Archive | November, 2007

Safety Alert: Mountains Waves Predicted For West Coast

30 Nov

Ireland: Public Safety Alert:

Mountains Waves Predicted For West Coast

By J. P. Anderson

Waves of up to 14 metres in height are being predicted for the west coast this weekend.

They would be the highest experienced for a number of years.

The Marine Institute and Met Éireann have issued a warning to all ships, fishing vessels and anyone close to the shoreline to take great care, particularly tomorrow afternoon.

Computer-generated wave forecasts, using information picked up on the Marine Weather Buoy Network, show that waves with a significant height of up to 14m, about 45 feet, could occur in the seas to the west of Ireland.

Previously the biggest waves recorded by the Marine Institute’s data buoys were at the M1 Buoy to the west of Galway Bay on 17 January 2005, waves of 13.4m or about 40 feet.

The Institute and Met Éireann say that similar conditions could occur this weekend if weather systems develop as predicted and create conditions potentially hazardous to all marine users.

When a broad area of very low pressure sits in the Atlantic north of Ireland, as is expected to happen today and tomorrow, waves are able to build over a considerable distance.


Enslaved Trafficked Children Work On Cocoa Plantations

30 Nov

Thousands of Trafficked Children Are Being Forced To Work on Cocoa Plantations This Christmas

By J. P. Anderson

What do these children want for Christmas? They want to go home.

In the UK we will spend over a billion pounds this Christmas on chocolate. We like to eat chocolate. These children are slaves. Something is terribly wrong.

STOP THE TRAFFIK Chocolate Christmas Campaign is about ACTION and CHANGE.

The customer

needs to know who picked the cocoa beans that make chocolate.

The retailer

needs to know that their customers will change what they buy to force the chocolate industry to change their practices.

The chocolate manufacturers need to realise that this is the time to:

Remember to check the STOP THE TRAFFIK Good Chocolate Guide to know where and what to buy. All fair trade chocolate can ensure that it has not been picked using enslaved labour.

On 10th October 2007, major global players in the food industry initiated a programme for a more sustainable cocoa supply chain in the Ivory Coast, to improve social and environmental practices. This is a key decision that could lead to ending the trafficking of children into slavery on cocoa farms.

One of these global players is Cargill, an international provider of food and other products and services in 66 countries, and a major buyer and processor of cocoa beans from Ivory Coast. (This could affect many of the chocolate products that you buy in your supermarket)

At the beginning of 2008, a draft farm level certification code will be tested in pilot projects in Ivory Coast. Local stakeholders including farmers, charities, government bodies, and others will be involved in its development. By the end of 2008, the first independent certifiers will have been trained and the final code will be implemented. Throughout 2009, the project will certify the first 10,000 farmers in Ivory Coast, and pilot projects will be carried out in other producing countries to customise the programme to their specific circumstances.

This is big news.

This is a first step … and STOP THE TRAFFIK welcomes this new initiative by Cargill and calls to see this become a reality.

It is critical we keep pressure up on this issue. We are making a difference. We will not stop until the trafficking has been STOPPED.

The Cocoa Pledge

We want our chocolate to be Traffik Free. We have developed this into a Cocoa Pledge for use by the industry. Read it by going to the link at:



Chocolate Pledge:

We the undersigned companies pledge to our consumers that we are

Committed to cocoa procurement that respects the rights of farmers

And workers. We recognise that in a complex global supply chain, the

Farmers who grow our beans and the workers who harvest them can be

Subject to unacceptable forms of exploitation, including trafficking,

Debt bondage and other worst forms of child labour. We recognise that

As companies that benefit from this industry, we are the ones who

Must take responsibility to end such abuses and we have done so by

Undertaking the following steps;

In view of the fact that around 12,000 children have been trafficked to work

On cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast and the presence of widespread use of

The worst forms of child labour across West Africa we have agreed to

The following;

4. Commitment to financing the rehabilitation, reintegration and education of

Children who have been exploited on cocoa farms, both in the growing countries

And in the children’s countries of origin, through direct payments to local and

International development organisations with an expertise in child right.

1. Transparency in the cocoa supply chain to farm level. We will provide our

Customers with detailed information about the origins of our cocoa beans and

Will set up internal systems that can map in any given growing season all the

Farms from which we have sourced.

2. Adoption of a code of conduct including a pledge of no tolerance towards

Trafficking, debt bondage and other worst forms of child labour in our supply

Chain. We will also agree to independent verification that this code of conduct is

Being complied with.

