Launch of New Booklet on Shannon Airport, War and Renditions

A new booklet entitled “Shannon Airport, War and Renditions” is being launched on Friday 12th October at 11am in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin. The booklet, which is been jointly published by Shannonwatch, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM), outlines the legal instruments being violated as a result of US military and CIA use of Shannon. It covers aviation, human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as the ongoing failure to respect Ireland’s history of neutrality.
According to the booklet’s author John Lannon, the publication is an important timely reminder of the extent to which Shannon Airport has contributed to suffering and human rights abuse for over a decade. “The consistent disregard for national and international laws has meant that Shannon has been directly involved in the suffering and death of innocent people - from men tortured in Guantanamo Bay, to children in Afghanistan who are injured or orphaned by airstrikes and roadside bombs.”
“While the number of troops passing through Shannon has declined in 2012, the Irish government has not taken any steps to end the US military use of Irish airports or airspace. The use of Shannon Airport to support the US occupation of a foreign state is indefensible, as is its role in the CIA’s kidnapping and torture operations.”
“Even more worrying is the likelihood that Shannon may now be playing a part in US drone attacks in Pakistan and other parts of the world.”
The use of drone strikes by the US flouts international law according to Christof Heyns, the UN special investigator on extrajudicial killings. In June 2012 he told a UN conference in Geneva that some of the attacks may constitute war crimes and that the US needs to be held legally accountable for the use of armed drones.
“Instead of insisting on legal accountability, the Irish government, the Gardai and the airport authorities all ignore the law.” said John Lannon.
The new booklet outlines four key areas in which the Irish authorities are deficient. The first is the application of aviation law in relation to the transportation of munitions of war and other explosive substances. The second is suspected breaches of international and European human rights law, as well as domestic Irish law, in relation to known and suspected involvement in rendition. The third is possible breaches of international humanitarian law, and the fourth is policy and practice relating to the concept of Irish neutrality.
“At the end of 2011 the Fine Gael/Labour Party government made a commitment in their Programme for Government to enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law. Clearly they knew or suspected that this was not being done already. But to date they have done nothing to implement their promise, and as a result Shannon Airport is still being used in contravention of international law.”
The booklet will be a useful resource for the media, politicians, activists and anyone else interested in understanding the extent of Shannon Airport’s shameful role in global warfare and human rights abuse.

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