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June 10th, 2015

Breaking the isolation through education

type:Donation, NGO, Project, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In spring 2013 the founders of “Teachers on the Road” started a tour through more than 50 refugee shelters throughout Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. On this tour they encountered numerous defiancies: Fully overcrowded and and down-and-out camps, lack of medical care, no access to the Internet and often no way for the refugees to learn German. This means total isolation for people.

When they asked the refugees about their concerns the most frequently expressed desire was to learn German as soon as possible.
This is how Teachers on the road came to life. The aim is to break the isolation under which most refugees have to suffer and to allow them more social participation by learning the local language.

The project is now running for 2 years. In Frankfurt, Oberursel, Mainz, Darmstadt and Ludiwgshafen groups of voluntary teachers offer free lessons in German language 2-5 times per week for refugees. Since the start of the project a total of about 250 teachers teach refugees in Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate.

In order to expand the project to other regions of Germany and to carry out initiative events, “Teachers on the road” is dependent on donations. Also for the purchase of German books and to cover travel costs and printing costs for their self-created teaching materials, they are in need of funds. The project is constantly in need of people who would like to teach refugees in German or to assist them with administrative formalities or finding accommodation.

Support this important and meaningful project by donating or- if you are living in one of the German regions mentioned above- take action and become a teacher on the road!
1984 is now
June 06th, 2015
You have nothing to hide?
type:Allgemein, Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Governments are snooping on everything we do online. State intelligence and security agencies are using mass surveillance to hoover up our private emails, calls, internet searches, contact lists, phone locations, webcam images and more.

In particular, the intelligence services of the five English-speaking countries Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States ("Five Eyes" -Alliance) are hoarding and organizing informations for decades, including information obtained through mass surveillance.

The UN Human Rights stated in a resolution of 5 July 2012 that "the same rights that people have offline, also need to be protected online". Monitoring shall only take place if there is an actual suspicion and surveillance becomes necessary, proportionate and arranged judicially.

Everyone can be affected by mass surveillance today ....Get active! Sign the petition and ask the governmets of the "Five Eyes" to stop their programs for mass surveillance!

photo: Ronald Gerber
June 03rd, 2015
Saving the lives of threatened artists
type:NGO, Project
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The Artist Protection Fund (APF) is a three-year pilot program at the Institute of International Education. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, APF will make life-saving fellowship grants to threatened artists from any field of artistic endeavor, and place them at host universities and arts centers in safe countries where they can continue their work.

The Institute welcomes expressions of interest from arts organizations around the world interested in hosting threatened artists. Hosts can be traditional university art education programs and arts residencies, as well as arts centers, performing arts organizations and less traditional artistic communities. Hosts will be requested to match the fellowship support, through contributions that may include housing, studio space, art supplies, and other support from their networks.

The Institute welcomes inquiries from threatened artists directly or from individuals or institutions nominating threatened artists for support. APF is for artists who are facing or have recently fled from immediate, severe, and targeted threats to their lives and/or careers in their home countries or countries of residence. Information on how to apply will be available in the autumn of 2015.

Photo: Waayaha Cusub, Somali Hip Hop group

Credits: Humanitarian Bazaar
Obama stop Shell
May 28th, 2015
Obama, stop Shell!
type:NGO, Petition, Project, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Shell is moving towards the Arctic.

A recent decision by the Obama administration put Shell a step closer to drilling in the icy waters of the Alaskan Arctic. Amongst the growing industry and investor scepticism about the safety and value of offshore Arctic oil exploration, Shell is desperate to drill in the Arctic to increase its profits.

The US government’s own analysis estimates that there’s a 75% chance of a large oil spill if Shell is able to successfully extract oil from the Arctic. And industry experts say this would be virtually impossible to clean up.This is Shell’s vision of the future. The one they’re struggling to hide.

The good news is that the global movement to protect the Arctic and our climate is growing stronger by the day. And you can be a part of this movement.

Watch and share this film with your friends and family to make sure Shell doesn’t get away with it. Sign the petition and help Save the Arctic!
May 25th, 2015
The Forgotten of Africa
type:NGO, Petition, Project, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

At Muala Prison in Malawi, the prisoners sleep on the concrete floor, so tightly packed they cannot turn except en masse. Some cells hold 160 prisoners. A daily meal consists of one portion of porridge while they have to spend 14 hours each day in a cell, unable even to move. The water is dirty; the toilets foul. Disease is rife.

The inhumanity of African prisons is a shame that hides in plain sight. Black Beach Prison in Equatorial Guinea is notorious for torture. Food is so scarce in Zambia’s jails that gangs wield it as an instrument of power. Congo’s prisons have housed children as young as eight. Kenyan prisoners perish from easily curable diseases like gastroenteritis.

Some of Africa’s one million or so prisoners - nobody knows how many - are not lawbreakers, but victims of incompetence or corruption or justice systems that are simply understaffed, underfinanced and overwhelmed. Kenya’s former prisons commissioner suggested last year that with proper legal representation, a fifth of his nation’s 55,000 prisoners might be declared innocent.

The most immediate and apparent inhumanity is the overcrowding that Africa’s broken systems breed, compounded by disease, filth, abuse, and a lack of food, soap, beds, clothes or recreation. A survey of 27 African governments by Penal Reform International found that national prison systems operated, on average, at 141 percent of capacity. Individual prisons were even more jammed: Luzira Prison, Uganda’s largest, holds 5,000 in a 1950’s facility built for 600.

