University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

PeaceWrites

The newsletter of peace studies, seminars, books, and peace initiatives

Promoting Peace with Justice

This newsletter is an opportunity to showcase CPACS as a pro-active peace promoter. By platforming issues of non-peace and bringing key participants to address such problems, solutions start to emerge. This is the philosophy behind CPACS' seminar, teaching, research and publications programmes.

 


In this Issue

THE HUMAN RIGHTS STAGE

NEW COLLEAGUES TO CPACS

ON THE PEACE TRAIL

EVENTS FORESHADOWED IN 1999:

Stuart Rees is going to Cambodia
The Sydney Peace Prize
The launch of first occasional paper for 1999

SEMINARS

RESEARCH PROGRAMMES

TEACHING

MORE TO INSPIRE YOU:

Peace Journals
Peace Websites
Editor's Note

PUBLICATIONS


Dates for your diary

13 April, all invited to the next CPACS council meeting to hear Dr David Bloomfield, visiting from the UK, talk about his research into the peace negotiations of Northern Ireland. Having completed a PhD on this topic, he's writing a book profiling those individuals at the core of the peace process.

Peace Walk, a Sunday in May to be advised. Starting point Dee Why Baths along the coast to Manly. The walk is to celebrate and promote Peace-and remind ourselves that we are not subject to the atrocities of Rwanda, the Balkans; we are not starving in the frozen ports of Northern Siberia, nor are we imprisoned for our political views. Australia is a good place to raise issues of human rights, democracy and peace.

 


THE HUMAN RIGHTS STAGE


To highlight the unjust world in which we live, and the enormity of the task to reverse such injustice, this section is a window onto our warring world. The first two examples are provided by our Director, Stuart Rees; the TV segment from the editor.

The Kurds
On 17 February following the arrest of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya, and the occupation of the Greek consulate in Sydney's Castlereagh street, Australians were able to register their reactions. The human rights issues were at first overlooked as all sorts of politicians and leaders of non-government organisations insisted that it was 'un Australian' to occupy the consulate by force.

In these first reactions, decades of injustice to the Kurds were ignored. Their claims to being a sovereign people in their own homeland were overlooked. CPACS was slow to register its reaction and in future will make a point of taking a firm and quick stand on human rights issues. But we now take this opportunity to say that the Kurds' reaction to their leader's arrest was understandable and should be praised as a reminder to us of the injustices of history-David Carmody in his letter to the Sydney Morning Herald sums up perfectly:

It is sad that it takes incidents of civil unrest to penetrate the white fog of apathy and alert most of us to the history and current plight of a nation more populous than Australia.

Migrant Workers
In the week beginning 15 February, the handcuffing and roping of alleged illegal tomato pickers in Victoria and the Minister for Immigration's apparent justification of the violent methods used, raised several human rights questions:

  • If overseas companies pay the lowest possible rates to farmers for their produce, isn't it inevitable that occupational health and safety regulations will not be observed and the lowest possible casual rates of pay will be paid?
  • If unemployed Australians feel disqualified by geography and by Centrelink's rules on taking on casual employment in distant places, should not some recognition be given to the valuable, arduous work carried out by mobile, casual, low paid labour?
  • Officials from the Department of Immigration could learn that heavy handed methods are usually counterproductive. They would benefit from even a modicum of training about the philosophy, language and skills of non-violent conflict resolution.
  • Perhaps most important of all, wouldn't it be reassuring if the Minister for Immigration started to explore how a touch of humanity could inform his policies and affect his public utterances.

Peace on TV
For those of us fortunate enough to watch the Cutting Edge on SBS on 9th February it was heartening to hear the argument that economic trade and investment can be linked to human rights and democracy. This is the main topic examined in CPACS's forthcoming book: The Price is Human Rights-a project arising from our 1997 conference 'Corporate Success and Human Rights'.

Another programme of note was a documentary on genocide in Rwanda where 1,000,000 Tutsis were systematically slaughtered by Hutus in a mere 100 days in 1994 whilst the world looked on and did nothing. Entitled 'When Good Men Do Nothing' it revealed the workings of the UN and its lack of political will to carry out its core mission, namely to prevent a repeat of such genocide as witnessed in Nazi-torn Europe. Such inaction broke every code of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, starting with Article 1:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brother [and sister] hood.

 

 


NEW COLLEAGUES TO CPACS

We welcome Tony Vinson, Research Fellow and Loret Bartos, Assistant Director.

Loret Bartos:
I am a social worker with many years of experience in rural and remote Australia. My interest and commitment to the promotion of human rights comes from my experience with Aboriginal people who taught me a great deal about personal hardship and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In my role as the 'white welfare', the forgiveness, patience and understanding shown to me by Aboriginal people was exemplary. In consultation with the Centre's executive, I will be responsible for organising the seminar programme, reviewing and creating strategies to attract new members, and developing a teaching programme. I would love to hear from anyone who wishes to contribute to achieving these ends.


