Monday, 27 February 2012

Trustees call for ‘expedited mediator’ to end job action

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

Public school teachers, buoyed by a show of support from school trustees over the weekend, are now strategizing on their response to a B.C. government plan to legislate an end to their year-long contract dispute.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has called for a provincial “day of action” today, with teachers working from bell-to-bell only, holding union meetings during their lunch break and — in some cases — rallying after school. In Victoria, there are plans for a late-afternoon demonstration on the grounds of the legislature. Classes will continue as usual, and students are not expected to be affected.


Paulette Regan’s ‘Unsettling the Settler Within’ Short-Listed for The Canada Prize

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:00 PDT

The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences announced earlier this month the short list of nominees for the Canada Prizes in the Social Sciences.
Among those five short-listed for the English-language prize was the Commission’s own Dr Paulette Regan for her work on residential school history, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth-telling and Reconciliation
in Canada
(UBC Press).


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Welcome to Peacemakers Trust

Filed under: Administrative,News Watch Blog — administrator @ 09:54 PDT

U.S. Military Drones and Democracy

Filed under: International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:25 PDT

Peter Singer: The use of drones has set an enormous precedent with very little public debate, blurring the civilian and military roles in war and circumventing the Constitution’s mandate for congressional authorization.


Friday, 24 February 2012

UN peace mission to Syria urged by 70-state summit

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:05 PDT

THE 70-country “Friends of Syria” gathering in Tunis yesterday proposed a UN peacekeeping mission for Syria after a possible end of hostilities between government and rebels.

Once a ceasefire was achieved, civilian peacekeepers would enter the country, with the agreement of the government, under a “chapter six” UN Security Council resolution requiring the parties to seek a peaceful resolution through negotiations.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Canada under intense UN scrutiny over human rights of Aboriginal women

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,children and youth,Human Rights — administrator @ 09:56 PDT

Lois Leslie is a member of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and is the lead drafter of a joint report by LRWC and the BC CEDAW group recently submitted to the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination on “Missing and Murdered Women in BC and Canada [pdf].”

On February 22 and 23, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has been reviewing Canada’s compliance with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The persistent failure by Canadian governments to protect Aboriginal women and girls from discrimination and the threat of violence are a major concern of the Committee.

Forty-two years after Canada ratified ICERD, Aboriginal women and girls do not enjoy equal rights with other Canadians promised by that Convention and domestic human rights law; they experience persistent racism in many areas of their lives. The most egregious violation is the failure to be afforded equal protection of the right to life and to security of the person.

In those 42 years, hundreds of Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered. A database established by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) documents 582 unresolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, of which more than half occurred since 2000. A 2011 Statistics Canada study found that Aboriginal women were almost three times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to report having been a victim of a violent crime. (read more…)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Canada Won’t Deal With Women’s Human Rights Crisis At Home

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:05 PDT

VANCOUVER – Canada and British Columbia are failing to deal with the human rights crisis of disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women and girls says Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the B.C. CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) Group in a recent report to the United Nations.

“The disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are a national tragedy, rooted in racism and sexism,” says Laura Holland of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, a B.C. CEDAW Group member. “Aboriginal, women’s, anti-violence and human rights organizations have demanded accountability and action from the provincial, territorial and federal governments for more than a decade now. But, Canada has not taken adequate action to improve police response or the conditions that make Aboriginal women and girls vulnerable to violence and unable to escape it.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada has documented over 600 disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women and girls over the last thirty years, and half of the murder cases remain unsolved.
“Violence against Aboriginal women and girls is extreme,” says Kasari Govender, Executive Director of West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and member of the B.C. CEDAW Group. “Homicide rates for Aboriginal women are almost seven times higher than for non-Aboriginal women. (read more…)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

UVic, Victoria BC | Missing Women, Missing Voices: Panel discussion about the people and organizations excluded from Missing Women Commission of Inquiry | 21 March 12 – 1:30 pm

Filed under: Conferences, Events,gender,Human Rights,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:02 PDT
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

“Missing Women, Missing Voices”
March 21st, United Nations’ Day for the Elimination of Racism

Date: March 21, 2012
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Location: Room 158, Fraser Law Building, UVic

  • Robyn Gervais- Former legal representative of Aboriginal interests at the Inquiry. Originally appointed by the Commissioner, Robyn recently resigned from the Inquiry
  • Jenn Allan – Jen’s Kitchen, an outreach service provider in the Downtown Eastside. Jenn was not able to participate in the inquiry.
  • Laura Track – West Coast LEAF. Originally granted “limited participant” status, West Coast LEAF withdrew from the inquiry.

The discussion will focus on:

  • The reasons why some people and groups have been excluded;
  • Why others have chosen not to participate;
  • What sort of outcomes we can expect from the Inquiry.

Sponsored by the Indigenous Law Students Association, the Indigenous Law Club, the Radical Law Club and Canadian Lawyers Abroad.

