I often blog about the role in mediation played by churches, whether it’s in commercial mediation or family mediation, but at the UN this week it was international mediation which the Archbishop of Canterbury was discussing.
Justin Welby explained to the UN Security Council that “the international rule-based order is struggling” due to the fragmented approach in engaging faith based mediators. He was commenting up the role of mediation in conflict resolution saying that “National interests are still often allowed, even in this chamber, to overcome the wisdom that those who had lived through a global war had learned.”
Beautifully describing that unless there is a proper framework around the reconciliation being sort mediation was the equivalent of “using a garden hose to put out a forest fire, when what you need is rain over the whole area to let new life grow and sustain itself.”
He confirmed the church’s unwillingness to walk away from conflict “we cannot and will not walk away form them” as often the church is one of the few institutions still functioning before during and after immediate conflict. He added that the church was uniquely placed to provide for early warning signs of possible conflict (thereby being able to avoid the need for mediation at all if the conflict could be avoided).
He encouraged the UN to establish “people’s peace” by engaging all elements of society and not just dealing with matters in elite conferences (members of exclusive mediation groups take note!).
He suggested the efforts of the UN to produce initiatives to deal with matters such as genocide were still fragmented and that a cohesive approach was long overdue. Referring to the slaughter in Myanmar he said that “conflict destroys dignity, hope, and all our best dreams.” and urged the UN to create “a truly inclusive approach to participation in mediation and reconciliation, now and in future generations”
Never before has an Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the UNSC and Justin only does so at the invite of Karen Price, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
Meanwhile in South Africa a student who is part of the South African movement #FeesMustFall, which campaigns for the reduction of student tuition fees activist is now applying for his criminal case to be dealt with by mediation.
Mcebo Dlamini intends to ask the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the actions against him to be dealt with outside the court process.
He’s not ingratiated himself with the court, having turned up late to hearings (although he did have to walk 56km to deliver a letter to the President Cyril Ramaphosa so might be forgiven for being over tired).
His trial for violence and criminal damage arising from protests at Wits University has been moved back several times, the last time being due to exam timetables conflicting with trial dates.
Addressing the court Dlamini asked “Can this matter be discussed out of the courtroom, where there will be the NPA, where there will be the university, where there will be the minister of justice and us as students?...Let us deliberate these cases in a more conducive and healthy environment, not when we are threatened with going to prison.”
Unlike the UK there is a formal court process which allows for an application for mediation (alternative dispute resolution mediation (ADRM)) which when granted allows parties to deal with the matter away form the court process.
Afterwards Dlamini addressed the media “After the long walk we have engaged. We have met with the minister of justice, we’ve spoken on the alternative remedies, and one of them is to write to the NPA”
In 2016 (while Dlamini was getting arrested) a park opened in the twin cities, Minneapolis. The Commons Park extends to four acres of green space but before even opening became the subject of litigation.
Former Minneapolis City Councilman Paul Ostrow explained the main concerns was “that the Commons is not able to be used in a way that serves the public”
The city council and Minnesota Vikings are at odds over the use of the park. Parks and Recreation (no not the TV show) owns the park but the City of Minneapolis deals with the renting of the space and has allowed the Vikings to use the park for free. (I’m tempted to point out the Vikings have been grabbing land since the dark ages.)
You can see the issue, a park funded by the public purse but utilised by a sports team, Ostrow (one of two claimants behind the claim) described the situation “So you have a park that was purchased for $20 million of public money, but is not at all fulfilling its potential, and it can’t and won’t fulfil its potential unless there’s a renegotiation of this very, very bad deal…The park board has to ultimately run this park if it’s going to be a public park”.
Previous court hearings have agreed with the claimants but following appeals the matter is being referred to mediation where all parties, including P&R the city council and the Vikings will discuss their needs and try to work out a way forward.
Sounding not unlike a certain orange leader of the free world Ostrow said “The agreement has to be flipped. Right now it’s an agreement that benefits the Vikings, that allows the public to use it - so long as the Vikings are okay with it. It needs to be the reverse of that. It needs to be a public park that’s primarily used to serve the public and allows the Vikings to use it when they absolutely need it”
Over in sun drenched St Lucia Stephenson King the Labour Minister has arranged a mediation for the National Workers Union (NWU) and the Management of Soufriere Hot Wire Rides Ltd, to be held at the department of Labour.
The company had made five staff members redundant and the decision was deemed a breach of s 369 of the Labour act by Judge Joseph Joseph (so good they named him twice), however the decision, which voided the dismissals was not accepted by the company and so the matter has been referred to mediation.
Commercial mediation, inheritance mediation, family mediation and employment mediation are all areas which are regularly dealt with by Northwest Mediation (and although we don’t regularly deal with international law we have dealt with cross border supply disputes).
Northwest Mediation can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at email@example.com
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