Welcome to the Monday, May 30, 2011 issue of this Peace&Justice action email! To alter your profile, follow the steps at the end, where your profile is listed.
[This newsletter was delayed until it became clearer where the potentially explosive events in the Abyei region of Sudan might go (fortunately it did not lead to civil war). And due to other constraints, the overall contents are smaller than normal.]
This newsletter contains the latest status of Sudan – both the extremely volatile region of Abyei, and the continuing deterioration of Darfur even while peace negotiations draw near to their closing. Also included are actions related to the IMF and to Artic drilling.
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STOP SUDAN’S ABYEI REGION FROM EXPLODING
Less than two weeks ago, North Sudan’s armed forces attacked and occupied much of Abyei. As of May 31, they have moved south and destroyed the bridge that links the region to the South, but as of this writing, they have not taken over the near-by oilfields. While it was precipitated by a prior, somewhat fuzzy, skirmish, the act could have ignited a return to civil war. However the South did not escalate the crisis and [June 1] negotiations are underway to resolve the immediate tensions. Humanitarian aid into the region has largely been choked-off by a Nothe-imposed embargo on goods from the South a month ago.
This attack is a blatant violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. President Bashir is either determined to take Abyei and more oilfields, is acting to shore-up northern support, or he is at least probing to see what credible threats might occur if he continues. The three main actors are South Sudan itself, the U.S. and China (for more details, see http://untilall.org/Darfur.htm#B.%20CurrentStatus). At this point there is an action, below, addressed to President Obama, to support a firm stance on this incident. In the rapid pace, this is now slightly dated, as the U.S. is quite engaged, so the action would be to support such moves.
ENCOURAGE U.S. TO CONSOLIDATE DARFUR PEACE EFFORT
For two years a Doha peace process has been underway to try to resolve the Darfur crisis. It has had two levels – one dealing with the Sudan government and rebels, and one dealing with “civil society”, and is about to wrap up. This is a little dated but the overall sentiment remains valid and thus is worth pursuing.
IMF NEEDS FAIR PROCESS
The president of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) recently resigned amid a scandal. Just as this newsletter was about to be sent, the following action came in, to encourage a fair and merit-based selection process for the new president. Given its selection history, there is merit in such action. But I signed it also simply to send the IMF a signal that the world hasn’t forgotten about the IMF. It is not a strong signal, especially given the influence the IMF has, thinking in particular of some of the terribly destructive fall-out of its SAP (Structural Adjustment Programs) directives to countries. And it sidesteps the issue of the need to overhaul the whole international system (World Bank, IMF, etc.). But the opportunity arose and you can take it if you feel similarly inclined.
STOP DEEPWAATER ARTIC DRILLING
Greenpeace has created an action to stop Cairn Energy from drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean by Greenland. Cairn has not disclosed its plan for any potential oil spill. Thus due to the harsh Arctic weather, sea ice and the lack of facilities to handle an oil spill, it would be sheer folly to proceed, even if you were for Arctic drilling. Consider taking the action below to force Cairn to disclose its oil spill response plan:
=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
In Reverse Gear: Unsustainable Plans for the Amazon
These newsletters have raised the crucial issue of a healthy Amazon rainforest (“the earth’s lungs”), and we have seen moves tilting in the right direction. But recently the lower house of the Brazilian Congress approved a reform of the forestry code that would make it easier to clear land in the Amazon jungle for agriculture, an unfortunate backward step, brought on by many factors including the rise in soybean production, mainly for ethanol for gas. Coincidentally, that same day, a husband and wife team of activists who spent years fighting illegal deforestation in the rainforest were murdered. The political landscape is complex; the death of such activists is both tragic and reprehensible; the whole dynamic reinforces that tendency that gains made, unless they transform societal structures, are prone to being undone at a later stage, and thus require continual vigilance.
=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
Happy 50th birthday – Amnesty International !
May 28 is a day that changed the human rights movement forever. Fifty years ago one person - Peter Benenson - outraged by injustices he read about in the paper, asked others to unite with him in common action. He said: “Yet if these feelings of disgust all over the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done.” But more than words, he acted. Of course he was not the first person to stand up and organize against injustice. But it shows the power of what can be done and it is worth pausing to honour the effort and effect that Amnesty International has had and continues to have. For a brief background on May 28, 1961, see the following link:
Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian
Serb Commander, Captured
This newsletter usually includes a few issues not covered by mainstream news. But Mladic’s capture is being highlighted for its overall strengthening of international justice. Moving toward a better world involves creating an ethos and structure whereby such atrocities happen less and less because potential perpetrators know the riks of being caught is too great. We have decades to go, but this is a step that reinforces that goal.
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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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