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10/12 - Peace, War, Weapons and Ethics seminar

International Human Rights Day: Peace, War, Weapons and Ethics Seminar - 10th December 2004

The Peace, War, Weapons and Ethics seminar, the first of a series hosted by the Praxis Centre, was held to commemorate International Human Rights Day. The series aims to bring renowned speakers to Leeds to speak on current and topical issues associated to conflict resolution, security, war and the struggle for peace.

Andrew Wells of Life Foundation UK set the tone for the event using both personal experience and his vast knowledge of the struggle for peace. Andrew"s organisation is at the forefront of the signing of a world treaty for peace, to which all the nations of the world have signed up. Passing on the World Peace Flame to the University created a sense of calm over a packed audience of students, staff and members of leading organisations dedicated to international peace campaigning.

Our sense of calm was disturbed however by a brilliant lecture by Alistair Hay, head of Environmental Toxicology at Leeds University, a leading expert on the use of chemical weapons and close friend of David Kelly, the government scientist at the centre of the "sexed-up" dossier on weapons of mass destruction. Alistair experienced first-hand the horrific damage done to individuals and communities by Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1971 and by the use of mustard gas and the nerve gas Sarin in the Iraq-Kuwait conflict in the eighties.

Rae McGrath left the army after 18 years and became involved in de-commissioning land mines in Afghanistan. He was made Nobel Co-Laureate in 1997 founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), backed by the late Princess Diana. Rae emphasised that every individual can have an effect on the drive for peace. Click HERE for his talk.

Rae recently gave a speech at the Experts Meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva, this is also available for anyone wishing to know more about cluster munitions. In addition, two relevant websites are
* The Cluster Munition Coalition; the international campaign:
* The UK landmines campaign:

Elspeth Jones head of the Leslie Silver International Faculty thanked the speakers, and mentioned the opening of the new School of Applied Global Ethics. She also drew attention to a new Innovation North masters course MSc Information, Warfare and Control to be approved hopefully in the New Year.

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Last modified 10-01-2007 10:06 AM

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