In advance of President Obama’s release of budget requests for the 2014 financial year,we ask you to sign a petition calling him to preserve funding for HIV/AIDS programs. We have 30 days to collect 100,000 signatures to garner response from the White House, so please take a moment to SIGN THE PETITION!
A joint publication released in September 2012 by Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) estimates 360,000 families on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia have been forced from their land due to violence. Representatives from these organizations travelled to Colombia this June to assess progress of Colombia’s Victims’ and Land Restitution Law, which aims to provide reparations to victims of conflict. This law is funded and promoted by the U.S. government. USAID states that although 15,208 claims have been made, no land has yet been restituted. Family displacement continues to take place today as large-scale corporations legally and illegally take over land.
Research carried out by LWR and LAWGEF reveals that local governments have little know-how and no resources for carrying out Victims’ Law implementation. Additionally, high risk of corruption exists in properly identifying victims, since it is determined by local authorities. These issues are compounded by the fact that victims lack legal assistance to help them defend their rights and access restitution. Families without titles to their land such as many campesinos, Afro-Colombian and indigenous people, are especially vulnerable to reverse land reform. Read the rest of this entry »
Take action and write a letter asking the presidential candidates to support Haiti by committing to support US policies that promote justice in the Caribbean nation.
Nearly three years after the earthquake, Haitians continue to face a humanitarian crisis. The needs of the Haitian people are basic and widespread, ranging from lack of food-security and education, to health-care and housing,.
Currently, 369,000 people are living in tent camps set up for temporary relief after the January 2010 earthquake. The destruction and damage of 47% of houses in Port-au-Prince has left many Haitians with inadequate housing options. Added to this, the vast majority (about 80%) of Haitians make less than $2 or less per day. Now, tent camp inhabitants are being forcefully evicted, at times illegally, by both government authorities and private land-owners, giving families no choice but to retreat to damaged homes or dangerous hillsides for shelter. Opportunities for housing are extremely limited, especially with no viable permanent housing plan in place for the future.
Christ calls us to respond to human needs when he said, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ [Matthew 25:40]. We have an opportunity to seek justice on behalf of the Haitian people by making it clear to the presidential candidates that this country and its issues should not be forgotten.
Click here to write a letter to President Obama and Governor Romney encouraging them to remember Haiti in their administration when elected.
On Tuesday, September 11, the MCC Washington Office hosted five members of the U.S.-Mexico Caravan for Peace at a brown bag lunch. Each shared personal stories of tragedy and loss due to the drug war with meeting attendees, mostly members representing faith groups from across the United States.
Over 60,000 people have died in Mexico due to drug violence in recent years. Victims of the war have unified to support the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD), founded by poet and peace leader, Javier Sicilia. Since the murder of his son, Juan Francisco, Sicilia has been a loud voice in the fight for peace, drawing crowds throughout Mexico. He has since led the Caravan for Peace, a group of over 80 activists who have travelled through August and September 2012 in the United States, starting in San Diego, visiting cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and ending their journey in Washington, DC.
Caravan representatives outlined a number of U.S. policy items in need of change, including a call for the U.S. government to cease military support for the drug war, which Caravaners argue only fuels the problem. Numerous connections between impacts of the drug war in both Mexico and the United States were drawn, calling for open dialogue and collaboration between nations, particularly on the issues of immigration, money laundering, and gun trafficking.
A representative of Mexico’s indigenous community discussed issues surrounding North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the open window it has given foreign corporations to pillage and pollute the land, highlighting that they do not directly oppose development. Multinational corporations are reaping all of the benefits of Mexico’s natural resources, with no accountability measures in place to include local communities and prioritize sustainable development.
The caravan participants called on U.S. citizens to advocate for a change in U.S. policy toward Mexico, highlighting that the current militaristic approach to addressing the drug trade has only fueled more violence and death.
For more information:
Middle Eastern kings and princes are about to force up to 48,000 people in Tanzania from their land to make way for corporate-sponsored big game hunting. But Tanzanian President Kikwete has shown before that he will stop deals like this when they generate negative press coverage. Click to deliver a media blitz that will push President Kikwete to stop the landgrab and save these Maasai.
For More Information:
The Guardian: “Tourism is a curse to us”
News Internationalist Magazine: “Hunted down”
Society for Threatened People: Briefing on the eviction of the Loliondo Maasai
Voices of Loliondo: Short film from Loliondo on impact of eviction on Maasai
FEMACT: Report by 16 human rights investigators & media on violence in Loliondo
Haiti has literally struck gold. Potentially $20 billions worth of it, deep beneath its mountains, along with an abundance of silver and copper. But will it be a blessing or a curse? A new investigation from Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) reveals that positive reports in the media, mining companies, and Haitian government officials have been misleading.
Foreign-owned mining companies are making backroom deals so potentially good for the mining companies, and so potentially disastrous for Haiti, that the former head of Haiti’s state mining agency recently denounced them in an exclusive interview with HGW, calling on his government to either right the wrongs or “leave the minerals underground and let future generations exploit them.”
The ten-month investigation by a team of students, journalists and community radio members made startling discoveries, like:
• Almost 1,500 square miles (about 2,400 square kilometers) of Haitian territory – 15 percent of the country – are already under research, exploration or exploitation licenses or “mining conventions” controlled by US and Canadian firms.
• Newmont Mining, the world’s Number 2 gold producer and operator of the largest pit mine in the Americas, is heavily invested with Eurasian, and is considering at least five possible mine sites.
• Haiti’s former Minister of the Economy and Finances is now a paid consultant for Newmont.
• Two Haitian ministers recently signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Newmont and Eurasian that says – in violation of Haitian law – Eurasian and Newmont can begin drilling at one of their exploration sites. Haitian legislation states no drilling can occur without a mining convention.
• Nobody appears to be telling the communities in Haiti’s north what is going on, and what deals have been made behind closed doors.
Read the full article by Haiti Grassroots Watch here.
Patricia Kisare writes about the need for an international debt court in the latest Third Way Cafe.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are two of the largest sources of sovereign loans for low-income countries. While most of these loans are for poverty alleviation, the debt burdens they have created are themselves creating cycles of poverty.
High interest rates have made it more expensive for countries to service these loans, forcing governments to spend more on debt services than on social services for their citizens. As a result, many low-income countries continue to struggle with paying off their sovereign debts.
Read the entire article here.