Welcome to the Thursday, May 24, 2007 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!
While normally this email tries to restrict itself to a few issues and with an ongoing focus on Darfur, every year or so I provide a broader sweep of the issues at any given time. Thus below you will find both international and regional issues ranging from the environment (whaling, clean water, car emission controls), to nuclear concerns, to UN support, to US migrant farm workers, to AIDS drugs, and even to Wal-mart.
Included at this time is a link to Amnesty International, something also done yearly so that any new people on the list can sign-up if they so choose, since this email presumes that any such interested people have already made that connection.
One reason for this fuller sweep of issues is that you may note recurring issues if you have been on this email list for awhile. At least in my world of typical news coverage, attention-grabbing items wash across the news venue only to be replaced by a different one soon after. But the repercussions continue long after spotlights have moved on, and most issues never make it on the news radar screen. My point is that without the layer in our society of peace and justice groups, we would be largely unaware of many crucial issues and implications of decisions. So whenever you find an organization that you feel helps shed light, be sure to support it - it is a desperately thin layer of balance for the marginalized and for life-nurturing dynamics, and against powerful trends whose trajectory diminishes life on this planet.
The following list is divided into 3 sections: Darfur, International Actions, and then Country-specific actions (with apologies to non North-American countries - if you can, please volunteer to submit actions related to your country by replying to this email).
______________________________________________________A. DARFUR ACTIONS
First of all, I have slightly revised the History, Analysis and Strategy article regarding Darfur; if you haven't visited it, it provides a more in-depth analysis of the complex factors involved with the Darfur crisis than is generally found, yet provides clear, solid strategies for a hopeful future for Darfur:
Darfur History, Analysis and Strategy:
1. DARFUR: TELL US PRESIDENT BUSH HIS DEADLINE IS UP:
Revised May 29, 2007: Today US President George Bush implemented his Plan 'B' This is great news and Thank You to all who responded to last month's request to press this issue! While it is only one small part of what is needed, it is movement in the right direction.
Revised May 31: We now know the details of Plan 'B', which are focused on US unilateral actions. While this is a good step, it is not a very strong step because the US has had sanctions against Sudan since 1997. The result is that Sudan has gotten around most of them, and adding more wil not provide the type of intense pressure that is needed. Thus Save darfur Coalition has produced a second request to President Bush, to strengthen his Plan 'B' by incorporating multi-lateral sanctions, as contained in the following email that you can now send:
[Revised May 31:] Tell Bush to Strengthen his Plan with Multi-lateral actions (Open to all countries; use 99999 as zip code):
Send message to President Bush
2. DARFUR: SEND LETTER TO LOCAL PAPER:
Letters to the Editor of local newspapers are often overlooked in terms of awareness raising and political impact. Global Solutions has prepared a sample letter. While it is targeted for the U.S., it can be adapted for any country, especially if you use some of the background info above. Consider giving it a try:
Write Letter to Local Newspaper [Revised May 31]
3. DARFUR INFO: FIDELITY HAS DIVESTED FUNDS:
One of the strategies used to end apartheid in South Africa was a divestment campaign. A similar campaign has been active for some time now, getting many US states and campuses to divest their funds. The latest is the giant Fidelity Investment funds:
Fidelity Divestment Info.
4. DARFUR INFO: GOOGLE EARTH HAS A FOCUS ON DARFUR:
You can now use Google Earth to see close-up the devastation in Darfur. As you zoom in, it will indicate destroyed villages by a red flame. As you zoom in closer you can see the burnt-out remains and get various facts on the site. You can download the Google Earth program for free from here if you don't have it:
Download Google Earth
______________________________________________________B. INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS
1. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIONS; PLUS 2007 REPORT
Each year this email provides a link to Amnesty International, whose impeccable work on researching and uncovering human rights abuses has saved countless lives. Because you can easily join their email list and receive their focused email actions, the UWAA email doesn't generally include them. If you want to receive their action alerts you can follow the link below - at the bottom of their screen you can click on the "Act now for human rights" line. The link also includes their 2007 Annual Report which describes the state of the world's human rights.
Amnesty's Actions and 2007 Report
2. WHALING COMMISSION
Whaling issues have been on past emails, an indication of the persistent pressure from some quarters to relax the regulations. Greenpeace has set up an email appeal for the upcoming International Whaling Commission. While recognizing the good work that has been done, it is trying to address the need for some fundamental changes, all included in the following link.
