The focus of the talks was the political situation in Brazil after the last election.
NEW CONSULTANTS IN IFIAS BRUSSELS:
Today, 20 years after the war, she is very happy of having such a wonderful opportunity to be part of this organization and contribute to its work as an intern. Belma's main interests are to get more familiar with a number of institutions with whom IFIAS is cooperating such as: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Open Society Institute, National Governments: Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, German and Swedish Government and the European Institutions: European Commission, European Parliament, Economic and Social Council. Apart from that, she hopes to gain a holistic overview of EU affairs and the way various interest groups operate in the EU environment, of their decision making process and the lobbying activities they undertake to achieve their goals. As IFIAS is an organization with the reputation of being one of the key players in Brussels, she hopes this internship will also provides her with an opportunity to get familiar with the aforementioned processes and beyond.
Belma comes from a country that aspires to become EU member and she believes that this experience will equip her with the knowledge and skills necessary to help better to understand the EU accession process within the BiH context. There are so many requirements left for her country to fulfill and by working in Brussels she really hopes to understand the accession process and activities of different stakeholders cooperating with each other. This experience will allow her to see how her country as well as its aspirations of becoming an EU member are regarded within the EU institutions and international non-governmental organizations. Belma is convinced that her aquired knowledge and the obtained references will be of advantage after her return to BiH, but also necessary in case she decides to explore other job opportunities in Brussels.
Maha Al Aswad (26) Egyptian writer, researcher and poet. She writes, speaks and trains on human rights. She blogs at http://mahaalaswad.wordpress.com. Maha is a MA candidate in International Human Rights Law at the American University in Cairo. She was a teaching assistant in MSA University for two years before she quit to work for different human rights causes with several organizations in Egypt including: gender equality, freedom of expression, right to fair trial and human rights education. Maha founded a group defending and advocating for freedom of expression in Egypt under the name "Hanetkalem" which means “We Will Speak Up” - http://hanetkalem.wordpress.com/.
Maha is a member in the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters which has been offering legal and medical support to protesters during the revolution and until now. She is also a member in the campaign against mandatory military service in Egypt. Maha has a BA in Mass Communication from Cairo University and is an alumna of UNESCO Chair and Institute of Comparative Human Rights forum (2010,2011), European Journalism Institute (EJI) 2009, Young Leaders Visitors Program (YLVP) 2008, International Institute for Political and Economic Studies (IIPES) 2008, International Academy for Leadership (IAF) 2008, American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) 2005.
Andrei Sannikov is free!
Andrei Sannikov, Honorary member of IFIAS, was released from prison on 13 April 2012. Andrei Sannikov, a former Deputy Foreign Minister and diplomat, was the most prominent opponent to challenge Lukashenko in the 2010 Presidential election and detained on 19 December 2010. He was mistreated in prison, his wife Irina Khalip, a prominent and critical journalist, was arrested with him and is after a two years suspended prison sentence still under house arrest with her 4 years son Daniel. IFIAS hat met Andrei’s family during his imprisonment on several occasion and continues to support Charter 97.
Human rights lawyer Anwar al Bunni, who had been the IFIAS manager in the EU project and sentenced in 2006 to five years imprisonment for his political activities – finally released in December 2011 - made this arrest public. "We at the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies condemn these arrests and call on Syrian authorities to immediately release them," Bunni said in a statement.
by Jelena von Helldorff, Vice President IFIAS
15 May – Gerd Greune meeting Ernest Benach i Pasqual, President of the Catalan Parliament on the occasion of a peace conference organized by the Catlana movement per la Pau
3 May 2010 World Press Freedom Day
In celebration of World Press Freedom Day, AMIN Media Network organized a reception gathering some 150 journalists from across the Palestinian territories at AMIN's headquarters in Ramallah. Guests from various local and international news institutions joined the celebration before Palestinian Prime Mminister, Dr. Salam Fayyad surprised all attendees with his appearance to the reception
"Freedom of opinion and expression is part of the main infrastructure of the future Palestinian state, and freedom of press is parallel to the freedom of Palestine"
Fayyad also reemphasized his government's commitment to support freedom of the press stating that he will not mellow in the face of any attempt to violate this freedom. In response to multiple questions raised by journalists, Fayyad said that he seeks to deal with any rising challenges in order to ensure journalists carry out their work with ultimate freedom, adding that the Palestinian Judicial System has their doors open to all journalists who believe that their rights or freedom have been violated. AMIN Executive Director, Khaled Abu Aker considered Fayyad's surprising visit as "A clear indication on his passion to connect with local journalists and a move that ensures his supportive view on the subject of freedom of expression in Palestine as a sacred subject." The reception paved the way for attendees to reunite with their colleagues and express their concern on various topics related to freedom of press.
Nothing new in the West?
Coming of age – the EU External action seen from the civil society perspective
By Jelena von Helldorff & Gerd Greune
The European Union is newly shaped as of 1st of December 2009 with a new Foreign Policy representative and the future European Action Service, an emerging European Diplomacy. Will this bring to an end a policy which presented the EU mainly through its commercial and financial presence in the world and will this bring forward new political initiatives and stronger determination for solving conflicts?
