Armed Forces visits to schools in Wales update

The Welsh Government has agreed in principle to more research into armed forces visits to schools in Wales, and accepts that a balanced image of the military must be ensured, as should the expansion of the range of employers going into schools. See ForcesWatch press release HERE

The debate will be on Wednesday September  30th

 The written response by the Welsh Government to the Report of the Petitions Committee entitled Stop the Army Recruiting in Schools – Report on the Consideration of a Petition (23 September 2015) can be FOUND HERE

Additional note from ForcesWatch: "The language the Welsh Government use in their statement is pretty conservative, and they don't emphasise the concerns as much as we at ForcesWatch would have liked, but them recognising that at least some of the main concerns around armed forces visits to schools in Wales are significant enough to warrant some action is in itself big progress. Hopefully the debate on the issue in the Welsh Assembly next Wednesday will be rigorous"

Quaker Peace & Social Witness inbetween mailing information

QCEA-QPSW conference: Castle or community? Quakers' role in building the new Europe | 4-6 December 2015
An opportunity to explore our vision for Europe, and connect with and build community with Friends from across Europe. Held at Chant d'oiseau conference centre, Brussels.
More details

Statement on the European refugee crisis
Meeting for Sufferings on 5 September agreed a statement which was sent out to local and area meeting clerks and to the media, and put on our website. You may well have seen it already, but we wanted to ensure that all QPSW Correspondents received it. The press release containing the statement is available online. [or see our post HERE] Please note that as QPSW does not have staff working on this subject, the best place to go for advice and support is the website of the listed informal group Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) at www.qarn.org.uk  If there is anyone in your meeting who is doing professional or voluntary work with or for refugees, they might well find QARN a helpful network to be part of.


New briefing on armed forces visits to schools in Wales

From Forces Watch:

There is new ForcesWatch briefing on armed forces visits to schools in Wales, which we've produced to try and inform Welsh Assembly Members of the key evidence of why they should accept the three recommendations in the Petitions Committee's report following their investigation on the issue, and highlighting a few other important points. We will also use the new briefing to inform the general public about the issue. The briefing includes some evidence that the Petitions Committee did not see, because it has come to light since its final meeting, which took place in 2013.

See a brief outline and link to download the pdf full briefing: HERE

or a link to just the PDF 273 kb HERE

ACTION: We're encouraging people to write concise emails/letters to their Welsh Assembly Members
contact details can be found at THIS LINK remember you have local and regional Assembly members

include the LINK to ForcesWatch's briefing, urging them to call on the Welsh Government to accept the Petition Committe's three recommendations (which, being very reasonable and well-evidenced, we hope the government have accepted, in their response to the report, which was to be sent to the Petitions Committee in July, but which won't be made public until a week before the plenary debate).  
The Welsh Assembly debate on the issue is likely to take place on 23 September.

Also please can you encourage all your contacts in Wales to do the same, and spread the word generally

This briefing supports the Petition Committee’s recommendations to the Welsh Government by presenting the key evidence that armed forces visits to secondary schools in Wales:
are disproportionately high to schools in more disadvantaged areas;
do not present a balanced view of the armed forces;
and, are more numerous and more career-focused than visits by most other employers
(particularly the emergency services).
This briefing also presents evidence that:
armed forces visits to schools are motivated by an agenda of engaging students in a long-term
recruitment process;
quality and transparency of armed forces record-keeping makes a full study of the extent of visits
to schools problematic.

NOTE from blog poster: I did try to make the PDF into a Word document but the formatting would have taken ages ro sort out...  

if you live in mid and west Wales [link to all mid & west Wales] your regional AMs are:

thn there will be a constituency member
Preseli Pembrokeshire: Paul.Davies@assembly.wales
Ceredigion: Elin.Jones@assembly.wales


News Release
05 September 2015

Quakers urgently call for safe paths for refugees

The unfolding crisis of refugees fleeing across Europe, has prompted Quakers in Britain to urge the UK Government and other European Governments to create secure paths to safety.

Quakers’ representative body meeting in London on Saturday (05 September) made this statement:
“That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right” (A Quaker statement in 1822).
“Quakers in Britain urge the UK Government to welcome those desperately seeking a place of safety, in Europe, from the dangers in their own countries. In this urgent situation it cannot be right to harden hearts against people who are struggling and dying on European soil and in the seas around us.
“In Britain we have a tradition of sheltering those in danger, as we did with the Kindertransport, rescuing thousands of children from Nazi-occupied Europe so many years ago, and more recently, when we welcomed refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosova. It is time to open our hearts and communities again.
“This exceptional time of need calls for a proportionate response from all the governments of Europe working together. We call for mechanisms to be created that will enable people to travel safely and to secure legal protection – including in Britain.
“Refugees are fleeing from fear. Further violent interventions in countries such as Syria will not provide a solution. Difficult but compassionate decisions need to be made to secure peace for people in these regions.
“Quakers assert that all human life is precious – each person is a child of God and the loss of one diminishes us all. In this severe crisis, we hear the Spirit calling us to throw ourselves into the fray with all the love and courage we can muster.”

Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) and Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) have previously called for safe paths to legal protection and protested against the cessation of funding for the Search and Rescue Operation in the Mediterranean.