Motion S5M-11557: 20th Anniversary of Good Friday Agreement

18 Apr 2018

That the Parliament welcomes the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998, which it considers largely brought to an end the violence of The Troubles in Northern Ireland following cross-party talks chaired by the US Senator, George Mitchell; understands that The Troubles started in the late 1960s and continued through until the signing of the GFA; notes that the GFA was built on the efforts of countless people who worked tirelessly in what seemed at times to be discouraging and risky circumstances to reach an end to the conflict; believes that, between 1966 and 2006, there were some 3,720 people killed and 47,541 injured, compared with under 200 deaths in the last 20 years; further believes that divisions in Northern Ireland society must continue to be tackled and commends the work of the Corrymeela Community among others in this regard; considers that the GFA was built on an assumption that the UK and Ireland would remain in the EU and that Brexit tends to undermine that fundamentally important pillar; is grateful to all those who contributed to end a conflict between neighbours; notes that, while there are many differences between Scotland and Northern Ireland, there is considerable shared history and culture, and considers that both need to move on from longstanding religious and related intolerance.

Motion S5M-11267: Death of Sudan, Last Male Northern White Rhino

24 Mar 2018

That the Parliament notes with sadness the news that the last male northern white rhino has died in Kenya at the age of 45; understands that Sudan passed away following his condition “worsening significantly”, which meant that he could no longer stand; deplores the actions of poachers that have led the species to the brink of extinction; believes that Sudan was the last of his kind to be born in the wild; believes that the case of Sudan and the northern white rhinos highlight the negative impact that humankind can have on the many animal species with whom they share the planet, and also the importance of redoubling efforts to conserve species that are in danger of extinction, and hopes that the attempts to use IVF to save the northern white rhinos will meet with success.

Motion S5M-11266: Anti-racism March

01 Mar 2018

That the Parliament welcomes that a march against racism organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) took place in Glasgow on 17 March 2018; notes that members from throughout Scotland of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS) sought to participate in the march in order to oppose antisemitism; regrets, however, that COFIS members were reportedly blocked from taking part in the main march by demonstrators who appeared to be against any participants sympathetic towards Israel; considers that criticism of Israeli policies and antisemitism can be easily confused and difficult to distinguish from each other; regretfully believes that this and other events suggest that antisemitism is alive in Scotland in 2018, and calls on everyone to reflect on their attitudes towards Israel and the Jewish community in Scotland.

Motion S5M-10675: Billy Graham

01 Mar 2018

That the Parliament notes the death of Billy Graham on 21 February 2018, aged 99; understands that the world-renowned evangelist, who was famous for his massive rallies, which attracted thousands of people and helped many form their faith, was born into an evangelical Protestant family and came to his personal faith when he was 16; notes that he studied at a variety of colleges before he enrolled in evangelical youth organisation, Youth for Christ; understands that he visited Scotland to hold his rallies, in 1955, 1961 and 1991, at the Kelvin Hall, Hampden Park and elsewhere; believes that the format of his rallies was key to their success, with the local area’s churches sponsoring the meetings, celebrities being invited to speak about their experiences and the event closing with an appeal to the attendees to “make a decision today for Christ” by coming forward to meet counsellors, who would link them up with the churches; notes his decision to continue defending Richard Nixon, long after others had ceased to do so; understands that, although this might have hurt his reputation, it led to him staying out of politics and allowed him to avoid the scandals that engulfed many other prominent evangelists in the 1980s; believes that it can be argued that he was one of the first “stars” of the mass media age, and welcomes what it sees as the positive impact that his work had on the lives of many in Scotland and across the world.