April 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to the Monday, April 30, 2012 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

This issue provides opportunity to strengthen our global fabric by supporting new Arms Trade Treaty talks. As well, more concretely you can support hopes for a peaceful resolution of highly volatile attacks between Sudan and South Sudan. Finally you add you voice to get Shell to clean up the devastating mess in the Niger Delta.

SUPPORT STRONG ARMS TRADE TREATY

The illegal movement of arms has devastating effects around the world, fuelling many of the conflicts. While there are some international agreements in place, the UN will be spending eight weeks in July grappling with ideas to strengthen such efforts. But those efforts depend on the resolve of the constituent countries and that resolve rests on the voice of its people. Thus you will find below actions that can be taken (thanks to Amnesty International), tailored for many of the countries that this newsletter goes to, as well as a generalized one for other countries.

Hopefully the UN meetings will produce a stronger arms trade treaty. While such a treaty by itself will not magically stop the flow of arms, it is a necessary step, and any impact it can have in reducing the devastation is worthwhile.

Take Action (according to country):

Australia: http://www.amnesty.org.au/armstrade/comments/28348/

Canada: http://www.amnesty.ca/iwriteforjustice/take_action.php?actionid=856&type=Internal

UK: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=10079

USA: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=6645049&aid=517422

Other Countries: Click on the picture in the following link, select your country and sign petition:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/campaigns/control-arms

Background: The Small Arms Survey organization provides excellent work on the analysis and impact of the illegal movement of small arms and its ability to fuel conflicts around the globe. It also provides good background material for the current state of treaties and agreements on international, national and regional levels.

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US-ONLY: SUPPORT THE SUDAN PEACE, SECURITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

The lives of half a million people in Sudan are now at risk. Many could starve to death from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s blockade of food and humanitarian aid or die from his relentless bombing of villages and refugee camps — similar tactics he used in Darfur to terrorize and murder innocent civilians. Sudan is extremely volatile – teetering on full-scale war with South Sudan. There is desperate need for the international community to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the complex dynamics.

Many of the points of conflict can be traced back to unresolved aspects of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that the U.S. helped broker. Thus it is appropriate that the U.S. be one of the leading countries trying again to stabilize the region. The action below is to help garner enough support for a U.S bill currently in Congress that tries to bring a comprehensive approach to the various destabilizing and dehumanizing clashes. For sure, leaders in both Sudan and South Sudan have made extremely misguided actions (Sudan in taking some of the oil; South Sudan is cutting off all oil; Sudan in its bellicose responses), at least in relation to their citizens (some of whom have started twitter feeds aout living peacefully with each other).

US-only: Tell your Representative to Support New Sudan Legislation:

Send Petition to your Representative

Darfur update: There is no explicit action for Darfur. For sure if Sudan goes to war it will bring even more misery to Darfur. It is interesting to note that Bashir summoned some of the Darfur Arab leaders to join in the fight against South Sudan, and this time some of them declined. Most notable in Darfur is Bashir’s growing attempt to paint Darfur as a conflict that is over, with people voluntarily returning home and where foreign friends will help in the reconstruction of Darfur; this contrasts sharply with views from within the camps and elsewhere. For more details, see http://untilall.org/Darfur.htm#B.%20CurrentStatus.

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TELL SHELL: PAY UP FOR DEVASTATION IN NIGERIA

This newsletter joined similar calls before, but thus far Shell has not made significant efforts to stop its destructive processes in the Niger Delta let alone clean them up and compensate the local people for their loss of livelihoods, health and sometime life. In a recent study more than 100,000 barrels had been spilled or leaked over a 72-day period. Amnesty will be collecting the following petition and taking it to Shell’s Annual General meeting in May, so please consider signing it and raising the pressure – with over $30 billion in profits, Shell can easily afford the cleanup and better practices.

Take Action:

Tell Shell CEO To Clean Up Niger Delta

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PEACE, JUSTICE AND THE ISSUE OF MENTAL HEALTH

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This new feature has been postponed and will appear either in another week or will become part of May’s newsletter, along with further reflection on #Occupy (its spring should be May 1) and #Kony2012, given that its April 20 campaign fizzled.

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===

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Charles Taylor guilty of aiding Sierra Leone war crimes

This newsletter has followed issues in both Liberia and Sierra Leone. On April 26, former Liberian President Charles Taylor was convicted of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his backing of rebels in the conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone. He was convicted by a UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (which is an ad hoc Court not to be confused with the permanent International Criminal Court which handed down its first conviction as reported last month).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17852488

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Missed an action email? An archive is kept at: www.UntilAll.org/archives.htm.

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UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of “Until Well-being is Achieved for All.”

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