Stop Climate Chaos has today expressed deep disappointment at the government’s refusal to take on board concerns about the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, which today passed Second Stage. This is the first time a Bill designed to tackle climate change has passed Second Stage.
Commenting this evening, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:
“We are deeply disappointed at the government’s unwillingness to listen to concerns expressed not only by Stop Climate Chaos but by their own party colleagues. Fine Gael and Labour backbenchers have voiced their concerns with aspects of the Bill in the Dáil in recent weeks but the Minister’s statement today clearly shows that none of these issues will be addressed.
“The Government is also ignoring the advice from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht. Seven of the ten proposals made by the Committee which require changes to the Bill have been disregarded by Government.
“These include some of the most important proposals for actually tackling climate change, such as a long term emissions reduction target and an independent advisory council. Minister Kelly has argued that setting national targets would interfere with the EU process but this just doesn’t stand up. Other member states have managed to pass climate laws with long-term targets, the most recent of which is Finland which passed a climate law earlier this month with an 80% emissions reduction target for 2050. If the Government is going to reject such important recommendations they must find a stronger rational for doing so.”
As the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill now progresses to Committee Stage Stop Climate Chaos is hopeful that amendments that will strengthen the Bill will be accepted by government. (more…)
Film produced & edited by Dave Donnellan, also including filming by Muireann De Barra
“I feel it is my duty as an Irish artist to follow the example of Margaretta D’Arcy and make a stand against the shocking situation of Shannon’s continuing use as an instrument of war.
As St. Patrick’s Day looms I want to help focus attention on the fact that the shamrock is stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of lives taken by the U.S military campaign, of which Shannon is an essential component. Is this the kind of Ireland we want to celebrate?
The sight of Irish politicians celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S is grotesque while human rights abuses and death continue to be facilitated by the Irish government’s gift of Shannon airport to the U.S war machine. I hope my actions can in some way draw attention to the shameful complicity of the Irish government in mass murder”.
- Dylan Tighe, musician, writer and actor
“At this time of year when a bowl of shamrock is handed over in the White House as a symbol of the gombeen attitude of our leaders, it’s vital to challenge the hypocrisy of the neutral Irish state letting its second airport be used as a warport by the US. How many rendition kidnap flights flew through Shannon with prisoners now in Guantanamo for more than a decade without trial, many force-fed for months? We’ll never know because military flights were not and are not inspected.
I feel compelled to use whatever artistic skills I might have to challenge glib acceptance of the use of Shannon by the US army, as a gesture of solidarity with those far-off communities suffering attack by US armed forces with the complicit aid of Shannon Airport. Not in my name, not with my compliance”.
- Donal O’Kelly, writer, actor and director.
Shamrock, Shame and Shannon: Reclaiming Ireland’s Pride - A protest at Shannon Airport at 12 noon to 1pm on Sunday, March 15th.
To mark the 12th Anniversary of the 2nd US-led war on Iraq and the Taoiseach’s annual cap-doffing, forelock-tugging exercise before the Commander-in-Chief of continuing wars in Afghanistan and around the world, wars in which Shannon plays a crucial role.
Preceded by a ‘cycle of nonviolence’ from Dirty Nellies at Bunratty Castle to Shannon Airport, starting at 11.00 am.
Organised by Afri and supported by PANA
“Making peace by making war is what we are trying to do – but it doesn’t work”, stated Edward Horgan, former commandant in the Irish Defence Forces and Shannonwatch spokesperson as he addressed the public meeting on ‘Peace and Neutrality: International and National Perspectives’. Peace can only be achieved by positive neutrality.
One country which has pursued the path of positive neutrality is a country with approximately the same population as Ireland: Costa Rica. Costa Rica disbanded their army in the 1940s and the President at that time, Jose Figueras, declared that the military budget would be used on healthcare and education instead. Figueras believed it was pointless for a country the size of Costa Rica to have an army as it would never be able to compete with a larger country. Costa Rica has since become renowned for its neutrality and peaceful stance in foreign affairs.
