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Use Irish Peacekeeping Record in Lebanon to protect Syrians from harassment from Lebanese ArmyLebanon, along with Turkey and Jordan, has been extraordinary in providing refuge to Syrians fleeing war and persecution in their homeland since 2011. While the numbers and circumstances of how the refugees have been accommodated vary greatly, the willingness of Syria's neighbours to accept proportionately massive numbers of refugees has undoubtedly saved countless thousands of lives. In Lebanon, specifically, with a native population of just 4.4 million, upwards of 1 million Syrians have sought refuge. This, clearly, has created massive challenges and strains on the services and infrastructure of a country which itself is only recovering from years of turmoil and strife but, in general, Syrians have been able to feel relatively safe in Lebanon. Of late however, elements of the Lebanese army have escalated a campaign of intimidation and harassment against Syrians with the putative intention of forcing people to return to Syria. Just last week, on two successive nights, soldiers under the command of Lebanese Army Intelligence Colonel Melhem Hadchiti and 9th Brigade Commander Brigadier General Pierre Abu Assaf carried out raids in around 30 camps around Arsal in freezing temperatures. People were forced out of their tents into the cold with no regard for their welfare or dignity while their tents were ransacked. Many hundreds were detained and suffered torture and abuse. As a country with a long and distinguished military record in Lebanon and the Golan Heights in the form of UN peacekeeping deployments, the Irish Army is uniquely placed to exert its influence with the Lebanese Army. We are urgently but respectfully requesting the Minister for Defence Leo Varadkar to use his influence and good offices with the UN as well as with his counterpart in Lebanon Yaacoub Sarraf to ensure that these unforgivable violations against suffering and defenceless people cease immediately. References: Deutsche Welle: Germany says Syrian deportees could face reprisals: reports https://www.dw.com/en/germany-says-syrian-deportees-could-face-reprisals-reports/a-46367849 Out of Syria: shifting routes and returns: https://www.iss.europa.eu/content/out-syria-shifting-routes-and-returns Union of Relief and Development Associations - Number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon : http://urda.org.lb/en/details.aspx?ID=1426
Support the Occupied Territories Bill for its next stage in the DAIL on 24/1/19 (Irish Parliament)‘The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill, 2018’ seeks to ban imports to Ireland from illegal settlements in countries which are illegally occupied, in breach of International Law. This is a chance for Ireland to stand up for the rights of vulnerable people – it is about respecting international law and refusing to support illegal activity and human suffering. Under international law (the Geneva Convention), the transfer by a State of its civilian population into a territory it has militarily occupied is a war crime. This legislation would apply to territories where there is a clear international legal consensus on the status of the occupation. As it stands, only the occupied Palestinian territories have been confirmed as occupied by the International Court of Justice. This Bill does not implement a boycott of Israeli goods, or single out Israel. It only bans the import and sale of goods produced in settlements that are illegal under international law. The European Union’s position is absolutely clear: Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are “illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible”. Despite this, EU states, including Ireland, continue to make the settlements financially viable through trade and economic activity. The legal basis of the Bill and its permissibility under EU law are confirmed by several formal legal opinions: Michael Lynn, Senior Counsel in Ireland, Professor James Crawford of the University of Cambridge, Senior Counsel in the UK and one of the most eminent authorities on international law worldwide and former Attorney General Senator Michael McDowell have all confirmed the legality of the Bill. This Bill has cross-party support from all parties in the Dáil and Seanad but the government is refusing to support it. This is why we are calling on Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and his party to back this Bill as we want all the people of Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security. We stand in support of international law and for the principles of peace and justice.
Fianna Fail: Don't drop support for Palestine & the Occupied Territories BillThe Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Such settlements have been condemned as illegal by the UN, EU, the International Court of Justice and under Irish law. They result in human rights violations. There was a standing ovation in the Seanad when the Bill passed a historic stage vote in July. Since then there has been an overwhelming positive response from the Palestinian people, and a large section of the international community. The Bill returns to the Seanad for the next stage on 28th November 2018. The Bill has however raised criticism from Israel, and Fine Gael are backing down on the advise of the Attorney General. The EU has expressed concern over " the EU’s competence on trade matters”. Given Fianna Fail's strong record on the issue we beseech the party to be resolute supporting this Bill, reasserting Ireland's commitment to justice, peace, and the rule of law. It is important that Ireland leads the way at a time when many of these values are under threat around the world. Fianna Fail may hold the numbers to either make or break this Bill becoming ground-breaking legislation to tackle the issue of illegal Israeli settlements, which may even constitute war crimes under the Geneva conventions. Will the party continue its support?
Build culturally appropriate housing for the Traveller Community in MonaghanMonaghan County Council could be fined because it hasn’t spent any Government funding on traveller accommodation. It’s one of 9 local authorities not to drawn down any funding allocated for it to provide the accommodation, Longford and Westmeath are also included. Over €1.2 million in funding earmarked for the provision of the accommodation has gone unspent.
