Welcome to the Wednesday, June 23, 2010 issue of this Peace&Justice action email! 

In this newsletter we start with the upcoming G8 and G20 Summits.  Because they are major forums of the world’s top leaders they attract many issues needing to be addressed, of which three are listed.  As well this newsletter continues the pressure on resolving the crisis in Darfur and Sudan; and to support more sensible outcomes from the Gaza Flotilla confrontation.  Finally, along environmental lines there is urgent action needed to keep the ban from being lifted on the whale hunt. And finally there are several articles of interest at the end.





On 25 June, the G8 leaders will meet in Canada to consider international development, health and peace and security.  The G8 or “Group of 8” has been meeting for over 30 years, sparked largely by the 1970’s oil crisis.  They were originally eight of the most industrialized nations.  Starting 10 years ago, the changing global dynamics – with rising powers like China, India and Brazil – resulted in the creation of a larger group, the G20.

Further below you will find three petitions you can sign to help ensure this G8 Summit will be more than a “Photo Op” for the leaders.

Immediately below are a couple of links to broaden the nature of such summits, since as mentioned, these official gatherings are sometimes viewed primarily as venues for leaders to gain favourable-looking international exposure, but which contain little substance, or worse, misguided and self-serving programs, which come at the expense of the world’s vulnerable.  Thus beginning at least with the 1999 World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Seattle, there has been a growing, vocal and increasingly organized alternative viewpoint raised, consisting of both visible protests and alternative Summits.  While containing wide-ranging concerns, they highlight some of the destructive and oppressive dynamics of our global patterns.  As these forums have developed, the alternative vision has become more sophisticated.  Here are a couple of links for those wanting to explore this further.  As noted in the last newsletter, even the best mainstream media viewpoints are becoming more problematic.

G8 {Alternative} People’s Summit:


Alternative Media Coverage:


[A final note on the G8/G20 meetings: It will cost one billion dollars just for security.  It is hard to imagine a similar format again for such a cost.]




A birth should be a time of celebration. Yet every year:

One of the items on the G8 agenda is maternal healthcare.  The organization, ONE, is asking for a commitment to train and support 3.5 million additional healthcare workers in countries where they are needed most.  You can send an email to support this initiative.

Email G8 Chair (open to all):




[The above email petition is badly needed.  But as noted in the comments in the above link, it isn’t clear what is the full scope of ONE’s maternal healthcare.  My apologies – I am out of time to track this further].




One of the problems of summits like the G8 is that any commitments made are not necessarily carried out.  In 2005, the G8 committed to providing HIV treatment to all who needed it.  While progress has been made, today at least 5 million still do not receive treatment and support. 

Tell the G8 to keep their 2005 HIV/AIDS Promise:





For those from a faith community, you can also sign a petition from a global interfaith alliance, calling on the G8 to address long-term global concerns that support the needs of the world’s’ poor and the Earth itself.

G8 & Interfaith Petition to Address Global Concerns:

   English Version

   Version française


   English Version

   Version française





U.S. Vice President Biden recently visited Sudan.  It was a promising initial step, but to have a meaningful impact, the vice president must stay involved at this critical moment.  Sudan is only six months away from its North-South referendum, where the south is likely to secede.  They are behind schedule in critical preparations.  As well, the situation in Darfur remains in a chaotic state, with recent attacks by the government on rebel forces causing more civilian deaths and displacement.  The land remains largely lawless.  The camps where civilians flee are huge, crowded and in some places simmering with violence – rape remains common.

Given that the U.S. already has a special envoy for Sudan (General Gration), it is unclear at this point whether Biden’s trip is a sign that the U.S. wants to step up the engagement with Sudan, which many have seen as too accommodating, or whether this is primarily symbolic (Check for updates at the Current Section at  http://www.untilall.org/Darfur.htm).

Regardless the signal needs to be sent that we want firm, robust comprehensive action, coordinated with other countries, to maximize any opening that might move Darfur, Sudan onto more stable and peaceful and just footings.

Take Action (U.S.-only):






Avaaz launched a petition soon after the tragic deaths aboard the Gaza Flotilla, asking for an independent inquiry plus a lifting of the blockade.  Since then both Israel and the U.N. have started an inquiry.  However, Avaaz wants the pressure maintained and broadened, since this is simply the start of the process.  You sign below – they are trying to get to 500,000 signatures.

