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February 04th, 2016

EU: Hours to win a Saudi arms embargo

by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Saudi Arabia is waging a horrific war in Yemen – bombing schools, hospitals, even wedding parties. Many of the weapons used to kill innocent civilians come from EU countries, and tomorrow The European Parliament could vote to stop these deadly arms sales.

The EU is feeling the pressure – a new UN report on Yemen documents over 100 violations of humanitarian law, in direct violation of the EU’s own rules on weapons exports. As long as European companies continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, we are complicit in the breachings of humanitarian law and horrific attacks on civilians that the UN has documented.

Tomorrow’s vote on an EU-wide arms embargo to Saudi Arabia is going down to the wire. Some Memebers of the European Parliament are secretly planning to block the vote and Saudi Arabian lobbyists are trying hard to keep the arms flowing. Now time has come to higher public pressure on the EU-Parliament and tip the balance to ensure Europe is no longer complicit in these horrific war crimes.

Send an urgent message to key MEPs now, then contact them via social media. It is in all our hands to stop war and violence in Yemen. Make it happen!
February 01st, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been waging a methodical crackdown on the media in Turkey for years. Erdogan is persecuting journalists of all colours in an increasingly ferocious manner in the name of combatting terrorism and defending state security. Such as Can Dündar, the editor­ in ­chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and his Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül. Both journalists have been held since the evening of 26 November 2015. They are charged with spying and terrorism because they published evidence of arms deliveries by the Turkish intelligence services to Islamist groups in Syria in May 2015.

The arrest of these two journalists is the latest extreme to which political use of the Turkish judicial system has been taken. Many journalists have been detained on spurious charges of terrorist propaganda and insulting President Erdogan. The regime has also been using economic levers to put growing pressure on the media, while draconian laws have been passed. Turkey is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

Sign the petition and appeal to the Turkish authorities to free Can Dündar and Erdem Gül without delay​, to drop all charges against them, and to free all other journalists who are currently detained in connection with their journalism or the opinions they have expressed!
January 25th, 2016
type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In times of genetic food and lobbyism in agricultural economy we all know that what we eat lies no longer in our hands. The food industry, lobbyists and politicians control what ends up on our plates and which information we receive about our food.

foodwatch is a Berlin-based, independent NGO that exposes practices of the global food-industry that are not in the interests of consumers. foodwatch fights for the right of consumers to know exactly what they are buying and to enjoy healthy, unmodified and uncontaminated food.

Thanks to independent research and analysis, foodwatch tells the public which food products contain toxins, naming the parties responsible and tell consumers about the barefaced lies used in food advertising. foodwatch also puts on pressure by mobilising consumer protest activities and take offenders to court on behalf of consumers.

Support foodwatch in their more than necessary and important work by donating and spreading their contents through your channels!
January 20th, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Ashraf, a 35-year-old poet and artist, is sentenced to be executed by Saudi Arabian authorities for his art.

He was initially arrested in 2013 following a complaint registered against him by another Saudi citizen, who said that the poet was promoting atheism and spreading blasphemous ideas among young people. Ashraf was released the following day, but then rearrested in 2014, when he was charged with 'apostasy' – he had supposedly questioned religion and spread atheist thought with his poetry. In consequence the General Court sentenced him to death.

Throughout this whole process, Ashraf was denied access to a lawyer – a clear violation of international human rights law, as well as Saudi Arabia’s national laws.

Apostasy (Riddah, in Arabic) is the renouncing of Islam. Saudi Arabia follows Sharia (Islamic) law, and ‘apostasy’ can be punishable by death. Yet ‘apostasy’ is not a crime – it is a violation of someone’s right to belief or choose our own religion. It should never incur punishment.

The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – it violates our right to life and our right to be free from torture. Sign Amnestay International's petition to demand the freedom of Ashraf and give Saudi Arabian authorieties a signal to act according the international law!

January 17th, 2016
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Turkey has been accused of violating academic freedom after the detention of 27 academics who had signed a petition demanding "an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state" in Eastern Turkey. The signatories have been accused of "terror propaganda" while this intervention of the Turkish state itself resembles an act of terror against its own rule of law.

The petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime” was signed by the staff from 90 universities calling themselves “Academics for Peace”, among them well-known political scientist Noam Chomsky and philosopher Slavoj Žižek. The signatories are demanding an immediate end to the military interventions in Eastern Turkey including massacres against the Kurds and accusing the Turkish government of breaching international law and violating human rights.

In order to crub further declarations of solidarity, the webpage of the petition was blocked soon after the call for signature by Turkish authorities. Still a collective of 1400 international academics - and soon 35.000 Turkish students who declared their solidarity with the "Academics for Peace" in a seperate petition - managed to gain the attention of the Turkish government, international media and human rights organisations.