Is the EU prepared to become a true global player rather than a single market with a common currency? What would be the conditions to improve EU presence and influence in the world? What kind of influence is the EU expected to have?
The future of the EU Anti Trafficking policy after the Lisbon Treaty
IThe end of 2009 marked a turning point for the EU as a whole and for the future development of the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in particular. On 1 December 2009, the long awaited Lisbon Treaty entered into force, raising hopes for a more streamlined, coherent and focused internal EU policy. It also ushered in hopes for a more prominent external representation of the EU on the international stage. Profound legal and institutional changes coupled with new EU prerogatives in many areas hitherto within the realm of the Member States now have the potential of making a significant impact on the EU’s global action, including the area of fighting human trafficking. However, political will, strategic planning and the use of financial resources will eventually decide the pace and extent of the implementation of the opportunities presented in the Lisbon Treaty.
|JERUSALEM OF GOLD - AND OF HUMAN RIGHTS
There could not have been a more appropriate location for the protest: the large square in front of Jaffa Gate, exactly on the Green Line between East and West Jerusalem.
There, on Thursday (10.9.09) gathered hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian demonstrators to protest against the designs of the government and the municipality to conduct ethnic cleansing by expelling Palestinian families and planting settlers in the heart of the Arab neighborhoods.
The protest, which was called by the Rabbis for Human Rights, Gush Shalom, Ta’ayush, Bat Shalom, Coalition of Women for Peace, Combatants for Peace, Yesh Gvul, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions took place in the evening, when the place was full of inhabitants.
The protesters held Hebrew posters saying: “Give a chance to peace, not to settlements in East Jerusalem”, “Jerusalem – a city of all its inhabitants, “Jerusalem of gold and of the rights of its citizens – an allusion to a famous patriotic song. The Gush Shalom emblem of the two flags of Israel and Palestine were also prominent. The protest was accompanied by songs of love to Jerusalem and a group of drummers. In between speakers they interjected with drum rolls and chanting of "A city for all! A city for all!".
Rabbi Arik Asherman, the first speaker, opened with the words: “Thou shalt not have in thy town divers measures!” – a paraphrase of the Biblical injunction “Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small” (Deuteronomy 25:14). In Hebrew, “divers measures" mean discrimination or double standard. Asherman pointed out that is was a glaring injustice to expel Arabs from houses in East Jerusalem that were owned by Jews before 1967, while hundreds of houses in West Jerusalem were not returned to Arabs that owned them before 1967.
The representatives of the two extended families who were recently expelled from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and are now living in tents on the street called on the Jewish public to act for justice and reconciliation between the two communities in Jerusalem. "From the sidewalk where we are forced to observe the fast of Ramadan, I want to bring the greetings of fifty three expelled Palestinians to the Jews who came here to share our struggle, and wish you a happy Rosh Ha'Shana (Jewish New Year)" said Nasser Gawi in Hebrew . "I wish all of us a life of peace in the Jerusalem where the occupation will end. The dividing line between Palestinian Jerusalem and Israeli Jerusalem will not be a place of tensions and violence, there will be no reason for that. It will be a meeting place between neighbours living in peace and amity".
An opposing large group of religious Jewish youngsters, supporting the settlers, tried to disturb the event by singing and dancing, but fears of violence proved unfounded. All through the demonstration, Orthodox people passed between the protectors on their way to the Western Wall.
Prof. Alice Shalvi – religious feminist, former principal of the Pelech Girls' school and laureate of the Israel Prize – recalled that "on the day in 1967 when the wall separating East and West Jerusalem came down, there was a single moment when Israelis and Palestinians were ready to accept each other as equals in a truly united city. But this was utterly missed, Israeli rule over the Jerusalem Palestinians turned out to be a rule of injustice, of oppression and dispossession which is still continuing and escalating. If this does not stop, this city is heading to disaster."
"Sometimes the media coverage of settler activity in East Jerusalem gives the impression of rampaging nationalist-religious fanatics which the authorities are somehow unable to control. The reality is far from that" said Orly Noy of the "Ir Amim" ("City of the Peoples") association. The state and municipal authorities, the government ministries, the officials, the jurists, the police, are all directly and actively involved in a ceaseless campaign to get as many houses and as much land out of Palestinian hands, to let settlers become established by all kinds of shady legal tricks, to let them keep possession, protected by police and a private army of security guards paid by the state, to give into their hands enormous public properties such as the so-called "City of David National Park" in Silwan Village. It is not private enterprise, it is very much a state enterprise run by the government of Israel".
“I thank you all for coming to mark my 86th birthday’” Uri Avnery said, to some laughter. “Indeed, I cannot imagine a more proper occasion for my birthday party.” He remarked that Nir Barkat is “the mayor of West Jerusalem and the military governor of East Jerusalem, a cruel tyrant for the Arab population.”
