Sunday, 18 May 2014

In Conversation with Sally Armstrong

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,gender,Human Rights,Media and Conflict,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:55 PDT

Canadian journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong often says that in her 25 years of reporting on women and girls in zones of conflict, she hasn’t had a good-news story to tell.

Indeed, the gender-based discrimination and violence she regularly reports on is horrifying. Girls being denied the right to go to school. Girls and women suffering acid attacks. Girls and women having their genitals mutilated. Girls and women being systematically raped as a weapon of war. Girls and women being murdered in so-called honour killings. Girls and women disappearing.

But Armstrong is telling more good-news stories these days. She says there’s reason to be optimistic: Girls and women all over the world are rallying. Her most recent book, 2013′s The Ascent of Women, tells the stories of the remarkable, courageous and tenacious women worldwide who are fighting for their rights — and emerging victorious.


Friday, 4 April 2014

Honduras: Liberating a Prison

Filed under: Art of Peacework,children and youth,Film, video, audio,Latin America & Caribbean — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:42 PDT

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Death toll in Syria’s civil war above 150,000

Filed under: children and youth,Dispute resolution and negotiation,gender,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:40 PDT

BEIRUT – At least 150,000 people have been killed in Syria’s three-year-old civil war, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

The UK-based Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of activists and medical or security sources, said that real toll was likely to be significantly higher at around 220,000 deaths.

Efforts to end the conflict by bringing together representatives of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the opposition have so far failed. The United Nations peace mediator for Syria said last week that talks were unlikely to resume soon.


Millions at risk in S. Sudan unless urgent action taken to end conflict – UN

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:35 PDT

LONDON – Millions of lives will be threatened in South Sudan unless urgent action is taken to end fighting between government forces and rebels and increase international financial support to help civilians, the heads of two of the biggest United Nations agencies said on Tuesday.

At the end of a two-day visit to South Sudan, U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres and Ertharin Cousin, head of the World Food Programme, said many people risked being cut off from help due to lack of safety for aid workers.

“Women we met in Nyal (town in Unity State) who have been affected by the conflict asked us to convey three messages to the world: they need peace, assistance to relieve their suffering, and the chance for their children to return to school,” Cousin said in a joint statement with Guterres.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Central African Republic: Ethnic cleansing and sectarian killings

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,Human Rights,International Law: War,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:30 PDT

International peacekeepers have failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Muslim civilians in the western part of the Central African Republic, Amnesty International said in a report issued today.

To protect the country’s remaining Muslim communities, international peacekeeping forces must break the control of anti-balaka militias and station sufficient troops in towns where Muslims are threatened.

“Anti-balaka militias are carrying out violent attacks in an effort to ethnically cleanse Muslims in the Central African Republic,” said Joanne Mariner, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International.

“The result is a Muslim exodus of historic proportions.”

Amnesty International criticized the international community’s tepid response to the crisis, noting that international peacekeeping troops have been reluctant to challenge anti-balaka militias, and slow to protect the threatened Muslim minority.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sport as a peacebuilding tool: Experiences from Nigeria

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:51 PDT

Nigeria is an extremely heterogeneous society, comprising peoples of different ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Likewise, the eruptions of violent conflicts have had diverse causes and characteristics. Ours is a country that has had its fair share of violent conflicts with over one hundred documented conflicts of varying magnitudes occurring since independence on October 1, 1960.

In recent times conflicts have arisen in several cities, most recently the bombings across the Northern states of Borno, Yobe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Bauchi, and Abuja, which prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States in May 2013. Members of different communities live in fear of conflicts, leading to violence, loss of lives and properties. Many Nigerians have come to question whether the country is on the brink of a civil war.

How can sport bring Nigerians together?


