Welcome to the Thursday, June 26, 2008 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!
This issue is being shortened to get the Zimbabwean appeal out. But it does also include a follow-up on the Japanese whaling scandal, a US issue on cluster munitions and a Canadian one on foreign aid, as well as a brief update on Darfur.
Any sense of hope stemming from the original Zimbabwe election results has now dissipated as violence and intimidation has dispersed opposition efforts to President Mugabe. One of the main outside disappointments has been South Africa's continuing support for the repugnant tactics of Zimbabwe's President and controlling forces.
That disappointment included the silence of Nelson Mandela. But he broke that silence yesterday, and in doing so gives hope that it may have a domino effect - that the old allegiances that had kept necessary voices quiet may finally be overridden by the dire circumstances of Zimbabwe itself. The South African leadership remains one of the most likely sources of influence and hopefully the next domino to fall. Thus you can sign the petition below, requesting that South Africa's President Mbeki work to help achieve a Zimbabwean government that truly reflects the will of the people. Even if it is after June 27, sign it anyway as an indication to South Africa that the world has made the connection and is watching.
______________________________________________________RELEASE GREENPEACE ACTIVISTS
You may recall how Greenpeace exposed a national Japanese scandal on whaling meat. They had to intercept some of the meat to prove the case, after which they gave it back. Now they are being prosecuted for having stolen the meat. If you believe that those who expose wrongdoing should not be subjected to such harassment, then please consider taking the action below:
Send Email to Japanese Government:
Tell Japanese Government to Release Activists
______________________________________________________THE U.S., CLUSTER MUNITIONS AND PRESIDENTIAL RACE
Last month over 100 countries signed a treaty banning the production and use of cluster munitions. The basic issues are that the bombs are indiscriminant, that is, their wide dispersion often kills civilians; and secondly that because many munitions remain unexploded, they kill or maim civilians long afterwards when they run across them - children are particularly affected, being killed or losing an arm or leg. See background, below, for more detail from Human Rights Watch.
The US President Bush did not participate nor sign the treaty. The following petition requests that the US presidential candidates support such a ban if they become president. If you agree, you can add your support below.
Background on Cluster Munitions:
______________________________________________________CANADA: INCREASE FOREIGN AID
Canada lags behind in its commitment to give 0.7% of our national income to foreign aid. With the G8 countries meeting next month, there is a petition from Make Poverty History that you can edit and click to send to Prime Minister Harper. If you take this action, please consider editing it, with something like "I also strongly advocate the proper use of foreign aid focused on the true needs of those involved, both immediate needs and longer term sustainable solutions, ones that require accountability and transparency but are not tied to or driven by Canadian industry."
Due to the need to get this email out, this section will be brief. After the roiling dynamics of the past few months in Darfur, there is much background work being done on several fronts, including renewed efforts at rebel unification, ongoing divestment action, a realignment of top level UN/AU envoy initiatives and positions, and political efforts to diffuse some of the most potentially explosive situations. You can sign an action below, directed at the G8 summit next month, to take a strong stand on behalf of Darfur."
Tell G8 Summit to Take Strong Darfur Stand:
As well, humanitarian aid is a critical concern due to global cut-backs and to banditry, etc. For sure donations to assist in humanitarian aid are well needed, through agencies such as the following (you can click on the links and then select your country, then click on Sudan / Darfur issue), or others of your choice:
International Rescue Committee: http://www.theirc.org/
International Red Cross : [website was down]
Doctor Without Borders: http://www.msf.org/
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.