Welcome to the Sunday October 31, 2010 Peace and Justice / Human Rights action newsletter!
This newsletter highlights the valuable work of Amnesty International and the ways we can be part of their impact on human rights. As well we provide further action regarding Sudan and Darfur as they enter a hyper-critical phase. There are also actions regarding the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, and a Canadian mining company in Papua New Guinea, as well as numerous articles of interest.
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HUMAN RIGHTS AND AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Every year or two I like to highlight some of the alternatives to the typical web-base actions in this newsletter. One of the most stellar organizations is Amnesty International (AI). Their ability to shine a light into the depraved crevasses of nations around the world has saved countless lives and given hope to so many more. While they have web-based actions – one is given below – and also give international reports of various human rights abuses, which has expanded beyond a focus on individuals, the individual focus remains foundational.
Thus you can join AI and either be part of a local group that meets to write letters on behalf of those unjustly detained, tortured, etc., or you can sign-up to receive Action Alerts of those in imminent danger. Follow the link below to read some Success Stories of the live-saving value of this avenue that attempts to protect those who stand up for justice in oppressive circumstances.
Disappearance of Sri Lankan Journalist
Amnesty’s Global Write For Rights: December 4-12
Participate in Write For Rights
DARFUR and SUDAN
With just over two months before the referendum in which South Sudan will most likely vote to secede, tensions are extremely high. It has created a frenzy of activities on pathetically-delayed items, from border demarcation to voter registration. Many say that the mutual self-interest of oil will prevent civil war. Even if that is the case (not all agree), there is desperate need for outside assistance given (a) the deep suspicion by many on both sides; (b) both sides are at least preparing militarily a defensive position. This volatile mix means that any miscue or misread signal could easily ignite open battle.
Within Darfur, there is also a rush of activity related to negotiations to with rebel groups, and with civil society and IDP camps on eventual reintegration into society. Notwithstanding some tiny slithers of genuine progress, most activity masks the ongoing appalling conditions in Darfur and in the IDP camps. Click the link in the background section and then the “Current Status” section for more details.
Thus while all reasonable paths for a successful transition have long since faded, it remain crucial for the international community to maximize its engagement, ensuring a fair referendum, easing the transition, and preventing mismatched signals from reigniting the conflict.
Tell Obama to Maximize Effort to
Avert “Ticking Time Bomb” (open to all countries):
Canada: Tell Foreign Minister Cannon to Make Sudan a Priority
US: IMPLEMENT LRA DISARMAMENT ACT
The U.S. has passed the LRA Disarmament Act. The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army, based in Uganda) has committed some of the most foul atrocities, and has eluded capture as it moves among countries. The LRA Act must now be translated into policy. You can write President Obama to thank him for its passage and to make sure the resulting policy contains the correct priorities:
Tell Obama to Properly Prioritize the LRA Act:
DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FROM MINING COMPANY IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Lat year, police officers in Papua New Guinea illegally and forcibly evicted people from their homes beside one of the biggest gold mines in Papua New Guinea. They burned down houses and assaulted and threatening residents. The gold mine is owned by the Canadian company Barrick Gold, who provided support to the police force. But that support was conditional on the police respecting national law and human rights standards. However having been informed of the injustices, the company has done nothing.
Urge these companies to withdraw their support for the police deployment and call for an investigation into the forced evictions.
Tell Mining Company to Investigate and Act
U.S.: APPLY FOR CARL WILKENS FELLOWSHIP
Do you want to deepen your skill-set by engaging in a 12-month part-time program to end genocide? Then consider the Carl Wilkens Fellowship. They are looking for a wide range of backgrounds. To learn more see the link below and its associated links. But hurry – the application deadline in November 5!
=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
Asian Human Rights Commission accuses the government of killings and disappearance :
Government Response: Defends Action
=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Jailed Chinese Activist Liu Xiaobo
In early October Liu Xiaobo was named this year’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient for his long and non-violent struggle for freedom of expression and reform in China. He was part of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement, trying to defuse tensions before the military crackdown. Plus, as I reported two years ago in one of my guest blogs for Sustainable Good, there was a courageous move by some writers and scholars in China responsible for Charter 08 , outlining broad political reforms, of which Liu Xiaobo was its primary drafter. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail. Due to media control, many in China did not know of him; many in China like China’s approach of maintaining tight political control while allowing much economic freedom – it is what brought China much success. But Liu Xiaobo signifies that such an approach carries a high price tag, and with up to 500 protests per day in China, may have
Reuters: Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xiaobo Also Receives Human Rights Watch's Award with Five Others
Rebel leader’s arrest just one step in fight against impunity in DRC
The recent arrest in Europe of a senior Rwandan militia leader is a welcome step in the fight against impunity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but real progress in the protection of civilians depends on the apprehension of commanders on the ground, according to analysts. In addition it might help strengthen the efforts, such as the ICC, to increase the sense of reach of international law.
UN Turns 65
I didn’t know that on September 11, 1906 Gandhi first articulated the concept of non-violent resistance. The following essay highlights a few other 9/11s and weaves them into a thought-provoking exploration of its meaning for today, whether one ultimately agrees with the author or not.
A Choice of 9/11s.
Eritrea: World Must Act to Prevent Another 'Failed State'
Water: Know your facts
I would never have guessed that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make a pair of blue jeans. Underlining the importance of our ability to connect our consumptive patterns, is that 42,000 people die each week from unsafe drinking water. As mentioned in an earlier newsletter water could become the next oil – a resource that will only become more aggressively guarded and sought after. Knowing our water facts needs to be seen as a peace and justice issue.
UN Pleads for Helicopters for Congo; World Remains Silent
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a history that includes some of the worst and longest atrocities on the continent. There remain areas of conflict particularly in the East, which some call the “rape capital of the world” for the brutal treatment of civilians by various armed factions. Over 15,000 women are raped per year. In one small district which had UN staff nearby, 300 women were raped in a single month. I share this article: (a) for the sake of the victims, that they not remain invisible; (b) to illustrate how primitively we are structured to eliminate such barbaric acts.
Globe and Mail: Plea for Helicopters
Women and Guns: Don’t Ignore
Guns and violence are generally associated with men. Several years ago, the child solider became a topic of concern. In the following article this probing is extended to the complexities of the women soldier.
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