Welcome to the Sunday, April 27, 2008 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!
In this issue, we again offer some actions for Darfur, given the worsening conditions. There are also actions regarding toxic pesticides in the US and potential exploitive mining in Ghana. The email ends with two thank-you's resulting from previous actions.
______________________________________________________DARFUR: DETERIORATING STATUS - AND THREE ACTIONS
Darfur's current state continues to degenerate on almost all fronts. As mentioned last month, there has been an appalling upsurge in the amount and type of violence - burning villages, killing men, raping women - not seen since the early period of the conflict.
The only hope for Darfur is to advocate a complete package of actions that is anchored on the ultimate need for peace negotiations not just for Darfur but within all Sudan and with its neighbours. However in the interim one must raise up the need for humanitarian aid, a unified rebel set of demands, broader Darfur-Darfur Dialogue, tactics to change Sudan's calculus, and peacekeeping. So here are some actions you can take:
1. TELL YOUR GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE SUSTAINED FULL-TIME FOCUS ON AN ALL-SUDAN SOLUTION FOR DARFUR.
Sudan has suffered from 'Drive-by Diplomacy', where the focus hops from issue to issue (first, to the North-South agreement, which omitted Darfur, then Darfur but in taking the focus off the North-South issue, it frayed, threatening civil war; let alone ignoring Sudan, etc).
If you live in the U.S. or Canada, you can use the following toll-free number, which gives you other talking points and connects you with your choice of government offices. This action was given before, but the deteriorating shift in Darfur needs a second round of phone calls. Phone: 1-800-GENOCIDE. It can seem scary to do, but it can be as simple as saying "Due to the worsening conditions in Darfur, I ask you to ensure maximum, full-time sustained diplomatic focus on an all-Sudan Darfur solution, and full support of the UN peacekeeping force. Thank you."
2. PETITION PERMANENT MEMBERS OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO APPLY PRESSURE:
Petition to UN Security Council
3. TELL PRESIDENT BUSH (& OTHER LEADERS) TO SUPPLY HELICOPTERS:
The UN hybrid peacekeeping force for Darfur, known as UNAMID, replaced the poorly supported African Union peacekeeping force at the start of 2008, though deployment has been tragically slow as it is severely hampered by Sudan. UNAMID is also being given tepid international support. Previous emails have called for action to bolster the efforts. And while the most urgent need may not be the required 24 helicopters, it is appalling that the international community has not fully pledged them - it sends a signal to Sudan's President Bashir that his obstructionism is of little consequence to the world. Thus the following is an action to try to remedy this gaping hole.
Tell President Bush to Supply Helicopters (non-US citizens, see further below):
(If you are a non-US citizen check the above link to see if your country is on list of available suppliers of helicopters, and if so, write to your head of state to act).
For Further Reflection:
While some people have cited that US President Bush, as part of his legacy, wants to have the Darfur crisis resolved, others feel that the conflicted nature of US foreign policy, specifically the possibility of getting terrorist information from Sudan, is the trump card, which I have alluded to in my Darfur summary (www.UntilAll.org/Darfur.htm). For those interested in a more detailed argument, a recent report from africaAction documents this aspect (see: africaAction Report). It will be a critical year to see which way the dynamics tilt.
______________________________________________________TOXIC PESTICIDES THREATENING WORKER FARM CHILDREN
The United Farm Workers have created an action for US citizens to tell the EPA to ban certain pesticide chemicals that are toxic and thus a particular risk for the children of the workers. Unfortunately I did not have time to check other the status of other countries, but please consider doing it. The background article is a classic study indicating the clear and devastating impact on the social development and motor skills on children of the blatant misuse of pesticides in the Yaqui Valley of Mexico.
Tell EPA To Ban Toxic Chemicals (Open to US and non-US citizens):
Background: Toxic Legacies:
______________________________________________________SUPPORT COMMUNITY IN GHANA AGAINST EXPLOITIVE MINING
Oxfam has sent an alert about the potential for exploitive mining in Ghana by a company with a poor track record. While the company has responded and outlined how it will consult the community, I feel the email action is appropriate to support the community and serve notice to Golden Star that the world is watching.
Support Community in Ghana Against Exploitive Mining
Golden Start Company Response:
______________________________________________________THANK YOU - UPDATE ON CHINA AND TIBET
In an abrupt change of position, China has just announced that it will meet with a representative of the Dalai Lama. This change is largely seen as a response to the international pressure and outcry to the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protest. And while it is premature to suggest anything of substance will result, I would like to thank all who signed the earlier petition - it eventually numbered over 1,5000,000 signatures and, as the world's largest petition, became a clear indicator of the massive support that lay behind the more visible protests during the Olympic torch relay..
See Washington Post article (requires free registration):
China To Meet Dalai Lama Emissary
______________________________________________________THANK YOU - UPDATE ON MIDDLE-EAST T-SHIRT VENTURE
February's email highlighted a marvelous convergence of values in a joint Israeli-Palestinian initiative that makes sweatshop-free, organic T-shirts in Palestine (Bethlehem), thereby both elevating the desperate Palestinian work situation and raising a beacon of hope that such seemingly irreconcilable sides can work together. But the effort was in financial crisis due to border issues with the shipment, which thereby missed the crucial Christmas season. They put out a plea to buy them, which was included in this email. I received a note saying that "… Thank you to all who responded to our plea for assistance in February. Because of you we survived the 1st quarter of 2008." The T-shirt endeavour later went on to win an award. So thank you to those who responded!
Here is the link if you want to purchase the T-Shirts:
UWAA: This endeavour is being placed under the overall rubric of "Until Well-being is Achieved for All."
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