UNTIL ALL ACHIEVE WELL-BEING

Welcome to the Thursday, September 28, 2006 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

This email contains actions relating to two world-shaping pivotal events: the current US debate on where it will stand within its own legal framework on certain human rights issues related to terrorism; and whether the world's attempt to resolve the Darfur crisis can place world dynamics on a new plateau.

 

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US-ONLY: PIVOTAL MOMENT IN US LEGACY

If you agree with the following you should act by FRIDAY SEPT 29 if possible, though act even if it is after that date. The US Congress will soon vote on issues relating to the Geneva Convention and other basic human rights. According to the New York Times (link below), this is not a well thought-out response to terrorism and will NOT make the US safer, but will undercut some of the most basic values that Americans cherish. It would give the President unfettered and unprecedented powers regarding the fate of detainees, all to be kept secret. In their view, future generations would look back on 2006 as the year that "Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts."

According to Amnesty International: "If President Bush gets his way, Congress will soon pass laws giving impunity for past abuses of human rights. He wants Congress to permanently sanction the government's ability to launch rogue operations outside all human rights standards. And he wants Congress to respond to the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision by legalizing unfair trials, something more appropriate for a dictatorship than for a great democracy."

Take Action:
    http://ga3.org/ct/upapfld18RjJ/


New York Times editorial (Sept 28: Rushing Off a Cliff):
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/28/opinion/28thu1.html?ex=1160107200&en=14798c947c845b3b&ei=5070&emc=eta1






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DARFUR: PIVOTAL MOMENT IN WORLD DYNAMICS

Worldwide rallies were held on Sunday September 17 in support of ending the atrocities in Darfur. Immediately after that the UN Assembly began meeting and Darfur was one of the topics. For me this is a pivotal moment in world dynamics. One year ago the UN Assembly adopted the Canadian-based initiative called "The Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) - if a nation can't or won't protect its citizens from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, etc, then the international community has the responsibility to protect them. After three years it is clear that Sudan fits that definition regarding Darfur. On August 31, the UN Security Council voted to send UN peacekeepers to Darfur, "inviting the consent of Sudan." Sudan refused.

For me this set the stage - could the world possibly move beyond the primitive structure where international thugs, be they an Idi Amin or Sudan President al-Bashir, can hide behind the rule of national sovereignty while they decimate a people? Dynamics are changing hourly among the UN, Sudan, the AU and other nations. The possibility for compromising deals abound. But so does the chance for a clear signal that the international community will stand up and remain firm on this new plateau. What is at stake is not simply the lives of innocent Darfuris - ecstatic as I would be to see that death toll end - but all the other innocent victims being brutalized under other maniacal regimes, and of all those into the future if the world can't reach this plateau of R2P.

I am often asked if emails or phone calls work, and I usually say that it depends. But there is no doubt that leaders are feeling the political pressure now. Your actions now unquestionably will be felt.

Sign petition (it is country-specific)if you didn't sign it in last month's email:
    www.dayfordarfur.org

General Collector Petition from Amnesty International:
    http://amnesty.textdriven.com/home/index_darfur.php?lang=ing


US-only Citizens: Single email to your Congressional Representatives:
    http://darfur.amnestyusa.org/peacekeepers

Good collector of breaking news on Sudan:
    http://www.sudan.net/news/news.html





CANADA-only Citizen Action on Darfur:

The timing is perfect. On Tues. Oct 3, Parliament will debate the Darfur issue. It is crucial to make your feelings known to your MP beforehand, as well as to the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister. Below are two possible actions. A phone call is definitely more forceful, but emails will also be well noted at this stage.

Overall points to consider


1. PHONE CALL:

Here is a sample starter:

"Hello my name is ________ from ___________ . I am very distressed about the worsening situation Darfur and I strongly feel that stopping the genocide should be a priority of our government. The Prime Minister must...... or Canada should....... {and then in your own words, pick a point or two of the above points to emphasize. Using your own words makes it look less orchestrated}"

(a) Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. MacKay ( foreign minister)
   Prime Minister phone # :     (613) 992-4211
   Foreign Minister's phone #:  (613) 992-6022

When calling the P.M. or Foreign Affairs Minister, ask to speak to the special assistant (political) who is responsible for Darfur or Sudan. Do not let them refer you to a `departmental assistant' -- you want a political asst. More likely, you will get a voice mail and then leave your message politely but forcefully.
Consult  MP Lookup or MP Lookup by Postal Code   for his/her Email and phone #.


2. EMAIL OR LETTER

E-mail:  Prime Minister Harper ---- Stephen Harper
             Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay ---- Peter MacKay

Email local MP: See MP Lookup link, above

Letters must be short and to the point-- a few sentences.Again , pick a point or two from above.

SAMPLE EMAIL / LETTER

Recent events in Darfur suggest that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed have accelerated systematic attacks against African Muslims and the crisis is spiraling out of control. Despite U.N. Security Resolution 1706 calling for a multinational force to be deployed with a robust mandate to protect civilians and aid workers, the government of Sudan continues its egregious crimes against its own citizens

As the Prime Minister said soon after he took office " Canada can no longer lead from the bleaches". Now is the time for the Prime Minister to embrace this leadership and invoke the Responsibility to Protect, a historic document sponsored by Canada. Canada can certainly contribute a company or two of soldiers, a squadron of of unused CF18s for a no-fly zone and other essential resources to such a vital mission. Then having earned the credibility to contribute militarily, Canada can use its clout to persuade other countries to ante up. Assigning a special envoy to such a task will ensure Canada's role in facilitating an overdue intervention.

Sir, you took office with the promise of principled leadership. It is time for Canada to fulfill its destiny as a moral superpower and leader.




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Rod Downing
rdowning94@shaw.ca.

Surrey BC Canada
(604) 535-6550