Tony Vinson, Professor Emeritus (Social Work) at the University of NSW, currently is attached to CPACS as Visiting Fellow. Tony's past work has involved him in a wide range of justice issues, most notably the prison system, justice administration, homelessness and the prevention of child maltreatment. In this first year of his direct involvement in CPACS, Tony is working, among other things, on a study of social provision for the most disabled of Sydney's homeless people, and is undertaking a project on the drying-up of government funds for justice promoting programmes and services.

 


ON THE PEACE TRAIL

What CPACS members are up to:

Lynda-ann Blanchard, as well as being part of the Aboriginal Night Patrol Research team (above), also spent part of November last year in Tokyo as a workshop speaker promoting peace education. This was part of a four day conference hosted by the Japan Association for Language Teachers' (JALT). Her article 'Peace education in the Language Classroom' was published in the Language Teacher, Vol. 22, No. 7 1998.

Jane Fulton received her PhD in social anthropology. Her thesis, a study of cultural perceptions of nature in the conflict over wilderness in NSW, will appear in a much shortened version as a CPACS occasional paper.

Alexandra Menegakis spent part of 1998 working with the UN in Geneva and the US. She learnt much and will reveal all in the next issue of PeaceWrites.

Leanne Piggott is currently in Istanbul, Turkey for the first meeting of the International Commission for Security and Cooperation in West Asia-a peacemaking venture concerned with Middle East issues and sponsored by the Toda Institute.

Danny Sriskandarajah, who organised our success 1998 seminar programme, is a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, following in the footsteps of Bob Hawke and Kim Beazley.

Shelley Wright, Visiting Professor in Victoria University, Canada, is organising a conference on cultural rights of indigenous people.

 


EVENTS FORESHADOWED IN 1999

Stuart Rees is going to Cambodia this month to investigate human rights issues and to share with staff at the Royal University of Phnom Penh the possibility of developing shared teaching and research projects. This visit, sponsored by the World Citizens Centre for Peace Work and Research, is part of a longer term plan for CPACS to play in advocating peace with justice world wide, not merely at home. Stuart's visit to Cambodia will enable CPACS to consider ways in which we might respond to the formidable problems of social development, human rights and social justice in that country.

On the administration front, Antonia Stephenson, who last year co-ordinated our successful Toda conference, has been employed by the Sydney Peace Foundation as an administrative assistant with the task of compiling a Foundation data base.

The Sydney Peace Prize
A prize winner has been chosen with the award ceremony to take place at the end of November. He is one of the world's greatest defenders of truth and justice.

The launch of first occasional paper for 1999
High on the political agenda in the run-up to the 27 March State election is the issue of law and order.
THE FUTURE OF POLICING: THE CHALLENGE OF NON-VIOLENCE, is a paper based on last year's debate on non-violent policing. Its launch is to be hosted by the Centre on Tuesday 16th March (see front page for further details). Contributors to the paper have been invited and include: Greg Chilvers, a member of the NSW Police Association; Associate Professor Mark Findlay of Sydney University's Law Faculty, and Tim Anderson, Secretary of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. The evening will raise crucial questions over how best Police serve the community.

Seminars
Discussion continues over possible topics for the 1999 seminar programme: '
Australia as a Republic' is one seminar pertinent to the life and times of this nation. Australia as a fair, just, non-violent, civil, egalitarian, creative, peace-loving, justice-promoting, democratic Republic? Just a dream or a reality for the 21st Century?

To avoid collusion with the notion that the only controversial issue about the new Australian Republic is how do we elect a President, CPACS is proposing to organise an evening forum to debate the question:

Will the quality of life of all Australians be enhanced by our becoming a Republic? Will the new Republic strive to promote a socially just and non-violent Australia and so demonstrate a contrast with events which characterized life for many Australians in the 20th Century?

CPACS thinks that Republican controversies should be treated as human rights/quality-of-life issues. We should aim to influence public interest and understanding, hence the idea of a forum well before the proposed referendum. Late June, early July is the tentative date for the forum. We will let you know but urge you to be part of this dynamic debate.


Research Programmes

a) Collaborations with the Conflict Resolution Network (CRN).

  1. The development of a Conflict-Resolving Media unit, funded by CRN, has been drafted for inclusion as part of the graduate programme and will be submitted to the University's Academic Board later this year. A 'peace journalism' conference may be scheduled to launch this unit of study. (See under heading 'Peace Journals' for more on this topic.) CRN recognised the vital role the media can play in the resolution of conflict and in collaboration with the United Nationals Association of Australia initiated the annual Media Peace Awards in 1978.
  2. 'Work for All (Who Want It)' is another collaborative research project funded and supported by CRN. Tony Vinson (introduced above) will help provide the background for a mentoring project and a research assistant will be employed to develop guidelines and a kit for this research.

b) Aboriginal Night Patrols Project
Aboriginal Night Patrols are an indigenous initiative instigated by Central Australian women in an effort to remove violence and help protect the community in the absence of mainstream justice system support. As a mechanism of alternative dispute resolution, Night Patrols aim to remove 'people at risk', especially youth, from public places to 'safe places'. CPACS, in collaboration with the Koori Centre, has been funded by the NSW Attorney General's Department to support and evaluate regional night patrols in four country centres: Kempsey, Forster, Narrandera and Dareton.



