2020: World of War

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Causeway Institute Complete Transitional Justice Project in Moldova

Induction and Capacity Building Support for Law Enforcement Officials in Moldova in Transitional Justice as a Mechanism of Post-Conflict Settlement

During August 2016 – March 2017, Causeway Institute for Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution International carried out a project on Induction and Capacity Building Support for Law Enforcement Officials in the Republic of Moldova in Transitional Justice as a Mechanism of Post-Conflict Settlement. The British Embassy in Chisinau offered financial support for this project under the Conflict Stability and Security Fund.

This programme aims to initiate a discussion at the level of law enforcement professionals about the definitions of transitional justice and how this innovative mechanism can be applied and function in the context of the Transnistrian settlement process. To this end, Causeway Institute established partnerships with key governmental institutions – the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Superior Council of Magistrates and the Bureau for the Reintegration Policies under the Government of the Republic of Moldova.

Causeway Institute Transitional Justice Trainers meet Northern Ireland Minister of Justice

Causeway Institute Transitional Justice Trainers meet Northern Ireland Minister of Justice

In November, Kingsley Donaldson, executive director of Causeway Institute, and General Prosecutor of Moldova Mr Eduard Harunjen signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions.

Moldovan GPO signs MOU with Director Causeway Institute

Moldovan GPO signs MOU with Director Causeway Institute

In November the programme launched with a target to train a total of 127 prosecutors and 34 judges from around the country. The training curricula was tailored by a mixed team of trainers, with 2 national and 2 international specialists in the field of international law, EU law, conflict transformation and law enforcement.  It was paramount to include a member of the Moldovan Prosecution Service in the team of trainers in order to create local ownership for follow-up work in this field.

British Ambassador Joyce addressing delegates at a TJ Seminar in Chisinau

British Ambassador Joyce addressing delegates at a TJ Seminar in Chisinau

Causeway Institute Executive Director Mr Kingsley Donaldson opening the first Transitional Justice workshop in Chisinau

Causeway Institute Executive Director Mr Kingsley Donaldson opening the first Transitional Justice workshop in Chisinau

To target law enforcement professionals such as prosecutors and judges as primary audience was of special significance as Causeway’s goal is to generate a good understanding of the transitional justice principles among those who will eventually be accountable for translating into practice the legal and theoretical aspects of what may become a transitional justice model of the Republic of Moldova. To guide the participants, the trainers introduced them to various international practices, such as that of Northern Ireland, Columbia and South Africa. In the practical part of the training, participants worked in groups to analyse the prospects of using such transitional justice tools as institutional reform, truth commissions, amnesty and prosecution, reparations and ultimately reconciliation.

The importance of this project has been recognised by numerous participants and key national partners. Her Majesty’s Ambassador Lucy Joyce spoke at one of the trainings underlining that “the key thing is for all the involved actors to start working together at creating the favourable conditions for applying such an approach. Building the understanding about what is Transitional Justice and how it can help in the case of Moldova is the very first step. Adapting and improving the legal framework of the Republic of Moldova is what we hope to see next.”

Delegates from the General Prosecutor's staff attend a Transitional Justice workshop

Delegates from the General Prosecutor’s staff attend a Transitional Justice workshop

The GPO seconded a senior member of staff, Mr Ruslan Lungu, to the Transitional Justice training team. He commented “by the end of each training session, the participants would conclude that, despite a strong public opinion of the opposite, issues related to the Transnistrian conflict settlement weren’t impossible to deal with. On the contrary, trainees would agree that practices from other countries where conflict would be solved showed how it was possible to achieve efficient results. As a trainer I noticed that by the end of a training session every other participant would leave with the readiness to participate and to engage in the transitional process. Such a result makes for a driver of change. I am convinced that this goal was fully achieved.”

Mr Eduard Harunjen, the General Prosecutor, also said that “By adding such a substantive added value [as Transitional Justice] to the configuration of our efforts, we will promote best practices of conflict resolution, allowing us to develop transitional justice mechanisms and initiatives for the sake of peace process.”

As a result, Causeway Institute has successfully laid the foundation for the development of a transitional justice model in Moldova. We strengthened and extended our partnerships in order to continue this innovative work for the mutual benefit of all residents of the Republic of Moldova, including Transnistria.

