Widespread Human Rights Abuses in Gaza

Israel is to be condemned for its continued use of disproportionate violence and aggression against the tiny enclave of Gaza. An area which holds a population equivalent to that of the North of Ireland in an geographical location  26 miles by 6 miles comparable with the Ards Peninsula and what has been described as one of the most densely populated areas in the world where 50% of the population are children and unemployment due to the Siege inspired by Israel and America and copper fastened by Egypt.

A Lack of clean drinking water and hospital equipment and a situation whereby drugs and surgical services are scant, and where people die for lack of penicillin where cancer drugs are not available.

Israel also refuses to allow people from the west bank to visit their families in Gaza or in Israel. And what is the reason for the siege? The people of Palestine democratically elected Hamas to represent them and the West and Israel said that’s not acceptable. A democratically elected Government was unacceptable?

On November 8 during a border incursion by Israeli troops and an exchange of fire occurred in which a 13 year old Palestinian boy was killed. The Palestinian’s responded by wounding four Israeli soldiers in a tank attack. Israel responded by killing 2 young boys, both cousins, by shelling a football match and then at the subsequent funeral the killed another two and injured 25. So we see the pattern of escalation.

Bearing in mind Palestine has only light weapons and short range fairly ineffectual rockets these prolonged engagements have a devastating impact on the people, their psychology and the mental well being of the population.

With so many of these escalations falling before Israeli elections there is a real concern that the last several years Israel might be creating the conditions for these conflicts in order for the right wing parties like Likud to dominate the Knesset.

After 8 days of the intense bombing of a densely populated civilian enclave, very much reminiscent of the Warsaw Ghetto under Nazis Siege in 1942, scores have been killed.
In 8 days Israel committed over 1300 bombings from unarmed drones, American supplied F16 fighters,  sea borne attacks and tank shelling, they have destroyed huge sections of the infrastructure of Gaza from Civic Buildings to residential homes.

They have murdered 162 men women and children. Less than 10% of whom were combatants. They injured, many seriously, is estimated to be over 1222 human beings.

The Palestinians in Gaza did fire back and did try to protect the sovereignty and integrity of their land. They fired over 1000 rockets of limited capability and killed 5 Israelis ‘with no structural damage inflicted on Israel’s infrastructure except broken glass and a few loose slates and one damaged property.

The bus attack in Tel Aviv injured 15 and is still to be confirmed as to who was responsible.

The apparent disproportionate use of violence and collective punishment are war crimes and those responsible for such should be held accountable.

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Allegations of Collusion in murder of Alan Ryan raised with ILDC

It has been brought to the attention of the ILDC that serious concerns surround the murder of Alan Ryan in Dublin earlier this year. There have been questions posed in relation to the state’s role in targeting, policing and investigating Alan Ryan in both his life and death.

These reports are strikingly similar to the circumstances of assasinations during the early 1990’s in Northern Ireland by loyalist paramilitaries against republican activists, with the alleged assistance of both the RUC and military Intelligence.

The ILDC have pledged to look into these allegations but insist that human rights abuses by the state must be investigated and to turn a blind eye to such murders undermines the entire essence of both Law and Democracy.

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Freedom of the Press under attack

Concerns have been raised by sections of the media and by Journalists in Northern Ireland after some journalists have been dubbed’dissident journalists’.

It was reported in the Irish Times today that well known Journalist Trevor Birney had concerns over the label put on some commentators labelling them as such. Birney also condemned the restrictions placed on journalism by Ofcom while he was critical of some journalists for merely copy and pasting press releases.

He laso stated that investigate journalism is under threat in this new age of conformormity and press officers are pushing the various party and official lines, which has coincoded with an era of non opposition in Stormont.

Such issues are a concern to the ILDC and any conformity or threat to censure press freedom in any way shape or form is undoubtedly a retrograde step and all efforts must be made to oppose such a trend or strategy. Incidences such as the cover up as seen in the current “Savillgate” affair in the BBC have proven the dangerous path cencorship can lead the media and society as a whole.

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Original Civil Rights March Retraced 44 Years on

Marchers on Sunday 26th August 2012 will retrace the original Civil Rights March almost 44 years since the pioneering March that began the campaign for equality in a range of issues including housing, elections and education at the time.

The March has been organised by a group of Human Rights, Trade Union and Political activists who have come together under the group, The Coalisland Civil Rights March Committee.

Human Rights Campaigner Monsignor Raymond Murray, will be the main speaker at the event, who most notably stated recently that, “all of the wrongs and injustices I have campaigned against for over forty years still exist today”. Raymond Murray, has campaigned tirelessly over the last forty years against the human rights abuses, and campaigned on issues such as extra-judicial killings. internment without trial, the gerrymandering of housing allocation and many other instances of human rights abuse and social exclusion, some of which have revisited society today. 

Such assertions by a well respected human rights campaigner, is a damning indictment on society today, and highlights the human rights activism and campaigning the ILDC and others are engaged in today is most certainly necessary and essential to transform the current circumstances that exist in society today.