Teaching

  1. Final year Social Work module: Peace and Conflict Social Work in Practice.
  2. Graduate programme: Certificate, Diploma and Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. First Seminar: Power Citizenship and Civil Society; Theories of Welfare and Well-being; Non-Violence and Social Change; Gandhi, King and Suu Kyi. Second Seminar: Violence in Europe and America since c.1600 (History, Ken Macnab); Conflict and Peace in the Middle East; Israel and the Arabs (Semitic Studies, Leanne Piggott) and Indigenous Rights and Political Theory (Philosophy, Paul Patton).

 


MORE TO INSPIRE YOU

This issue of PeaceWrites will profile three peace journals. The next issue will look at peace radio. Each issue will also provide a select list of peace promoting websites.

Peace Journals
1) Breakthrough News
Global Education Associates, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1848, New York, NY 10115 USA

A snippet from page 3 Jan-Apr 1999:

... there is nothing automatic about the development of a culture of peace. The process of conversion and social transformation requires conscious choices and persistent effort on the part of many thousands of people in all cultures and sectors of society.


Global Education Associates is an international network of individuals and organisations in more than 90 countries with an emphasis on the development of global ethics, values, and systems to secure greater ecological integrity, peace, human rights, economic and social well-being.

2) Media and Conflict-
Track Two is a publication of the Centre for Conflict Resolution and the Media Peace Centre (c/o UCT, Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701, S. Africa) promoting constructive approaches to community and political conflict portrayed in the media, as an alternative to traditional adversarial tactics.
Snippet vol. 7, no .4, 1998:7

The media generally follows the 'low road' in reporting conflict-chasing wars, the elites that run them and a 'win-lose' out come. Johan Galtung urges an alternate route: the 'high road' of peace journalism [which follows] prospects for peace ...


3)
New Routes-A Journal for Peace Research and Action published by the Life and Peace Institute, P O Box 1520, SE-751 45 Uppsala, Sweden.
Snippet Vol. 3, No. 4, 1998: 2 [In light of revelations of UN inaction over Rwanda, the following is salient:]

War takes many forms. So does the return to peace that most hope will eventually follow it. But while the science of war is engraved in politicians' hearts, a well-grounded understanding of what promotes and sustains peace remains hard to come by among decision-makers.




 

 


Peace Websites

Global Education Associates
http://www.globaleduc.org
email: globaleduc@earthlink.net

Life and Peace Institute
http://www.life-peace.org
email: info@life-peace.org

Sydney's well established
Conflict Resolution Network has a wealth of material on peace initiatives:
http://www.crnhq.org
email: crn@crnhq.org

Also
CPACS has its own site: http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/centres/cpacs to keep you up to date with publications, seminars, teaching programmes etc., thanks to the tireless input of Ian Mitselberg.
Email:
cpacs@social.usyd.edu.au

And the
United Nations has a range of sites:
http://www.un.org/peace

Editor's Note

Last September I visited New York and spent one afternoon at the UN, taking part in a guided tour through an institution of chambers, brim-full of icons-paintings, murals and sculptures dedicated to peace with justice. The message seemed obvious, unquestionably right. But why was this institution unable to enforce a world ban on land mines? Why was it that the UN failed to protect Rwandans? And why, in a tiny park opposite the UN, were passers-by failing to notice the half dozen derelict homeless men slumped on benches. Then the irony, almost overwhelming, when I bent down to look at an inscription carved into the grimy pavement:

Peace to have meaning for many who have known only suffering in both peace and war must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health and education as well as freedom and human dignity.

These words, espousing essential peace, were spoken by Paul Johnson Bunche (1904-1971), Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, the United Nations, at the Nobel Peace Prize Lecture of 1950.

PUBLICATIONS

We have exciting additions to our list of CPACS occasional papers and books for sale. Enclosed is an up-dated list with order form. CPACS members are entitled to a small discount; an incentive to join the Centre! Hazel Henderson's book at $25 is a particularly good buy. It is the first report of the Global Commission to Fund the UN. We are also able to offer Christopher Hamer's A Global Parliament ($27.95) - a comprehensive discussion of the idea of world federation. All sales help towards the costs of running of centre, predominantly run by volunteers.


Comments and contributions welcomed. Contact Editor and Publications Officer Jane Fulton on 9351 7686, or fax 9660 0862 or tel/fax 9960 4712 or email CPACS.

Disclaimer-the views in the publication are solely those of the contributors.