Welcome to the Saturday July 9, 2011 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!  To alter your profile, follow the steps at the end, where your profile is listed. 

It is a rare event that a brand new country is born and that is where this newsletter starts.  On Saturday July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan was created.  Its hopes and challenges are outlined below, as well as the potential effects on Darfur and the rest of Sudan.  This newsletter starts with an acknowledgment of, and action for, a persistent, usually hidden yet appalling situations – refugees.  World Refugee Day reminds us of the millions of people who have been traumatized by being forced from their home, usually carrying brutal images that forced them to leave.  Related we retain our long term focus on Darfur and Sudan, where renewed spasms of violence has resulted in thousands being displaced.  In addition we examine an attempt to improve working conditions.


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On July 9 2011, Sudan officially became two countries – the existing Sudan in the North (Republic of the Sudan), and the world’s newest (193rd) country, the Republic of South Sudan.  Before digging into an analysis it is fitting to stop long enough to recognize that for the South Sudanese this is a day to savour!  From a distance I can only ponder the depth of joy they must feel, given so many deaths, so much pain and cruelty and sacrifice over the last 50 years

Challenges for any new country are immense and South Sudan is no exception.  As noted in previous newsletters its very creation wasn’t certain.  And while this link (http://www.untilall.org/Darfur.htm#B2.%20CurrentStatusSSudan) contains a sketch of the challenges and will be updated with more depth shortly, in the end I can only hope that the sheer resilience of the people, combined with the perseverance of those around the world working to make the entire area better, will prevail.

There is no simple, clickable action for Sudan at the moment.  However the following would be helpful to show that resources spent on the above dynamics have strong backing.

Take Action: (US citizens; can be modified for other citizens to contact their country’s leaders);

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell the operator the following (remember while it may sound scary, if you get through the person will be pleasant):

“The recent birth of the Republic of South Sudan was made possible in large part by the US-brokered 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Please continue to support the results of this initiative by being fully engaged in the building of South Sudan and in the critical need to resolve all outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan. Also, continue your “all-Sudan” approach by being fully engaged in resolving the Darfur issues.  In all cases be sure to combine credible options such as debt reduction or removal from the terrorist list, with clear and measurable results from Sudan’s government.  Thank you.”





Aung San Suu Kyi, having recently been freed from house arrest, has finally made her first significant political move.  She has bravely called on the military regime to free the thousands of monks and peaceful activists still held in horrific prisons, some in cramped dog cages.  In support, thousands of Burmese have risked their own safety to join her call for freedom through an online petition!  Recently, the regime issued an ominous warning to Suu Kyi – and the Generals may be deciding right now between dialogue or another brutal crackdown.

Activists in Burma have appealed to the world for help, saying that pressure from the international community is crucial to preventing violence and freeing political prisoners.  Consider supporting Suu Kyi and the brave Burmese, sign on to their petition, and send it to the EU, India and other key governments who can press the regime.

Take Action:

   Avaaz Petition for Suu Kyi and Burmese Activists





World Refugee Day was last month. In the U.S., Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Refugee Protection Act of 2011 in Congress. The bill would correct some of the most worst policies toward refugees and re-establish the United States' commitment to protecting the persecuted. For detailed information, check out our fact sheet.

Refugees seeking asylum now face prolonged detention in prison-like conditions without due process safeguards, such as a custody hearing by an immigration court, and denials of their requests for asylum based on an arbitrary filing deadline and overly broad exclusion provisions. The Refugee Protection Act of 2011 would correct some of the worst policies toward refugees and re-establish the United States' commitment to protecting the persecuted

Take Action (US citizens only):






Walmart is the world’s largest retail company.  Thus what happens related to Walmart affects thousands of people worldwide.  So it was interesting to see the formation of “OUR Walmart”, which stands for the “Organization United for Respect at Walmart.”

Nearly one hundred Walmart Associates from across the country travelled to Walmart corporate headquarters.  They presented a declaration to Walmart executives, asking that the company respect their right to speak up about problems they face in their stores, improve their wages and working conditions, and treat all employees with respect.