3. Change purchasing practises to ensure that farmers get a better price for

Their product. This will include a simplifying of the supply chain, working with

Co-operatives, encouraging cooperatisation, and encouraging an increase in

Market information to the farmers. Where appropriate we will pay a premium to

Farmers for the participation in certification programs.

4. Commitment to financing the rehabilitation, reintegration and education of

Children who have been exploited on cocoa farms, both in the growing countries

And countries of origin, through direct payments to local and international

Development organisations with an expertise in child rights.

We are calling all chocolate manufacturers and retailers to SIGN the pledge.

Watch out for next newsletter announcing the plans for 2008:

The Chocolate Campaign is global. All over the world from Australia to America, Belgium to Burnley there has been a grassroots movement of thousands of people fighting hard to raise awareness and fight for Traffik Free chocolate. Every day it is growing.

Freedom Day 15 March 2008
delivering the million signatures to the UN February 2008
Launch of the STOP THE TRAFFIK Freedom Fund


STOP THE TRAFFIK Coordinating Team
1A Kennington Road, London SE1 7QP
+44 (0)20 7921 4252

Joseph Anderson

Booze Nicked from Guinness Brewery Dublin

29 Nov

Booze Nicked From Guinness Brewery Dublin

Story: By J. P. Anderson

An investigation has been launched following the theft of 450 kegs from the Guinness Brewery on Victoria Quay in Dublin.

180 kegs of Guinness, 180 kegs of Budweiser and 90 kegs of Carlsberg were taken in the robbery.

A man driving a truck drove into the brewery yard and stole a trailer containing the drink, which has an estimated value of €64,000.

Anyone (sober) with information on the roughly 40,000 missing pints is asked to contact Kevin Street Garda Station on 01 6669400.

Joseph Anderson

UK: Major Crackdown On Gang Sub-Culture Hailed

29 Nov

UK: Major Crackdown on Gang Sub-Culture Hailed

By J. P. Anderson

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has hailed a major crackdown on gun and gang culture as "pretty impressive".

Co-ordinated raids on Wednesday to tackle the illegal firearms trade and reassure communities led to more than 100 arrests.

She told GMTV: "The fact that we have had 1,000 police officers out, working in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, that we have had well over 100 people arrested, is a strong sign that we can fight back against gun crime, and particularly gang related gun crime, and we can make a difference."

She added: "Yesterday’s day of action was pretty impressive, but it’s part of a programme of work that communities and police forces are engaged in up and down the country."

There were 57 arrests in Merseyside, and 23 in Manchester, where police seized a stun gun, ammunition, machetes and drugs.

She said more than 1,300 weapons were seized, most of which were imitation firearms.

"These are obviously also scary when used in crime, and we need to get rid of them off the streets."

Police executed search warrants in the operation and set up armed mobile checkpoints using automatic number plate recognition technology.

Alongside Revenue and Customs licensing officers, police also visited registered firearms dealers, checking their records, to ensure they were complying with laws on selling guns.

Previous Home Office research has indicated that an imitation firearm can be bought for just £20 and a shotgun for £50. A military-quality handgun will go for around £1,000, while an automatic weapon can carry a price tag of up to £4,000.

Joseph Anderson

Armagh: Cullyhanna Community Support Family Of Murdered Man

29 Nov

Armagh: Cullyhanna Community Support

Family of Murdered Man

By J. P. Anderson

More than 200 people attended a public meeting in Cullyhanna community centre in south Armagh last night in support of the family of Paul Quinn.

The 21-year-old was beaten to death by a gang of men in a barn in Co Monaghan one month ago. His family has consistently claimed that the IRA was to blame for the attack.

Sinn Féin has denied republican involvement in the killing, and no party representatives attended last night’s event.

The family called on the local community to help them get justice and the Quinn support group plans to hold further meetings in the future.

Following the brutal killing, Sinn Féin has said there was no republican involvement in the death of Paul Quinn near the border over the weekend.

Mr Quinn, who was from Co Armagh, was beaten by a gang of up to eight men after being lured to a farm at Tullycoora near the village of Oram on Saturday evening.

The Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, has urged anyone with information about Paul Quinn’s death to bring it to the attention of the police.

But a former Sinn Féin councillor has rejected claims that there was no republican involvement in the killing of Paul Quinn at the weekend.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Today with Pat Kenny, Jim McAllister said he believed the IRA was involved.

Some Unionist politicians suggested the killing could have repercussions for the Northern executive.

However Taoiseach Bertie Ahern stated he did not believe the killing would have implications for the peace process.

