quaker peace and social witness news

From 1–3 April, we held the QPSW Spring Conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Friends attended workshops on militarism, Trident, the ‘new economy’, climate justice, ecumenical accompaniment in Palestine and Israel, and more. Our keynote speaker, Hannah Brock, a former Peaceworker and Ecumenical Accompanier (EA), told us about her Quaker faith and her activist journey. We know that she has inspired at least two people to apply to be an EA!
[you will find a report on this conference in Area Minute minutes from Milford Haven in June]

On Saturday 3 December, we will hold the third Quaker Activist Gathering in York. Please note that this is a change of date and venue and we would very much appreciate if you would circulate these new details to Friends in your meeting. The gathering will be a chance for Quakers wanting to take action for social change to meet with others, learn, plan and be inspired. We will send out more information in the next mailing and in our newsletters. You can also keep an eye on the website www.quaker.org.uk/events as we will post details there.

Please do also browse the Our Work section of the new website www.quaker.org.uk/our-work. This gives you more information about QPSW’s work and lots of resources and opportunities for action. And the new Turning the Tide website is now launched with lots of information about TTT courses and resources for groups wanting to take action http://turningtide.org.uk/

‘Peace Education or Militarisation?’ Submission to UN Committee on Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

QPSW’s Peace Education Programme made a submission to the UNCRC. It highlights the UK Government’s:
  • failure to adequately support peace education in accordance with Article 29 of the UNCRC
  • continued military recruitment of 16 and 17  year olds in circumstances that undermine the safeguards in Article 3 of the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict, as well as infringing the rights in Articles 3, 5 and 24 of the CRC itself
  • the encroachment of the military in children and young people’s lives
  • the marginalisation resulting from the Prevent counterterrorism strategy 
Read the submission [PDF]

Stop Trident parliamentary lobby

Quakers in Britain are joining other peace organisations to take the Stop Trident message to Parliament on Wednesday 13 July. It is the last chance to influence MPs before they vote on whether or not to replace Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system. For more information contact Tim Wallis: timw@quaker.org.uk

Rethinking Security

Quakers, other peacebuilders and academics have joined together to say #RethinkSecurity. Known as the Ammerdown Group, they are seeking a public conversation in search of a new vision for peace and security.
The group challenges the "outmoded narrative” which focuses on military and economic power without looking at the roots of insecurity. With the new paper Rethinking Security, the group calls for a public conversation in search of a new vision for peace and security.
Visit www.rethinkingsecurity.org.uk to learn more.

Say no to TTIP!

Alongside four other Quaker organisations from Europe and the United States, QPSW has produced a statement asking governments to say ‘no’ to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the controversial mega trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.
The statement was produced jointly by Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Quaker Council for European Affairs, American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation and the Quaker United Nations Office. It was sent to representatives of the UK and US governments, and the EU trade commissioner.
The statement highlights concern that TTIP negotiations are prioritising short-term economic gains over human wellbeing and protection of the Earth. Among other things, the deal is set to enable foreign companies to sue governments for introducing social, environmental, health or other legislation believed to threaten profitability.

Take action

With the next round of TTIP negotiations due to take place in July, it’s vital that decision-makers hear our opposition to the trade deal. You can get involved by writing to your MP, local council and MEPs.
Find out more about our work on trade and economic justice at www.quaker.org.uk/trade.

New economy

The first two new economy booklets are now available! The new economy series explores different aspects of the economy and asks what an alternative economic system, compatible with Quaker values, could look like. The booklets are intended as a resource to support Friends to reflect on economic change and how we can work, as Quakers, to build a fairer and more sustainable economy.
The first booklet, entitled What’s the economy for? discusses the aims of economic policy, the dangers of perpetual economic growth and how we might measure economic success. The second booklet, Good work in the new economy looks at how we can use economic policy to support fulfilling paid and unpaid work and how business might be reformed to realise this vision.
The booklets are available online at www.quaker.org.uk/new-economy. You can also order paper copies for yourself or your meeting by contacting Cait Crosse at caitc@quaker.org.uk or on 020 7663 1035.  

Economic inequality

Have a look at our new guide for taking action on inequality!
In this new guide, we outline five actions Quakers and meetings can get involved with to help tackle economic inequality. We draw on action already being taken by Friends across the UK.
We know that many Friends are already acting to challenge inequality, and that the yearly meeting is increasingly concerned about its impact on our society. We hope this guide will spark new ideas and help to share what Quakers are doing.
You can read more about our work on economic inequality, and download further resources, at www.quaker.org.uk/our-work/economic-justice/inequality.
We’d love to hear from you if your meeting is already taking action on these issues, or would like to do more. Please get in touch by contacting Jo at joh@quaker.org.uk or on 020 7663 1056.

QPSW Sustainability and New Economy grants

Have you got an idea for a project that will help to build low-carbon, sustainable communities or a more just kind of economics? You can apply for a QPSW grant of £100–£2000 to help you get started with, or develop, your project.
In previous years we have supported the creation of biodiverse garden spaces, the development of local currencies, accommodation for destitute migrants, community workshops on low-carbon living, a show about the history of land rights and protest, and many other Quaker-led or Quaker-supported initiatives. We’d love to fund your project this year. Applications for 2017 are now open, and will close on 3 October 2016.
For more information, go to www.quaker.org.uk/sustainabilitygrants. Before applying, please contact Jo (QPSW) at joh@quaker.org.uk or on 020 7663 1056 to discuss your project.

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