September 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to this issue of the Peace / Justice newsletter!.

This newsletter is short – focused primarily on a couple of urgent actions regarding the Rohingya.  There is a window for movement on this ongoing tragedy and thus the need to take action which will bolster support for those wanting to show global desire for action.  A second time-sensitive action is related to our longitudinal issue of Darfur.

 


BURMA / MYANMAR: END ETHNIC CLEANSING OF ROHINGYA

In 2012 and again in 2014 this newsletter highlighted actions and concerns related to the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma.  While most people in Burma are Buddhist, and there are other groups and conflicts, the Rohingya have been marginalized for decades, officially deemed immigrants from Bangladesh.

Being stateless means diminished rights in an impoverished area.  It also means voiceless and thus open to increasing conflict and violence.  From our longitudinal study of Darfur, when people who want a nonviolent resolution, find all such avenues fruitless, eventually a few may take up arms both for protection and to highlight their case to the world.  Thus fast forward and we find again this is the case.

But the government disproportionately cracked down not simply on the insurgents but the entire Rohingya population, resulting in a UN official indicating the government’s response appears to be a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing.  There have been over 400,000 displaced, with many villages burned, and an unknown number of people killed or raped.

The violence must be stopped, a path to full inclusiveness for all provided, and human rights violations on all sides must be investigated.  The following petitions address two audiences.  Avaaz {the site we sometimes use to explore the influence of massive petitions, in this case now over one million signatures} is targeting those governments supporting Burma’s military.  The Amnesty International petition is aimed directly at Burma’s military Commander in Chief.  Please consider signing both.

Nobel Peace Prize Laurate Aung San Suu Kyi: While previous newsletters gave her silence the benefit of the doubt, it is time to side with Desmond Tutu’s response where he pleaded with her to speak out for justice and unity and cautioned that “If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep.”

Take Action [Open to all; Consider signing both]:
Tell Governments To Stop Supporting Burma’s Military  [Avaaz]
Tell Burma’s Commander in Chief to Stop Ethnic Cleansing  [Amnesty International]

Background:
Summary of Current Crisis  [International Crisis Group]
How Years of Strife Grew Into a Crisis  [NYT]
How New Muslim Insurgency Arose [ICG, Dec, 2016]
Final Report on Fair Future [Chaired by Kofi Annan; very in-depth]

 


THE U.S. AND SUDAN SANCTIONS

The action on this issue from the last newsletter was part of efforts that may have helped dissuade the Trump Administration from lifting sanction on Sudan.  However that had a three month timeframe which is almost up now.  So new efforts are needed to help maintain the sanctions until Sudan changes its action and addresses the marginalization of all its peripheries, most especially Darfur and South Kordofan / Nuba mountains.  As noted before, the lifting of sanctions was shocking to many Sudan watchers, including myself, who feel it was based on murky logic (see Current Status, June 25, [UntilAll.org] or the Background links below).

Thus there is urgent need to tell President Trump not to permanently lift the sanctions.  Even if one felt progress was being made, six months is far too short, as Human Rights Watch argues, below.

Take Action:
Don’t Lift Sudan Sanctions  [Act For Sudan]

Background:
Sudan Sanction Review Fails 8 Benchmark Tests [HRW]
{Counter View} Repeal Sanctions, There are Still Others in Place [Crisis Group]

 

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=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ACTIONS AND ARTICLES ===
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At Least 200 Environmental Activists Slain In 2016:

This newsletter has taken action to safeguard environmental activists throughout the world, and for good reason.  This year saw the most deaths ever.  While India had a three-fold increase, Latin America remained the deadliest region.   Mining, oil, agriculture and logging were the industries most associated with the deaths.
Most environmental activist killed in 2016 [Globe and Mail]

 

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=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
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Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu  Xiaobo, Died

In a sad note over the summer, Liu Xiaobo died.  He helped lead the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy uprising for which he was imprisoned.  Upon release he continued to lecture about democracy and human rights, including helping to draft Charter 08 which laid out the comprehensive changes needed, such as a new constitution, for legislative democracy.  He was imprisoned again where his health deteriorated.

http://time.com/4848696/liu-xiaobo-dies-china-nobel-prisoner/

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