Avnery reminded the protesters that 14 years ago a demonstration had taken place on the same spot, where the late Faisal Husseini, leader of the Arab community in Jerusalem, had said that “a day will come when a Jew speaking about ‘our Jerusalem’, will mean Israelis and Palestinians, and an Arab speaking about ‘our Jerusalem’ will mean Palestinians and Israelis.”
“Inspired by this speech, we composed a manifesto that was signed in 1995 by almost a thousand Israeli public figures, writers, artists,” Avnery recounted, and read out the text:
Jerusalem is ours, Israelis and Palestinians – Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Our Jerusalem is a mosaic of all The cultures, all the religions And all the periods That enriched the city, from Earliest antiquity to this very day – Canaanites and Jebusites and Israelites, Jews and Hellenes, Romans and Byzantines, Christians and Muslims, Arabs and Mamelukes, Othmanlis and Britons, Palestinians and Israelis.
They and all the others Who made their contribution To the city Have a place In the spiritual and physical Landscape of Jerusalem.
Our Jerusalem must be united, Open to all And belonging to all its inhabitants, Without borders and barbed wire In its midst.
Our Jerusalem must be the capital Of the two states that will live Side by side In this country – West Jerusalem the capital Of the State of Israel And East Jerusalem The capital of the state of Palestine.
OUR JERUSALEM MUST BE THE CAPITAL OF PEACE
|8 November 2009
Japanese protest against US base
Protesters said they did not want the new government to let them down
Thousands of people have protested on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa demanding the removal of a US military base there.
The local mayor called on new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama "to put an end to Okinawa's burden and ordeal". Japan and the US agreed in 2006 to relocate the Futenma base from an urban area to reclaimed land but the PM's election has rekindled opposition. The protest comes ahead of this week's visit by US President Barack Obama.
The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says the row over the relocation of the base threatens to sour relations between Japan's new government and the country's key security ally.
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada warned it was unlikely to be resolved before Mr Obama arrives in Japan on Friday. Japan's new government has expressed a determination to have a less subservient relationship with the US.
Organisers of the protest claimed 21,000 people took part.
Mayor of Ginowan, Yoichi Iha, told the rally: "I urge Prime Minister Hatoyama to tell President Obama that Okinawa needs no more US bases."
The Futenma base on Okinawa
The Futenma base is currently in a busy urban area
Mr Hatoyama, whose election in August ended more than half a century of conservative dominance, has suggested the base could be moved off the island, or perhaps out of Japan altogether. The US insists Japan honour the 2006 agreement to move to the coastal CampSchwab area. The agreement would see Japan fund the replacement base and the transfer of 8,000 US marines to Guam by 2014. Source: BBC News
Prevention of and Fight Against Crime 2008
Jelena von Helldorff, IFIAS Vice-President, has been the keynote speaker on 28 May 2009 at Rotundan, Prime Ministers Office, Ministry of Justice, Rosenbad, Stockholm at the 1st National Networking Meeting towards global EU-Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The meeting has been taking place in the framework of the project “Towards EU-Action against Trafficking in Human Beings” implemented by the Ministry of Justice of Sweden in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration in Vienna with financial support from the Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme 2008, European Commission – Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security. Jelena von Helldorff proposed among others:
Coordinated action within the EU (EU Agencies, inter-service EC cooperation) and between the EU and other states / international organisations (UN, IOM, NATO)
Establishing partnership with regional organisations
Reinforcing EU third countries partnership and establishing local ownership of anti-trafficking mechanisms
Enhancing cooperation among Europol, Frontex, Eurojust and their relations with third countries
Establishment of the National Coordination mechanisms (National Rapporteur) to facilitate cooperation and data collection on national level
Creation of the European External Action Service- the embryo of an EU diplomacy
The EU High representative for CFSP- increased visibility of the EU at the international stage
Coordinated action between the EU trade, aid and development and cooperation policies and instruments
Legal status of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights
Endowing the EU with a single legal personality (adherence to the CoE on Human Rights)
Abolition of Pillar structure- increased involvement of the EP in decision making (QM+co-decision)
Establishment of an EU Prosecutor
The Common Project for Building
Goran Candan on the Institute for International Assistance & Solidarity - IFIAS's bureau for Human Right Center in Diyarbekir collecting and cataloging Kurdish literature
|8 March 2009
On the International Woman’s Day
AMIN launches “The Annual Palestinian Media Woman Award”
A group of around 50 Palestinian women journalists and media professionals celebrated the 2009 International Women’s Day in a workshop organized by AMIN Media Network – Internews at the Best Eastern Hotel in Ramallah. During the workshop AMIN’s executive director, Khaled Abu Aker, announced the launch of “The Palestinian Media Woman Award” as an annual event embraced by the organization. This year’s award was presented to Mrs. Randa Khuffash for her unique and notable performance as a deputy chief editor of news at the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC)’s Voice of Palestine.
Women media professionals, just for being women, faced a lot of hardship in the past few decades. At one point in time in the past, the journalism career was perceived as men-only. Media was a male-dominant sector and female journalists were rejected and discouraged to go into this domain. However, this isn’t the case anymore. There is still a level of social discouragement, if not social discrimination, against women journalists working in the field, however we have succeeded to minimize and overcome these false perceptions.
