• June 2009:
a) Signed the “Stop selling bulldozers to Israel now” petition organized by Jewish Voice for Peace. This petition calls on Caterpillar to stop selling bulldozers to Israel until Israel stops using these machines to destroy Palestinian lives and livelihoods in contravention of human rights and humanitarian law. It will also remind the Board of Directors of Caterpillar that stopping the company’s sales of bulldozers to Israel is not only ethical but affordable for Caterpillar. Also, that not changing course will be increasingly more costly to Caterpillar: Hampshire College has already divested from CAT, and so has the Church of England; other churches are considering similar steps. Twenty Israeli peace and justice organizations have come in support of divestment from Caterpillar. — 5 June 2009
b) Signed the “Obama: ‘Stop the Settlements’ ” petition, organized by Avaaz.org. This petition is based on Barack Obama’s call to stop illegal Israeli settlements. President Obama is taking a bold step, and we need to do everything we can to support him. President Obama’s speech in Egypt was a stunning step toward achieving Middle East peace. His first new move: to press Israel’s right-wing government to stop their self-destructive policy of building settlements on Palestinian land. But Obama needs help from around the world to face down the powerful opposition already mobilising against him. Let’s raise a massive global chorus immediately to support Obama’s statement that the settlements in occupied territory must stop, by joining our voices to a petition based on his very own words. — 10 June 2009
c) Endorsed the “JOINT STATEMENT BY MALAYSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY ON PAS RESOLUTION TO BAN SISTERS IN ISLAM”, circulated by The National Human Rights Society (HAKAM). In this statement, the the undersigned expresses how they are deeply disturbed by the call on the part of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) to have Sisters in Islam (SIS) banned and its members rehabilitated should its activities be determined to be contrary to the Islamic shariah. The call to silence SIS and send its members for rehabilitation is an act of violence against those freedoms and their constitutional underpinnings. Though members of PAS are entitled to their views, the call for the banning of SIS is wholly unacceptable. As a matter of principle, the question of banning any organization purely for their views should not arise at all. Differences of views must be respected and, if at all, be resolved through constructive engagement. In view of this, it is urged that PAS reconsider its position and take such steps as are necessary to retract the call for action against SIS. — 10 June 2009
d) Signed the “PROTECT INDIGENOUS RIGHTS – SAVE THE AMAZON!” petition, organized by Avaaz. This petition urges the Peruvian government to engage in a peaceful and honest dialogue with indigenous people to end the conflict, secure their rights and save the Amazon. Peru is witnessing violent clashes between indigenous groups desperately trying to protect the Amazon and the government, who has pushed through legislation allowing intensive mining, logging and large scale farming in the rainforest. If government and extractive industries have their way, the Peruvian rainforest and its people will suffer massive devastation, with disastrous consequences for the global climate. — 12 June 2009
e) Signed a letter being sent to the Israeli Consulate about Ezra Nawi; the campaign is organized by Jewish Voice for Peace. Ezra Nawi is one of Israel’s most courageous human rights activists and without help, he will likely go to jail in less than 30 days. His crime? He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins. He is a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi descent who speaks fluent Arabic. He is a gay man in his fifties and a plumber by trade. He has dedicated his life to helping those who are trampled on. He has stood by Jewish single mothers who pitched tents in front of the Knesset while struggling for a living wage, and by Palestinians threatened with expulsion from their homes. He is loved by those with little power, to whom he dedicates his life, and hated by the Jewish settlers, military and police. Ezra’s friends and allies, including Noam Chomsky, Neve Gordon and Naomi Klein, are confident that tens of thousands of letters demanding his freedom will make a real difference. — 12 June 2009
• May 2009:
a) Signed an International Petition to the UN General Assembly asking that they set up a special international penal court to try Israeli war crimes, notably in the Gaza Strip. The petition was set up on the web site of a Paris-based French activist group – Association France Palestine Solidairité (AFPS). In order for the UN General Assembly to open such war crimes investigations, the petition will need to collect a minimum of 500,000 signatures. The number is now over 30,000 and growing steadily each day with new signatories from around the world. The petition demands: 1) The end of all and any exaction against the Palestinian people and an international protection of the latter. 2) The full and complete lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip. 3) The mandatory implementation of all UN resolutions on Palestine and the prescription of international law, under the constraint of international sanctions if need be. Israel is a state like any other, with the same rights and the same duties. Also, the petition requests specifically that any accord of cooperation with Israel be suspended until that state respects the UN resolutions. — 2 May 2009
b) Signed the “From Gaza, Sameh Habeeb says: Now it’s your turn” statement circulated by Jewish Voice for Peace. Sameh Habeeb asks: Is the US Funding Human Rights Abuses Against Palestinians in Gaza? ; and expresses how it is really outrageous that the US government talks about peace and diplomacy, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the fact that it has paid for so much of the destruction in Gaza. Instead of helping, Washington is making things worse. In the proposed 2010 budget there are almost $3 billion in completely unrestricted military aid. The money seems to come with no strings attached, and without any thorough and open investigation about how our money has been used to cause horrendous injuries and death on the captive civilian population in Gaza. — 6 May 2009
• April 2009:
a) Signed the “End Unequal Relations between the Philippines and the US! Terminate VFA and surrender Smith Now!” petition organized by BAYAN-USA. BAYAN-USA is an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. As an international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. |– April 2, 2009.