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Causeway contribute to article on Bahrain peace process

Causeway were delighted to be asked to participate in a recent online report A Tale of Two Seas that considered efforts being undertaken in Bahrain to strengthen relationships between communities there.

We are very proud of our friendships across the country in Bahrain, from people on all sides of the population, civil society groups, human rights defenders, policy makers and national institutions. Sharing the Northern Ireland experience in Bahrain has been a very worthwhile task and we have learned a significant amount from our Bahraini friends that we too can apply at home.

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Causeway Institute complete ‘Young Professionals’ programme in Moldova

The Causeway Institute, in partnership with the British Embassy in Moldova, has recently completed a programme of training for ‘young professionals’ involved in political or civil society initiatives working in Chisinau and Tiraspol.

The programme included capacity building workshops focused on the Northern Ireland peace process and training in negotiation skills. 2-day workshop sessions were held in Chisinau and Tiraspol in December 2015.

Chisinau Delegates

Chisinau Delegates

December Workshops in Chisinau and Tiraspol

December Workshops in Chisinau and Tiraspol

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Tiraspol Delegates

A further 2-day workshop was held in Bender in February 2016 that focussed on the technical skills required to develop and deliver a negotiating strategy. This was followed by a simulated dialogue based on a scenario drawn directly from the Good Friday Agreement negotiations.

Tiraspol delegates during simulated negotiations session

Tiraspol delegates during simulated negotiations session

A team from Chisinau completed a 4-day study visit to Belfast in February 2016 where they undertook negotiation skills workshops, met politicians and civil society leaders who were involved in the Northern Ireland peace-process and briefed the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Chisinau delegates participate in simulated negotiations in Belfast

Chisinau delegates participate in simulated negotiations in Belfast

In March feedback sessions were held in Chisinau and in Tiraspol where delegates were able to present their thoughts and observations on the programme to the British Ambassador HE Philip Batson.

Delegates from Chisinau with HE Phil Batson after feedback session

Delegates from Chisinau with HE Phil Batson after feedback session

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Human Rights group to release findings

A Report documenting alleged human rights violations faced by Bahrainis and expatriates will be released next month.

The National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) has completed compiling its second annual report that lists serious allegations of torture, police misconduct and human trafficking.

The report will “name and shame” ministries and government bodies that refused to co-operate with the rights body regarding complaints made by citizens and residents.

“The second annual NIHR report is ready and will give a detailed overview of the human rights situation last year and will have a list of recommendations for authorities to consider,” said NIHR vice-chairman Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi.

“Our team compiled statistics of the nature of complaints we received throughout last year related to torture allegations, police misconduct and other complaints related to migrant workers.

“We will name and shame those ministries which did not co-operate with us in the report, which will be submitted to His Majesty King Hamad.”

Dr Al Deerazi said plans were in place to release the report next month, but they were waiting to complete all the formalities.

“In our last report we had several sets of recommendations urging the authorities to consider, some of which they have and others are being implemented,” he added.

“We wanted to give them more time to highlight the progress made since then before we release our second report.”

Dr Al Deerazi refused to reveal details of the report, but said it mentions attacks against policemen including the bomb blast in Daih in March last year, which killed three policemen.

He also said the team compiled complaints related to civil and political rights including right to fair trial, mistreatment, enforced disappearance, travel ban cases among expatriates and other allegations.

“This year we have a special section to highlight the problem of human trafficking and the problems faced by foreign workers,” he said.

“The complaints we received last year and the investigation carried out by our team are mentioned in this key report with statistics.”

He added that the report was “critical” on several fronts and provided recommendations for the government in order to improve the country’s rights record.

He said the report will provide a clear picture of the rights situation on the ground to international rights groups and bodies such as the United Nations.

The GDN reported in February that the NIHR had registered a 25 per cent drop in the number of actionable complaints between 2013, when 118 investigations were launched, and last year when just 88 claims were looked into.

The NIHR was formed by His Majesty in 2009 to work with state agencies and draft Bahrain’s rights reports, hold conferences and workshops, and develop efforts to promote human rights.

It was restructured in 2013 and had new members appointed for a renewable four-year term.

