Welcome to the September 07, 2008 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

This issue follows up on some post-Olympic Darfur actions. It also contains a very general action to reduce global violence (Arms Trade Treaty) and a more specific action revolving around Guatemalan mining and its terrible health and environmental consequences. Finally, for countries that celebrate Halloween, there is an innovative action to help raise awareness of the wretched state of some child workers trapped by the chocolate industry and the benefits through Fair Trade chocolate.




I hoped that if you watched the Olympics, that as suggested in the last email, you also watched during the commercial breaks, Mia Farrow's Alternative Olympics, filmed from the refugee camps. If not they are still available here (10 short, one or two minute clips):


I enjoy watching true athleticism. And symbolically the games reinforced that China is the rising influence on the international stage. I have many Chinese friends who are proud of China's rich history. I just wish the government could have leaned more on those positive aspects. Instead, I found that even while the Olympics were taking place, that new and highly disturbing Sudanese government fighting was started in N. Darfur. This northern part had escaped most of the violence due to it largely being under rebel control. But Sudan's new initiative, using significantly bolstered weapons, including reportedly new planes from China, is reportedly clearing this area so Chinese oil firms can start explorations.




U.S. President Bush will be giving his final speech to the UN General Assembly in mid-September. As noted in previous emails, US foreign policy on Darfur is split between the rhetoric that named Darfur a genocide and that has provided good humanitarian assistance, and the contrasting lack of political momentum, partly undercut by those feeling that any terrorist information should trump all else. If you would like to encourage President Bush to raise Darfur as an issue, you can take the following action.

Take Action:
    Tell President Bush to include Darfur in UN Speech




Easy access to arms through worldwide arm dealers is a strong factor in creating and maintaining instability in most of the world's hot spots. There is an Arms Trade Treaty process at the UN, and the following action allows you to tell your Foreign Affairs Minister to support the UN process, and ensure it moves swiftly to a negotiation phase.

Send message to your government's Foreign Affairs Minister (open to most countries):





Indigenous communities all over Guatemala are fighting to protect their territories from harmful industries that pollute the environment and threaten their livelihoods.

Your support of the communities is needed as they take peaceful action to stop polluting industries and help us denounce the repression that they are facing. Ask the President of the Republic of Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, to stop issuing new mining concessions!

Take Action:





Fair Trade is a topic that has been raised before in these emails. At its most basic, it is a consumer decision to pay a little extra for the "value-added" of knowing via independent certification, that the farmers are getting a better price and better work and business dynamics than normal. See background for specifics.

Chocolate can have a very bitter taste to it, whenever it comes from dynamics that hover around child slave labour. While the degree of this has been reduced, it has not been eliminated. One way to ensure your chocolate is sweeter tasting is to buy Fair Trade.

This year Global Exchange is repeating an innovative scheme for those countries who participate in Halloween - when the children go to a home for trick-or-treats, you can have them give to the household a sample of Fair Trade (FT) chocolate. You can order the packets below Free - the only cost is shipping - it is a way to raise awareness of FT chocolate. But you will need to do it soon. Please note that there are also group packages for youth groups, classrooms, etc. It's a great way to involve youth (adults too) in the implications and positive alternatives of their purchasing power!

Of course, in addition to this Reverse trick-or-treat, you can also buy FT chocolate to hand out - check your supermarket or Health food stores for a supply, or get some on-line.

Reverse trick or treat For USA:

For Canada:


Buy FT Chocolate To Give Out at Halloween:

Brief Background on FT Chocolate and Other Outlets:

General background on Fair Trade:



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Rod Downing

Surrey BC Canada
(604) 535-6550