b) Signed the global petition urging an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, organized by Avaaz.org. When the United States put its first embargo on Cuba in 1960, the policy’s supporters claimed it would accelerate democracy and human rights. A half-century later, the claim has proven hollow, and has caused immeasurable economic harm to ordinary Cubans blocking agricultural and medical supplies, new technology, information and ideas. Some argue that as long as the embargo exists, the Cuban government can blame it instead of being forced to address its own systemic failures and serious breaches of freedom of speech, association and dissension. But today, there is more hope than ever that Cuban – US relations can change. Across Latin America leaders are calling on President Obama to initiate a new beginning for the region. In the US, recent surveys find that three quarters of US citizens want their government to shift away from the policy of isolation, and even previously hard-line Cuban exile groups are calling for change. |– April 15, 2009.
• March 2009:
a) Signed the petition for an independent investigation into Bush’s War on Terror, organized by Avaaz.org. This petition is for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. It will be delivered to the Senate hearing this week and if enough people sign it, we could tip the balance and ensure a powerful Commission is formed. There are powerful elements that will do everything they can to keep the truth buried; We need as many global and US voices as possible to let the Senators know they have the support of the world in this difficult but essential decision. |–March 5, 2009.
b) Signed the Statement “Faith in Human Rights”. On December 10th 2008, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Peace Palace, The Hague, the Netherlands, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, high-ranking religious leaders representing the world religions and spiritual traditions, signed the Statement “Faith in Human Rights”. The International Inter-religious Conference Faith in Human Rights is an initiative of Justice and Peace Netherlands and STEK, and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Municipality of The Hague. In endorsing this statement so, we jointly pronounce and confirm symbolically for all spiritual traditions that religion defends the human rights and fundamental freedom of every human being. The Statement was signed in the presence of representatives of major religions and beliefs. The Statement “Faith in Human Rights” may thus initiate a widening process of responsibility and commitment for religious leaders and communities to uphold human rights. |–March 12, 2009.
c) Signed the “Appeal for the removal of Hamas from the EU terror list!”. On the occasion of the June 2009 European elections, an urgent appeal was launched to all candidates for the 736 seats in the European parliament. It was asked that they actively pursue the immediate and unconditional removal of Hamas and all other Palestinian liberation organizations from the European list of proscribed terrorist organizations. It was further asked that they acknowledge the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, by so doing, recognise, Hamas as a legitimate voice for the Palestinian people’s aspirations for national liberation. The initiative was launched by Nadine Rosa-Rosso, a teacher and independent communist militant living in Bruxelles. It is a result of the Beirut Resistance Forum from 16-18 January 2009. |–March 12, 2009
d) Signed the petition for a call for Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo, prominent writer and human rights advocate, who has been detained since December 8, 2008 for signing Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reforms and human rights. This petition is initiated by Social Research: An International Quarterly of the Social Sciences, a US-based Journal. We believe Liu Xiaobo is being held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, and therefore in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, as well as Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. Liu Xiaobo is a prominent writer and human rights advocate who wrote for the “China in Transition” issue of Social Research (Spring 2006). Liu was arrested on December 8, 2008 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” after co-authoring Charter 08, a declaration initially signed by over 300 individuals that outlines political reforms and calls for greater human rights and democracy in China. If convicted, Liu could face at least three years in prison. He is currently being held at an undisclosed location in Beijing. This petition protests the serious breach of human rights and freedom of speech by the Chinese government. |–March 19, 2009
e) Signed the “FREE BURMA’S PRO DEMOCRACY PRISONERS” petition, organized by Avaaz.org. Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest and 2,000 pro democracy monks and activists are being held in inhumane conditions in Burmese prisons. Their crime: peacefully calling for democracy. This petition is for Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to call for their release. The military government must immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Khun Tun Oo and Min Ko Naing. The release of all political prisoners is the first and most important step towards freedom and democracy in Burma. |–March 20, 2009