Despite all state censorship, it is still possible to sign the petition via E-mail. As an academic you can support "Acedamics for Peace" by sending an E-Mail with your signature, name of your university and your title to
January 14th, 2016
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In the besieged town of Madaya, starving children are eating tree leaves, cats and insects. The Assad regime is literally starving over 40,000 people to death.

A truce to lift the siege on Madaya and other cities was brokered in September, but civilians are still trapped inside without food and medicine. Aid conveys are right now entering the town, and with all the world's attention on Madaya, there is finally a chance to get the siege lifted entirely to save the people of Madaya.

Help the Avaaz team to achieve a one million strong outcry calling on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intervene and work with all sides! This way we could save thousands of families from starving to death in Madaya. Add your voice to this urgent petition!
January 11th, 2016
type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

In Cologne several women were sexually harassed, threatened and robbed during the New Year's Eve celebrations around the city centre. The victims stated in their reports to the police that the culprits were of "Arabic or North-African looks". While the police is investigating, German media is not holding back in profiling the perpetrators racially, thus repeating and spreading a now widely perceived imagery of the dangerous, criminal, misogynist "Arabic or North African man" leading to a hightened tension over migrants deriving from those regions.

The problematic spreading of such imagery is not only creating new racist suspect profiles but over all serves already prevailing prejudices against People of Colour. In times of a global refugee crisis and a general strengthening of the political right wing in Europe, it becomes more than necessary that journalists and other opinion makers in media overthink their rhetorics in reporting on topics which include People of Colour and crime.

The European Race & Imagery Foundation (ERIF) is an NGO which dedicates itself to the topic of racially motivated representations of People of Colour and especially Black people. Namely they are interested in how European understandings of home, belonging, space, citizenship and identity are racialised. ERIF aims to conduct critical research of the various media expressions, provide education for a broader audience and raise awareness of the counter movements and narratives taking place throughout the continent.

Support this meaningful platform by donating and/or sharing their content through your channels and help attaining a better understanding and sensitization of contemporary negative representations of people of colour, especially in the media!

Digital Art: Nkiru Oparah via
December 24th, 2015
type:Crowd Funding, Donation, Project
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Three religions under the same roof? A synagogue, a church and a mosque, all in one building with a common entrance area? Some would call this utopic in times like these. But Rabbi Tovia Ben Chorin, Pastor Gregor Hohberg and Imam Kadir Sanci state a different perspective: All three men of God are on the special mission in promoting the creation of a unique house of worship for all three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The three separate sections of the building will be linked by a communal room in the center. According to the project's webpage this will serve as a meeting place, where worshippers and members of the public can come together and learn more about the religions and each other. No joking! Where? In Berlin, of course! The Petriplatz was chosen as a suitable location for the interreligious building since the fundaments of the city's first church lie beneath the former city square, used as a parking in the last few decades.

The construction of the house is already in progress. The site fences on Petriplatz are decorated with information posters on the project for passers-by. So far almost 1700 donors chipped into the project, adding up an amount of 1.014.780. This sounds like a lot of money but the average costs for the construction of a small communal church already total an amount of € 1,6 Mio.

Help making a great idea real, getting the blessings of three men of God and being involved into the prayers of all future worshippers of the new and unique in the world House of One!
December 21st, 2015
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Imagine you're a musician or singer. Imagine you get arrested for performing your songs, almost get killed because the message of your music does not conform with the current values of the political systems you live in or a whole concert is cancelled just because you are a female guitar player. Freedom of expression and the the right to participate in cultural life are two human rights which are of special relevance for musicians. In many places on this planet, musicians are facing censorship which often leads even to a total silencing.

FREEMUSE - The World Forum on Music and Censorship is an independent international membership organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. The organisation has Special Consultative Status with the United Nation‘s Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC. Its guidelines are the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as they apply specifically to musicians and composers.

Like all NGOs Freemuse is depeding on funding. You can support the organisation with a financial donation or simply spread their news through your channels!
December 15th, 2015
type:Crowd Funding, Donation
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Bosnia's media environment is plagued by lacking standards, nepotism and political bias. Combined with the world's highest youth unemployment (60%), young people in particular are most negatively affected by unbalanced reporting and corruption and are rarely provided a clear picture of the social and political environments in which they live.

Balkan Diskurs trains 15 aspiring journalists each year in media etiquette, documentary photography and film production, and provides them and other young voices an online platform to be seen and heard. They provide the physical and financial resources necessary to produce high-quality articles, photo essays, videos and cartoons to help young people challenge the harmful status quo of Bosnia's news environment. The platform helps these trainees fight for responsible journalism in their country. For this they need financial support.

Support the crowdfunding campaign of Balkan Diskurs and donate for the qualification of young journalists in Bosnia and Hercegovina!