Welcome to the Friday, May 30, 2008 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!
In this issue, we reflect on the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping, and again offer some actions for Darfur, given its significant change in dynamics, and the worsening conditions. There is also an opportunity to take action on behalf of Amnesty International, and an action calling on Intel to abide by its code of conduct.
______________________________________________________UN PEACEKEEPING - 60TH ANNIVERSARY
UN peacekeeping started 60 years ago to monitor an agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours (although its more formal role took shape during the Suez Crisis in 1956). Since then its role and the world have both grown more complex (see background article), noting how this week witnessed the first murder of a UN peacekeeper in Darfur.
While it has a mottled history and is far from the ideal way to structure our international dynamics, I still consider it worthy of support. If you agree and live in the US, you can call Congress toll-free and ask that the US pay its amount owing the Darfur UN peacekeeping mission.
Support UN Peacekeeping in Darfur:
Background on UN Peacekeeping Achievements and Problems:
______________________________________________________INNOCENT DARFURIS BEING ATTACKED IN KHARTOUM, SUDAN
This month's major upheaval created by the rebel attack of JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) right into Sudan's capital of Khartoum, is still having major reverberations. While what could be described as an attempted coup did not succeed, it did "burst the Khartoum bubble." That is, up until now all violence regarding Darfur took place in Darfur, or on the border with Chad and indirectly, a couple of other countries. But this was the first time that it directly touched the capital, which has been booming due to oil revenue and the "glass and steel" transformation of the city, now with a significant middle and upper class, who previously felt insulated from the Darfur crisis due to its physical remoteness, as well as state media control. But the attack has created a feeling of insecurity.
While I am deeply saddened and troubled by this significant change of events, I am not that surprised. JEM's leader stated that he had waited two years for the international community to help resolve the crisis and has given up on it. Darfur is being kept a focus of these emails firstly, so that our efforts might help press an appropriate resolution of the crisis, but also secondly to remain in touch with the legacy of the dynamics of such a war and the implications of various actions and inaction. The longer the crisis goes unresolved, the more desperate the actions.
More pertinent to this email, the reaction of Sudan's government, which was embarrassed by its lack of military effectiveness, was indiscriminant capture, killing and alleged torture of many Darfurians living in Khartoum. Below are two actions: First there is a link to appeal to Sudan to investigate some actual people known to have been captured; Secondly you can contact your own government, telling them how disturbed you are by these brutal acts and to call on Sudan's government to uphold its obligation to avoid indiscriminate arrests, violence and torture and to uphold basic human rights and due legal process. Those in the US and Canada can call the toll-free numbers below; for those in Britain, Australia or other countries, you will need to look up the government contacts yourself (If you know of a toll-free service, please let me know).
Appeals for Captured Darfuris in Khartoum:
Tell Sudan to uphold due process; no indiscriminant arrests
US: Call 1-800-GENOCIDE
When you call the number, it will lead you through the steps and talking points.
CANADA: You can also call 1-800-GENOCIDE. Because of the resignation and scandal of former Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxime Bernier, you can add, in addition to the above plea about the human rights violations in Khartoum, a welcome to the new Foreign Affairs Minister, David Emerson. It could simply be "Welcome to your new portfolio. I ask you to make Sudan and Darfur a top priority by appointing a full-time Special Envoy, and by telling Sudan to cease any indiscriminate arrest or harassment of innocent Darfuris in Khartoum. Thank you."
______________________________________________________AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ACTION
Once a year these emails highlight an Amnesty International (AI) case. For sure, each monthly email could just contain AI actions. But the intent of these emails is to highlight the broad sweep of actions that are available and needed. If someone has a keen interest in a particular focus, such as that of AI, one should join and sign up for regular actions from them. And so we bring this yearly reminder and opportunity.
Some AI Actions; and Good News Releases:
______________________________________________________TELL INTEL TO FOLLOW ITS CODE OF CONDUCT
There is part of me that looks at the following issue - laundry workers trying to get better wages - and says "What is that compared to Darfur, or Myanmar or Zimbabwe?" But that is a false type of comparison in that it needn't be one or the other - I can try to address them both. And it is an important reminder to myself that small slippages, especially by such a giant as Intel, can easily allow a snowballing effect on our ethos, eroding yesterday's hard-won battles. So I signed the following petition, both for its own merits and to try to maintain standards that others have struggled to create.
In the Western U.S., the laundry workers of Prudential Overall Supply have been fighting to win a living wage, family healthcare and respect on the job. Months ago they asked Intel Corporation, one of Prudential's largest customers, to enforce their Code of Conduct which states that suppliers will abide by all local, state and national minimum wage laws and adhere to labor law. Unfortunately, Intel has failed to produce any evidence that it will abide by its own Code of Conduct. You can help these laundry workers by sending an email directly to Intel's CEO Paul Otellini today
Tell Intel to Abide by Its Code of Conduct:
UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of "Until Well-being is Achieved for All."
Volunteers Needed: If you can provide one hour per week or month, tracking down concrete actions to help strengthen this effort, please click the UWAA Reply button below, and add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Edit” and place any comments in the body. Diverse perspectives especially welcome.
Want to get these actions sent directly to your email address? If so, then click the UWAA Subscribe button below, add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Subscribe”; You can also optionally place any additional comments in the body.