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Human Rights in Ireland >>

Mary Robinson: ‘Everybody matters’ ...but the people of Erris

category mayo | rights and freedoms | news report author Tuesday September 18, 2012 17:48author by mary - RSCauthor email rossportsolidaritycamp at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

- Campaigners highlight Robinson's silence on human rights in County Mayo -

Last night Enda Kenny met with Mary Robinson for an evening soiree in Ballina Arts Centre to launch her new book. The title of her memoir, ‘Everybody Matters’ was a ironic reminder of the silence maintained by Robinson on the human rights abuses associated with Shell’s Corrib Gas project. Since 2002 Shell have been operating less than 35 miles away from her home in Ballina and over that time human rights concerns have been documented by international human rights organisations including Frontline Defenders (“Breakdown of Trust: a Report on the Corrib Gas Dispute http://ww.frontlinedefenders.org/files/en/corrib_gas_re...t.pdf).

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Campaigners from Shell to Sea and Rossport Solidarity Camp travelled to the launch to highlight Robinson’s continuing silence on human rights issues in her home county, but were refused entry to the Arts centre for the event by Gardaí. Ten campaigners held a picket outside the event holding placards which read, ‘What about human rights on your doorstep?’, ‘Mary Robinson – human rights N.I.M.B.Y’, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’, ‘Mary – what about human rights in Mayo?’, and ‘And you used to be so good!!’

Maura Harrington, who previously campaigned for Mary Robinson in her presidential election campaign in 1992, attempted to speak with Robinson as she approached but was quickly pushed out of the way by a Garda. Harrington recalled how Robinson’s presidential victory had felt, as it did for many people in Ireland, like the first time her vote had really counted. She was the first elected president in the office's history not to have had the support of Fianna Fáil.

Robinson has an incredible record of work and achievements to her name. As Ireland’s president she achieved a 93% approval rating from the Irish public. Her list of titles and honorary degrees reflects the almost unrivalled respect which she enjoys throughout Ireland and internationally. It is impossible not to appreciate Robinson's history – but does she have an excuse for ignoring Corrib? Her role as president ended in 1997, long before the human rights problems associated with Corrib arose. In her role as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights between 1997 and 2002 she will have been keenly aware of human rights abuses associated with Shell’s work in Nigeria. From 2002 onward Robinson was in an ideal position to comment on the need to safeguard human rights in the planned drilling area in Ireland. However even in summer 2005, when Shell and state attitudes to human rights were revealed to international outcry, and thousands piled onto the streets of Dublin in support of the imprisoned Rossport Five, Robinson was noticeably silent.

In 2007 Nelson Mandela asked Robinson to join an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights called The Elders (http://www.theelders.org/about). The Elders work to protect human rights both by ‘engaging in private advocacy, using their collective influence to open doors and gain access to decision-makers’ and by working ‘publicly to promote neglected issues and speak out against injustice’. According to their published mission, their work includes; 'listening to everyone, no matter how unpalatable or unpopular, to promote dialogue', 'providing an independent voice that can speak out, challenge injustice and break taboos', 'creating space for campaigners and policy makers to broach difficult issues', 'connecting people with decision-makers, ensuring the needs of ordinary citizens are always represented' and 'highlighting neglected issues to generate media coverage and political attention'. Robinson’s silence is difficult to justify given that each one of these efforts is so sorely needed with regard to Corrib.

Robinson’s decision to ignore Corrib is striking in the shadow of the work of her colleague and chair of the Elders group Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Tutu has long been an outspoken supporter of the affected communities in Mayo. In 2007 Tutu issued a statement on the high-pressure pipeline, stating that “The pipe’s pressure is beyond anything that has ever been passed close to domestic habitation anywhere in the world. There are on record a number of disastrous explosions at significantly lesser pressures. These are matters of fact, so people have a right to be concerned.”

Tutu also spoke out about a specific instance of abuse against campaigner Willie Corduff, describing how Corduff was “physically attacked, under cover of darkness, by the agents of a multinational corporation, resulting in his being hospitalised and left severely hurt and traumatised”.

