Read, Debate: Engage.
Read, Debate: Engage.
map tooltip

Support projects we like

October 02nd, 2017

Defend Europe’s last ancient Forest!

type:Donation, Petition, Protest, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland is Europe’s last primeval forest, a priceless shared heritage. Its trees are being cut to make plywood and pallets. The only thing standing between the trees and the harvesters is the power of people’s protest.

After taking power, the current Polish government approved intensive logging in protected parts of the Forest. The excuse is fighting an outbreak of bark beetle – an argument refuted by Polish and European scientists. In reality, the wood is being sold for profit. Only since the beginning of this year more than 50,000 trees were cut down, many of them over a 100 years old.

Just a few weeks ago, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) responded to the EU Commission’s legal complaint and ordered Poland to halt logging to prevent irreversible damage, before the Court issues its final judgement. But the Polish authorities have ignored all demands to save the Forest, voices of scientists and NGOs, protests, petitions, UNESCO’s demands and even the ECJ’s order, making Poland the first ever EU country to defy a decision of the Court.

Is there no power that can stop them?

On the ground, they’re called Defenders of the Forest. The people who stop harvesters, block the roads and disrupt the logging, sometimes with their own bodies. In doing so they save hundreds of trees from being lost. Now many face harassment, fines, court cases and physical violence. To keep going, they need to know they’re not alone – and to stay safe, they need visibility.

Help bringing more public attention to what is happening in the Białowieża Forest by sharing this article, sign the Open Letter of the Defenders of the Forest or donate money to them. With your help, you’re not just showing your solidarity – you’re becoming a Defender of the Forest yourself!

December 14th, 2017
A three-year-old is hoping for your signature!
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Meşale Tolu is in custody for almost 230 days. It hurts the young German journalist and translator that she can not be with her little son Serkan (3). He whitnessed the special police unit storm the apartment and arrest his mother. Tolu wrote him a letter from prison, which was published in the German press. She writes: "When I decided to bring you to the world, I dreamed of better times."

Tolu's moving letter motivated a former teacher of hers to start a petition campaign with a message to the German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel : Help the young woman and demand her immediate release!

Meşale Tolu was arrested in April this year while working as a translator for a human rights organisation in Turkey which was - so far - not on the black list of the Turkish authorities. She's accused for being part of a terror organization. A clear political reason behind the arrest see Tolu's friends, family and supporters since the young woman had worked for a left-wing news agency. And thus became another target of the anti-democrat government of the Turkish President Erdoğan.

In her petition text Angelika Lanninger, Tolu's teacher at the Anna-Essinger-Gymnasium in Ulm, appeals: "We teachers appreciated her as a thoughtful and dedicated student and are very concerned about her detention. " Over 50 colleagues have signed.

In less then a week the campaign gained the signature of more than 90.000 supporters (!). Let's support this important petition and send a clear sign of care and consideration to the opressive Turkish government: #FreeMeşaleTolu
December 11th, 2017
Germany: Right to information about legal abortion
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

On her homepage, Kristina Hänel, a general practitioner from Gießen in Germany, enables interested people to receive information about a legal abortion via a link. She informs about the legal requirements, as well as the methods and risks of an abortion. In addition, she offers a personal consultation for interested parties. This neutral providing of information is interpreted as "advertisement" by anti-abortionists. In the past ten years Kristina Hänel has been reiterated by anti-abortionists for advertising abortion which is illegal by law §219a of the German Penal Code- a criminal law paragraph from 1933, which was originally created to i.a. criminalize Jewish doctors during the course of the establishment of the Nazi-regime and its jurisdictions. Ultimately in 1943 the criminal law standard was restructured according to eugenic and population-political aspects. In the course of the legislative changes on abortion, §219a was changed only slightly.

The anti-abortionists use regularly §219a to inform, harass and intimidate doctors. On their websites, the movement lists doctors and clinics that carry out abortions and list out the innumerable criminal charges that have been filed so far.

There are detailed legal regulations in Germany on doctor's rights for advertisement as well as the right for abortion and obtaining information about it. Kristina Hänel considers the §219a which claims that advertising abortion is a legal crime against life as outdated and superfluous. In her opinion, it hinders the right of women for medical information about a legal abortion. That way, counseling centers decide where women can go to carry out an abortion, since many doctors are intimidated and removed their informations on legal abortion from their websites out of fear of prosecution. Kristina Hänel thinks  that women must have a free choice of doctors and be able to inform themselves medically and properly. On her petition page, she writes:

"I am in favor of the women's right to get access to information about abortion and the medical services of doctors. Information law is a human right. §219a hinders this right."