Roberto Zamora – Independent Attorney from Costa Rica, who has challenged the Costa Rican government on breaches of neutrality under their Constitution and won
Carol Fox – Peace and Neutrality Alliance
Andy Storey – Afri
Organised by Afri – For more details contact email@example.com / ph. 01 8827563
Report by Genny Bove
The Craic Will be 90
It wasn’t the greatest start to a weekend. First there was a text about RoJ getting a flat tyre on the way to the ferry and then, when we were on the road heading south from Wrexham, a crisis call. I pulled over into the old station at Welshpool to take it. Joe Murray was on the ferry from Rosslare as planned with Nuala Kelly and Andy Cummins, but all four musicians in the party had been left behind on the quay (thanks to some misinformation given out by Irish Ferries staff who had promised there was plenty of time before the gates closed when there wasn’t) and the next sailing wasn’t due in til after midnight, too late for the Shamrock Bar gig planned for that evening. There was nothing to be done except put out some calls for local musicians to step in and hope that Joe could at least persuade the stranded ones to rebook on the ferry and arrive in time for Saturday night. The atmosphere in the car was subdued as we continued on our way, wondering how things were going to work out and whether the musicians might have just given up and gone home. We needn’t have worried. After about an hour, a text came through from RoJ: they were on their way back to Dublin, would catch the afternoon ferry to Holyhead, drive down to Fishguard from there – a five hour journey – and would be with us by 11pm. Cryptically, he added: “The craic will be 90.”
“What’s that about?” asked Eimear.
“No idea. Bet it’s a song lyric.”
Eimear looked it up and we began to worry that they might be tempted to catch the Isle of Man Steam Packet instead and all end up in Douglas. (more…)
Stop Climate Chaos will host a day of action on Tuesday 10th February, calling on elected representatives to strengthen the Climate Bill. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 will be debated in the Dáil later this week. It will be the first time the Dáil has debated a Government Climate Bill but the coalition is concerned that the Bill will not deliver the low carbon future it promises unless significant amendments are made.
Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, said
“The coalition was deeply disappointed last month when the Government rejected proposals by the Oireachtas Environment Committee to strengthen the Climate Bill. The recommendations of the Oireachtas committee, which held comprehensive hearings on the draft Bill last year and produced an all-party report, have been ignored without reason or explanation. The Bill will not secure a transition to a low carbon future if the government refuses to do the bare minimum recommended by their colleagues, such as defining what ‘low carbon’ actually means.
“It is clear that our concerns are shared by many members of the public. We’ve had a terrific response from people all across Ireland who are disappointment that the Bill does not go far enough. Tomorrow provides a forum for these people to meet with their TDs and express their dissatisfaction.” (more…)
The effects of global warming are increasingly clear: ecosystems are being lost at an alarming rate; species extinction is occurring on an unprecedented scale and communities, especially those who are already suffering, face decimation and displacement. Unless we make radical changes, things are going to get a lot worse.
But resistance is also on the rise. In 2014, a coalition of native Alaskan tribes, backed by green campaigners, won a court victory against Shell’s drilling for oil in the Arctic. Indigenous groups in the Amazon have been holding back plans to cut down more forests to facilitate oil exploration.
These artists have already pledged to act. Will you? Damien Dempsey, Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Steve Wall (The Walls/The Stunning), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames), Dónal O’Kelly, Noirín Ní Riain, Theo Dorgan, Paula Meehan and more. Full list below and more to be announced soon. Are you an artist? Add your name to the list of supporters here.
Artists are helping lead the change. Neil Young launched a Canadian tour in 2014 under the title ‘Honour the Treaties’, backing the struggle of Canada’s indigenous nations against environmentally destructive tar sands extraction. Pharrell Williams recently announced a series of Live Earth Concerts around the globe on June 18th of this year.
In Ireland, renowned violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire of The Frames (and ex Swell Season and Kila) will soon launch his new solo album ‘and now the weather’ which takes in the theme of our relationship with the planet. What we need now is a constant, continuous and multi-dimensional effort from now until the Paris Summit in December 2015 and beyond.