Refreshments will be provided.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Seeking Justice Elsewhere: The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group land claim case before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights | Vancouver 23 February

Filed under: Conferences, Events,Humanitarian work,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:00 PDT
Thursday, 23 February 2012


Free public talk: Thursday February 23, 2012, 7:00 pm, Vancouver Public Library, 350 W. Georgia St., Alice MacKay room, Lower Level.  (Poster)

Attention BC lawyers – Approved for CPD credits

The fertile Cowichan Valley is part of the traditional homeland of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG), comprised of: Lake Cowichan First Nation, Halalt First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, Lyackson First Nation, and the Stz’uminus First Nation. During the late 19th century most of this land was seized for the benefit of settlers. Over 237,000 hectares containing valuable timber, coal, and other resources were given to the E&N railroad corporation. No treaty or law permitted this; no compensation was paid.

Despite over a century of attempts HTG nations to negotiate a settlement, Canada continues to permit widespread clear-cutting, deforestation, and environmentally destructive development activities throughout the seized territory. Most of the territory has now passed into the ownership of three forestry corporations: TimberWest Forest Corporation, Hancock Timber Resource Group, and Island Timberlands.

Canada’s failure to negotiate a settlement and respect HTG interests led the HTG to file a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS). Canada protested, arguing that the case should be heard in Canadian courts. The Commission ruled the case admissible because of Canada’s failure to resolve Indigenous land claims in a timely fashion. The hearing took place at the Commission’s headquarters in Washington D.C. on 28 October, 2011, and a decision is reserved. (read more…)


Myanmar’s newly legal activists, still skeptical, test pace of reform in a once-outcast nation

Filed under: Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:40 PDT

DAWEI, Myanmar — When 200 activists in green T-Shirts marched along a pristine Myanmar beach to protest plans for a coal plant, they expected a long, tough struggle against the powers that be. But then, something bizarre happened.

A deputy Cabinet minister asked for a meeting. He listened patiently to their concerns about pollution. And then he told them the government agreed: It would halt construction of the controversial 4,000-megawatt plant on Myanmar’s southern panhandle.

In a long-repressed country whose people have grown accustomed to living in fear of government authority, it all seemed too good to be true. Just last year, anyone who dared even demonstrate in public would have likely have been beaten or detained by security forces.

“We were shocked,” said Aung Zaw Hein of the activist group, the Dawei Development Association, which staged the protest last month. “He asked us, ‘do you love your region?’ Then he said, ‘We love it, too. We just need to work together.’”


Palestinian non-violent resistance catching on

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:18 PDT

The Bethlehem-based Holy Land Trust has become one of the most visible organizations promoting non-violent resistance.

Sami Awad is wrapping up a day of training with Palestinian women leaders in Bethlehem, another step in the effort not only to empower women, but to extend the concept and practice of non-violent popular resistance.

“At the theoretical level,” Awad says. “I would say that the idea of non-violence is becoming more accepted. The criticism we had is going down.”


Violent uprising not as effective as non-violence

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:10 PDT

As the Syrian opposition abandons non-violent protest for armed resistance, many people think this means President Bashar al-Assad and his Baathist regime are in even deeper trouble than before. On the contrary, it means Assad and the Baathists are winning…

If physical force is what decides the confrontation, the regime almost automatically wins, because the force it can deploy is so much greater. As soon as the protesters throw the first brick or fire the first shot, the balance of power shifts radically in favour of the regime…

Nowadays dictators understand this, and do everything in their power to provoke their opponents into using violence. The Syrian protesters resisted this pressure for months, clinging bravely to non-violence despite a relentless toll of deaths and injuries inflicted by Assad’s regime. But then some of the regime’s troops, sick of killing their own people, deserted from the army – and took their weapons with them.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Under Fire: Journalists in Combat Feb. 21st at 9pm ET / 10 PT

Filed under: Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:45 PDT

Only two journalists were killed in World War I. Iraq has so far claimed 120. The recent Libyan uprising has already claimed the lives of four and global conflict looks set to continue. War journalism has become an increasingly lethal endeavor. Not only are correspondents viewed as targets, they are often subject to kidnappings, torture and even beheadings. Under Fire weaves together portraits of these journalists and photographers; those who have survived physically, but have succumbed emotionally to what they have witnessed.


Reverence for the Sacred Land: A response to endemic violence in Central America

Filed under: Indigenous Peoples,Latin America & Caribbean — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:56 PDT

For five years I lived and worked in the outskirts of San Salvador with an organization supporting marginalized families living with HIV/AIDS. Though the agonizing combination of poverty and HIV formed a part of my daily experience, AIDS was not the main epidemic that surrounded my life. The World Health Organization considers more than 10 homicides per 100,000 residents to be at epidemic levels. From 2004 to 2009, El Salvador ranked first in the world with 62 homicides per 100,000 residents. After five years in San Salvador, having a pistol pointed at your head during an assault on the public buses became a common experience.

