2009 (151)
Nov 2 2009 10:52AM
Noam Chomsky is a worried man

Noam Chomsky is a worried man. The war in Afghanistan? Yes. Crisis in the Middle East? Of course. Species survival in light of the threats of environmental catastrophe and nuclear weapons? Aren't we all? All that too, but, as I drive...

Oct 30 2009 11:49AM
Safer Abroad than at Home?

A Guatemalan woman who has battled in U.S. immigration court for 15 years has been told in a one paragraph document that she is eligible for asylum – because of experiencing domestic abuse at home. The case of Rody Alvarado Pena is a...

Oct 25 2009 8:33PM
Chomsky: banned in Guantánamo, at liberty in Belfast

That Noam Chomsky's books have been banned, apparently, in the US detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, probably tells you all you need to know about the man and the place. The MIT professor's own comment on the affair: "This happens...

Oct 16 2009 4:50PM
ASBOs and the European Court

There are some compelling arguments out there that ASBOs are actually an infringement on certain rights guaranteed in the European Convention of Human Rights (to which the UK is a signatory). ASBOs have 2 stages: the first is...

Oct 16 2009 11:37AM
Photo campaigning at the Belfast Festival

Sadly, not able to make to the opening concert tonight of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's. Valery Gergiev and St Petersburg's Mariinsky Orchestra both bring formidable reputations to Belfast and their version of...

Oct 14 2009 11:25AM
Human rights and the Agreement: how far have we come?

This is your 'heads up' for what ought to be a thought-provoking speech on human rights in Northern Ireland. This year's Stephen Livingstone Lecture takes place next Wednesday (21 October) at 5:30pm, Room G07 in the Peter Froggatt...

Oct 13 2009 10:18AM
Why Hillarys plans could help arm the 'dissidents'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Belfast yesterday urging politicians and people to keep moving forward to peace. Speaking to a full house at the Northern Ireland Assembly, she noted “that there are still those looking to...

Oct 12 2009 10:46AM
Time to close Guantanamo. We can help

Northern Ireland's political class is utterly focused today on the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As I write, her motorcade is en route to Stormont to meet the First and Deputy First Minister and to address the...

Oct 8 2009 4:46PM
Mary Robinson for President or foreign affairs supremo of Europe?

There's something about Mary I'm a long self-confessed fan of Mary Robinson. I even had the chance to host her in Belfast last year when she gave the Amnesty International Annual Lecture. The former Irish President and UN High...

Oct 8 2009 11:15AM
Human rights on Poetry Day

It's National Poetry Day. As good an excuse as any for a visit to verse. As is my wont, I'll use the opportunity to highlight a favoured human rights poem and invite your own suggestions. Last year it was Seamus Heaney's From the...

Oct 7 2009 3:59PM
Right to speak? Only when you're 'right..'

I've found myself rather disturbed andannoyed at the portrayal of young people in the NI press in recent months,particularly surrounding issues of protests and political action. The media hasstripped young people of their agency...

Oct 6 2009 11:02AM
Final pieces of the Northern Ireland jigsaw

Shaun Woodward keeps saying that the transfer of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly – the subject of talks in Downing Street today – is "the final part of the jigsaw". The Northern Ireland Secretary of State...

Oct 5 2009 10:56AM
Worried about your job? Trust Go(r)d(on).

During the summer, a church near where I live advertised its gospel mission with the slogan: "Worried about your job? Trust God." In the midst of a recession, with anxiety high about redundacies, mortgage defaults and unpaid bills, a...

Oct 2 2009 11:49AM
East Belfast and the past

Alan in Belfast has done a better summary of the East Belfast Speaks Out event from earlier this week than I could hope to. In the comments section he even includes a link to the BBC radio news report from the event, which features...

Oct 1 2009 12:27PM
We need a strong and binding Arms Trade Treaty Now!

I can remember almost exactly five years ago travelling to a school on the outskirts of Belfast where the enterprising Amnesty group had managed to get the whole school PLUS parents to add their faces to the million faces petition...

Sep 29 2009 9:56PM
East Belfast Speaks Out

This event has already been picked up on the Northern Ireland blogosphere over on Slugger and on Alan in Belfast but, seeing as I'm one of the panellists, I'll give it a plug here too! East Belfast Speaks Out is basically (the hugely...

Sep 22 2009 4:08PM
Welcome to Northern Ireland Chief Constable Matt Baggott!!

Matt Baggott, the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland finally gets to try out his new desk today and will probably take a moment to reflect on the size of the task that awaits him. The term ‘baptism of fire’...

Sep 6 2009 11:25AM
RIP Abeer Qassim Al-Janabi (2006), David Kelly (2003) and 100,000 others

I am pleased that Canadian playwright, Judith Thompson, won the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for her political play Palace of the End. This post is perhaps premature, as I haven’t read the play yet, but this...

Aug 29 2009 10:50AM
Romanian evictions:  a political matter not a private one...

The recent evictions of Romanians from a house in South Belfast should be considered a political matter concerning civil and socio-economic rights, rather than as a purely private dispute between individuals. Commenting on the latest...

Aug 24 2009 12:27AM
The Yes Men Fix The World: film review

I reviewed this new comedy / politics documentary film for the BBC's Sunday Sequence programme, along with actor and writer Dan Gordon (you can listen again, here, 22mins 30secs in). I'd never heard of the Yes Men before now – although...