We are calling on artists, musicians, poets, painters, writers, crafts people, designers, dancers and all creative souls everywhere to use their creative genius to awaken the super-power of world opinion. Imagine the impact, if artists and those who love art, those who love Earth were to rise up and make their voices heard with one clear message: Stop killing our planet… save our world.
Please join our call by creating art that helps awaken, activate and inspire. Share your creations with your friends, fans and followers and be part of a movement of movements that is determined to forge a new world for our children and grandchildren.
Joe Murray, Afri – Action From Ireland (Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
Gary White Deer, Choctaw artist
The teachings of all First Nations tell us that all people share a common Mother Earth,
who takes care of us and we are born knowing this. In this Spirit, let us then take care
of Mother Earth as well as each other.
– Gary White Deer, Choctaw Nation
Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Damien Dempsey, Steve Wall (The Walls/The Stunning), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames), Q A.K.A Colm Quearney, Dónal O’Kelly (actor and playwright), Gary White Deer (Choctaw artist), Sarah Clancy, Colm Keegan, Enda Reilly, Queen Elvis, Veronika Stalder, Valentina Gaia Lops, Iain Dowling, Blue Drum, Gary Dunne (music), Caroline K Stanley (music), Ciara Ryan-Gerhardt (creative writing, singing), Little John Nee (writer/performer/story maker), Dave Lordan (poet), Róisín Coyle (Visual artist), Maria McManus (writer), Bibly Mosa (poetry), Denise Keenaghan (poetry), Kate O’Shea (poetry), Rory White (music – cello – and songwriting), Séamus Bellamy (writing), Homeira (Homeira Printmaker), Angela T. Carr (poetry), Rosie McGurran (visual arts), Shelley Tracey (poetry), Luke Concannon (singer-songwriter), Connor McDermott (music/writing), Michelle McCarron (photography, film, writing), Ailbhe Darcy (writing), Sorcha Fox (poetry and performance), Rosemarie Rowley (poetry), William Wall (writer), Mary Madec (poetry), Tara Baoth Mooney (musician and artist), Theo Dorgan (poet), Paula Meehan (poetry), Eleanor Hooker (poet), Elise Brown/Hands on Crreation (craft, photography, poetry, dance), Celeste Auge (writing), Nessa O’Mahony (poetry), Sheila Mannix (writing), Béibhinn O’Connor (music), Jenni Ledwell (actress), Lavelle (music), Eabhan Ni Shuileabhain (poetry), Sue Hassstt (writing, research, music, activism, participatory arts), Brian Fleming (music/ theatre), Lou McMahon (singer-songwriter), Shevaun Doherty (botanical artist), Lucia Comnes (songwriter/singer/fiddler), Édaín Ní Dhomhnaill (art), Martina Flaherty (singer/songwriter), Lauren Guillery (musician), Lucy Vigne Welsh (acting, painting, writing), Giselle Harvey (art/craft), Bee Smith (writing/poetry), Danny Groenland (soul music), Beverly Farley (painting), Wendy Jack (singer songwriter), Terry Corcoran (painter), Ceara Conway (visual art/singing), David Carroll (music), Michelle Culligan (craft/ writing / mosaic), Nóirín Ní Riain PhD (music/theology), Barbara O’Meara (visual artist), Martin Sharry (writing), Breda Larkin (comedian), Helena Tobin (artist), Kathleen O’Hara Farren (mixed media), Sharon Corcoran (poetry & writing), Deborah J. Stockdale (textile artist), Caroline Kuyper (yarn craftivism), Jules Bitter (music), Ciara Delaney (music), Saffron Thomas (sculpture), Kathleen McCreery (theatre and writing), Bernadette Hopkins (visual artist), Kate Thompson (writer), Aodán McCardle (artist/poet), Ciaran Keogh (actor/singer and film maker), Kevin Ovita Teddy (event organizing), Paul Byrne (music)
and more to be announced soon.
After 14 years of challenging the oil and gas industry in north Mayo, what knowledge does the community there have to share? What questions might other communities have and how might they benefit from the experiences of those standing up to Shell and the State?
