Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Mandatory mediation in Italy? Not if the lawyers have any say

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:06 PDT

Lawyers in Italy are preparing to go on strike Wednesday to protest a new law requiring mediation in commercial cases.

As a way of calling for changes in the law, Italy’s lawyers are being asked to abstain from attending hearings in any civil, criminal, tax, or administrative proceedings, and to send their clients letters urging them to sign a form letter of protest.

The strike—if it takes place—is supposed to end Monday, and has been called for by Italy’s national union of lawyers, the Organismo Unitario dell’Avvocatura Italiana. Click here for the union’s website.

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Libya: UN refugee agency calls for safe passage for civilians fleeing violence

Filed under: International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:54 PDT

As fighting intensifies in Libya, the United Nations refugee agency today voiced concern that people needing to flee combat areas and seek refuge are either unable to go or being prevented from doing so, even as the number of refugees nears 300,000.

“We appeal again to all parties to ensure safe passage for all civilians fleeing violence,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva. “Typically, we would expect to see significant numbers of injured people and women and children in a mass displacement of this nature, but so far our staff at the borders with Egypt and Tunisia have seen very few.”

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Thousands Of Palestinians Rally For Reconciliation

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:45 PDT

GAZA CITY – Thousands of Palestinians thronged major squares in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Tuesday to deliver an impassioned appeal to their leaders to end the long-running feud that has divided the Palestinian people between two rival governments.

Demonstrators on each side of the Palestinian divide hoisted banners urging their leaders to unite the government that split after Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in June 2007, leaving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah Party ruling only the West Bank.

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Fifteen conservation issues to watch

Filed under: Environment — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:41 PDT

Deforestation, oil spills, coral acidification: these are just a few examples of ongoing, and well-researched, environmental changes that are imperiling the world’s biodiversity. But what issues are on the horizon? At the end of 2010, experts outlined in Trends in Ecology & Evolution 15 issues that may impact conservation efforts this year and beyond, but are not yet widely known. These are issues you may never hear about it again or could dominate tomorrow’s environmental headlines…

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Women’s land rights and IWD

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Peace and health — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:12 PDT

Land rights—the ability to use, access, own, transfer, or profit from land—remains one area where women are still significantly disadvantaged compared to men. Land is quite literally at the foundation of our lives. It is where we work, raise our families, build our homes, grow our food, bury our loved ones, and locate ourselves within a broader community. For this reason, the ability to control and manage land is intimately tied up with issues of respect, identity, power, economics, and socio-cultural history.

Yet, in many countries around the world, men control land and the income from that land. Women are prohibited by law or by custom from owning, managing, or inheriting the land on which they work, live, and raise their families. Typically, it is a woman’s status relative to men—as daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, ex-wives, and widows—that determines her ability to use and access land.

Interestingly, when promoting women’s land rights, we often utilize similar concepts of women’s social and familial roles to argue in favor of equitable land rights. We note that secure land rights for women can mean better health and nutrition for the family and better education for children.

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Pakistan’s Army Is the Real Obstacle to Peace

Filed under: Human Rights,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:44 PDT

Two months after Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was assassinated by his own bodyguard for criticizing the country’s blasphemy law, the only Christian member of the Pakistani cabinet, Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, was killed for doing his job—advocating protection of the country’s two million Christians.

Taseer’s assassination prompted a debate: Was the blasphemy law, introduced by Gen. Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s in his bid to “Islamize” Pakistan, being exploited for mundane interests? Was it leading to witch hunts? Bhatti’s death should prompt Pakistanis to ask themselves an equally disquieting question: Does Pakistan have a future as a successful nation state, at peace with itself and the world?

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Half of peace accords fail within five years

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation,gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:44 PDT

Sadly, more than half of all peace negotiations fail within five years of signature. In part, this is because negotiations and accords often do not address the underlying causes of conflict nor seek to prevent its resurgence. It is also because talks suffer from the absence of women.

Even though women have succeeded as informal mediators in conflicts around the world, the international community has engaged very few women to act as formal mediators at the highest levels. The United Nations has never appointed a woman as chief mediator.

The international community needs to realise that the absence of women is not due to a lack of women mediators; there are plenty of extraordinarily able women available and willing to work as high-level mediators.

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© Peacemakers Trust, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007

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