Lack of Job Opportunities
The participating female journalists that graduated lately and started their career in the past few months reported that young female journalists complete their university studies with a huge enthusiasm and eagerness to start off a real-life journalism career, however, not too far afterwards, the lack of job opportunities strikes them, which was what happened with many of their friends and classmates, a significant number of whom have been forced to stray away from journalism and instead look for alternative job opportunities outside their field, due to financial and social factors. This actually explains why many secretarial and administrative positions are being taken by female journalism and media graduates.
Announcing “The Annual Palestinian Media Woman Award”
Concluding the ceremony was the announcement of this year’s female journalist to be awarded the “The 2009 Palestinian Media Woman Award”. It was presented to Mrs. Randa Khuffash for her unique and notable performance as a deputy editor at the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC)’s Voice of Palestine.
A European Obama?
It is difficult to imagine an Obama in Europe as long as the European countries continue to fail in integrating their minorities into the national mainstream. In spite of the proclaimed attachment to equality and principles of nondiscrimination as being part of the cherished European values, even immigrants of the second and third generation do not always feel that they are part of the country they live in.
But turning to their countries of origin in their quest for national identity only exacerbates the doubts of the natives about immigrants' true sense of belonging. This creates a vicious circle and fuels suspicions leading to the parallel societies within a country. This not only does not create a conducive climate for an Obama but risks for more conflict, especially in times of economic hardship.
Jelena von Helldorff, Brussels
in: International Herald Tribune 16 November 2008
Bestoon HAMZAH, IFIAS Director in Iraq participated at the 3rd East - West Meeting 23 – 26 October, in Mardin (Turkey – SE Anatolia) of Cojep International, a Turkish organization promoting dialogue between the religions. During this three days meeting NGO representatives from 23 countries, academicians from different countries and Turkey, and students of Artuklu University of Mardin discussed different problems in the base of East and West relations.
Among major discussion points of this meeting were:
1- World, East and West shouldn’t be divided into geographic, cultural, ethnic and religious areas with artificial and relative ideas. Sense of superiority and look down on to other side should be avoided while going toward dialog among cultures and rights.
2- Ethnic and cultural minority in Europe must have an opportunity and conditions to participate in society in the frame of their rights and responsibility.
3- Cultures and believes of minorities must be protected by government in the scope of law.
4-Only theoretical approaches must not be shown while speaking about human rights in East and West.
IFIAS will connect civil society from SE Anatolia, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine to build a platform of common understanding between independent organizations and media.
Conference on “Trafficking in Human Beings” in the European Parliament
On 18 and 19 September 2008 IFIAS has taken part in the European Parliament conference on Trafficking in Human Beings. This conference was organized by the Austrian Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Vienna in the frame of the project “Development of Guidelines for the Collection of Data on Trafficking in Human Beings, Including Comparable Indicators” with financial support from the European Commission – Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security, Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Program 2007.
Jelena von Helldorff, IFIAS Vice President spoke on a panel dealing with EU policies against trafficking in human beings. In her capacity as expert on migration and trafficking she is part of an IOM project and report that will be finalized in February 2009. The aim of the report is to provide a coherent, comprehensive and uniform approach on methods of collecting data on human trafficking and thus allow better protection of victims and more efficient cooperation among governmental, EU and international agencies.
Blick aktuell Nr. 31/2008
The Israeli Minister for Science, Culture and Sport Galeb Majadle (right) visited these days the northern part of Rhenania Palatine. During his stay he met IFIAS President of Rhenania Palatine branch Franz-Josef Wüst (left). IFIAS is an organisation close to the SPD which is promoting international cooperation in the field of education and science. This summer IFIAS opened also an office in Israel. Franz-Josef Wüst from Koblenz expressed his best wishes to the distinguished guest for a successful work in the government. Mr. Majadle is the first Arab in government in the history of Israel. The next trip will bring the Minister to the Olympic Games in Beijing next week. The Minister who is also responsible for Sports reported that 42 athletes from his country will be sent to China.
Greune von der IFIAS in Brüsselstaunte über die großzügigen Sachspenden.
reinHÖREN spendet Radios für Palestina
Radios für Palestina Über persönliche Kontakte der Redaktion hat reinHÖREN heute alte Radios und Kurzwellenempfänger an den Leiter der Nichtregierungsorganisation IFIAS asbl. in Brüssel, Gerd Greune, übergeben. Am 25. Juni machen sich die Radios mit ihm auf den Weg über Land und See, um schließlich den Grundstein zum Aufbau des ersten Radiomuseums in Palestina zu legen.
„Ich suche alte Radios zum Aufbau eines Radio-Museums in Palestina“, erzählte Khaled Abu Aker dem reinHÖREN-Macher Mario Gongolsky bei einer Telefonkonferenz der Nichtregierungsorganisation IFIAS. Auf den ersten Blick eine etwas verrückt anmutende Idee angesichts der Probleme der Menschen in den palestinensischen Gebiete. Doch im Grunde wäre ein Radiomuseum in Palestina ein Stück Normalität, inmitten der politischen Wirren.