A four-year CEESA research project (2010-2014) in the parish of Kilcommon, northwest Mayo, sought to identify and share useful knowledge from the experiences of challenging the Corrib Gas project. This has been used to create an exhibition in which people respond to the question: If you could say one thing to other communities facing an unsafe development planned for their area, what would it be?
On Friday 30th January some of the 51 campaigners who took part in the research will speak about what they are learning through challenging the Corrib project. The creators of the exhibition will also talk about the research and photography behind the exhibition. (more…)
Former speaker at Féile Bríde, Kathy Kelly has just begun a 3-month prison term, having been arrested when she went to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of Whiteman Air Force base Missouri, which operates drones over Afghanistan.
Here is an update from Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the organisation of which Kathy is the Co-ordinator:-
Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kathy Kelly will turn herself in to the federal prison camp in Lexington, KY on Friday, January 23. She will begin serving a three-month sentence for her June 1, 2014 protest of drone killings at Whiteman Air Force Base, in Missouri.
Kelly asserts that drone warfare jeopardizes the security of ordinary people and that the U.S. Constitution protects her right to assemble peaceably for redress of grievance. She was arrested when she went with Georgia Walker and other activists to the gates of Whiteman Air Force Base to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of the base, which operates drones over Afghanistan. At her trial in December, Federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth found her guilty and sentenced her to three months. (more…)
Afri has consistently opposed the abandonment by successive government of Ireland’s policy of neutrality, a policy whereby Ireland pursued largely non-militaristic foreign policy and refused to participate in wars of aggression.
All that has now changed, against the will of the Irish people and governments cravenly provide Shannon Airport to the US for its never-ending ‘war on terrorism’ as well as surrendering our neutrality in many other ways.
Afri recently launched a petition opposing the use of Shannon as a war-port, which is on-going and our Board member John Maguire has devised this campaign called ‘PETALS’ (Peaceful Endeavour to Terminate Aggressive Landings at Shannon) as a way of drawing attention to our continual participation in wreaking death and destruction on other peoples and nations.
John was prevented from handing these peace shamrocks to passengers in Shannon Airport this weekend. Apparently war planes and rendition flights are acceptable in Shannon but not shamrocks!
To sign our petition to show that you oppose the military use of Shannon airport go here.
Tackling the challenge represented by ISIS (Islamic State or ISIL) is a tough assignment, both for governments and for civil society. Their barbaric killings and rapidly expanding control of territory have resulted in precisely the reaction intended: military intervention by the US and its allies. Despite the failures of the recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere, those with hammers in their toolboxes once again see every problem as a nail. (more…)
Report by Joe Murray
I recently attended a peace conference in the unlikely venue of the ‘Imperial War Museum’ in London. Organised by the Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW) in a venue, containing, as MAW President Bruce Kent said, three of the most unattractive words in the English language, the event was interesting and timely, looking critically, as it did, at the way in which World War 1 is being commemorated. Many contributions noted the attempt to ‘redeem’ World War 1, and to portray it as a ‘good war’ by those who continue to benefit from the business of war and who want to ensure its continuance as a means of ‘settling’ international disputes.
A disturbing feature was the announcement that since the Museum re-opened after refurbishment in July 2014, it has been visited by over half a million people. And while the peace event attracted around one hundred people largely in the over-50 age bracket, the war museum was visited by thousands of people in the course of the day. Among the visitors were families including children of all ages, many of whom were being photographed proudly standing alongside or caressing some of the most grotesque weapons ever manufactured. (more…)
Blood Fruit recounts the story of ten exceptional young workers in Dunnes Stores in Henry Street who took the courageous decision to refuse to handle ‘the fruits of apartheid’ in 1984. This decision was to have major consequences for the workers themselves – being locked out for more than 2 years – and internationally as the story became known around the world. It resulted in a rare and amazing victory when the Irish Government banned the importation of fruit and vegetables from South Africa.
The film relays the experience of the daily drudgery on the picket line as well as their invitation to address the UN, their meeting with Desmond Tutu en route to receive the Nobel Peace prize and their abortive visit to South Africa where they were held by armed police before being sent home on the next plane. This is a compelling and inspiring story which should be compulsory viewing for people of all ages, reflecting what is best in human nature – the ability to empathise with the suffering of others even in faraway places and to express solidarity to the point of making a real and significant difference.
