Welcome to the November 2010 Peace and Justice / Human Rights action newsletter!
[My apologies for the greatly delayed and shortened nature of this newsletter – scheduling issues were unavoidable.]
This newsletter highlights a final push for Darfur and Sudan. In addition it raises the issue of media distortion and action we can take, as well as an action to protect the gains made during the protests many years ago to protect the pristine Clayoquot Sound temperate rainforest.
DARFUR: HELP ENSURE SMOOTH SUDAN REFERENDUM
On January 9, 2011, Southern Sudan will vote whether or not to secede from Sudan. Secession is almost certain, although no one can say with certainty what will happen next (you can check out some of the more likely scenarios and factors at UntilAll; you may need to click the “Current Status link”). The best pragmatic hope is each side’s mutual dependence on oil revenue – the South will retain much of the oilfields, but the pipeline runs through the North; currently they share the resulting oil revenue, coming primarily from China. There are many less hopeful scenarios.
The U.S. played a crucial role in the 2005 peace accord that ended the North-South 20 year civil war which had caused 2 million deaths. The U.S. has many reasons to take on such a facilitator role again, and in no small part due to the advocacy community, U.S. President Obama has recently placed substantial diplomatic resources toward the issue. As in 2005, the N-S focus easily sidelines Darfur, where violence has again escalated and aid has been reduced. The following action tries to maintain a focus on both issues, albeit a tenuous, last-ditch effort. If the N-S peace fails, it will not only plunge those areas back into war it will engulf Darfur as well. If the N-S peace agreement succeeds, Darfur could still remain marginalized in its mostly wretched state.
While it is a last-minute action, it is not meaningless. Sudan’s President Bashir is well-known for ignoring, delaying and deferring agreements to allow for maximum manipulation. But this deadline is firm. And he will react to credible dynamics. President Obama’s policies were late in forming and not to everyone’s liking. But they are in place and need the strong voice of support to ensure a firm resolve.
Tell Obama to Maintain Maximum Involvement:
WORLD AIDS DAY
World Aids Day was December 1. While the action for it has passed, I still want to raise the importance of the subject. Significant progress has been made over the past few years, but the global AIDS response is very fragile, and the political environment remains challenging. With over 7,300 new HIV infections and nearly 5,500 AIDS deaths each day, we must continue to hold country and global decision-makers accountable for scaling up a comprehensive response to this deadly pandemic, and ensuring the basic human rights of all people affected by HIV/AIDS. The resources for addressing this crisis keep getting more effective; an overwhelming global impetus is attainable, one which can contain and reverse the direction of this disease. But we must continue to push our leaders.
TELL NYT: BE MORE ACCURATE ON IRAN MISSILE WIKILEAK
As indicated in an earlier newsletter, so much of our understanding of our world is filtered information via newspapers, TV and web reporting. As such, it is good to have organizations that monitor the chief sources of our information. The organization FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) plays such a role in the U.S, primarily scanning high-profile newspapers and TV news and programs.
The New York Times (NYT) was one of the organizations given access to WikiLeak documents. It published an article based on a cable about Iran’s missile capabilities. But, noted below, FAIR called it significantly imbalanced in that it did not mention the substantial doubts about the source, even though such information was well known. FAIR called on people to write the NYT and bring this to their attention. Again the timeframe for this action has passed, but you may be interested to note that the NYT did respond, noted further below, with a revised and more balanced version, though FAIR considers the wording somewhat disingenuous.
The point of this section is to illustrate both that our sources that shape our understanding of the world should never be taken for granted. While pure objectivity is almost impossible, organizations like FAIR are essential to help reduce distortions, but there power lies largely with us and responding to distortions, since we are the audience of media outlets.
FAIR Alleges Poor Journalism for NYT Article:
FAIR Comments on NYT’s Changed Position:
Original NYT Article:
CLAYOQUOT SOUND: DON’T LET LOGGING START AGAIN
In 1993 an unknown area of Canada’s West coast - Clayoquot Sound - was thrust onto the world stage. Its globally-supported protests against logging made it one of the icons of the struggle to preserve pristine, bio-diverse wilderness. The protests prevailed and Clayoquot Sound became one of those pivotal symbols of the need to protect the dwindling unspoiled temperate rainforests. However, protected areas remain vulnerable to being wedged open, and that is what is at stake. An intact area of pristine ancient forests on Flores Island is being considered for logging right now.
Tell BC Government Not to Grant Logging or Road Permits
=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi Released; 2200 More To Go
It was wonderful news to hear about the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on November 15. These newsletters over the years have several times called for her release. But we must also remember the over 2000 other political prisoners who remain in detention. The original petition for this is now stale, but I will look for other opportunities to voice such concerns.
=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
Visuals of Child Mine Workers
Over the past couple of months the world was captivated by the successful Chilean mine rescue. The following set of pictures reminds us that many global mining conditions are deplorable, using child labour. This item is not a call to simply shutdown such sites. Hopefully we have learned that such one-dimensional actions can create more harm for the children and families, who then must move to even more desperate work. Rather, it needs a comprehensive response grounded in solid development principles (www.UntilAll.org/dev.htm). That said, change starts with awareness.
Children in Mining Jobs:
Mexican Farms Need a Water Revolution
Australia: Campaign to Shut ‘Dirtiest’ Power Station on Verge of Victory
Cattle Ranching Areas in the Amazon Industrialise
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