IRSS is pleased to present our updated and re-designed website. We owe this exciting new look to Toronto-based consultant Jeffrey Gingras. IRSS thanks Jeffrey for his creative work.
This report provides supporting information to a Call for Action that was prepared for the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace in their efforts to protect the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The report details information about the increasing risk of attack on nuclear power plants and their irradiated (spent) fuel, and the challenge it poses to our social institutions. In addition to basic information about nuclear plants, spent fuel storage, and NRC regulations, the document discusses the vulnerabilities of these facilities and suggests measures for protecting them. Finally, the report lists government efforts to obtain protection and policy initiatives that are still needed, concluding with a call for an independent technical capability to correct for bias in security assessments.
Dr. Paul Walker has been a member of the IRSS board of directors since our founding in 1984. The Right Livelihood Award Foundation (RLAF) announces that Paul will be one of four recipients of the 2013 Right Livelihood Award. RLAF states that Paul will receive the award “for working tirelessly to rid the world of chemical weapons”. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament on 2 December 2013. IRSS congratulates Paul on this richly deserved recognition. Further information can be obtained at: http://www.rightlivelihood.org/index.html
David Lowry is a UK-based IRSS senior research fellow. Gordon Thompson is executive director of IRSS. On 9 September, Asia Times Online publishes their opinion essay, “Diplomacy offers route out of chemical crisis”. The essay proposes, as an alternative to US air strikes, that diplomacy be used to remove chemical weapons from Syria. The essay further suggests that this diplomatic step could enhance prospects for controlling nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons across the mid-East region. Also on 9 September, the Russian government proposes that Syrian chemical weapons be placed under international control. The Syrian government immediately agrees, and begins the process of acceding to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Lowry/Thompson essay can be obtained at: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-02-090913.html
This article, published in Medicine, Conflict & Survival, builds on experience in the former Yugoslavia to describe a model for psychosocial Healing. Post-conflict reconstruction encompasses social, physical and political reconstruction. Social reconstruction entails rebuilding the human interactions that allow a society to function. This involves the healing of psychological and social wounds of individuals and society. Psychosocial healing is a process to promote psychological and social health of individuals, families and community groups. The Medical Network for Social Reconstruction in the Former Yugoslavia has pioneered a broad range of psychosocial healing programs including community-integration programs, development of volunteer action, and training of professional and lay people to take part in psychosocial healing. These programs have demonstrated that psychosocial healing can be an effective way to heal post-conflict societal trauma and rebuild a society with a vastly improved quality of life.
This report summarizes three assessment interviews with health-related NGOs conducted in Kabul, Afghanistan by IRSS. The purpose of the assessment was to gather information concerning the continuing health and security needs in the country, and how social reconstruction and peace building can be integrated with delivery of health care, as a contribution to meeting high-priority needs. This assessment followed up a paper produced by IRSS, making a recommendation for “Social Reconstruction in Afghanistan Through the Lens of Health and Human Security.”
This complete guide for practitioners describes the use of trauma healing and related psychological and social-support activities as contributors to the development of a stable, peaceful and functional society in a post-conflict environment. It provides the context for psychosocial healing in relation to stress and trauma, and describes in detail a variety of methods and tools for implementing psychosocial healing, including a community-based process and establishing a facilitated integrated-action Network.
This paper, a version of which was subsequently published in the book, Beyond Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Lessons from Development Experience, describes a strategy for applying human-security principles to social reconstruction in Afghanistan by working through the health sector. Experience in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere shows that health and social-reconstruction programs can be integrated to their mutual benefit. After 23 years of violent conflict, the rebuilding of Afghanistan faces severe challenges. Physical and social infrastructures are debilitated, the economy barely functions, the population’s health and nutritional status is among the lowest anywhere, and internal security is lacking. Also, Afghanistan poses a potential threat to richer countries as an exporter of drugs and terrorism. This combination of factors makes the concept of human security especially applicable to Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
The paper reviews current conditions in Afghanistan, with particular emphasis on problems facing the health sector. It then discusses the reconstruction strategies used by domestic and foreign actors, particularly in the health and internal-security sectors. Next, human security and its application are described. The paper then reviews experience elsewhere in integrating health programs and social-reconstruction programs. This leads to a discussion of opportunities in Afghanistan for integrating health and social reconstruction using a human-security approach. Finally, an organic, adaptive strategy for pursuing these opportunities is articulated.
This article, published in Medicine, Conflict & Survival, discusses human security as an evolving principle for organizing humanitarian endeavours in the tradition of public health. Human security places the welfare of people at the core of programmes and policies, is community oriented and preventive, and recognizes the mutual vulnerability of all people and the growing global interdependence that mark the current era. Health is a crucial domain of human security, providing a context within which to build partnerships across disciplines, sectors and agencies. These principles have been demonstrated in field programmes in which health-care delivery featuring multi-sectoral co-operation across conflict lines has been used to enhance human security. Such programmes can be a model for collaborative action, and can create the sustainable community infrastructure that is essential for human security.
This document, prepared for the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace in their efforts to protect the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, is a call for citizens across the US to inform themselves about the increasing risk of attack on nuclear power plants and their irradiated (spent) fuel. The Call for Action was supplemented by a more detailed Supporting Document produced by IRSS.
The Call for Action includes three important tables. The first describes four measures to protect nuclear facilities against enemy attack: Site Security, Facility Robustness, Damage Control, and Offsite Emergency Response. The second sets out an Action Agenda for Citizens, Local and State Governments, Congress, the Executive Branch and the Nuclear Industry, respectively. The third outlines three specific Policy Initiatives that would be key components of the Action Agenda.