Nelson Mandela had said that the action of the strikers had helped him during his imprisonment and, in a message sent to the strikers via Afri for the premiere, Archbishop Tutu saluted them, describing them as ‘a beacon of hope’ and ‘part of the history of South Africa’s struggle for freedom’.
Shannonwatch Press Release
Shannonwatch welcomes the visit to Shannon Airport by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions. The visit which took place on October 2nd was a follow-up to a petition by Shannonwatch earlier this year. The petition called for the Government to investigate the use of Shannon Airport and Irish airspace for the transit of US armed troops, munitions and other war material, as well as for the refuelling of CIA-associated aircraft involved in extraordinary rendition.
During their visit to Shannon, representatives of the Committee met with members of the Gardai including Chief Superintendent John Kerin and with airport officials before meeting again with Shannonwatch. They were informed that about 40,000 US troops had gone through Shannon so far this year. However Shannonwatch understands that airport officials said that US troops were not essential to the economics of Shannon Airport as they contribute relatively little, and that civilian passengers contribute far more with shopping, car parking and so on.
Amongst the topics covered in a constructive meeting between Shannonwatch representative Edward Horgan and the Committee were the non-searching of US military aircraft, and past indications from Gardai that the Attorney General had issued advice not to search suspected rendition planes.
“We had a long discussion on issue of Gardai searching or non-searching of US military and military chartered aircraft” said Mr Horgan. “Gardai continue to insist on needing a warrant from a judge to search chartered troop carriers, and it is even suggested that international diplomatic laws forbids them from searching US military aircraft. We have never received an adequate explanation of the legal basis for such claims”.
Shannonwatch asked the Oireachtas Committee to seek clarification of exactly what laws the government is referring to when it talks about sovereign immunity and chairperson Padraig MacLochlainn TD undertook to follow up on this.
Shannonwatch also raised the fact that military planes and chartered “civilian” troop carriers are treated differently and pointed out that both are bound by international laws on neutrality. “We also pointed out the direct contradiction in government policies when they continue to declare a policy of neutrality while being in gross breach of international laws on neutrality. We recommended that the Committee should consult an international law expert on neutrality and they agreed. Matters of policy are primarily a matter for legislators rather than Gardai.”
“The issue of whether or not a former Attorney General issued advice that suspect rendition aircraft, and maybe even US military aircraft, should not be searched has not yet been adequately addressed.” said Mr Horgan. “If such advice was ever given it would be a very serious matter, and for that reason it needs to be fully investigated.”
Prior to the Committee’s visit to Shannon Padraig MacLochlainn noted that Shannonwatch have also made serious claims that complaints or requests made to Gardaí at Shannon have not been followed up. He went on to say that “The series of meetings on the ground in Shannon tomorrow will assist the Committee in following up this controversial issue. We will also be able to assess first-hand Shannonwatch’s call for an independent inquiry in relation to what they perceive as the failure to investigate aircraft suspected to be involved in illegal rendition.”
During the meeting Shannonwatch’s Edward Horgan noted that while legal issues such as neutrality are important, the reality that Ireland has been facilitating wars in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people including children are being killed, while failing in our constitutional and moral responsibilities to promote international peace and justice, is of greater importance. “We will not allow our government or the Gardai to ignore that fact” said Mr Horgan.
Shannonwatch are organising a large demonstration at Shannon Airport on October 12th at 2pm. It is being supported by peace and anti-war groups from around Ireland, and is being held at a time of renewed bombing in the Middle East by the US and its allies.
Report by Genny Bove
The Irish greeting Céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) is no exaggeration. Over in Dublin from Wales again for a few days, this time with Chelsea Manning’s Mum Susan, we are once again experiencing the extraordinary hospitality, warmth and staunch solidarity of our friends here, and it’s wonderful.
Thursday night we gathered at the Teachers’ Club in central Dublin for an evening gathering Resisting Injustice organised by Afri to remember the late, great Gerry Conlon who met and offered his support to Chelsea’s family and who spoke so eloquently against injustice and for Chelsea Manning last November, just a few months before his untimely death from cancer this June.
