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The power of the impartial mediator

By: stagedoorscribbler - October 9, 2017

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photograph by Hattie Miles

The subject of mediation is likely to come under the spotlight at tomorrow’s Police and Youth Engagement Symposium hosted by the Tutu Foundation UK at the House of Lords tomorrow.

The event will discuss the findings of an external evaluation of the Ubuntu Police Youth Roundtable Project which aims to diffuse tensions in high crime areas by encouraging positive dialogue between opposing factions. 

In addition to the South African philosophy of Ubuntu, which is based on our shared humanity and championed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, mediation has proved a vital tool for projects like this as well as other situations of conflict.

Which is why a letter to The Times last week from Paul Randolph, Mediation course leader at Regents University in London, caught our attention.

Pau,l who is also chair of the Tutu Foundatiion UK health and advisory board, was challenging leader column suggesting that the EU will not mediate in the current independence struggle in Spain for fear of showing explicit sympathy with Catalonia.

That, he said, would be both unfortunate and wrong, pointing out that “The sine qua non of any mediator is to be neutral and impartial.” 

He aded: “It should not be impossible for the EU to find a mediator or mediation organisation that has no axe to grind with either the Madrid government or the separatists.”

He suggests the EU could impose financial penalties on parties that unreasonably refuse to mediate.

Paul Randolph point out the subject matter is also “precisely in line with the planned theme of our 2018 Tutu Peace Summit - 'International Experience of Mediation'. 

Tomorrow’s symposium, chaired by Lord McNally, will also be interested bin the broad subject matter. The event is due too be addressed by a series of notable speakers including:

 Baroness Massey of Darwen, former Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children and the Police;

Sir Hugh Orde OBE QPM, Former Head of ACPO and former Chief Constable of Northern Ireland;

Patrick Williams, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and co-author of ‘Used and Abused: The problematic usage of gang terminology in the United Kingdom and its implications for ethnic minority youth’.

Labour MP David Lammy, who recently headed the inquiry into Racial Disproportionality and the Criminal Justice System. The independent report showed that black people in the UK are four times more likely to be in prison given their proportion of the total population.

Tottenham MP Lammy says that as well as costing the taxpayer some £309 million each year the disproportionate number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people ending up in the Criminal Justice System is alienating communities and breeding anger and mistrust.