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Interested in human and civil rights advocacy?

The Irish Law & Democracy Committee is campaigning against human rights abuses, whereby we are involved in any aspect of an individual’s interaction with the state ranging from policing to prisons, and the various state relations around equality, discrimination and rights in general. We feel it is essential that we do not turn a blind eye to human rights abuses and we remember the words of Martin Niemöller in this situation:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

If you are interested in any aspect of human and civil rights advocacy, e-mail us at:

the-law-and-democracy-committee@hotmail.com

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ILDC clarifies its position

                  The Irish Law & Democracy Committee 

We, the Irish Law & Democracy Committee (ILDC) would like to take this opportunity to respond to a number of assertions that have been made in regard to our Committee in recent days.

 

Scurrilous and outlandish allegations have been made by Nelson McCausland MLA in respect of our Committee’s human rights activities.

 

Our Committee wish to set the record straight.

 

The ILDC was established by a group of Queens University Law students in September 2010, who came together as a result of a shared concern over current failures in fundamental legal rights and freedoms. The membership of the society is open to all with an interest in law, human rights issues and democratic governance, and now consists of a number of legal professionals and human rights advocates of some considerable standing.

 

We are a broad based human rights group, who are committed to the upholding of legal and democratic rights. We believe that legal and democratic rights can only be acknowledged, accepted and upheld through the common promotion of human, legal and democratic rights, through the broadening of understanding of human rights and democratic values and campaigning on human rights issues and against human rights abuses.

 

Nonetheless, we recently initiated a process whereby we would, on the request of communities, observe contentious parades in communities where there was opposition to those parades. As a result we have observed parades on the Springfield Road, Short Strand and Ardoyne. Our findings will be documented in a report of our entire activities this year in regard to the parading issue, and will be published in November 2012.

 

We request that we be judged on the content of our report rather than through unsubstantiated and uncorroborated assertions in what was a subjective and personal attack on our Committee.

 

We respect the democratic and legal process, as well as the freedom of speech; however, we request that others do so to, and that they would refrain from felon setting which would compromise the safety and integrity of our members and our Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nelson McCausland launches attack on ILDC

In the aftermath of the most recent parade in Ardoyne, Nelson McCausland MLA has launched an attack, not just on the Ardoyne residents group GARC, but now he has focused his attention on the The Irish Law & Democracy Committee. He has made a number of outlandish claims against the ILDC in his recent blog. He stated:

“Another issue that arose this morning was the appearance of several men who were wearing blue bibs marked ‘human rights observer’ and who arrived with the republican protestors.  When one of them was asked who he was and what organisation he was from he refused to answer.  Yet he was allowed by the PSNI to walk anywhere with a small video camera, and come close to people from the unionist community pointing his camera into their faces.  I do not believe that wearing a blue bib marked ‘human rights observer’ gives anyone a special status and he certainly produced no identification or authentication.  This seems to be a republican ruse to enable republican propagandists to get close to members of the unionist community who are there to enjoy the parade and gather video material for subsequent use in republican propaganda.  Indeed the provocative manner in which such people operate, coming in close and pointing video cameras in our faces, seems almost designed to provoke a reaction which would then be filmed and put on the internet.  However members of the unionist community ignored such provocation.
  
The issue of  self-appointed ‘human rights observers’ is one that we will be taking up with the police in the next few weeks.  It seems that you can go anywhere in these situations as long as you wear a bib with ‘human rights observer’ printed on it.  If that is the case and the PSNI allow it to continue, I suspect that many people will be out ordering their own blue bibs for such situations.”

These assertions are deeply flawed, and his contentions can be corrected by the ILDC.

Firstly, The ILDC observers DID NOT arrive with what he describes as “republican protestors”, the ILDC observers arrived on their own and observed the PSNI operation from the offset, prior to any protest being initiatedby any group.

Secondly, the ILDC observer who he states walked everywhere with a small video camera, was in fact attempting to attain the entire picture of the situation on both sides of the parade, and was at the Twaddell/Woodvale junction when he was approached by a number of men from the Twaddell/Woodvale area and asked to give his name, the group he worked for and other details about himself. When he refused a further group of men approached him to which he turned the camera on them in fear of his safety. He then left the Twaddell/Woodvale junstion with haste as a result.

Thirdly, the accusation that the ILDC observers are merely “a republican ruse to enable republican propagandists to get close to members of the unionist community” has no basis whatsoever, as the ILDC observers are independent voluntary human rights activists, some of whom are members of the legal profession whilst others are human rights activists of considerable standing, who give up their time voluntarily to uphold the valued principle that the ILDC stands for.

Such an attack on the ILDC and its observers is an attack on the essence of democractic principles whereby those involved in public interest issues are held to account by both statutory agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The ILDC would call on Mr McCausland to retract his comments in regard to the ILDC.

 
 
 
 
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