The rights body was again restructured after amendments were made by the National Assembly last year under which two additional board members were appointed raising the total number of members to 11.

To file a complaint with the NIHR, visit www.nihr.org.bh and fill in the online form, send an e-mail to complaint@nihr.org.bh, call 17111666 or fax 17111600.

http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/19891

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Northern Ireland lesson for Bahrain

VICTIMS and perpetrators of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland could hold the key to conflict resolution in Bahrain, according to a leading intermediary.

For two years, delegates from the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse (BFRCD) have met former terrorists, prisoners and negotiators involved in either side of the 30-year-long Northern Ireland
conflict.

Now, as a result of these exchange programmes with the Belfast-based Causeway Institute for Peace-building and Conflict Resolution (CIPCR), BFRCD chairman Suhail Al Gosaibi hopes to form an alumni group of delegates to chart a way forward for Bahrain.

“We need to think how we can implement these experiences that we received in Northern Ireland,” he told the GDN.

“We should be thinking in terms of what can be done immediately, for Bahrain’s present situation, as well as in the longer term.

“These sessions have been powerful and inspiring because we met people who once believed that violence was a solution to conflicts, but have now changed their beliefs and their ways.

“The people with whom we interacted included former terrorists and prisoners, who had committed terrible crimes but later realised that violence was not the way.

“Some had lost loved ones or been horribly injured, but they have been through these experiences and emerged with the incredible strength to forgive.

“We have also met community leaders, activists and politicians – a whole spectrum of society who shared with us their experiences.”

Mr Al Gosaibi was quick to point out that Bahrain’s current conflict is not on the same scale as that which wracked Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the end of the century – but he did voice concern that the violence here could escalate if more was not done to bring all belligerents to the negotiating table soon.

“Bahrain has a lot to learn from Northern Ireland because we have some similarities, but it is very important to point out that our conflicts are not the same,” he said.

“Sectarian tensions in that country left more than 3,000 killed and tens of
thousands injured.

“Bahrain’s crisis is in no way close to this, but I am concerned that if we don’t resolve our crisis, one day we will become like they were.

“This is because we have a generation growing up inured to violence that might become even more prone to it than they are now.”

CIPCR was formed in 2010 when a number of like-minded individuals who had worked to resolve conflicts in divided and disparate communities – both in Northern Ireland and across the globe – came together to discuss combining efforts to achieve a more substantial initiative.

They embrace a set of six ground rules known as the “Mitchell Principles” that focus on reaching political settlements through peaceful means.

In 2013, BFRCD signed a memorandum of understanding with the institute with the aim of helping bridge the sectarian and social divide in Bahrain.

Since then, more than 70 Bahrainis have attended exchange programmes and had the opportunity to meet former participants in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Known across the UK and Northern Ireland as “The Troubles”, this 30-year-long conflict was primarily a political one, but it also had an ethnic or sectarian dimension.

A key issue was the constitutional status of Northern Ireland – with unionists or loyalists, who are mostly Protestants and consider themselves British, generally wanting Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom.

Irish nationalists or republicans, who are mostly Roman Catholics and view themselves as Irish, generally wanted it to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.

Another key issue was the relationship between these two communities.

The conflict began amid a campaign to end discrimination against the Catholic or nationalist minority by the Protestant or unionist-dominated government and police force.

Another grievance was the introduction of internment for nationalists and the use of illegal interrogation methods originally acknowledged as torture.

The next 10-member BFCRD delegation is due to leave for Northern Ireland on August 30.

http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/20009

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Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Visits Belfast

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CIPCRI hosted Mr Viktor Osipov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova, and a Parliamentary delegation, who came to Belfast to study the use of transitional justice in the Northern Ireland peace process.

During the visit Mr Osipov and his colleagues were briefed by Deputy First Minister, Mr Martin McGuinness MLA; the Justice Minister, Mr David Ford MLA; the Attorney General, Mr John Larkin QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Barra McGrory QC.

The delegates also held meetings with Professor Kieran McEvoy from the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. Alan McBride, a Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission and representative of the Victims’ Group WAVE also spoke to the group about the implementation of transitional justice in civil society. Intercomm, a Belfast interface group, also facilitated meetings with representatives of Loyalist and Republican groups who spoke about the impact of alternative approaches to restorative justice in societies most affected by violence during the so-called ‘Troubles’.