USA: State Gun Laws Enacted in the Year Since Newtown

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,children and youth,Disarmament — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:42 PDT

In the 12 months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., almost every state has enacted at least one new gun law. Nearly two-thirds of the new laws ease restrictions and expand the rights of gun owners. Most of those bills were approved in states controlled by Republicans. Those who support stricter regulations won some victories — mostly in states where the legislature and governorship are controlled by Democrats — to increase restrictions on gun use and ownership. Select categories from the table below to see all gun bills that passed at least one chamber of a state legislature.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Sharp drop in suspensions as Boston schools try ‘restorative’ approach

Filed under: children and youth,Restorative justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:55 PDT

State data show a staggering drop in drug- and violence-related suspensions in Boston schools since the district amended its discipline policies to allow “restorative justice” measures in lieu of suspensions, including written apologies, conferences between offenders and victims, and anger management courses.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Myanmar army releases child soldiers

Filed under: children and youth,International Law: War,Myanmar,Southeast Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:16 PDT

NEW DELHI – The Myanmar army released 62 child soldiers Wednesday in its latest bid to meet international human rights standards, although critics said more children still remain in uniform.

Since the army agreed to end the practice in June 2012, about 170 children and young adults have been let out of the army. No exact figures are available on the total number of child soldiers in Myanmar, although human rights group Burma Campaign UK has estimated there are 5,000.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Litigation Conduct may Constitute “Family Violence” under the Family Law Act

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:41 PDT

In the recently-released decision in M.W.B. v. A.R.B., the Supreme Court has characterized a party’s approach to the litigation with her husband as “family violence” within the meaning of s. 1 of the Family Law Act, and taken the violence into account, as the court must when family violence is present, in assessing the best interests of the parties’ child under s. 37 of the act…

The court… observed that under s. 37 of the new act, the best interests of the children are the only factor to be taken into account and that “this principle applies to all existing child custody questions.” The judge further observed that s. 37 requires a consideration of family violence, and that where family violence is present, the court must consider the additional factors set out at s. 38. This is where things get interesting.

First, the court reviewed the definition of family violence at s. 1 of the act. These are the parts of the definition which the court considered to be the most relevant to the case, as emphasized by the judge:

(d) psychological or emotional abuse of a family member, including

(i) intimidation, harassment, coercion or threats, including threats respecting other persons, pets or property,

(ii) unreasonable restrictions on, or prevention of, a family member’s financial or personal autonomy, …

(iv) intentional damage to property, and

(e) in the case of a child, direct or indirect exposure to family violence;


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Young voters key to new mood in Cambodia

Filed under: Cambodia,children and youth,Human Rights,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:13 PDT

The scenes in Phnom Penh last week were astonishing. Hundreds of thousands of people, including many young people, welcomed opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who had just returned to Cambodia after four years effectively in exile. Not to be outdone, the very next day, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) staged a huge youth rally and concert in Phnom Penh for more than 10,000 supporters. Amid the election fever that has gripped Cambodia ahead of the national polls on Sunday, one thing is clear – people seem less afraid than ever to voice their opinion.


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Irena Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children but died wishing she’d rescued more

Filed under: children and youth,Europe,gender,Human Rights,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:43 PDT

She smuggled out the children in suitcases, ambulances, coffins, sewer pipes, rucksacks and, on one occasion, even a tool box.

Those old enough to ask knew their saviour only by her codename “Jolanta”.

But she kept hidden a meticulous record of all their real names and new identities – created to protect the Jewish youngsters from the pursuing Nazis – so they might later be re-united with their families.

By any measure, Irena Sendler was one of the most remarkable and noble figures to have emerged from the horrors of World War II. But, until recently, her extraordinary compassion and heroism went largely unrecorded.


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Jayden, 5, sells lemonade for peace

Filed under: children and youth,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:39 PDT

Westboro Baptist Church may have found a formidable foe in a five-year-old girl, Jayden Sink, who has taken on the notorious group by setting up a lemonade peace stand in front of a house across the street from the Westboro Church in Topeka, Kansas.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Hockey Canada board votes to ban bodychecking for peewee players

Filed under: children and youth,Peace and health — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:07 PDT

Hockey Canada’s board of directors voted to eliminate bodychecking for peewee-level players on Saturday, May 25, 2013…

“It’s a good decision, and a win-win for kids,” Paul Carson told CTV’s News Channel in an interview from Charlottetown, P.E.I. where the annual meeting was held.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school

Filed under: Art of Peacework,children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:37 PDT

ROXBURY, Mass. — The community of Roxbury had high hopes for its newest public school back in 2003. There were art studios, a dance room, even a theater equipped with cushy seating.