f) Endorsed the Campaign to Save the Mekong. This campaign was initiated by Save the Mekong Coalition. The Save the Mekong coalition is a new network formed of local and international groups and ordinary people who all share a concern about the future of the Mekong River. The mighty Mekong River presently provides food, life and inspiration to millions of people in mainland Southeast Asia. But threats to the Mekong River are mounting and help is needed. The governments of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand are planning to build 11 big dams on the river’s mainstream. If built, these dams would destroy the river’s rich fisheries, placing at risk the livelihoods and food security of millions of people. The Save the Mekong coalition is working to protect the river, its resources and people’s livelihoods, and is calling for better ways to meet energy and water needs. |–March 26, 2009
g) Endorsed the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. It is a Call for Global Democratic Oversight of International Financial and Economic Institutions. Triggered by the global financial crisis, the world community faces a huge social and economic disruption. The poorest in the world are those most affected. Potentially grave repercussions on political stability and democracy are to be feared. The situation requires rapid and effective global responses. An appropriate institutional setting has to be set up to regulate and re-orient the financial system. We call on the United Nations and the governments of its member states to support the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in their deliberations on the reform of international monetary, financial and economic institutions. We urge the Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System set up by the President of the UN General Assembly to consider the proposal and to express its support. |–March 28, 2009
h) Signed the “Tell Gordon to Act Now!” Petition, initiated by Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD). The financial crisis has graphically demonstrated to people in rich and poor countries that the current international economic system doesn’t work. There is a need for a radically different economic system which puts people and the planet first. The only sustainable way to rebuild the global system is to create a fair distribution of wealth that provides decent jobs and public services for all, to end global poverty and inequality and to build a green economy. It was called upon the G20 leaders to Put People First when they meet in London on April 2nd. |– March 28, 2009
• February 2009:
a) Signed “SOLIDARITY FAST FOR ZIMBABWE” pledging campain by Avaaz.org. Around the world pledgers will be fasting from sun up to sun down on Sunday 1st February, and as they do so Kumi Naidoo will announce the Global Solidarity Fast to African leaders, who meet that day in Ethiopia. This type of action could help these decision makers to reject Mugabe’s attempt to cling to power, and agree to take action to resolve Zimbabwe’s humanitarian and human rights crisis. February 7, 2009.
• January 2009:
a) Signed the “GAZA: STOP THE BLOODSHED” petition. With over 400 Palestinians and 4 Israelis killed and the death toll mounting daily, it’s urgently needed to demand that world leaders take strong diplomatic action to end the violence. An Israeli ground invasion is believed to be imminent and would claim many more lives — fast action must be taken to demand that our leaders act now.
The petition calls for robust international action to achieve an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and take further crucial steps to pursue a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. January 2, 2009.
b) Endorsed the “People’s Statement on the Global Crisis”. The people of the world suffer the greatest from the current economic and financial crisis, the worst in a century. Supposed measures to deal with the crisis further aggravate the hardship of the world’s poor and flagrantly serve to bail out and perpetuate the oppressive and exploitative system of monopoly capitalism. A radical overhaul is needed and societies must be built that deliver
livelihoods, incomes, education, health and housing for the people. January 7, 2009.
c) Signed Open Letter to Obama to join Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy in asking President Obama to make good on his promise of hope.
Every time we saw one of those Obama posters with “HOPE” on it, we felt it. Hope, that is. Hope against hope that perhaps this new President would pursue a just peace with the same fervor that he pursued hope before he was elected. And in the short time since the inauguration, we’re seeing reasons to believe our hope was justified. But, here’s the big challenge: Israel, Palestine, Gaza. Turning hope into reality comes down to how President Obama deals with this ongoing tragedy. It’s a tall order, we know. But the momentum that began on inauguration day won’t last long, and the cease fire in Gaza has only ceased the worst of the bombs and violence. We have a window and we must take advantage of it. We must hope – and HOPE BIG, January 31, 2009.