UNTIL ALL ACHIEVE WELL-BEING

Welcome to the Wednesday February 23, 2011 Peace and Justice / Human Rights action newsletter!

This newsletter is being cut short this month to allow immediate response to the repugnant dynamics in Libya.  To be clear, the actions below regarding Libya are largely symbolic – the U.N. and other diplomatic efforts are as fully engaged as they are likely to be.  Plus the dynamics of the past several weeks have many nations scrambling to try to keep their espoused ideals, foreign policy rhetoric and foreign policy realities from tripping over each other.  So a massive plea for basic human decency may be supportive somewhere in this messy mix, and regardless even a symbolic action is far preferable to silence.

The second action – regarding Darfur – forms the opposite end, specifically how unresolved and desperate situations easily fade from the scene.  Darfur has been suffering some of the worst violence since its massive eruption in 2003-2004.  Yet due both to the dramatic news from Northern Africa, and also the sensitivities of Sudan’s North-South split and not wanting to jeopardize that delicate situation, Darfur is significantly downplayed.

The final action is the most concrete, involving a single person in Colombia.  As such, it could be the most likely to have an impact.

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LIBYA: STOP THE CRACKDOWN

While many countries are facing pressures sparked by Tunisia and Egypt, for those who are familiar with Libya’s highly erratic leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, it needed no crystal ball to presume he would use force on his own people, even bringing in mercenaries.  Due to Libya’s closed nature, reliable facts about the death toll are impossible to know.  While the eastern part of Libya has been freed, even there he has threatened to send in planes to bomb opposition strongholds.  The urgency of this crisis is because a heinous massacre is a real possibility.  While several prominent figures have dropped their support of him, and it is not impossible to conceive of him being largely deserted, there is a core of leaders plus mercenaries that could turn the country into a terrible battleground.

The first action, below comes from Avaaz, who remain the premier organization to mount a massive email campaign, currently just reaching 200,000 signatures.  They call on the U.N.’s Security Council and European Union, who are both currently in talks regarding action on the Libyan crisis, to consider actions such as sanctions, a freeze on assets and a no-fly zone.  The second action comes from Amnesty International (U.S.) and calls on the U.S government to take strong role in helping resolve the crisis. 

Finally, there is a brief background article indicating that due to his completely erratic style of governing, essentially without much resilient structure, there will be a vacuum of people and ideas that could result in civil war or another despot.  That said, it can only be hoped that somehow the power of the ordinary person, who in some of the Eastern cities, have self-organized at local levels, might somehow have a core influence in such circumstances.

Petition to U.N. and E.U.:

   http://www.avaaz.org/en/libya_stop_the_crackdown_1/?cl=954690560&v=8459

Petition to U.S. (open to all):

   Email to US Representative to UN

 

Background: Pondering life without Qaddafi:

   http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/02/23/f-gadhafi-family.html

 

 

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DARFUR – PETITION TO OBAMA

As mentioned, the Darfur conflict has flared up to levels not seen since the eruption in 2003-2004 that brought it to world attention.   With the South set to secede in July 2011, and many key issues left unresolved, many diplomats (and press) have tended to downplay the acute deterioration in Darfur.  The following petition outlines a “Roadmap” for Darfur that will address the current failed approach and misguided policies, while also being aware of the need within the ‘new’ Northern Sudan to open it up to the same calls for basic freedoms and rights and political process that are being demanded in other countries in the region:

Tell Obama to Follow Three-Point Roadmap for Darfur:

(open to all; be aware of additional mailing checkboxes)

   Email US President Obama

 

 

 

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COLOMBIA: PRESSURE AUTHORITIES TO FIND SANDRA VIVIANA

Civil society organisations in Colombia have reported the disappearance of Sandra Viviana Cuellar Gallego, on February 17. She worked on environmental issues.  Thus, while criminal foul-play can’t be ruled out, political motivations may have played a role.  The call has gone out to pressure the government to step up efforts to find Sandra and bring any perpetrators to justice.  As was mentioned, too many environmentalists have been murdered or "disappeared" in Colombia, and thus a strong message needs to be sent so authorities will know they are being monitored.

Take Action:

   http://www.foei.org/en/get-involved/take-action/sandra-gallego

 

 

 

 

 

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

Rod Downing

rdowning94 [AT] shaw.ca

Surrey BC Canada

(604) 535-6550

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