Mr Ahern said he did not know what the background of the people involved was, but said the killing had been condemned by Sinn Féin representatives who had urged people to co-operate with the police.

A murder inquiry is expected to begin in Monaghan after a post mortem examination is completed on the body.

The 21-year-old’s family said in a statement last night that they believed the Provisional IRA were responsible for his death because he refused to leave the area after a dispute with IRA members.

A gang of seven or eight men beat Mr Quinn after luring him to a farm at Tullycora near the village of Oram on Saturday evening.

Mr Quinn was conscious when he was discovered by gardaí, but died two hours later in hospital.

Gardaí say they are keeping an open mind on why Mr Quinn was attacked, but said paramilitary involvement could not be ruled in or out at this early stage of the investigation.

The body set up to monitor paramilitary activities in Northern Ireland says it believes that current or former IRA members or their associates may have been involved in the murder of Paul Quinn.

At a news conference this afternoon one of the Independent Monitoring Commission members, John Grieve, indicated that he believes Mr Quinn may have died last month as a result of a local dispute.

Leading Sinn Féin members Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have denied that Republicans were involved in the attack.

They have also advised anyone with information to cooperate fully with the Garda and PSNI investigations.

Mr Quinn was from Co Armagh, but received his fatal injuries during an attack in a Co Monaghan farm yard.

Nobody has been charged in connection with the crime.

After Mr Quinn’s death the DUP said it would carefully monitor the police investigation and it indicated that IRA involvement could have serious implications for power-sharing at Stormont.

The Archbishop of Armagh and Cardinal designate, Seán Brady, has described the weekend murder of Paul Quinn as a barbaric deed that was evil and inexcusable.

Archbishop Brady also said those with information ‘have a duty before God’ to pass it on to gardaí or the PSNI.

The Catholic Archbishop made his appeal as a complex cross-border investigation into the death of the 21-year-old Armagh man continues.

A gang of seven or eight men beat Mr Quinn after luring him to a farm at Tullycora near the village of Oram on Saturday evening.

He was conscious when he was found by gardaí, but died two hours later in hospital.

Both gardaí and the PSNI are investigating what led to Mr Quinn’s death, and although gardaí have the lead role in the investigation as Mr Quinn died in the Republic, it is believed his attackers came from Co Armagh.

Investigators are seeking the co-operation of a number of the 21-year-old’s acquaintances who were used to lure him to a Co Monaghan farmyard.

Any links to an incident two weeks ago when a truckload of diesel overturned on a Co Down road and the driver set the fuel alight before absconding will also be examined.

Earlier, Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley called for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s full support if it turns out the IRA was involved in the murder of the Co Armagh man.

Mr Quinn’s parents claim the organisation was involved in the death of their son.

The DUP insists proof of IRA involvement could collapse the political institutions.

The parents of Paul Quinn from Cullyhanna Co Armagh who was killed by a group of men in Co Monaghan last month have appealed to those responsible to give themselves up to the gardaí.

The 21-year-old died after he was beaten to death by a group of men in a shed after he had been lured there.

Briege and Stephen Quinn said they were hurt by remarks made by the Taoiseach in the Dáil that their son’s death was linked to a feud about criminality.

They say senior IRA figures were involved in the murder.

The gardaí are leading the investigation in co-operation with the PSNI, but so far nobody has been arrested or charged.

Joseph Anderson

UNICEF: Child Protection From Violence Exploitation Abuse

29 Nov

Child Protection from Violence Exploitation Abuse

By J. P. Anderson


UNICEF’s first Advocate for Children Affected by War, former child soldier Ishmael Beah, has pledged to give a voice and hope to children whose lives have been scarred by violence.

Mr. Beah’s appointment was announced in New York on 20 November to mark the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which aims to protect the basic rights of all children. The CRC 18th anniversary is considered especially significant because it represents the point at which an entire generation has grown up under the auspices of the Convention.

UNICEF has launched a special ‘CRC@18’ website to raise awareness about the anniversary and involve young people in advocating for their rights. The site includes videos, educational materials and a special ‘magnetic poetry’ game provided by Moonstone Interactive.

In the virtual world of Teen Second Life, an international group of teenagers observed 18 years of child rights with an online screening of their short videos on different themes of the CRC. The screening was organized with UNICEF’s partner Global Kids.

UNICEF also celebrated the Convention’s 18-year milestone at an inter-generational roundtable in Geneva, a Tokyo symposium on helping children left behind, a youth rally at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and other events around the world.