Noch hat Khaled kaum mehr als die Idee. Alte Radios sind in Palestina nur schwer zu beschaffen; eine geeignete Räumlichkeit ist hingegen schon im Gespräch. „Radio hat für die Menschen hier einen ungeheuren Stellenwert. Es ist die wichtigste tägliche Informationsquelle und es spielt Musik, um dunkle Gedanken an die Seite zu schieben“, findet Khaled und glaubt, viele Menschen würden einem Radio-Museum - egal wie groß oder klein es wird - gerne einen Besuch abstatten.
Gerd Greune von der IFIAS in Brüssel
staunte über die großzügigen Sachspenden.
Sogar ein Cambridge Audio DAB-Tuner
geht mit auf die Reise nach Jerusalem.
Die weiteren Radios wurden von der
Firma Charly Hardt im Remscheid
Das Nordmende Rigoletto 66 und das..
Saba Sport WK wurde von der Firma
Radiostore.de aus Heuchelheim gespendet.
Ein Startset für das Museum
Was die Radios betrifft konnte reinHÖREN direkt weiterhelfen: Aus den eigenen Beständen der Redaktion und durch Spenden der Unternehmen Charly H. Hardt aus Remscheid und Radiostore bei Gießen ließ sich auf Anhieb ein kleiner Querschnitt sammelwürdiger Exponate aus fast 60 Jahren zusammenstellen. Darunter ein ganze Modelllinie von Grundig-Satelliten beginnend mit dem Modell 2000 bis hin zum Satellit 650, einen Sanyo-Kurzwellenempfänger aus den 70er-Jahren und einen Sony SW7600-Clon. Highlight bei den Kurzwellenempfängern ist sicher der Sommerkamp FR-101. „Das ist doch ein imposantes Funkgerät“, staunt selbst Radiokenner und Kurzwellenhörer Mario Gongolsky nicht schlecht, während er die mechanischen Bandwahl-Knebelschalter in fast ehrfürchtiger Manier auf Funktion prüft.
Die reinHÖREN-Redaktion steuert neben einem Grundig Satellit 3000 Baujahr 1979 einen DAB-Tuner vom Typ Cambridge Audio DAB-300 MKII bei. „Nicht, dass man in Jerusalem oder Ramallah etwa DAB-Empfang hätte, aber die Geschichte des Radios wäre ohne ein DAB-Radio aus unserer Sicht ja nicht komplett!“ Neuer als der DAB-Tuner ist nur das Weybrook Kurbelradio mit digitaler Frequenzanzeige. Das Gerät ist noch fabrikneu. Die Firma Radiostore spendete ein Nordmende Rigoletto 66 Röhren-Tischradio aus den 60er-Jahren und ein Saba-Röhrenradio Typ Sport-WK im Bakelit-Gehäuse aus der frühen Nachkriegsproduktion (ca. 1949).
Als nächsten Schritt wird man einen geeigneten Ausstellungsraum mieten müssen. „Dafür sammeln wir im Augenblick Geldspenden ein“, erklärt Mario Gongolsky. Die Spenden gehen an die Initiative für Frieden e. V., für die sich Mario Gongolsky in seiner Freizeit engagiert. Mit dem Geld soll die Miete für ein Jahr als Anschub für das Radiomuseum beglichen werden.
„Ich bin mir sicher, viele reinHÖREN-Leser würden uns gerne weitere Radios zur Verfügung stellen“, vermutet reinHÖREN-Online-Chef Niels Gründel. „Doch ist die Reise des Kollegen Gerd Greune nach Jerusalem eine der sehr seltenen Gelegenheiten, etliche Ausstellungsstücke in die Nähe der Palestinensergebiete zu verfrachten und deshalb bitten wir unsere Leser im Augenblick, keine Radios zu spenden. Denn dafür können wir keinen sicheren Transport gewährleisten.“
Wenn Sie sich am Aufbau des Radiomuseum beteiligen möchten, spenden Sie mit dem Stichwort „Radiomuseum“ an:
IFIAS Initative für Frieden e. V.
BLZ 370 501 98, Sparkasse Köln/Bonn
Für eine abzugsfähige Spendenquittung benötigen wir lediglich Ihre Adresse.
IFIAS Postanschrift: IFIAS, Initiative für Frieden e.V., Hatschiergasse 15, 53111 Bonn
Elias Wolff, a German artist from Königsberg in Bavaria offered his
paintings and etchings for an exhibition at IFIAS Art Galerie in Brussels to
contribute for more dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian artists and
writers. He is working since the 90s with Ella STERNBERG in Tel Aviv on
motives and texts for his etchings on mice, bears and dogs in human daily
business and turbulences. A number of his works will move this summer into
the new office of IFIAS in Jerusalem and be shown in the Bethlehem social
center in autumn.