The effort was an action taken by the new Associate-led group, OUR Walmart, which is seeking to improve the lives and working conditions of Walmart Associates in stores across the country.  The group is the largest ever of its type seeking to improve conditions at Walmart. You can support their efforts by signing the petition below:


   Click here to sign the petition.








Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

This newsletter followed the upheaval in Sri Lanka in 2009 which ended in the government declaring victory over the Tamil Tigers.  Recently a film has been created that clarifies some of the atrocities committed during the final weeks of that quarter-century-long civil war.  The film, partly captured on mobile phones, shows highly disturbing footage.  It was broadcast as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faced growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into possible war crimes during those closing weeks.

In April 2011, Ban Ki-moon published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts, which concluded that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the final weeks of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. It called for the creation of an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by government forces and the Tamil Tigers during that time.

The film raises serious questions about the consequences if the UN fails to act, not only with respect to Sri Lanka but also to future violations of international law.  You can follow the program on Twitter using #KillingFields.

Watch film:



Ai Weiwei Freed

A previous action demanding the release of one of China’s famed artists, Ai Weiwei has been met with his recent release.  Thank you to all cho participated.



Mid-East Protests – Over Five Months Later

Amazing as the original Tunisian and then Egyptian protests were, many were uncertain what would happen in Egypt, and predicted a much more difficult path for some of the other countries that might catch the “contagion.”  Here is a brief synopsis of two countries, followed by the appropriate links.

EGYPT: While many took satisfaction in the ouster of President Mubarak, others knew that the basic apparatus was still in place.  This became evident by the end of June, when major clashes took place.  This resulted in calling for a “Million Man” march to again refill Tahrir Square and re-establish the people’s demands for true and complete reforms.  Stay tuned.

SYRIA: Syria has been a contrast to Egypt – clear crackdowns in which Rights groups say that more than 1,300 civilians have been killed and 10,000 people arrested.  I stand in awe of these people and others, who knowing their government would an did have little reard for their people’s lives, nonetheless kept coming back

Egypt: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/07/20117814138272938.html

Syria: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/07/20117684729673824.html






Milestone For Domestic Workers

Activists campaigning for the rights of domestic workers are celebrating the passing of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) convention recognizing domestic work as work. The convention is a long time coming and has brought the often invisible and abused to the forefront of protection, says a leading human rights agency.

“Domestic workers face beatings, sexual abuse, non-payment of wages and human trafficking situations. They run the gamut of physical and mental abuse used to control someone and in some households it is a slave owner mentality,” said Human Rights Watch (HRW) Deputy Director in Asia Phil Robertson. “There are enough cases of abuse that there has to be some sort of protective framework for these domestic workers.”



Economics: Possible Landscape by 2025

By 2025, six emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Russia – will collectively account for about one-half of global growth.  As dynamic emerging economies evolve to take their place at the helm of the world economy, a rethink of the conventional approach to global economic governance is needed. The current approach rests on three premises: the link between concentrated economic power and stability; the North-South axis of capital flows; and the centrality of the US dollar.

In Global Development Horizons 2011, the World Bank presents what it believes to be the most probable global currency scenario in 2025 – a multicurrency arrangement centered on the dollar, euro, and renminbi. This scenario is buttressed by the likelihood that the US, the eurozone, and China will constitute the three major growth poles at that time.



Economics: Transparency Awry: Two Cases, Worlds Apart, of Unaccounted Billions

a. Zambia, a Flawed World Transparency Mechanism, and Missing $$ Billions

Transparency is a laudable and much needed goal to help curb the corruption around the world.  But this article shows the difficulty in achieving the goal.  One such initiative - Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) – was created to help, but as noted in this report, may do the reverse.  Its focus on the transparency of the {usually developing} target nation, in this case Zambia, comes at the benefit of the recipient {usually developed world} corporation.  Oversimplified, there is little or no focus on the latter, which as illustrated, allows it to distort the end result by billions of dollars to its benefit.  The corporation gets the money; the developing country gets the debt.  The article argues for a better mechanism: corporate country-by-country reporting (CbC), created by Richard Murphy, a founder of the Tax Justice Network.


b. Pentagon Can’t Account for over $6Billion for Iraq







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UWAA:  This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of “Until Well-being is Achieved for All.”


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