Email your concern about Whaling:
______________________________________________________C. COUNTRY-SPECIFIC ACTIONS
1. CANADA-ONLY: GET THE AIDS DRUGS SHIPPING:
Three years ago, Canada was a clear leader on the international stage when it passed a law intended to make essential, generic medicines available, in low- and middle-income countries where there is no generic manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, the law does not work. Since the legislation passed 2004, not a single pill has left Canada. The drug order process is taking far too much time and effort to be effective and is now under review. The "Make Poverty History" Campaign has created an action to try to make sure action is taken.
Take Action: Write the Prime Minister:
2. US-ONLY: TELL CONGRESS TO SUPPORT CLEAN WATER RESTORATION ACT
There is pressure that might undo many of the safe-guards for local waterways, including recent Supreme Court decisions surrounding the original Clean Water Act. Up to 60% of the nation's river and streams could be without protection. While there is some concern from the agricultural sector about the proposed Act if it was taken to extremes (and you could include a request to consider such concerns), overall it has good bi-partisan support. For more background and to send an email to you representative, click on the link below:
Tell Congress to support the proposed Act:
Background: Agricultural Concerns:
3. US-ONLY: TELL EPA TO ACT & GRANT CALIFORNIA WAIVER
California wants to set more stringent car emission standards, as part of its commitment to address climate change. It has done so in the past due to a waiver clause in the federal regulations. Many other stated are ready to follow California's lead, as they have in the past. But this time, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has stalled on granting the waiver. Environmental Defense has created an email action to call for the waiver.
Tell EPA to Grant the Waiver:
4. US-ONLY: OPPOSE NUCLEAR BUILDUP; + COMPENSATE MARSHALL ISLANDS
TThe Bush administration is considering the development of "Complex 2030" at a cost of up to $150 billion. It is billed as a way to revise US strategy in a way that will eventually reduce the number of nuclear weapons and provide a safer form. It is being opposed by many groups as an unnecessary step both in terms of safety and that for years to come will increase nuclear arms, and will provide precisely the wrong signals to the international community. As such it is a terrible waste of significant money, risks environmental problems, and goes the wrong direction in terms of real national security needs.
Take Action from a Faith-Based Stance:
Background: Rationale for "Complex 2030"
Background: Arguments Against "Complex 2030":
RELATED: SIGN PETITION FOR MARSHALL ISLANDS FURTHER COMPENSATION:
Between 1946 and 1958, 67 nuclear tests were conducted on the Marshall Islands, with bombs 1000 times more powerful then Hiroshima. In 1986 the US admitted wrong-doing and agreed to compensation, but it included a clause for further compensation as further evidence of harm to the people and land accumulated, which it has, though is little known.
Sign Petition (Open to all):
Call for Further Compensation
5. US-ONLY: PAY UN DUES THAT ARE IN ARREARS
The US is currently $1 billion behind in its payments to support UN peacekeeping missions. Citizens for Global Solutions have asked people to call their Senator to support a bill to address this issue. They feel it not only benefits the countries needing peacekeepers, but also serves US interests, and give some reason for it.
To Take Action, click on this link:
Pay UN Dues
6. US-ONLY: CALL FOR INVESTIGATION TO FARM WORKER DEATH
The United Farm Workers (UFW) have requested messages be sent to call for a full criminal investigation into the death of Eladio Hernandez, who died due to heat related illness, something which has clear regulations. He was working at an orchard in California's San Joaquin Valley.
Background and Take Action:
Call for Investigation
Note that the UFW's origins were co-founded by Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez; Dolores Huerta will be given the Community of Christ International Peace Award at its Peace Colloquy, October 26-28, 2007.
7. US (Anyone can sign): GET WAL-MART BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL VISION
You can send an email to the Board of Directors who are meeting soon. Wal-Mart Watch has documented various types of company abuses that are contrasted with some of the stated goals of the company's creator, Sam Walton. If you feel the world's largest corporation should uphold better standards that it currently does, follow the link below:
Tell Wal-Mart Board to Abide Better Practices:
Send Email to Wal-Mart Board
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 month, tracking down concrete actions to help strengthen this effort, please click the UWAA Reply button below, and add a Subject Line: “UWAA: Edit” and place any comments in the body. Diverse perspectives especially welcome.
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