Donal O’Kelly, the creative force behind January’s Manning Truthfest, was MC for the night. Donal has helped keep the cause in the public eye in myriad ways, most recently dedicating the World’s Best Radio Show award for his play Francisco to Chelsea Manning.
The first speaker was Nuala Kelly, whose talk drew on her extensive experience of supporting Irish prisoners in overseas jails. She recounted how she had at first been more aware of Giuseppe Conlon’s arrest back in 1975 than that of his son Gerry but how later, in her work with the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas, she became involved in supporting Gerry and his family in their quest for justice. Nuala emphasised the impact on families when a person is imprisoned and the importance of offering support and working alongside families. She described how the campaign to free the Guildford Four, Maguire Seven and Birmingham Six started to gain momentum, with local groups little by little getting involved and taking their own solidarity initiatives, such as a women’s group organising street stalls in central Dublin. If we are going to build an effective campaign to free Chelsea, we need to find ways to engage as many people as possible as well as being mindful of the perspectives of both the prisoner and her family. (more…)
I was planting a tree in the garden of my north Dublin home on Saturday afternoon when the silence was shattered by a sudden thunderous roar, the like of which I had never heard before, while I caught a glimpse of a black streak flashing across the sky. My wife ran from the house alarmed and fearful – thinking that an attack of some sort was actually taking place. In our local vegetable shop, a staff member reported customers instinctively ‘running for cover’ as they were overwhelmed by the deafening noise. A man in his 70s who was repairing a house nearby had to go inside for an hour as a result of the shock.
We later learned that the cause of our Saturday afternoon jolt was two F-16 war planes, performing a fly-past for the American football match in Croke Park. I thought of the fear that, if only for a few seconds, these war planes had generated. The vaguest hint, perhaps, of what it must be like for families in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for whom this is a daily reality, except in these instances it is no propagandist fly-past as the war planes ‘deliver’ death, destruction and misery. I thought of what it would be like for my own children if this had been the ‘real thing’, and of those children for whom this sound is the last they will ever hear! (more…)
The justice and peace group Afri have expressed outrage at the “fly past” by 2 U.S. jet fighters as part of the U.S. football match in Croke Park at the weekend.
“Many people in the surrounding areas were shocked and frightened when the silence of a quiet Saturday afternoon was shattered by the thunder of 2 F16 fighter jets which, without warning or explanation, flew overhead in a “lap of honour” for the participating teams. What would it be like if, as in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, they were firing the missiles which are their stock in trade? Who gave consent for this invasion of Irish air space by elements of the U.S. war machine? Is it appropriate that the headquarters of Ireland’s national games, built over many years by the pence and shillings, cents and euros, of loyal supporters should be used as a backdrop for U.S. war propaganda?
If official permission was given, Afri would condemn the authorities in Croke Park and the Irish Government for collusion with this disgraceful display. As with Shannon Airport, this shows a typically supine attitude by the Irish Government to U.S. power. Is there no limit to our willingness to prostrate ourselves before the altar of U.S. militarism? Sport should be a means of bringing people together and promoting peace, not a vehicle for promoting war and militarism,” said Dr. Iain Atack of Afri.
Should there be a recurrence of this event in future years, Afri stated that it will mobilise people to protest against such obscene conflation of war and sport.
Article in the Irish Times by Fiona Gartland: Croke Park Classic: fighter jet fly-past upsets people, dogs and anti-war group
A Memorial evening for Gerry Conlon in solidarity with Chelsea Manning, Thursday 11th September, 7pm in the Teachers’ Club, Dublin 1
Entrance on a donation basis – To book tickets: click here
Gerry Conlon of the Guilford Four, a victim of the one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in recent history, devoted much of his life on his release from prison, to campaigning on behalf of other prisoners and highlighting human rights abuses worldwide.
