern Ireland are uninterested in post-violence reconstruction.’ A surprising statement from a key speaker at the conclusion of a conference called ‘Journey Towards Healing: Trauma and Spirituality – an International Dialogue,’ held 10-11 March at the Europa Hotel in Belfast.

But these were the words of Professor John Brewer, a sociologist at the University of Aberdeen, whose book on the role of churches in Northern Ireland’s peace process will be published later this year.

Brewer shared his conviction, based on years of research on Northern Ireland’s churches, that religious peacebuilding has been the preserve of a few courageous individuals, who received little or no support for their efforts from the ‘institutional’ churches.

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Bahrain anti-government protests continue despite dialogue offer

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:24 PDT

Bahrain’s anti-government protesters clashed with government security forces and supporters in the campus of a university after another group blocked the road going to Bahrain’s financial district, setting up makeshift roadblocks in the four lane highway.

“Police moved in on Pearl Square, occupied by members of the Shiite majority calling for an elected government and equality with Sunnis. Witnesses said security forces surrounded the tents, shooting teargas and rubber bullets at activists”, guardian.co.uk reports.

Last month, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa promised the protesters sweeping national dialogue in an effort to calm down anti-government forces. In the statement he said he “ordered the withdrawal of all military forces from the streets of Bahrain with immediate effect.”

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European nations encourage dialogue in Yemen

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:07 PDT

A senior European Union official has called on all parties in Yemen to engage in an open and constructive dialogue after President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced his reform initiative less than a week ago.

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Revolution U: What Egypt Learned from the Students Who Overthrew Milosevic

Filed under: Africa files,Media and Conflict,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:05 PDT

Early in 2008, workers at a government-owned textile factory in the Egyptian mill town of El-Mahalla el-Kubra announced that they were going on strike on the first Sunday in April to protest high food prices and low wages. They caught the attention of a group of tech-savvy young people an hour’s drive to the south in the capital city of Cairo, who started a Facebook group to organize protests and strikes on April 6 throughout Egypt in solidarity with the mill workers. To their shock, the page quickly acquired some 70,000 followers.

But what worked so smoothly online proved much more difficult on the street. Police occupied the factory in Mahalla and headed off the strike. The demonstrations there turned violent: Protesters set fire to buildings, and police started shooting, killing at least two people. The solidarity protests around Egypt, meanwhile, fizzled out, in most places blocked by police. The Facebook organizers had never agreed on tactics, whether Egyptians should stay home or fill the streets in protest. People knew they wanted to do something. But no one had a clear idea of what that something was.

The botched April 6 protests, the leaders realized in their aftermath, had been an object lesson in the limits of social networking as a tool of democratic revolution. Facebook could bring together tens of thousands of sympathizers online, but it couldn’t organize them once they logged off. It was a useful communication tool to call people to — well, to what? The April 6 leaders did not know the answer to this question. So they decided to learn from others who did. In the summer of 2009, Mohamed Adel, a 20-year-old blogger and April 6 activist, went to Belgrade, Serbia.

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Make legal aid an ‘essential service’: B.C. report

Filed under: gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:43 PDT

B.C.’s legal aid system is failing to meet the human, economic and social needs of British Columbians and should be an essential service like health care, says a new commission report into the system.

“In a just society, it is a public service that is as essential as education, healthcare, and social assistance,” said veteran B.C. lawyer Len Doust who headed a public commission on legal aid launched in June 2010.

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