If you consider the right to information as a human right and the right to access information about legal abortions as a women's right, then you may support Kristina Hänels petition on The petition will be delivered by December 12th to the Germany Bundestag.
December 07th, 2017
Act Now to Save the Sumatran Rhino
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Being the rarest in the world is great if you are a stamp or coin, but if you are an animal, the distinction is far less sought after. Unfortunately, the Sumatran rhino, is just that, one of the rarest rhino species in the world. With fewer than 100 living in the wild.

The smallest of the rhino family - vocal and hairy - the pachyderm can only be found in a few spots of dense forest in Indonesia, Malaysia and possibly even Myanmar. And just like their African cousins, their hard growth horns - despite being significantly smaller than those of their western counterparts - have been their downfall. They are used in Chinese medicine and as ornamental dagger handles in the Middle east.

As of mid 2017, conservation groups have been in agreement as to what needs to be done to save them from certain extinction. A full-blown concerted effort to increase captive-breeding efforts, but despite being one of the nation's iconic creatures, the government seems to be dragging its feet to help get the ball rolling.

Conservationists have cited various reasons why efforts have stalled including red tape, nonsensical arbitrary decisions and territorial squabbling. Even the most basic measures to protect the species like on-the-ground protection from rangers, have been frustrated. Yet all the while the chance that the rhino will disappear becomes more and more likely.

If theses beautiful creatures are to be saved, government, not just conservationists must act and help assist in any plans that could bring them back from the edge of extinction. However, six months after the decision was made to implement a capture and captive breeding program, the government has not lifted a finger.
It is imperative the Indonesian government acts now to assist conservationist in their effort to save the Sumatran rhino. Any more delays puts their future in jeopardy.

Please sign the petition and tell Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to take action now and help in the efforts to implement the rhino's last chance at survival - the captive-breeding program.
December 02nd, 2017
Stop the promotion of trophy hunting!
type:NGO, Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) recently proposed formation of an “International Wildlife Conservation Council” to promote the hunting of iconic wildlife species overseas, including species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), and make it easier to bring grisly trophies back to the U.S. Adding insult to injury is the proposed makeup of the council. DOI is stacking the deck with trophy hunting lobbyists and representatives of the gun and ammunition industry.

The U.S. already imports thousands of trophies annually from animals threatened with extinction. In fact, the U.S. accounts for 71% of the global imports of threatened species like lions, giraffes, and elephants. The U.S. government should focus on improving habitat conservation, preventing poaching, and reducing human-wildlife conflict for these species – not promoting a cruel and inhumane practice disguised as conservation!

DOI is asking for public comments for only a few more days, so the time is NOW to tell them to make key changes to the council’s mandate to ensure that individual animals are valued and true conservation is prioritized.

Sign the prepared template email of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to send a quick note to Interior Secretary Zinke, demand a ban to trophy hunting and help iconic wildlife species, including lions, elephants and giraffes.
November 28th, 2017
Germany: No more separations of families!
type:Donation, NGO, Petition
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Many refugees in Germany have close relatives left behind in their countries of origin, in neighboring states or on the Balkan route. In many cases it is just too dangerous for women and children to follow up, often the financial resources are just enough for the escape of only one person. While those arriving in Germany sometimes wait for years for a decision in their asylum procedure, their families often wait under the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.

However, with the "Asylum Package II" the possibility for a family reunification for subsidiary protected persons was suspended for two years; their situation has become even more hopeless - because now, also refugees from Syria only receive subsidiary protection. In plain language, this means a separation for years for many families: In addition to the duration of the asylum procedure and the tightening of laws, the waiting period for a visa application in the German embassies of the neighboring Syrian countries takes many months.

The German Bundestag must finally act on these points! The protection and value of marriage and family is anchored in the German constitution. It must also be fully valid for refugees and their families. Therefore the German association PRO ASYL e.V. demands an end to the suspension of family reunification for subsidiary protected persons and an advancement of visa procedures for their family members who are entitled to follow-up.

