Monday, 30 April 2012

First nations can reap economic benefits of reconciliation

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:10 PDT

Reconciliation is a complex concept but we can all agree it compels action – right now.

I suggest it can be best approached as the building of a renewed foundation with four cornerstones: rights recognition and implementation, healing and education, capacity and, finally, seizing economic potential.

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Aboriginal reconciliation: An open letter to Stephen Harper

Filed under: Environment,Human Rights,Indigenous Peoples,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:09 PDT

Dear Prime Minister:

When I heard your words in the House of Commons that were deemed an apology for the debacle of Canada’s residential school system, I was heartened. At that time, it was nothing short of amazing to hear a prime minister use the word “wrong” in reference to Canada’s treatment of aboriginal people. Now, nearly four years later, I look at the astoundingly hurtful cuts to organizations whose sole purposes are the re-empowerment and well-being of aboriginal people, and I am disheartened. Hell, Mr. Harper, I am downright angry.

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Suu Kyi, her party to attend Myanmar’s parliament Wednesday, say they still dispute oath

Filed under: Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:43 PDT

YANGON, Myanmar – Aung San Suu Kyi said she and other lawmakers in her opposition party will attend Myanmar’s parliament on Wednesday for the first time and will take the oath of office though they still fiercely dispute its wording.

Suu Kyi said she was not backing down on the issue, however, and that her party would continue to seek constitutional change through legislative actions. The oath is part of the constitution, and her party also seeks to change other statutes it considers undemocratic.

“Politics is an issue of give and take,” she told reporters in the main city, Yangon, on Monday. “We are not giving up, we are just yielding to the aspirations of the people.”

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy object to phrasing in the oath that obligates them to “safeguard the constitution,” which was drafted under military rule and ensures the army inordinate power.

The party wants “safeguard” replaced with “respect,” a change made in other laws including electoral legislation that enabled Suu Kyi’s party to officially enter politics for the first time in decades.

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Myanmar to beef-up peace effort to end Kachin conflict

Filed under: Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:37 PDT

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, April 30 – Myanmar will choose a team of 50 peace negotiators led by a vice-president to settle a conflict in Kachin State and bring all ethnic groups into the political fold ahead of 2015 elections, the main government peace envoy said on Monday.

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War crimes trial in Ottawa starts with jury selection: Jacques Mungwarere arrested in Windsor for allegedly participating in Rwandan genocide

Filed under: International Law: War,Rwanda,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:36 PDT

The selection of 12 bilingual jurors, from a pool of about 1,200, begins today in Ottawa in the war crimes trial of a man accused of participating in the mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Jacques Mungwarere, 39, is the second Rwandan to be prosecuted under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which was introduced in 2000 and allows for prosecution no matter where or when an alleged war crime may have been committed.

The first person prosecuted under the act is Desire Munyaneza, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2009.

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Iraq’s sagging safety net

Filed under: Humanitarian work,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:31 PDT

Salina, KS – In February 2011, with grassroots uprisings having toppled the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, unrest was swelling in Iraq as well. In response, the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced that it was postponing a planned purchase of F16 fighter planes from the United States. The money saved by not buying the 18 jets would be used, said al-Maliki, to provide Iraq’s poorest citizens with increased monthly rations from the country’s public food distribution system (PDS). The cancellation was a stark acknowledgment that when people are hungry, armaments won’t keep a country secure.

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IRAQ-SYRIA: Samia, “Why can’t they just take us out of here?”

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:30 PDT

DUBAI – Syria is home to the largest Iraqi refugee population in the world – an estimated one million people, of whom 102,000 are registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

For years, it was a stable and welcoming refuge, but since an uprising against the government began last year, Syria, too, has become a dangerous place.

Among the refugees are 18,000 who were in the pipeline or final stages for resettlement abroad. Initially delayed due to new US security procedures, the cases have now been put on indefinite hold because resettlement countries have had more difficulty conducting interviews amid the unrest.

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