A Delegation from Serbia by invitation of the Brussels office of the Heinrich Boell Stiftung visited IFIAS and discussed civil society programs that might ameliorate the situation in this country. Funding professional NGOs and leaving local NGOs aside is not an effective strategy, group members said. In fact Serbia is missing an independent civil society as most of those being active today are funded from abroad.We need to build a real political partnership with local groups active in the field and similar goals not only searching for funds but searching for a better and participatory society..
In time for the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, foreseen for the 17 February, IFIAS Board members Jelena von Helldorff and Susanne Drake have jointly prepared a discussion paper on the issue: Multiethnic states and minority independence tendencies in the Global World. The aim of the paper is to show that Kosovo independence can not be seen as a unique example in the world but corresponds to an urging need for a new and reliable international legislation, ending the flamingly unjust double standards. Please download the text as a .pdf file here.
The chairman of IFIAS Rheinland Pfalz (Germany) Ferhat CATO met the chairman of the Social Democratic Party Kurt BECK on January 10. IFIAS requested further peace initiatives on the Balkans and in the Middle East. Also further steps for disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament, were on the agenda. Kurt BECK thanked IFIAS for its activities in Palestine, in Turkey and in Syria.
Susanne Drake, IFIAS Director since 1997, decided to change life in the New Year. Following an irresistible offer to join the German NGO forumZFD, she will be taking leave from IFIAS on 1st February 2008. Susanne, who for a long time aspired to live some years out of Europe, will move to Jerusalem for three years as regional coordinator for Palestine. Of course she stays very much attached to IFIAS and will also stay on the advisory Board but resigns from her administrative duties. These will be in interim handled by IFIAS President Gerd Greune. If you want to contact Susanne in her new position, here are her coordinates:
Regional coodinator Palestine
Farid Ghrich, IFIAS Vice-President, returned from a training session in Syria where he trained - by invitation of the Syrian Union of Journalists - high ranking personalities about European standards of Media law, professional journalism, investigative journalism and self-regulation. Among the participants were:
Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA): Suad Gomaa, Head of Archive; Walid Alaiseme, Engineering Director; Essam Qablan, Director Legal Administration; Ashraf Samman, Director Internal Affairs; Haifa Zainuddin, Editor Special Bulletin; Mahmoud Mohammed, Chief Economic Division and Head of Professional Unit; Nasser Said, Director Political Departmen; Mohammed Sweidan, Director International News; Mahmoud Shibli, Director Foreign News; Nouri Farhan, Director Inland News; Nadia Happiest, Director Public Relations; Ammar Aldgli, Editor Economic Bulletin; Ismail Ulkipri, Assistant Director-General; Print media: Mohammad Mohiuddin, "October" Managing Editor; Ale Kassem, "Revolution" Secretary of Culture; Arif Ali, "October" Chief Investigation; Ahmed Hamadeh, "Revolution" Political Secretary; Samir Al-Zoubi, "Peasants Struggle" Chief Investigation; Shaaban Ahmed, "Revolution" Prime Investigation Service; Kprael Shami, "October" Director of Sports; Radio and Television: Hisham Amran, Radio News Director; Violet Bashour, Director Radio Voice of the People; Diana Jabbour, Director Syria Television; Ahmed Tawfik, Associate Director-General Syria Television; Ms. Sarmini Ajub, Female Television Channel One; Adel Abdel Wahab, Director Radio Broadcasters; Ahmed El, Director Broadcasting Program; Nabil Slogan, Director Radio Broadcasting; Fuad Issa Director Radio News Radio Voice of the People; Izzat Al Manager 2nd Syria Television Channel; Kamal Jamal, Director Cultural Programmes Syria Television, leh Ibrahim, Director of Internet Syria Television; Ghassan Samman Director Radio Services; Khalid Ani, Radio Director; Saadallah, Director Television and Radio Centres; Ahmed Farraj, President Radio Damascus - Voice of Youth; Walid Krbotali; Program Director Voice of the People; Munir Died, Director Radio Syrian Radio Abroad
Diyarbakir has seen clashes between participants of manifestations and the police. Every day Turkish army and PKK are in fights in the mountains near S,irnak and the Iraqi boarder. IFIAS Diyarbakir is continuing the campaign for a “Civil dialogue” to strengthen non-violent build up of civil society and cooperation with the state authorities instead of aggression and also a to return to the path of reforms. With a poster campaign (see photo) the population is requested to support democratic reforms and reconciliation.