Support the work of PRO ASYL e.V. by signing their petition, donation and/or spreading their articles in your circles!
Reza Shahabi_solidarity
November 24th, 2017
Iran: Freedom for Reza Shahabi and Esmail Abdi
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In Iran, trade unionists are subjected to continued persecution by the authorities. Their trade union rights and civil liberties are denied and trade union leaders are detained for reasons connected with their activities in defence of the interests of workers.

The Education International and the International Transport Workers' Federation are particularly concerned about the fate of two of them: Reza Shahabi and Esmail Abdi.

Reza Shahabi, treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was under medical leave of absence after suffering severe forms of ill treatment while in detention. He was denied an extension to his medical leave and is now back in prison. Furthermore, his detention was extended by 968 days as a result of his absence. Reza Shahabi has joined a hunger strike on August 9th this year to protest against the inhumane detention conditions in Iranian prisons.

Esmail Abdi, a leader of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association sentenced to six years in jail on bogus charges, was transferred to hospital as a consequence of his 38 days of hunger strike in protest of the continued repression of teachers and the lack of judicial independence in Iran. He was returned to Evin Prison two days later. Esmail Abdi was briefly released on bail in June only to be rearrested on July 27th.

Sign the letter of Education International and the International Transport Workers' Federation and help them urging the Iranian authorities to permanently release Esmail Abdi and Reza Shahabi!

Credits: Ritzy Living Wage
oury jalloh
November 20th, 2017
#OuryJalloh – It was murder!
type:Petition, Project, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Oury Jalloh's name can be found on many walls in Germany - mostly with the title next to it: "It was murder!" The case of Oury Jalloh occured in 2005, when his burnt body was found in the cell of a police station in Dessau, Germany. According to the police officers who had detained the man from Sierra Leone, Jalloh set himself on fire and could not be safed on time. According to a new survey led by the prosecution it is more likely that Jalloh was killed since experts on fire safety, medicine and chemistry all came to the conclusion that Jalloh's death was caused by a third party.

The irregularities in the official account have led to 12 years of campaigning (!) by the Break the Silence initiative, which has financed investigations and successfully pressured prosecutors to keep the case open. Though new documents are now to be added, the case is about to be closed, since it was handed over to a different prosecution department which declares it as sufficiently "clarified".

Mouctar Ouldadah Bah, a close friend of Oury Jalloh, fights since more than ten years for an in-depth investigation and a resumption of the case. With the impending closing of it, he is asking for support and started a petition on Feel encouraged to support the family members and friends of Oury Jalloh, set a clear sign against institutional racism and sign and spread the petition against the closing of his case!
November 16th, 2017
Never again: Support Poland's Antifa movement!
type:Project, Protest, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

On 11th of November, the Polish Indenpendence Day, Fascists and other far-right extremists assembled in Warsaw for a march that has become one of the largest gatherings in Europe for white supremacists. In July this year Poland's Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro initiated a critical juridical reform, giving him the right to dismiss and exchange members of the country’s highest court without any further consultations or consent. Poland is spiraling down into facism on all levels.

NIGDY WIECEJ, meaning 'NEVER AGAIN’, is Poland’s leading anti-racist organization. Their mission is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society in Poland and in the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe. Poland's oldest and most organised Anti-racism organisation had existed as an informal group since 1992 and was officially registered in 1996. The association is particularly concerned with the problem of education against racial and ethnic prejudices among the young.

'NEVER AGAIN' closely monitors racism and discrimination on the ground. Through its national network of voluntary correspondents and regular grass-roots contacts with various minority communities, the association has built the most extensive register of racist incidents and other xenophobic crimes committed in Poland, the so called 'Brown Book'. NEVER AGAIN' has provided expertise to institutions such as the Parliamentary Committee on Ethnic Minorities as well as consulted and influenced legislation on issues of racism and xenophobia. Among others, it successfully campaigned for a ban on racist and neo-nazi activities to be included in Poland’s Constitution. It has consulted the National Action Plan against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and many other key documents. 'NEVER AGAIN' has cooperated with international organizations, including the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Support the work of the 'NEVER AGAIN' association, spread their news and contents through your preferred channels and participate in their actions against racism and xenophobia!
Signup for our monthly newsletter
The Best Picks from Our Editors