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Citizens For Bahrain- Departing UK envoy welcomes reforms & rejects Iranian meddling

On 22 July, Iain Lindsay, the outgoing British Ambassador to Bahrain, expressed his sorrow at leaving Bahrain after four years of service. He noted how many British citizens saw Bahrain as a “second home”, with many hundreds of them settling down and having children and even grandchildren in the Kingdom. “Bahrain should be proud that people from differing cultural and religious backgrounds prefer to live here rather than in other states,” Lindsay said.

Iain Lindsay has overseen an important period for British-Bahraini relations and he will be widely missedby many Bahrainis. Citizens for Bahrain wishes him well as he continues his diplomatic career.

Below are some of the notable quotes from Ambassador Iain Lindsay’s press conference:

Reforms

“In general, Bahrain is on the right track and the reform agenda and vision of His Majesty King Hamad and the Government indicates it is in the right direction.”

“There are times when Bahrain is going forward and other times events happen and the progress is not happening as fast as we would like… The British Government is keen to see faster reforms process here and this is the view shared by our European partners and other allies.

Human rights

Human rights is an area in Bahrain that continued to be commented on internationally and it is important for Bahrain to show that it is making progress on the commitments it made at the time of implementation of the BICI recommendations and during the UN Human Rights Council”.

“We are not saying Bahrain is perfect and I think the Bahrain leaders admit that there is still work to be done, but we believe the direction of travel is the right one and inevitably changing attitudes, culture and behaviour is not a quick process as we know from the Northern Ireland experience.”

Iranian interference

“We recognize concerns GCC countries have expressed and how Iran behaves in the region. We made it clear over the last few years that we reject Iranian interference in GCC affairs… We hope and expect that Iranian behaviour in the region will and should improve following this agreement.”

Ombudsman office

“The number of complaints the Ombudsman Office received have gone up and this shows people are willing to go to Office as they have greater confidence”.

“Bear in mind this is the first Ombudsman in the region, a concept that is not widely accepted and understood in the region with Bahrain taking the lead.”

Trade & business

“British companies use Bahrain as a platform to enter the region as the kingdom is strategically located, provides trained Bahraini workforce and still has a good reputation as the best regulated and open market in the Gulf.” 

“There are 90 branches of British companies in Bahrain, over 500 active UK commercial agencies in Bahrain and in addition there are over 350 Bahraini companies who have UK partners”.

The Ambassador pointed out that there had been an increase in bilateral trade between Britain and Bahrain of around 7% during 2014, despite the fall in oil revenues.

UK support for reform

“Much of the assistance aimed to achieve sustainable stability and we recognize that the Bahrain authorities require economic, social and political reforms”.

“By the end of 2012, because of the trust and confidence we gained with our partners, reforms support was started. Our reforms support three years ago was worth zero pounds and now this programme is …worth millions”.

The Ambassador noted close cooperation on police, prison and penal reforms.

Bilateral relations

“Our relationship went through a difficult phase in 2010 and early 2011 and my task was to rebuild trust and have a process of reconciliation for the differences that existed”.

The Ambassador also discussed the establishment of the first permanent British naval base in the region since 1971: “Work on that has already started in Mina Salman and should be completed in the second half of next year”.

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/

@Citizens4BH

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Bahrain Delegation visits Northern Ireland

267dcc90-53d6-4006-8fa6-b526867c95d3Recently, a delegation from Bahrain visited Northern Ireland. The delegation spent a week in Belfast, meeting with politicians, community organisations, journalists and retired PSNI officers. Feedback from the delegation was very positive, with many Bahrainis saying that there are many similarities between Bahrain and the conflict which took place in Northern Ireland.

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Delegation from Northern Ireland visits Bahrain

034241f2-c780-4cd7-a3b9-a585473dbcadA delegation from Northern Ireland made up of the CIPCRI team and Ms Evelyn Collins (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland) and Mr Alan McBride (Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission) recently visited Bahrain to participate in discussions with human rights and equality civil society organisations.

Causeway also held an Alumni Celebration for the 90 Bahrainis who have participated in the visits to Northern Ireland. We were delighted with the turnout of so many alums, and we look forward to working with them closely in the future.

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