Robinson’s professional peers feel compelled to speak out on Corrib – so why does she remain silent? It seem unlikely that she has not noticed the beneficial impact she could make in this conflict. However unpopular or taboo the Corrib subject may be, it is equally unlikely that any comments she might make could damage her near-saintly image in the public consciousness. Is it simply too late for such a revered public figure to admit that she could have been wrong, that she should have spoken out sooner? Or has her journey from somewhat radical beginnings to joining a global elite, aligned her too closely with the establishment and big business to care about the vulnerable in her own society?

The policies and pronouncements of her latest organisation, the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice (http://www.mrfcj.org/) certainly indicate how distant Robinson’s politics now lie from the social justice movements she might once have championed. The foundation has co-opted the language of ‘climate justice’ but its activities do not reflect the meaning of these words as developed by grassroots campaigners throughout the world. Instead of opposing the false solution of carbon trading Robinson’s foundation is working against efforts for climate justice, effectively endorsing the use of carbon markets in Africa. For this the Robinson Foundation is openly criticised by activists, academics, researchers, and environmental justice groups who are genuinely working towards climate justice, to the extent that her organisation has been dubbed ‘Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Injustice’. As South African campaigner Patrick Bond has put it, “She gazes upwards at power, not down at the realities or at potential grassroots allies. Her use of the two words climate justice are utterly incongruous. The more people who call her on it, the better.” (http://lists.fahamu.org/pipermail/debate-list/2012-Janu....html)

In her ‘upward gaze’ Mary Robinson has become blind to the real battles for human rights and dignity being fought at her feet. A cold detachment from the campaigners appealing to her yesterday evening was apparent as she settled into her car. Before being chauffeured away from the launch Robinson was asked by a campaigner about her neglect of human rights at home. She replied,' I do not get involved in local issues’.

In one sense Robinson is right, for people living in Erris, the neglect of their rights to safety and privacy are very local, personal issues which they deal with intimately every day. But the reasons for these threats to human rights are the very same global issues which Robinson has been battling throughout the world. Perhaps it is time that her fellow “Elder” Archbishop Desmond Tutu remind her of the international reach of the Corrib struggle, the human rights abuses which have been documented thus far, and of the global forces of corporate control, corruption and resource extraction and their impacts on human life, which she is very well qualified to comment on.

In her presentation to the People’s Forum in July of this year, local resident in the affected area of Mayo, Betty Schult finished by saying “In his report ‘Breakdown of trust’ Brian Barrinton uses the term ‘human rights defender’ for everyone here who goes out to pratcise and demand their fundamental rights. I was uncomfortable with that at first because I always imagined human rights defenders as much more extraordinary, heroic people who sacrifice a lot more than we do. But I agree now .......In my view we do not own fundamental rights as human beings just because we exist. Our human rights were not given to us by a higher power; they were recognized and declared by people like you and me. If ordinary people in ordinary communities like ours do not keep using them, claiming them all the time, if we neglect to improve and expand and practice them, then we will lose them.” [http://www.shelltosea.com/content/peoples-forum-july-2012]

Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council have announced the intention to build a visitor and human rights research centre at the site of Mary Robinson’s birth in Ballina. Perhaps the facility will finally allow Mary Robinson the opportunity to listen to campaigners like Betty Schult and break her silence on the human rights concerns of people affected by the Shell’s Corrib gas project at her doorstep.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com

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author by The 99%publication date Thu Sep 27, 2012 15:19Report this post to the editors

- but to be honest, given the results of the last election IMHO the majority of the Irish people really ARE that fukin stupid.

author by fredpublication date Wed Sep 26, 2012 23:08Report this post to the editors

sadly, they have their minions well entrenched on the internet too.

For example, just go on politics.ie and see the nasty right wing responses you get when you post something about the giveaway of our assets or rossport or occupy movement.

The fact is right wing pro corporate "astroturfing" (fake grass roots support) is rife on many popular websites. No doubt some of these people are paid to run interference for profitable enterprises and vested interests such as shell.

author by Anniepublication date Wed Sep 26, 2012 22:21Report this post to the editors

As the woman above said these things might as well be happening on another planet, ie human rights violations and the extraction of our natural resources with zero return, aided and abetted by a virtual foreign army. They may even be armed or is that a stretch ?

Either ways it would not permeate the skulls of our populace as it is kept safely out of view by the mass media.

How can this be countered ? With the internet and websites ? maybe. Is this not the theory; that these tools should help even up the awareness score ? but if the populace has never heard of these websites, these information tools, the said tools might as well be rusting at the bottom of the Liffey ? while we all continue to preach to ourselves the converted.

