Welcome to the Saturday, April 30, 2011 issue of this Peace&Justice action email! To alter your profile, follow the steps at the end, where your profile is listed.
This newsletter begins with an ominous event regarding the unjustified arrest of an Egyptian blogger. Secondly, while there is no direct action for Darfur, its neighbouring state, South Kordofan, is about to elect its governor and tension abounds. Thirdly there is a message to send Walmart in the light of Bangladeshi garment worker troubles, of which Walmart is a key employer. In addition are a variety of Follow-up articles and other articles of interest.
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EGYPTIAN MILITARY SENTENCES BLOGGER TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON
The Egyptian revolution was the focus of previous newsletters. A troubling sign has been the arrest and sentencing of 26 year old blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, who is now the first prisoner of conscience after the revolution. The world must remain focused on Egypt as the people try to transition to a freer, fairer society. Resistance to this by powerful, entrenched forces must be caught and quickly brought to light. You can sign the petition below.
Context and Link to Actual Petition:
HRW Condemns Sentencing of blogger
DARFUR: NEIGHBOURING KORDOFAN STATE ELECTION
There is no specific action for Darfur at the moment. The Doha peace talks have finally produced a draft document but it was rejected by one of the main rebel groups, JEM. The dynamics were undercut by the Sudanese government’s surprise decision to hold a Darfur referendum on July 1, independent of the peace talks. At the same time the GoS has continued its bombing and civilian attacks, as well as restrictive humanitarian aid practices (for full update see: http://untilall.org/Darfur.htm#B.%20CurrentStatus).
However there is an action for Darfur’s neighbouring state, South Kordofan. Next week they will vote to elect a new Governor. If they view the election as illegitimate or the results are not honored, the potential for violence increases dramatically. You will note in the link below, some satellite images showing the recent violence already. This province also contains the Nuba Mountains, where in 1992-1993, the Khartoum government most fully developed its genocidal dynamics, later used in Darfur in 2003.
Please consider sending a message to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to ensure the elections are fair and avoid violence.
Tell UN Secretary General to help prevent another violent conflict in Sudan.
WALMART: STAND UP AGAINST TORTURE OF LABOR LEADERS
As the largest buyer of Bangladeshi garments, Walmart must ensure Bangladeshi garment workers do not need to fear retaliation for speaking up for their rights. Four peaceful labor advocates of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity continue to face falsified charges, brought on in part by Walmart's subcontractor
For instance, Kalpona Akter says she was arrested, relentlessly questioned, tortured and imprisoned for 30 days last August and now faces life imprisonment or the death penalty. The Bangladesh government has filed seven charges against her, including encouraging workers to take part in an illegal strike and starting a riot.
To be clear this call to action is to sign the petition below. This is NOT a call to boycott Walmart. Because the retailer employs so many people in Bangladesh, with the vast majority of them being women, she says a boycott of Walmart would spell ruin for thousands of people in her country.
=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
Ivory Coast: Rightful President Assumes Power, but at Terrible Cost
The worst of the crisis is over for the Côte d’Ivoire, but as noted below it came at a horrible human cost. An investigation is needed into human rights violations by both sides.
Investigate Atrocities by both sides
The Obama administration announced it was withdrawing the federal indictment against alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and abandoning plans to try him in federal court. Instead, according to Human rights First, KSM and his co-conspirators will face trial in a military commission at Gitmo. Attorney General Eric Holder blasted Congress for choking off funding for civilian trials. And HRF is criticizing the U.S. President for not making a strong case before the funding withdrawal. However, the funding restrictions are temporary, and the President has said he supports using the courts to try some Gitmo detainees. HRF will keep pushing for civilian trials and for the President to fulfill his commitment to closing one of al Qaeda's best recruiting tools: Gitmo.
Congo And Conflict-Free Minerals: The Issue of Governance:
The conflict-free mineral initiative is a way, similar to blood-free diamonds, to greatly reduce the money fuelling the tragic two-decade war in the Congo. The initiative hopes to provide control over the mines and to regulate the international flow of minerals, choking off most illicit minerals. The following report details thes aspects but more importantly recognizes the overall need for governance in the region.
=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
China Crackdown, Shown by Ai Weiwei, Largest in a decade
China has always played a delicate balancing act as it has tried to open up to the world through its economic reform while at the same time keeping a firm grip on the level of dissent it has allowed. According to Human Rights Watch, the concerns over the Arab uprisings have resulted in one of the most severe clampdowns in a decade. It is also different in many other aspects as noted in the report. As well, it must contend against the global food crisis, noted below, which has restive implications for the growing rich-poor gap.
Liberia Refugee Crisis and U.S. Funding Cut
The unrest in the Ivory Coast has produced a great influx of refugees into Liberia. Making matter worse is the unfortunate news of the closing of the U.S. Anti-Trafficking Program for Liberia, due to a lack of funds. I don’t know the details of the funding withdrawal, but presume it is related ot the US debt crisi. If so, it shows how far-reaching are the very real and tragic human consequences. (Thanks to Malcolm Stephenson from Australia, and Gobah Ahasuerus Anderson, Liberia, for the alert).
Oxfam background Information
The New Geopolitics of Food
Previous newsletters have raised the serious long term issue of food supply. Here is another take on the global food crisis.
US: How to Save a Trillion Dollars
This TIME magazine article repeats the warning of US Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that "the single biggest threat to [U.S.] national security is [U.S.] debt." The article explores how the US forces, while dealing with the modern age, are still often saddled with Cold War era systems and thinking, as well as the typical excess that comes from such an enormous complex. While many groups I work with have much deeper questions about the military-industrial complex, it is interesting to see what even a mainstream article can reveal in terms of discontent with the current situation..
TIME magazine: How to save a trillion dollars
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rdowning94 [AT] shaw.ca
Surrey BC Canada
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