SAVE A LIFE wants to offer information through their website to support awareness of the inhumane circumstances which Africa's prisoners have to endure. There are several ways one can help and make a difference in a prisoners life. Write a prisoner a personal letter and make his day, send a care package or participate in one of their campaigns by signing a petition against violations of human rights and social injustice as it prevails in Africa's prisons.
May 21st, 2015
Jam the culture of fear with a wave of compassion!
type:Crowd Funding, Donation, NGO, Petition
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The most persecuted peoples are right now taking to ‘floating coffins’ to flee violence and seek sanctuary for their families. But instead of responding with humanity, the governments of the Global North are closing their doors, letting those who need a safe shelter, food and medical care, starve and drown at sea. The Mediterranean and Andaman Seas are becoming graveyards.

Burma is driving the Rohingya out, and thousands of families are drifting helplessly at sea, forced to drink their own urine because Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia had turned them away. Syrians and Africans risk drowning every week off the coast of Southern Europe, braving the terrifying crossing as their last hope to escape torture, hunger, and traffickers.

This is the biggest refugees crisis since World War II, but so far governments have let them die in a climate of rising xenophobia.

A small donation would help funding rescue operations at sea; building an Avaaz refugee team to assist those missions and resettlement, and create effective lobby cells to get leaders to open up borders; and launch ads to counter the racism.

Together we can help rescue refugees, and rescue our shared humanity.
Pledge to urgently launch the Avaaz refugee campaign - Avaaz will only process your donations if it is raised enough to start saving lives.
Tanisha Anderson
May 19th, 2015
type:Allgemein, NGO, Project, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In order to shed light on Black women’s experiences with police violence, the African American Policy Forum, in partnership with One Billion Rising, BYP100, The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Black Lives Matter NYC, and many other community organizations will hold #SayHerName: A Vigil in Remembrance of Black Women and Girls Killed by the Police.

The event will lift up the stories of Tanisha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Miriam Carrey, Michelle Cusseaux, Shelly Frey, and Kayla Moore - women who died due to police violence. These deaths have gone primarily ignored, unaccounted for and unpunished. Although Black women are killed, raped and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in our popular understanding of racialized state violence.

For the first time the family members of these women are coming together to create a space to honor their lost loved ones.

Join this event on Wednesday, May 20 at 5:30pm, Union Square South, NYC and take part in this moment of remembrance and sympathy.
May 19th, 2015
A signal to Delta: Stop transporting animal trophies!
type:Allgemein, Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Last year, more than a thousand rhinos were poached in South Africa, elephant populations have plummeted 66% in just five years, and the export of lion "trophies" has increased ten-fold-hunters bringing home animals' heads and bodies to stuff and mount. In response to such threats, South African Airways has declared an immediate, worldwide ban on transporting any hunting trophies made from rhinos, lions, elephants, and tigers.

As one of the world’s largest airlines, and the only U.S. carrier with direct service to South Africa, Delta Air Lines is in a key position to help protect these and other vulnerable wild animal populations from further hunting and poaching pressures.

South African Airways made it clear this ban applies to all such hunting trophies, without exception, "even if the shipper has a valid permit issued by the relevant authorities." "With the depletion to near extinction of wildlife that once roamed in prolific numbers," there is no justifying the slaughter of such incredible animals for sport and vanity. But for South African Airways' embargo to have the most effective result in saving animals’ lives, it is imperative that the hunting trophy transport ban is honored across all air carriers.

Join Chris Green, Chair of the American Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee, to stop the carriage of animal trophies by signing his petition with a letter to the CEO of Delta Airlines.
May 18th, 2015
Shell no!
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The US government just gave oil giant Shell the go-ahead to drill in the pristine Arctic, putting our climate and the ocean’s majestic wildlife under grave risk.

Before Shell can get to the Arctic, their monster ship needs to gear up in Seattle. One man has the power to turn Shell away - Seattle's green mayor Ed Murray. He's already told Shell that they don't have permission to service their rigsin Seattle, but they've essentially said that they're coming whether the City likes it or not.

Now it's up to Ed to decide whether to lay down or go all-in for the Arctic. We know he's with us, but it takes real guts to stand up to one of the most powerful companies in history. Let's show the Mayor that the whole world stands with him and the people of Seattle in doing whatever it takes to say "Shell No!" to Arctic drilling.

Sign the petition to support the protest against Shell.
May 16th, 2015
Put an end to torture!
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

“I am lying there in a pool of blood for at least a few days - no water, no food. I am trying to remember all the good things in my life, my children, my wife. And mentally I am preparing myself that I am going to die.” This is Muhammad Bekzhanov, a critical voice of Uzbekistan, imprisoned since 16 years, describing some of the torture he was subjected to in prison.

In 1999 Uzbekistani security forces tortured journalist Muhammad Bekzhanov, editor of a banned opposition newspaper. They beat him with rubber truncheons, suffocated him and gave him electric shocks, all with the aim of forcing him to confess to “anti-state” offences. In court, this “confession” was used to sentence him to 15 years in prison. Despite numerous complaints from his lawyer and family, the authorities have never investigated allegations that Muhammad was tortured and were dismissed in court. In doing so, the trial flagrantly violated international standards of fairness. Muhammad remains in prison.

Muhammad Bekzhanov's case is not unique in Uzbekistan! Men and women in one of the world’s most repressive states are routinely pressured to sign confessions in the most brutal ways imaginable. Courts rely heavily on these so-called “confessions”, whilst judges routinely ignore or dismiss allegations of torture.

The President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, can change this. He can sign a decree instructing legislators to amend the Criminal Procedure Code to explicitly outlaw the use of torture to obtain confessions. Support Amnesty International and sign the letter to President Karimov to put an end to this inhumane method in the name of justice!