How do we let people know where the tools are ? ?

author by Niall Farrellpublication date Tue Sep 25, 2012 18:08Report this post to the editors

I don’t like to boast, but i have been questioning the canonisation of St. Mary Robinson dating back to her time as Ireland’s president. As a member of Relatives For Justice, an organisation formed in 1991 by relatives of people murdered by the British state, i came to realise that Robinson wasn’t too keen on defending the human rights everyone and most especially the ‘minority’ in the 6 Counties. On a visit to Derry she refused to lay a wreath at the monument dedicated to the 14 civil rights marchers murdered by British paratroopers on Bloody Sunday in January 1972. In contrast, on the same trip she had no difficulty laying a wreath at the memorial where 11 innocent Protestants were murdered by the IRA in Enniskillen in November 1987.
When she “famously” shook hands with Gerry Adams at a community event in Andersonstown Belfast, she insisted that no victims of the British state should be present. She consistently refused to meet an RFJ delegation deeming it political, but had no difficulty showing her oh-so-liberal side by meeting up with a delegation of gay rights activists at the Aras. As though the latter was not a political gesture in this reactionary state.
The message was clear to us: the British state killers could do no wrong. RFJ continued out of sheer spite to write to Robinson demanding a meeting. She eventually reluctantly did meet us in 1995, but only after the IRA called their ceasefire. Nevertheless, we took pleasure in her discomfiture and made our views clear as to the role of the British state in Ireland.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sat Sep 22, 2012 06:38Report this post to the editors

"Vladimir Bedukadze alleges that top Georgian officials, including President Saakashvili, were aware of the abuses at the Gdlani prison, which triggered a major political scandal in the country. He claims that inmates in Georgia face inhumane treatment for political reasons or simply for the amusement of those in charge of jails."

The above excerpt is from a Russian Television (RT) report dated September 21st 2012. The report also contains an unusually interesting interview with a man, who I strongly suspect is completely genuine, and who describes the massive, couldn't be bigger, gap between what "they" -- local home-grown Georgian "creatures of the Bush Family" it is claimed -- are really like (behind the scenes), and the completely phoney image "they" try to hoodwink the general public into believing about themselves.

"They are criminals" this man claims.

I'm left thinking, very sadly and very worryingly, about the way the general situation described by this man all reminds me so much of home.

The above mentioned RT report can be seen at:
http://rt.com/news/georgia-prison-torture-scandal-634/

Related Link:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102447

author by Jackiepublication date Fri Sep 21, 2012 07:00Report this post to the editors

The faraway causes and campaigners are fancied, because the fancier doesn't sacrifice much personally except time. Supporting home causes can entail having to deal intellectually with perceived conflicting interests. Economic interests (dangers of piping gas from the sea vs. benefits to individual households of using natural gas for cooking and heating); image interests (basking in the reflected glory of being a friend of Aung Suu Ki or an imprisoned Palestinian nonviolence campaigner vs. getting involved in a Shell to Sea campaign that has also attracted RSF and other dissident republicans) and sexual civil liberties issues vs. other issues that have a diminished middle class appeal.

Yes, her Bilderberg and Trilateral Commission influences appear to have affected her social outlook.

On the information blackout in the mass media re. S-2-S activity and arguments, I would note that many Irish people are unaware that a natural resource exploitation concession was granted to a foreign multinational for free. The only financial benefits to citizens and the state will be salaries and low corporation taxes. The gas supply will dwindle to an uneconomic level after a small number of years. (What will happen to the plant piping, underground electrical wiring and machinery at the land site then?) But the big tinted glasses factor is that many householders in town and city believe that piped natural gas will make home life comfortable for thousands of Irish families. It seems hard to counter that line of public outlook. I'd say Mary Robinson shares that outlook.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:38Report this post to the editors

In connection with the "Everybody Matters" concept (and new book by Mary Robinson), the excerpt in the section below formed part of an e-mail sent this morning to some senior United Nations officials.