IFIAS Bonn has circulated an appeal (in German) to end violence in Turkey addressing particularly Turkish and Kurdish diaspora which has seen mutual confrontation since a couple of weeks in Germany and Belgium.
download: appeal (in German) .pdf
download: appeal (in German) .doc
On 15 October, the solemn inauguration oft he PRIDE center in the Al Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem was celebrated. The formal inauguration had been postponed until after the summer, for reason of heat and after Ramadan, as everybody wanted to really make a big party! The attendance of the event was overwhelming. The people from the camp came so numerous, the doors had to stay open to allow for those who did not find a seat to attend anyway. Two members of the Palestinian chamber of deputies graced the meeting with their presence. The European Commission was represented through the Head of Operations, Mr Roy Dickinson. In his very applauded speech he stressed the need to solidarity and commitment for the displaced people in Palestine. The deputy mayor of Bethlehem, Dr. George Sa’adeh expressed his respect for the work of the Popular Committee for the development of the camp. The Head of the Popular Committee of the Al Azzeh camp thanked the European Commission and IFIAS for their support, as they had never before benefitted from international solidarity in this size. The long-term-trainings in the PRIDE center will continue until the end of January, when the project will be finished, but a number of other activities will continue to go on, such as activities for women, sports activities and of course the internet café.
IFIAS supports the European Marches in Belarus. IFIAS president Gerd Greune declared:
“The European March for Freedom in Belarus is a milestone for our neighbours expressing their will to be connected to Europe without this frontier, which still divides our continent. On the occasion of the international conference “Civil society and conflict resolution” we requested the abolition of visa for the citizens in our neighbourhood to speed partnership and cooperation. The Belarusian authorities have not yet proven that they are ready for such a partnership. On the contrary they seem to be afraid of the peaceful preparation of the European March for Freedom. “If governments are not moving, people have to move”, said Gerd Greune, IFIAS President. IFIAS and its members are sending greetings of friendship to the organisers of the European March.”
On September 20st IFIAS celebrated their 10-year anniversary with an International Conference that focused on the role of civil society in resolving conflicts. Thanks to the generous support of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, we benefited from premises in the Eastman building, as well as EN/DE/FR interpretation and lunch. Opened by Jo Leinen MEP (morning) and Ana Gomes MEP (afternoon), the panels featured speakers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Syria, Palestine and Morocco and the people in attendance were treated with the rare opportunity to hear first person accounts of the work and struggles of civil society organizations in these regions. The lively discussions led to the conclusion that civil society needs political support and not only material support from the EU and human rights should be of top priority when the EU deals with its neighboring countries. Also the conference stressed civil societies’ right to exist without registration and emphasized that it needs not to be stopped through bureaucracy. A list of the twelve requests of the institutions of the European Union was drawn up and can be accessed through this link. In the evening, a memorable party brought many of speakers and participants again together, with much food and drink and laughter. A tombola was organized where three paintings were won by participants. The next morning, IFIAS Board started a two-days-brainstorming and decision making about necessary adaptations of working together on new challenges, which concluded in the changes you can now see in the who’s who part.
Civil society and conflict resolution
Contributions by the speakers of the conference on 20 September 2007
in the European Parliament, Brussels
Civil society and conflict resolution - placard
IFIAS is happy to commemorate its 10th Anniversary in September 2007. Current activities reach from Belarus, the Caucasus, the Balkans, Turkey, to Middle East and Maghreb countries. In order to give a forum for all the devoted and hard working partners and associates which work with us in projects and policy making, we are organising an international conference (Civil Society and Conflict Prevention) at the European Parliament thanks to the help of MEPs Jo Leinen and Ana Gomez on 20th September 2007. Please find the full agenda attached. If you are interested to participate, please
register now, as you may need an entry badge to the EP and we have to deliver the list of participants latest by August. The conference will be followed by a party at IFIAS Gallery...
The beautiful social center for refugees in the Azzeh Camp in Bethlehem is now finished and fully furnished. IFIAS' PRIDE-project with funds from the EC Partnership for Peace program was able to contribute 6 computers online for an internet café, a sportsroom including toilets and showers for men and women, renovation and equipment for the kindergarden, and is currently organising a number of longterm trainings to foster employability of young people. These trainings will continue the whole summer and fall. They include English classes, Creative writing, Conflict preventing, Pedagogy and basic Accountancy. A number of possible follow up activities are planned in order to permit the sustainability of the offer for the mostly unemployed
and poor people of the the refugee camp. Working groups have been created in order to train self-organisation and leadership and assure a feeling of ownership of the cam population. In the picture, local IFIAS manager Ahmad Al'Azzeh is showing the use of the computers to the youngest internautes of the camp, who now of course are on holiday and have little possibility for useful occupation. Older inhabitants are most pleased by the sportsroom and the large meeting room allowing for chess turnaments or film screening. From the youngest to the oldest people in the camp, all are benefiting from the social center.
In the framework of the the Human Rights Project in Turkey, five trainings aimed particularly at women's rights have been held in various locations: Saadet Karabulut and Gerd Greune spoke about "Women's rights and Kurdish Language" in Dersim , Sarah Avci and Bercem Akkoc trained "Kurdish women meeting Europe" in Mardin, Bingöl and Batman and Susanne Drake and Zozan Ozgokce informed about "International women's struggle for equal rights" in Van. All meetings were very well attended and showed women's great capacities and huge problems in South East Anatolia.
