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Peace News log archive: May 2018

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

At a London training day, women prepare themselves to lobby for nuclear disarmament.

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Paula Shaw, Dr Rebecca Johnson and Sheila Triggs (left-right) at a WILPF UK training day on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in London, 7 April 2018.

'We need to recognise that we can change the debate in this country and this treaty gives us the means to do so' said Rebecca Johnson on 7 April, at a WILPF UK training day on realising the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Dr Johnson is a member of the British branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF UK) and founding co-chair of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

WILPF UK had invited members and non-members to an interactive training day on lobbying for the TPNW in the UK. The purpose of the day was to provide an opportunity to develop negotiation and lobbying skills. Participants received background information about the treaty and the UK context, as well as practical advice on campaigning. We were fortunate to have speakers who had been present in New York during the final negotiations leading up to the UN adoption of the treaty. Janet Fenton (of WILPF UK and Scottish CND) gave an account of the successful WILPF campaigning efforts in New York.

Taniel Yusef (WILPF UK) highlighted the core humanitarian values and aims of the treaty, followed by Dr Rebecca Johnson who provided insight into key issues in the UK context. 'This is a real treaty in the real world. When the UN bans something, it stays banned', she reminded us as an encouragement to use the very existence of the treaty as an argument in meetings with MPs.

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The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has been given permission to keep putting the British government's arms trade policies on trial – over the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

On 4 May, the British court of appeal granted permission for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to appeal the legality of British arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT took its legal case to the court of appeal on 12 April for a one day hearing in an attempt to overturn a high court judgment which allows the UK government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

On 4 May, two court of appeal judges, lord justice Irwin and lord justice Flaux, granted permission to appeal, and the case will be heard by the court of appeal in the months ahead.

For more than three years the government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen.

'Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria.' – Parliament's International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, October 2016

Ignoring massive public pressure to stop the arms sales, the government has instead done everything it can to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia, the UK's biggest arms customer.

We can’t and won’t let this stand.

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A Metropolitan Police disciplinary board has found against one of its own, a former undercover police officer with the notorious Special Demonstration Squad who deceived three women activists into relationships.

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British undercover police officer Jim Boyling

Today, 3 May 2018, former undercover police officer Jim Boyling has been found guilty of gross misconduct for pursuing an unauthorised sexual relationship with 'Rosa' (a pseudonym) using his false identity, failing to inform his line management of the extent of his relationship, and disclosing confidential information to his target.

A disciplinary panel convened by the Metropolitan Police heard evidence from his former partner 'Rosa' / DIL, who was deceived into a relationship with Boyling in 1999 when he infiltrated 'Reclaim the Streets' and 'Earth First!' using the cover identity 'Jim Sutton'. Boyling also had prior relationships with two other women in 'Reclaim the Streets': 'Monica*' and 'Ruth'.

Less than two weeks before the disciplinary hearing, which was scheduled to last three weeks, Boyling opted not to attend the hearing or send a representative to challenge the evidence but made no formal admission to the allegations. His defence consisted only of written responses he gave in prepared statements. The panel nonetheless considered those responses along with other evidence, including video interviews with Rosa /DIL. Despite his failure to attend the hearing to challenge the evidence, Boyling made statements to the press in which he attempted to portray himself as the victim of unjustified police persecution who was too poor to attend the hearing. His statement asserted 'If you're going to pick on anybody, the family with the terminally ill children will probably be the weakest.'

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