=================================

Related Link:

Email dated June 20th 2012 titled "Money Power Psychopaths and C-PTSD injuries caused by government crime"
sent to former President Mary Robinson:

http://www.humanrightsireland.com/DrAnneJeffers/20June2...l.htm

Printed copies of the e-mail at the www address just above were also sent on June 20th 2012 to Minister for Health James Reilly TD, and to Dr Anne Jeffers. So far, it appears to me that the entire contents of the June 20th 2012 e-mail (and associated registered letters) are all being completely ignored by all concerned. Please note that according to the scanned copies of the Post Office delivery notes on public display at the www address immediately above, the two registered letters in question were delivered on June 21st 2012 (to Dr Jeffers), and on June 22nd 2012 (to Minister for Health James Reilly TD).

So much for the "Everybody Matters" concept?

Phoney Mary?

=================================

The full text of this morning's e-mail, titled "Phoney Mary?", which was copied to (among others) a selection of senior lawyers and politicians, can be viewed at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/UnitedNations/20Septe...l.htm

Related Link:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/

author by Marypublication date Wed Sep 19, 2012 22:13Report this post to the editors

I second Justin's comments above.

What a tragedy though that all of these abuses are happenning in Mayo, in effect a foreign army aided and abetted by the state and it may as welll be happening on planet Mars! !

Virtually NO ONE knows what is going on thanks to the MSM clampdown.

HOW to spread the word ?

Does anyone have an idea ? ?

author by W. Finnertypublication date Wed Sep 19, 2012 08:14Report this post to the editors

Reply to Justin Morahan at Tue Sep 18, 2012 21:49 ...

I empathise with, and deeply share the views you have expressed.

Violence, physical and/or psychological, will get us -- the citizens of the Republic of Ireland, of the so called "left", the "right", and the "centre" -- nowhere (collectively) it seems to me: especially now that we are well into "The Internet Age", which can, it appears to me, when used well, scale up the power of non-violent resistance to human rights abuses and injustices caused by governments (and their wrongdoing), as never before in the history of humanity.

It is thoughtful understanding, coupled with a basic knowledge of Bunreacht na hEireann, the supreme law of the Republic of Ireland, that is the "path" best followed (in my opinion): particularly if we could all (or most of us) "hold the focus" tightly on Article 6.1, and its enormous potential for peacefully bringing to fruition a "government of the people, by the people, for the people" result: for ourselves, and for the future generations of our descendents.

"It's The Constitution Stupid - NOT the economy":
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/101168#comment287045

Related Link:
http://tinyurl.com/8uvrpby

author by Damien M - PWpublication date Wed Sep 19, 2012 00:25Report this post to the editors

She's probably still under orders from Bilderberg....where she was spotted several times early in her career by astute Bilderberg Watchers...
The head of Bilderberg is none other than Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands, who also happens to be the figure head and major shareholder of ... you guessed it, Royal DUTCH SHELL!

Beatrick's old man Prince Bernhard, another hot shot at Shell, actually founded Hotel Bilderberg!

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2012 21:49Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the dignified excellent report.

I voted for Mary Robinson and you give her fair dues for whatever of good she has done, and she has done some good.

It's sad but true that she has changed. It's alright to have your head in the clouds if you keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. But her curt dismissal of the protestor's question and her avoidance of human rights issues in her home county shows an unfortunate change of character and a loss of the human touch.

Keep up your brave non-violent fight, keep your dignity, forget the begrudgers. Your prolonged non-violent action is historic. Against all the odds, against big business, big government, with all of its ancillaries including the Garda Síochána and the judiciary, you have been courageous and just brilliant. May your light continue to shine from Mayo around the world.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Tue Sep 18, 2012 18:25Report this post to the editors

"It's just another example of 'government wrongdoing' by ALL (or almost all) of the hundreds of members of the Republic of Ireland Governments (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) of recent decades -- TDs (which is how the elected representatives of the Republic of Ireland's Central Government are referred to), Senators, Judges, Presidents, and others closely involved (such as the crucially important "non-judicial" members of our legal profession for example) -- who have unlawfully, and indeed treasonously, helped to create, enforce, and sustain UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation (invalid and bogus law that is) in the Republic of Ireland, during the period in question."

The above excerpt formed part of an e-mail sent to Republic of Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny TD on August 7th last; and, as can be seen at the www address provided immediately below, included in the recipient lists -- among several other senior politicians and lawyers -- was leading lawyer and former Republic of Ireland President Mary Robinson:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/PrimeMinisterEndaKenn...l.htm

Related Link:
http://tinyurl.com/9phtrrv

author by mary - RSCpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2012 17:50Report this post to the editors

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