Sign petition:

   English Version

   Version française

   Versión española





This needs IMMEDIATE action.  The agency that controls the whaling issue will be meeting over the next two days to decide whether to lift the ban.  For almost 20 years there has been an international whaling ban in effect.  Despite that, the killing of whales continues.  This newsletter has covered this event before – each time there is considerable pressure to open up the whale hunt again, and like previous sessions, vote-buying is often part of the process.  To add your name to those wanting the ban to remain in place, follow the link below.  This is the first time I have used two Avaaz petitions in a newsletter, but as noted previously their power is in their sheer numbers – they are hoping to reach 1.5 million signatures.  That is the type of global voice needed to support those at the meetings who want ban to be maintained.

Add Your Name To The Petition:

   English Version

   Version française

   Versión española


   IWC whaling proposal 'offensive' - New Zealand Herald

   Counter View: Drop Ban As It doesn't Work






Local Views On The Impacts Of Trade Liberalization

On a macro scale the world slowly moves forward economically for people – India, Brazil and China following in the footsteps of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.  However, I find the progression and process mournful, full of short-term and sometimes long-term pain in its wake.  There are many alternate forms of media that can help us see events from a different perspective and simply see different events.  One such resource is Radio Mundo, created by Friend of the Earth. 

Radio Mundo (audio & text)

   In English: Real World Radio

   En Français: Radio Monde Réel

   En Español: Radio Mundo Real

Where Are The Cost-Effective Peace Strategies?


An interesting essay on openDemocracy highlights, even from an economic standpoint, the savings of preventive strategies to conflict.  Simply stated, investing in resources to prevent conflict from escalating into open violence is up to sixty times cheaper than reacting to a crisis once violence erupts.



Follow-up: Eight convicted in Bhopal Gas Disaster

These newsletters have, over the years, followed the Bhopal victims and advocated on their behalf.  Recently, a court in the Indian city of Bhopal sentenced eight people to two years each in jail over the infamous gas plant leak that killed thousands of people in 1984.  "It sets a very sad precedent. The disaster has been treated like a traffic accident. It is a judicial disaster, and it is a betrayal [of Indian people] by the government," activist Satinath Sarangi said.


CorpWatch: Afghanistan, Inc.

If you ever wanted to know the many tentacles that reach into a country once there is money, then here is an interesting view (a summary report, although the full report is also available) regarding Afghanistan:


BP Gulf Oil Disaster:

Particularly for those in North America, the BP oil disaster in the Gulf has received daily news, so there is no need to add to it here.  But there is a website where you can place the size of the oil spill over top of another area, such as your city, so you can get a better sense of the size of it.  If interested follow this link:


Separately, its devastation is already enormous both in terms of its environmental damage as well its human costs, jobs and health, and it long term consequences will take years to determine.  That said, you might be interested to read the following BBC article, which calls Nigeria as the area of the most appalling oil pollution. Some of it has been going on for decades, very little reported, an oil spill almost every day, producing a mixture of an environmental toxic legacy, human misery, kidnappings, sabotage, etc.


Outdated Views of Turkey?

Turkey was in the spotlight recently with the deadly Gaza blockade incident.  Somewhat aside or somewhat related, a recent New York Times article questioned whether the West’s view of Turkey is outdated.  Typically seen as a bridge between West and East, it may be more accurate to see it as its own centre of gravity.  While it had wanted to be part of the EU, many no longer care.  It was the fastest growing economy next to China and India.  An interesting idea, though I haven’t pursued it deeper.


Forbes: Where Americans Are Moving

This has nothing to do directly with peace and justice.  It is simple raw data, graphically showing the flow of Americans within their nation.  But it catches my curiosity in terms of possible insights if taken globally and given rigorous studies and sophisticated graphing.





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Missed an action email?  An archive is kept at: www.UntilAll.org/archives.htm.

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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 so, tracking down concrete actions to help strengthen this effort, please reply to this email with the Subject Line: “UWAA: Edit” and place any comments in the body.  Diverse perspectives especially welcome.

Rod Downing


Surrey BC Canada

(604) 535-6550

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