The Human Rights Training Center in Diyarbakir has now moved to Aliemri Cad. Haci Hasan Deger Apt. 7/24 21100 Yenisehir - Diyarbakir (Tel./Fax: 0412 223 68 83). Local Manager NEVROZ GÜNES (on the right in the back of the picture, at the Van Seminar) is organising computer classes for better networking of local NGOs with international NGOs as well as an EUROPEAN CLUB for discussion and training in English language. A libraray is in preparation. Free legal advice to women is given on a daily basis by lawyer EVIN BARTAN. The next trainings will be aimed at journalists. Several newsletters to issues in relation with Human Rights have been published and can be called under this links:
CIVIL RIGHTS IN SOUTHEAST ANATOLIA
March - April 2007
CIVIL RIGHTS IN SOUTHEAST ANATOLIA
The NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq - NCCI - is an independent initiative launched by a group of NGOs, intended to establish the basis of a neutral aid coordination highlighting the priorities for intervention and optimising the responses to the needs of the Iraqi population. In 2007, NCCI is a network of about 80 International NGOs and 200 Iraqi NGOs and has pursued its initial objectives and developed into a wide forum where NGOs can exchange information regarding humanitarian activities and policy decisions in Iraq. NCCI role in Emergency coordination requires NCCI to ensure that
basic needs relating to crisis situations are met.
Within a volatile context, facing severe constraints and working on a very low profile, NGOs are amongst the only reliable actors able to deliver aid to the most vulnerable Iraqis on the field on a daily basis. IFIAS local manager Bestoon Hamzah Nameq is representing IFIAS at NCCI and participates actively in their activities.
||Jean Pierre Lemouel
Jean Pierre Lemouel,Opfer der französischen Atomtests von Muroroa 1968 , starb nach jahrzehntelangem Kampf gegen den Krebs am 17. April im Hospiz von Sainte-Foy-la-Grande in Südwestfrankreich. Im Sommer 1968 war er als Marine-Ingenieur der französischen Seestreitkräfte zwei Monate lang in der Südsee stationiert und erlebte insgesamt ein Dutzend überirdische Atomwaffenversuche an Bord seines Schiffes "in Sichtweite", "ohne besonderen Schutz". 1988 erkrankt er an Knochenkrebs und wird 1991 aus der Armee entlassen. Alle Bemühungen mit rechtlichem Beistand die Anerkennung als Atomtestopfer zu erreichen scheitern. Hunderte französischer Soldaten und Tausende von Einwohnern der betroffenen Inseln in Polynesien kämpfen noch um ihr Recht.
Jean Pierre Lemouel, victim of the French nuclear tests on Muroroa in 1968, died after decades of cancer on April 17 in the hospital of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande in Southwest France. In summer 1968 he served as Engineer in the French Marine and experienced for two months near the Polynesian island a dozen of atmospheric nuclear explosions on board of his ship. "In sight distance", he said, "without special protection". 1988 he got sick with bone cancer and leaves the army in 1991. All attempts to get recognition as a victim of nuclear testing by the French army have been in vain. Several hundred French soldiers and thousands of inhabitants on the Polynesian islands are still struggling for compensation.
From 11 to 15 March IFIAS organised a training seminar and workshop for some 40 women and girls in Tunceli (Kurdish: Dersim) in the centre of Southeast Anatolia in cooperation with the Kurdish Institute and with the active support of the local women organisation “Tunceli Anafatma Kadin Dayanisma Dernegi”. The seminar “Women’s rights and Kurdish language” was conducted in Turkish and Kurdish language. The local community are mostly Kurdish Allevites with high level education and strong European commitments. The meetings have been interrupted by local security claiming specific registration needs for public meetings with foreign participation in this “crisis region”. In fact on the road to Tunceli three checkpoints had to be passed including passport control and registration. The Kurdish town of Dersim has lost half of its population during the civil wars in the 30s and 80s most of them in exile in Germany and other parts of the world. This has been one of the first international gatherings in town for years.
Election monitoring in Albania
IFIAS director Susanne Drake has been invited to participate at a monitoring mission of OSCE/ODIHR for the local government elections in Albania on 18 February 2007.
The elections had to be postponed for one month due to shortcomings in administrative preparation capabilities. Albania civil society needs urgently support fro the European civil rights movement. The people in this country are living mostly in a devastating economic and social situation.
A preliminary report about the election monitoring has been published by the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
IFIAS Palestine project started
The German trainer legend and “soccer ambassador” Rudi Gutendorf has agreed to be the patron of this campaign
“I know what sports can achieve. I have brought together in a soccer team Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda.
Therefore I want as a “soccer ambassador” to bring together Palestinians and Israelis .
Where stubborn politicians fail, joint playing can make a difference.
That’s why I support the IFIAS project”
"Ich weiss, was der Sport bewegen kann.
Ich habe im Fußball in Ruanda die verfeindeten Stämme der Hutu und Tutsi zusammengeführt.
Deshalb möchte ich auch gerne als Fußballbotschafter Palästinenser und Israelis zusammenbringen.
Was sture Politiker oft nicht erreichen, kann durch das gemeinsame Spielen erreicht werden.
Deshalb unterstütze ich das Projekt von Ifias."