On CRC anniversary, Ishmael Beah appointed UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2007 – UNICEF’s first Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, has pledged to give a voice and hope to children whose lives have been scarred by violence.

UNICEF announced Mr. Beah’s appointment today to mark the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was also celebrated at events in Geneva, Tokyo and other venues around the world.

The 18-year milestone is considered especially significant because it represents the point at which an entire generation has grown up under the auspices of the CRC, which aims to protect the fundamental rights of every child. UNICEF has launched a special ‘CRC@18’ website to raise awareness about the Convention and involve young people in advocating for their rights.

Dedicated to child protection
“I’m very thankful and humbled,” Mr. Beah said in accepting the UNICEF appointment. “I think for me it’s just a way to give me more strength to continue doing what I’ve already embarked on, what I’ve dedicated my life to doing – which is to make sure that what happened to me doesn’t continue to happen to other children around the world.

“I know the nature of what it is to be forgotten, what it is to lose your humanity, and more importantly, what it is to recover from it and to have another life,” he added.

Mr. Beah was forcibly recruited as a child soldier in Sierra Leone when he was 13. UNICEF helped him to escape the conflict and become rehabilitated. He then moved to the United States to complete his education, began advocating for children’s rights and went on to author the best-selling book, ‘A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier’.

‘An eloquent symbol of hope’
“Ishmael Beah speaks on behalf of young people around the world whose lives have been scarred by violence, deprivation and other violations of their rights,” said Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, announcing his appointment at UNICEF House in New York. “He is an eloquent symbol of hope for young victims of violence, as well as those working to demobilize and rehabilitate children caught up in armed conflict.”

Speaking of his own descent into violence and despair, Mr. Beah said he had lost hope by the time UNICEF found him. His new role as a UNICEF Advocate will be to make sure that children are given hope for the future, and that they do not become a “lost generation,” he said.

“It’s about children who do not have the voice to speak,” Mr. Beah explained. “We’re trying to give them that voice. And through my capacity I hope we can bring that voice alive.”

Geneva roundtable discussion
beyond today’s events in New York, the 18th anniversary of the CRC was celebrated yesterday by a group of young people, a panel of leading child rights experts and assorted guests in a dynamic inter-generational dialogue at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The panel included the Director of UNICEF’s Regional Office for Europe, Philip O’Brien; the Director of UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre, Marta Santos Pais; the Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Jean Zermatten; and Save the Children Alliance representative Roberta Cecchetti.

Also on the panel were Youth Advisor to the UK National Committee for UNICEF Joel Semakula, 17, and Nandita Kaza, 13, a student at the International School of Geneva.

“The lives of many of today’s children tell us a story of tremendous change brought about by the Convention,” Mr. O’Brien said during the roundtable discussion. “During the last two decades, millions have gained access to education, and fewer are dying of preventable diseases. Let’s celebrate what has been achieved – and then renew our commitment to create a world where all children have all their rights fulfilled.”

Symposium in Tokyo
In Tokyo, meanwhile, a CRC symposium highlighted the situation of children who are left behind in developing countries – and looked at what must be done to ensure their rights under the Convention.

“UNICEF believes that promotion of child rights can and must be made a truly cutting edge for human development and human security,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Kul Gautum in a keynote speech at the event, which also featured remarks by Goodwill Ambassador Dr. Agnes Chan and other dignitaries.

“We cannot be satisfied until the realization of child rights is experienced by all children in their daily life,” said Mr. Gautum. “I trust we would all agree that there will never be anything that is more important than promoting the well-being and fulfilling the rights of children.”

Tamar Hahn and Tim Ledwith contributed to this story from Geneva and New York, respectively.

Joseph Anderson

Domestic Violence Causes Ill Health

28 Nov

Domestic Violence Causes Ill Health: Report

By J. P. Anderson

The Women’s Health Council has launched a report in which it calls for the health service to take into account the impact of domestic violence on women’s health.

The review of worldwide research claims that more women die or are seriously injured through domestic violence every year than through cancer or road crashes.

The council, a state agency, which was setup to promote health and social gain for women, has said violence and abuse are a major cause of disability and ill health for women.

Director of the council Geraldine Luddy said national and international evidence backs up the view that domestic violence is a significant problem which affects about one in five women in Ireland.

Women who are victims of domestic violence are more likely to access health services.

Even five years after the violence has stopped their health utilisation is 20% higher than of other women.

The council is calling for the health sector to take a more proactive approach to the integration of issues surrounding violence against women in service delivery.

Joseph Anderson