In November 2013, Gerry spoke at an event in Trinity College in solidarity with whistleblower Chelsea Manning who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing the truth about the war in Iraq. The meeting in November was attended by hundreds of people including the family of Chelsea Manning. Gerry Conlon spoke movingly about his own experiences, the courage of Chelsea Manning and the importance of whistleblowers in revealing miscarriages of justice. This address will feature as part of the Memorial evening, and will include a reflection on Gerry Conlon by human rights campaigner Nuala Kelly. It will also include contributions from leading musicians and actors such as Joe Black, Simon Meyler, Sorcha Fox, RoJ Whelan, Donal O’Kelly and more!
Entrance by donation. Donations from the event will go to the Manning Family Fund.
To book tickets: click here
See also our facebook event page
Iraq has called for an international treaty banning depleted uranium (DU) weapons in a report to the United Nations as evidence continues to mount of their risks to civilians. Iraq’s report, published ahead of this autumn’s UN General Assembly where DU weapons will be debated, also urges member states and UN agencies to adopt a proactive approach to the issue and condemn the use of the weapons. Iraq is the country most affected by wartime DU contamination, with at least 400,000kg used by the US and UK in 1991 and 2003’s conflicts.
The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) has also called for DU weapons to be banned, just as anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs have been. ICBUW argues that the weapons are inherently indiscriminate and that their legacy persists long after the end of conflict.
“ICBUW warmly welcomes Iraq’s intervention,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “We hope that it will act as a reminder that the legacy of these weapons lasts well beyond the end of conflicts and disproportionately affects the civilian population. The complete lack of obligations on the users of DU weapons to clean up their mess leaves civilians at risk of exposure as clearance is expensive, technically challenging and often beyond the ability of countries recovering from war.”
New report: dozens of new studies reveal health risks
Little was known about the risks to civilians posed by DU weapons prior to their first major use in the 1991 Gulf War, with significant uncertainties persisting until the present day. However a new analysis of nearly 50 peer-reviewed studies has concluded that the chemically toxic and radioactive substance can damage DNA and cause cancer, the report calls for urgent studies into the extent to which civilians are being exposed to DU.
All radioactive substances that emit alpha radiation, including DU, have already been classified by the WHO’s specialist International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as Group 1 carcinogens if they get inside the human body. Studies show that DU can also damage DNA and cellular processes in a number of different ways, such as by triggering oxidative damage, breaking DNA strands and binding directly to the DNA itself. Other papers have documented that DU can cause mutations in DNA, change the structure of chromosomes, make cells become cancerous and destabilise the genome.
“These studies contain irrefutable evidence of the damage that DU can do,” said David Cullen, one of the report’s authors. “It is completely unacceptable that this material was used in weapons before the effects were properly understood. We urgently need research to find out how much DU is getting into those people who are forced to live, work and play in areas contaminated by DU weapons so we can make a full assessment of the risks”.
Studies into DU’s impact in the field have been severely hampered in Iraq by the refusal of the United States to release data on where the weapons were fired and in what quantity. The chance release of a handful of coordinates earlier this year indicated that DU had been used against a far wider range of targets in Iraq than was legal and in populated areas, increasing the risks that civilians would be exposed.
Iraq’s report to the United Nations
Iraq’s report is available here with analysis of all the reports here. This October, the United Nations will consider a 5th biennial General Assembly resolution on the risks posed by DU weapons. The last, in 2012, was supported by 155 states and opposed by just four – the US, UK, France and Israel. Further information on the legacy of DU use in Iraq can be found in the reports In a State of Uncertainty and Laid to Waste by PAX.
Download the new scientific review
The new study ‘Malignant Effects: depleted uranium as a genotoxin and carcinogen’ is available to download here.
The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) campaigns for a ban on the use of uranium in all conventional weapons and weapon systems and for monitoring, health care, compensation and environmental remediation for communities affected by their use. ICBUW represents more than 160 organisations worldwide and seeks to do for uranium weapons what the International Coalition to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition did for those types of weapons, in essence to develop a uranium weapons treaty that would prohibit the use of uranium in all conventional, i.e. non-nuclear, weapons.
About depleted uranium weapons
For a quick overview of depleted uranium, the weapons and key issues see our briefing: http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/overview