Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Comment Archives for Patrick Corrigan

I am the Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK and an occasional human rights blogger at Amnesty Blogs: Belfast & Beyond and an occasional hyperlocal blogger at: Newcastle Rocks. You can email me: newcastlerocks[at]ymail[dot]com. I'm on Twitter at @PatrickCorrigan
  1. Comment on #Magdalene: “When the dark midnight is over, watch for the breaking of day”
    on 20 February 2013 at 12:23 pm

    And in Northern Ireland…

    No inquiry. No apology. No redress. For the moment at least.

    Magdalene Laundries operated north of the border too. From the women with whom I have spoken, the regime in NI appears to have been remarkably similar to those in the south. No surprise given they were run by some of the same people.

    These northern women deserve acknowledgment and justice no less than their southern counterparts.

    I hope the First and deputy First Ministers will show the same spirit of compassion – and action – they showed towards the victims of institutional child abuse and that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste displayed last night.

    Justice may have arrived late for the Magdalene Laundry women in the Republic, but at least it has arrived.

    More from me on HuffPo on the Northern Ireland dimension.

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  2. Comment on Great Big Politics Pub Quiz, the result: a lot of cash raised for Red Cross/Red Crescent in Syria
    on 21 November 2012 at 9:39 am

    UPDATE: Word just in from the Red Cross – final total for the evening was a splendid £1156.18 – now winging its way to help the humanitarian effort in Syria.

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  3. Comment on Great Big Politics Pub Quiz, the result: a lot of cash raised for Red Cross/Red Crescent in Syria
    on 21 November 2012 at 9:37 am

    Many thanks to all involved, including quiz-masters Mike Nesbitt, Peter Weir, Jim Wells, Conall McDevitt and Steven Agnew.

    And a last word of thanks to Alan in Belfast for, once again, pulling together all the technical aspects of the evening, including a name-that-MLA video round.

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  4. Comment on Big Politics Pub Quiz: one day to go!
    on 19 November 2012 at 3:26 pm

    £7 per person Mr FjH. You can buy your ticket in advance or at the door on Tuesday night.
    C’mon DR, you too. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

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  5. Comment on DUP leaflet accuses Alliance Party of ‘ununionist activities’…
    on 13 November 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Absolutely awful stuff.

    “For who?”
    FOR WHO?
    FOR WHO?

    Desecration of the Queen’s English.

    In her golden jubilee year too.

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  6. Comment on David Cameron and the Sash his father never wore…
    on 7 November 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE should only be considered if there are absolutely watertight guarantees over them not being used to commit human rights violations.

    If any such guarantees are forthcoming, they seem unlikely to be worth the paper they are written on.

    As Amnesty has already noted:

    “… in 2009 the Saudi air force used UK-supplied Tornado fighter-bombers in attacks in Yemen which killed hundreds – possibly thousands – of civilians. In one attack conducted by Saudi forces on the town of al-Nadir in November 2009, so many were killed in just one extended family that witnesses say the family ‘had to create a cemetery for themselves’.

    “More than two years ago we called for the UK government to urgently investigate Saudi Arabia’s involvement in this episode and meanwhile suspend any further arms supplies to Saudi Arabia.

    “In the past a large Saudi chequebook has apparently meant it could purchase weapons as well as silence over its own dreadful human rights record. It’s time for David Cameron to end this deeply disturbing trade-off.”

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  7. Comment on #SluggerUS: Join us tonight from 11pm (or just send us your best election curios)
    on 6 November 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Election curio? There’s the small life-or-death decision facing voters in California, who get to vote on Proposition 34 to abolish capital punishment.

    The abolitionists have nudged ahead in the polls, although it looks pretty tight with many voters undecided. California may be on the cusp of becoming the 18th US state to dump the death penalty…

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  8. Comment on Great Big Politics Pub Quiz 2012
    on 24 October 2012 at 10:49 am

    SDLP supporter: It’s really difficult to imagine that political activists would cheat, isn’t it? But there you go. Another illusion shattered…
    So, no phones please, smart or otherwise! Minus points if spotted. And maximum team size of, say, 6?
    HG: not feeding trolls today – sorry!