Solidarity with TravellersThe presidential election gave a platform for anti Traveller hostility to be openly displayed and the Traveller community to be harassed and abused. The conduct of the presidential candidate Peter Casey, his supporters and some sections of the media, took us back to the expression of open hatred that we haven't seen since the civil rights marches. Travellers have been pushed to the margins of our society, often denied access to the most basic of services. The Traveller community is 10 times more likely to experience homelessness and 7 times more likely to die by suicide. Children from the Traveller community are growing up being made to feel like they don't belong, they are growing up thinking they are not good enough, growing up to be made feel ashamed of their background, in order to be accepted. No one should feel this way in the Ireland of today. I believe we can all play our part in stopping the rise of hatred and oppression. Instead of looking to Traveller groups and organisations to have to challenge anti Traveller racism, we all can and must play our part. It is the settled community who need to call it out and say that this wont be tolerated in our name. If we want to live in a fair and equal society, we must stand together, build each other up and build bridges, not walls. Sign the pledge to stand in solidarity with Travellers, and help stamp out racism and discrimination.
Ireland for Sensible Drug PolicyDrug Policy, and the war on drugs has had children, parents, politicians and stranger murdered in broad daylight. Thanks to gang activity, I myself shake and fear at the noise of bangers going off. The entire country lives in fear of gangs, gangs fed through drug money, drug money coming from the "black market". Little do they realise that the failing drug policy, the politicians and their lobbyists are directly financing this through their stern, "moral" views on dirty drugs. It is absolutely unacceptable. I am sick & tired of burying my friends and lending their brokenhearted families a soaking shoulder to cry on because the government failed them. The governmental position on drugs, the policy set in place in the early 1970's, has absolutely failed them. Where were you when they found their bodies, that nobody heard of because the news would rather report the stash of Class A narcotics they found in a shed, behind a burnt out house and a car filled with hand guns and machetes. Where were you and where are you now? What are you going to do to change this? My name is Sandy Brun, I am a qualified Toxicologist and I hope to graduate with a Master's degree in Neuroscience & Pharmacology. You can find me on LinkedIn. I am sick and tired of burying my friends with dirty drugs in their veins, up their noses and everywhere else. I am sick and tired of being let down by this never ending agonizing political situation that is murdering my friends and breaking the hearts of their families. I've lived in Ireland since I was 10 years old, and I've buried a friend every year since I was 13. You're so proud of the 100th 1916 Easter Rising anniversary that the country celebrated 2 years ago. You're so damn proud to be Irish. You're so damn prejudicial and soft. Stand and fight. For our sons and daughters.
Ireland u/21s Soccer Team, Don’t Play Israel.An International Boycott campaign aims to put pressure on Israel because of its racist occupation of Palestinian land and brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. This Boycott includes sport. UEFA has a commitment to anti-Racism and a tradition of promoting Fair Play. There is overwhelming evidence that the system instituted by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people meets the UN definition of Apartheid. (1) Israel doesn't do 'fair play' when it comes to soccer and Palestine. There are legitimate concerns that Israeli State Forces target Palestinian soccer players as shootings and maiming of youth players/ club players form a pattern going back over a number of years. Israel has bombed Palestinian football stadiums.(3) Lack of freedom to travel also severely restricts Palestinian soccer teams from being able to participate in the sport locally and internationally. This has even interfered with World Cup qualification.(4) The Israeli Football Association plays a role in supporting the illegal settlements which are a war crime under international law. (5) Some examples of what has happened already this year: *The Argentinean soccer team cancelled a friendly fixture with Israel. (6) *In March 2 youngsters were shot by the Israeli army in the West Bank One died. The other boy, aged 14 who was returning from football practice fortunately survived after being shot in the thigh. (8) *30th March 23-year-old football player Mohammad Khalil Obeid was shot in both knees as he filmed himself. The video, published on social media, shows the moment he was shot: standing in an isolated area, not posing any threat. He needs a knee replacement to be able to walk again. As a soccer player his life has been destroyed.(2) *This summer a Gaza children’s soccer team was unable to play in a kid’s tournament in Ireland because of travel restrictions. (7) *Large demonstrations met the Israeli soccer team in Belfast this September. (9) *Adidas withdrew its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (10) Please, show your support for Palestinian rights and call on the FAI to stand up against apartheid and for fair play, equality and justice. thank-you, Knocknacarra Palestine Network ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (1) http://www.un.org/depts/dpa/qpal/docs/2012%20Geneva/P3%20mutaz%20qafisheh%20E.pdf (2) https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/israel-deliberate-attempts-military-kill-and-maim-gaza-protesters-continues (3) https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/a-footballing-test-for-israel-1.132370 (4) https://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/11/football/palestine-asian-cup-japan-football/index.html (5) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/13/fifa-ban-israel-settlement-football-teams (6) https://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/2018/0606/968505-argentina-cancel-israel-visit-for-world-cup-warm-up-tie/ (7) http://imemc.org/article/solidarity-cup-to-commence-despite-cancellation-of-gaza-kids-to-ireland-trip/ (8) http://imemc.org/article/israeli-soldiers-kill-a-young-palestinian-man-in-nablus/ (9) https://www.irishnews.com/news/2018/09/12/news/hundreds-turn-out-to-protest-at-northern-ireland-game-against-israel-1430702/ (10) https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/BDS-Win-Adidas-No-Longer-Sponsoring-Israel-Football-Association-20180801-0009.html