Human Rights in a Divided World.

Fergal Keane

Fergal Keane (Photo: Limerick Leader)

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is pleased to announce that Fergal Keane has agreed to speak to the topic “Human Rights in a Divided World”.

He will appear on Sunday evening 31st July at the Maldron Hotel at 7.30pm.

Born in London, his mother Maura Hassett wasfrom Cork city and father Eamonn Keane from Listowel, both actors, who had met in Cork and were married in Ballyphehane church. The family also lived in Dublin for some before he moved to Cork to live with May Hassett, his grandmother.  Fergal Keane spent much of his youth in Cork, attending St Joseph’s National School on the Mardyke and then the Presentation College nearby where he came under the influence of Brother Jerome Kelly, “a man who would change my life”. In 1972, Brother Kelly, founded SHARE – Schoolboys Harness Aid for Relief of the Elderly which was set up to assist the elderly in Cork to obtain a home.

He says of Cork “More than any other place I have lived, it is Cork I regard as my home.”

He became a reporter with the Limerick Leader and later went to Dublin where he worked in The Irish Press. Moving to RTE he gained experience as a foreign correspondent especially in Africa, before joining the BBC.

In his memoir All of these People published in 2005, Fergal describes, while reporting on the Eritrean war, seeing a badly wounded boy Ande Mikail lying in a tent covered in a foil blanket after being wounded from an Ethiopian MiG fighter…

“That moment on the Eritrean hillside was a point of departure for me. I had seen news photographs of war victims and I’d watched documentaries. But they didn’t smell the way that tent did, and the eyes of the dying on the screenhad never caught me the way Ande Mikail’s had. Having looked into the eyes of this child of war I could not look away again.”

He is one of the BBC’s most distinguished foreign correspondents and is a multi-award winning journalist and author. He has reported and borne witness from many of the world’s trouble spots such South Africa, Rwanda, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. He describes the conflicts around him from the perspectives of the ordinary people and children who are suffering and dying in circumstances over which they have no control or say.  The recipient of a BAFTA, he has won the George Orwell prize for literature. He was named Amnesty International’s Human Rights reporter of the Year in 1993.

Fergal has made several documentaries such as Forgotten Britain for the BBC and The Story of Ireland (RTE and BBC Northern Ireland)

He is the author of many books including The Bondage of Fear, Road of Bones,and Season of Blood Rwandan Journey, Letter to Daniel and All of These People…a memoir.

Fergal loves to potter by the sea shore at Ardmore in West Waterford.

Water – a Human Right

 

Dr. Margaret O'Keeffe

Dr. Margaret O’Keeffe

Under the subtitle “Renewing Our Faith in (Strong) Democracy – Lessons from the Water Protests!” Dr. Margaret O’Keeffe will speak on this very topical issue at the Maldron Hotel, on Friday, 31st July at 2pm.

Dr. O’Keeffe, who lectures in Community Development at the Department of Social Studies, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), says the lecture has its genesis in her thoughts, observations and peaceful activism over the last two years or so in relation to some of the critical issues regarding water privatisation in Ireland.

Drawing on Benjamin Barber’s conceptualisation of Strong Democracy (1998), I wish to link the discussion to wider debates in relation to various interrelated democratic struggles at local, national and global levels, including but not limited to issues of growing global inequality, privatisation, climate change and the proposed Trans-Atlantic TTIP trade deal”, states Margaret.

“I argue that the water protest struggle is linked to wider emancipatory struggles which use the democratic process to challenge the hegemony of corporate power in an increasingly unequal global economy.  I suggest that the water protest movement is a microcosm of wider democratic struggles across Europe and the world”.

“Failure to recognise these interlinkages and their adverse implications for a fairer society for all means that we inadvertently fail to see what is happening to our world, and the likely degraded and diminished world, in terms of hope and opportunity, that our children, grandchildren and generations yet to be born, will face now and into the future.”, she concluded.

 

 

Qatar – a World Cup graveyard?

Qatar rerun the vote

Among the many issues which Mother Jones championed was the protection of workers and ensuring that miners and factory workers worked in safe and decent working conditions. In spite of the passing of a century, tens of millions of workers are still denied basic human rights. None more so than the modern day slavery which is institutionalised in Qatar. This has been highlighted by the preparations for the World Cup in 2022. It is totally unacceptable that thousands should die to ensure we can enjoy the beautiful game in 2022.

 

David Joyce, the International Development Officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) will discuss the position at a lecture entitled “Qatar……a World Cup graveyard?” which will be held at the Firkin Crane in Shandon at 12 noon on Wednesday 30th July next, all welcome!

 

He makes the following points;

“Recent reports of corruption involved in the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar have cast doubt over its suitability as a venue for the Football World Cup.  Long before these revelations however, trade unions and human rights activists have been calling for a rerun of the vote for other reasons.

 

What’s wrong with working in Qatar?

Qatar is a government which takes no responsibility for workers. There are 1.4 million migrant workers in Qatar who have no rights.

  • 4000 workers could die before a ball is kicked in the 2022 World Cup.
  • 1200 workers have died since the World Cup was awarded in 2010, on available data from just two countries.

Qatar is a slave state. 1.4 million migrant workers are trapped in a broken system. Fundamental rights and freedoms do not exist for workers in Qatar whether for poor migrant workers or highly paid professional expatriates. Foreign workers are enslaved – owned by employers who hold the power of recruitment, total control over wages and conditions of employment, the authority to issue ID cards and the ability to refuse a change of employment or exit visa to leave the country. This is known as the kafala system.

 

Unions around the world have been calling on FIFA to rerun the vote for the Qatar 2022 World Cup unless Qatar respects workers’ rights. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has finally conceded the decision to award Qatar the World Cup was a mistake. But Qatar’s promises on labour laws have been purely cosmetic and it is time for FIFA to stand up for human rights. FIFA must use this opportunity to be a catalyst for change and ensure that the World Cup only takes place in Qatar if workers’ rights are fully guaranteed.

 

The five conditions the International Trade Union Confederation will impose are:

  • End Kafala;
  • Allow freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • A minimum wage for all workers;
  • Introduce grievance procedures;
  • Work with responsible international recruitment agencies.”