A pilot school for grades K-8, Orchard Gardens was built on grand expectations.

But the dream of a school founded in the arts, a school that would give back to the community as it bettered its children, never materialized.

Instead, the dance studio was used for storage and the orchestra’s instruments were locked up and barely touched.

The school was plagued by violence and disorder from the start, and by 2010 it was rank in the bottom five of all public schools in the state of Massachusetts.

That was when Andrew Bott — the sixth principal in seven years — showed up, and everything started to change.

“We got rid of the security guards,” said Bott, who reinvested all the money used for security infrastructure into the arts.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Northern Ireland: Robinson and McGuinness want “peace walls” down within 10 years

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness have set a target of 2023 to bring down all of Northern Ireland’s 60 so-called peace walls.

At Stormont yesterday the First Minister and Deputy First Minister outlined a range of measures to tackle sectarianism and division including toppling the North’s interface structures within 10 years.

Some peace walls of brick and steel stand up to 18ft high and may be miles long through housing areas. They were intended to protect people from violence during the troubles but remain in place 15 years after the Belfast Agreement. They were built in areas of sectarian tension in Belfast, Derry and Portadown, as well as through the playground of one primary school in north Belfast.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Palestinian Non-Violence Subject Of New Graphic Novel

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Media and Conflict,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:17 PDT

Amid the Western media’s obsessive search for a Palestinian Gandhi, many stories of peaceful, non-violent resistance are often overlooked. One such story is that of Budrus, a small West Bank village — dotted with ancient olive trees and cacti — lying very close to the Green Line (the internationally-recognized border separating Israel from the West Bank). In 2003, Budrus’ residents found out that Israel’s separation wall would swallow chunks of their land. It was then that the villagers decided to employ non-violent tactics to protect their trees and land.


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Children and the non-violent lessons of the Birmingham Movement

Filed under: children and youth,Human Rights,Media and Conflict,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:09 PDT

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Arnetta Streeter Gary vividly remembers turning a corner in downtown Birmingham 50 years ago and being met by the force of water coming at her at an estimated 50 to 100 pounds per square inch.

“We had been taught that if they put the water hose  on you, to sit down and cover your face so that the pressure of the water would not hurt your eyes,” said Gary, an Ullman High School student at the time. “If we balled up into balls, then the water would not hurt as much. But that was not so. I can remember us balling up, hugging together, and the water just washing us down the street.”

Gary was one of thousands of students from Birmingham’s elementary, middle, and high schools and nearby Miles College who participated in the May 1963 demonstrations. Called Demonstration Day, or D-Day, and later dubbed the Children’s Crusade, these marches led to concessions from the city’s white power structure.

March re-enacted

On Thursday, thousands of area high school and college students will assemble at Birmingham’s historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church–where students gathered 50 years ago–to re-enact those pivotal civil rights-era demonstrations.

Birmingham Councilman Jay Roberson said the way child marchers responded nonviolently to conflicts in 1963 is a lesson for young people today.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

How Kids Cope With Occupation

Filed under: children and youth,Human Rights,International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:49 PDT


Since the Israeli army first occupied the West Bank in 1967, there has been a massive military presence in the area. A complex system has been developed to keep the local population under control, which extends far beyond the wall separating the West Bank from neighbouring Israel. On a daily basis, Palestinians have to negotiate a series of checkpoints, spot checks and road blocks, all under the watchful eye of the army’s surveillance towers…


Médecins Sans Frontières has been running a mental health program in the West Bank for more than 10 years. More than half of our patients are children who have directly experienced violence related to the conflict.


Sunday, 31 March 2013

Report to Supreme Court chief justice calls for family law overhaul

Filed under: children and youth,Dispute resolution and negotiation — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:28 PDT

An unreleased report commissioned by the country’s top judge is urging a radical overhaul of Canada’s family law system.

The report to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, scheduled for release next month, calls for restructuring the family law system from the ground up, with a focus on streamlining the court process and ending a fixation on combat…

A copy of the report, obtained by The Globe and Mail, says that estranged spouses and their children are seriously damaged by the adversarial system; and that judges, lawyers and law schools must embrace a culture of mediation and settlement.

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