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  9. Comment on Death penalty-free world?
    on 10 October 2012 at 9:04 am

    Pete, sorry post wasn’t clear enough for you. “We” is defined by “human rights activists” campaigning against the use of the death penalty worldwide. Readers are free to define themselves as part or not part of that collective “we”.

    “We’re winning”? Clearly “we” are, as I set out in the subsequent paragraphs, notwithstanding the distance still to be travelled, to which I also point.

    Sorry, DR. Will try hard to remember: “don’t mention the war (on terror)!”

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  10. Comment on Not a good week for ‘gay cure’ quacks
    on 5 October 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Taoiseach: Amnesty International ‘take action’ page for prisoners of conscience and other individuals at risk:

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  11. Comment on Willie Clarke ‘allowed the option’ of working in Down council…
    on 22 February 2012 at 10:44 am

    For the benefit of FJH(!), this is what Willie Clarke looks like – my newcastlerocks short video interview with him in the run-up to the double election last May, when he wouldn’t say which of his two jobs he would give up post-poll.

    As I note, Clarke’s exit from the Assembly seems certain to leave Newcastle without a Stormont representative from the town.

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  12. Comment on “A drum major for justice”: Martin Luther King Jr Day
    on 17 January 2012 at 9:51 am

    I like this one from my colleagues in Amnesty USA – part of a twitter campaign against the death penalty, but equally applicable in many other contexts and places:
    #MLK: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence.”

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  13. Comment on Happy travels! Guantánamo Bay: a decade of failure
    on 13 January 2012 at 1:36 pm

    ‘The reason why AI didn’t campaign on issues in their own country until recently was due to risks of impartiality and risks of attack’.

    For the record, this was not a policy particular to NI, it was a globally applied policy.

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  14. Comment on Happy travels! Guantánamo Bay: a decade of failure
    on 12 January 2012 at 9:38 am

    DR, I have blogged about many issues and countries since I started contributing to Slugger and hope to continue to do so.

    If you have nothing to say on the matter at hand – the decade of international law-breaking by the USA symbolised by Guantánamo – so be it.

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  15. Comment on Happy travels! Guantánamo Bay: a decade of failure
    on 11 January 2012 at 1:03 pm

    DR, we meet thousands of government representatives from very many different countries annually to discuss a wide range of human rights concerns, including the illegal detention of prisoners.

    We believe in universal standards, not double standards.

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  16. Comment on Northern Ireland military exports and human rights violations in Syria
    on 9 December 2011 at 3:05 pm

    UPDATE: The Guardian live blog on the situation in the Middle East reports Opposition claims that the Syrian army are preparing to attack Homs, the source of the video featuring the NI-supplied armoured vehicles embedded above.

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  17. Comment on Northern Ireland military exports and human rights violations in Syria
    on 7 December 2011 at 11:17 am

    No crystal balls were needed with regard to Syria. Human rights violations by the regime have been ongoing for decades. This is from the US State Department’s notes on Syria:

    “Officially, Syria is a republic. In reality, however, it is an authoritarian regime that exhibits only the forms of a democratic system. Although citizens ostensibly vote for the president and members of parliament, they do not have the right to change their government. The late President Hafiz Al-Asad was confirmed by unopposed referenda five times. His son, Bashar Al-Asad, also was confirmed by an unopposed referendum in July 2000 and May 2007. The President and his senior aides, particularly those in the military and security services, ultimately make most basic decisions in political and economic life, with a very limited degree of public accountability. Political opposition to the President is not tolerated. Syria has been under a state of emergency since 1963. Syrian governments have justified martial law by the state of war that continues to exist with Israel and by continuing threats posed by terrorist groups.

    …The President’s continuing strength is due also to the army’s continued loyalty and the effectiveness of Syria’s large internal security apparatus. The leadership of both is comprised largely of members of Asad’s own Alawi sect. The several main branches of the security services operate independently of each other and outside of the legal system. Each continues to be responsible for human rights violations.”

    Some may take a view that Northern Ireland should sell any sort of product to any sort of government which has the cash to pay and we should pay no heed to the consequences.

    Others may think that this is a particularly immoral / amoral standpoint, especially when one looks at the consequences in the likes of Syria.

    I think we need an international Arms Trade Treaty which means that no country is exporting arms and other military equipment to countries likely to use them for human rights violations.

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