Every day after sunset as I returned to the small house I shared with my wife and her family, I went through the same apprehensive routine: Walk quickly through the streets; look constantly over your shoulder to see if you are being followed; sit near the front of a bus next to an elderly lady if possible (they always inspire shelter); don´t look at anyone, don´t talk to anyone; don´t trust anyone.

A year later, I find myself living in a quiet Mayan town in the highlands of western Guatemala. Every day after sunset as I return to the small room that I share with my wife, I go through the same life-enhancing routine: Walk calmly through the streets; stop to chat with the local woman selling tortillas on the corner; pause in dark alley to contemplate the stars and the moonlight silhouetting the surrounding mountains; find a pick up soccer game in the park to join in on; look at everyone; talk to everyone; trust everyone.

The difference between these two daily routines—one marked by fear and violence, the other by trust and tranquility—has made me constantly question how violence evolves, how it becomes entrenched in the daily lives of communities, and most importantly, what is a real, effective response to this violence.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Peacemakers Trust temporarily not searchable on Google: Here’s why | You can still search for us on Bing

Filed under: Administrative — administrator @ 12:20 PDT

February 2012: Peacemakers Trust was recently notified by Google that the Peacemakers Trust site “may have been compromised.” Our website technician has investigated, and we are pleased that there is no evidence of hacking of the website. All issues of concern have been addressed. Rest assured that there is, and never has been, any malware or adware on our pages. However, there was a minor technical coding problem on one page that has now been rectified. We are now waiting for Google to review the website and restore it to their search results. In the meantime, you can search us on Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.”

Sunday, 12 February 2012

UN Human Rights Experts Critical Of Trial Of Prominent Spanish Judge Garzon

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:26 PDT

A series of independent United Nations human rights experts today voiced concern about the impact of the trial of a prominent Spanish judge on his independence, particularly his efforts to investigate more than 100,000 allegations of enforced disappearances during the country’s civil war and then under the regime of Francisco Franco.

Judge Baltasar Garzón is currently on trial in Spain, charged with “knowingly exceeding his jurisdiction” by admitting and investigating complaints related to crimes against humanity regarding allegations of enforced disappearances between 1936 and 1951.

These cases are allegedly inadmissible because of a Spanish amnesty law introduced after General Franco’s death and the expiration of the statute of limitations, and last week the country’s Supreme Court rejected a prosecution request to dismiss the case against Judge Garzón.


South Sudan: Why Things Fall Apart

Filed under: Africa files,International Law: War,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:28 PDT

Heightened tensions over oil threatens the fragile peace between Sudan and South Sudan, as my colleague Jeffrey Gettleman reports. For me, the story and the predicament recall a meeting long ago, before oil was even discovered in Sudan.

As a freshly minted foreign correspondent, at an African summit meeting in Kinshasa, I looked up from my typewriter at a pair of muddy bare knees and leaned back until my neck hurt to see who was up there. It was a Dinka tribesman from southern Sudan who had walked for weeks to deliver a plea: The outside world had to end a brutal war.

No problem. My news agency, The Associated Press, reached everywhere. I only had to sound the alarm.

No one listened then, in 1967, and few took much notice for nearly four decades. So today, six months after South Sudan finally won its freedom, yet another round of war adds thousands more to a death toll of more than two million.

South Sudan shows with grim clarity why complex crises left to fester for decades and generations are seldom fixed with a sudden burst of concern.


Mediator urges Sudan, South to ease tough stance in oil row

Filed under: Africa files,Business, Human Rights, Environment — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:20 PDT

ADDIS ABABA — The lead mediator in a furious oil row between Sudan and South Sudan urged the two states Saturday to ease their unilateral actions ahead of a new round of talks to resolve the crisis.

South Sudan has shut down oil production after accusing Sudan, on whose pipeline and refinery it depends to export oil, of stealing its crude.

Khartoum admits to confiscating 1.7 million barrels of South Sudanese crude since vowing in November to take 23 percent of southern oil exports as payment in kind for the use of its infrastrucure.

“We are asking the South to resume the production and we are asking the two parties to abandon the use of unilateral actions,” mediator Pierre Buyoya told AFP.

Sudan and South Sudan leaders have warned of fresh conflict if no solution is found to the worsening dispute.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Gene Sharp: “suicidal” for Syrians to use weapons

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:11 PDT

Gene Sharp, whose writings have been credited with inspiring those behind the Arab Spring, tells Channel 4 News it is “suicidal” for Syrian protesters to fight the government’s army with weapons.


True democracy in Burma?

Filed under: Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:10 PDT

These days, the media is full of upbeat reports about all the changes taking place in Myanmar (Burma). It is true that the government in Burma has undertaken certain reforms.

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