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thisis
December 03rd, 2018

Kafala legalizes slavery across Lebanon. Share the victims’ stories

type:Campaign, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Over the past few decades, abuse of domestic workers in Lebanon has become endemic. This is apparently the result of a Lebanese sponsorship program known as Kafala, according to which foreign nationals may come to Lebanon as domestic workers as long as they remain with the family that initially sponsored them; should they leave the household assigned to them, their status will be revoked.

In an increasing number of cases, domestic workers have reported unimaginable abuse suffered at the hands of their hosting families. Cases of abuse include withholding (often temporarily) payments, beating, humiliation, and sexual violence. In cases where migrants attempted to escape their abusive captors they often found themselves in limbo- without legal status or employment opportunities. Migrants who wished to return to their home countries through their respective embassies found themselves unable to do so since issuing a visa that would allow them to leave Lebanon would require paying hundreds of dollars in fines to the Lebanese government for violating their status (a sum of money that many of them simply don’t have available).

Kafala, though legal and widely used across the Gulf states as well as in Lebanon and Jordan, has been criticized internationally for its harsh restrictions; some have, accurately, referred to it as a gateway to slavery.

While the termination of Kafala may still be far off in the future, a growing number of individuals and organizations have taken it upon themselves to draw attention to the plight of domestic workers suffering at the hands of abusive hosting families and unable to help themselves due to the limitations of the Kafala system.

This Is Lebanon is an NGO committed to spreading testimonies of abused Kafala workers from across Lebanon. The organization publishes the harrowing tales of workers as well as the names and information of abusive patrons. This Is Lebanon’s content has been shared by prominent news agencies and human rights groups around the world.

If you or one of your loved ones is suffering abuse as a Kafala worker, or if you wish to acquaint yourself with the plight of domestic workers in the region and help spread the message- consult This Is Lebanon’s website.

Image credit: This Is Lebanon website. 

thisislebanon.org
violence
December 01st, 2018
Help make the impact of armed violence known and reduced
type:NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Civilian deaths due to armed violence is rising across the globe. From Pakistan to Mozambique to Sri Lanka, gun violence and explosives used in densely populated areas cost the lives of millions. In 2017, 92% of victims of armed violence were innocent civilians caught in the crossfire or residing in areas that were bombarded.

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) is a nonprofit organization working to reduce the devastation created by armed violence, by researching, reporting on and monitoring cases of armed violence across the globe. Particularly, AOAV focus their research on damage and deaths caused by explosive weapons.

The organization complies detailed reports (by region, country, or year) regarding instances of armed violence and the use of explosive weapons. Their research exposes valuable information regarding the perpetrators of the attacks, the weapons that were used, and the victims. Among the areas they report on regularly are Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Gaza, Libya, and Turkey.

AOAV’s reports are disseminated internationally through various NGOs and think tanks, as well as the United Nations and several governments (including the British Parliament). Their aim is to pressure governments to curb the use of armed violence and ensure that international regulations are respected in areas of conflict.

AOAV offer several volunteer opportunities in two key areas: research (compiling reports on explosive violence and assisting in investigations into the arms trade) and social media advocacy (spreading the message and findings of the organization through various social media channels). If any of those appeal to you, please visit AOAV’s Volunteer Page for more information.

If you are a victim of armed violence, you may consult AOAV’s Victims’ Rights page, where valuable information regarding victim empowerment can be found.

You also may wish to donate to their cause, and assist them in making sure the international community acknowledges the dire consequences of armed violence and, hopefully, takes steps to reduce its impact.

Image credit: AOAV website.

aoav.org.uk
pcc-infographics-v5
November 30th, 2018
Support families’ lawsuit against EU’s reckless climate policy
type:Campaign, Petition
by:Yair Oded

The increasing devastation brought upon by climate change is becoming ever more apparent. Across the world, erratic weather patterns, heat waves, wildfires, droughts, and floods put the lives of millions at risk and significantly damage their livelihoods- whether they are farmers in Kenya or operators of a ski resort in northern Italy. When it comes to global warming- no one is off the hook.

In an attempt to grapple with the planet’s deteriorating climate, the EU has crafted a policy in October of 2014 according to which greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) would be cut by 40 percent compared to the 1990 levels between 2020 and 2030. Recognizing that the 2014 goals were simply not ambitious enough, and would still wreak havoc across the globe,  the EU adopted a more stringent series of GHG restrictions in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Alas, despite ratifying the agreement in October 2016, the EU maintained its emissions rate at the levels stipulated in the insufficient 2014 agreement.

In a thus far unparalleled move, families from several European countries, as well as from Kenya and Fiji, have taken the EU to court for violation of their fundamental human rights. The plaintiffs, supported by scientists, NGOs, and citizens, filed their claim at the Court of Justice of the European Union, accusing the Union of hurting their right to life, health, property, occupational freedom, and culture through its incompetent climate policy.

Under the name of People’s Climate Case, the plaintiffs seek to urge the European Union to make whatever efforts necessary to adhere to its environmental commitments stipulated in the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Please consider signing their petition and express solidarity with the plaintiffs’ cause. It is time to signal to policy makers that abating global temperature rise is an urgent task that must be prioritized.

peoplesclimatecase.caneurope.org
iraqueer
November 12th, 2018
Abolish discrimination and murder of LGBTQ Iraqis
type:Donation, Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Since the Western coalition’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, the lives of all Iraqis have been at risk. Yet, members of the LGBTQ community remain one of the most vulnerable in the country, as they are subject to relentless isolation, intimidation, and deadly violence.

Hateful campaigns against the LGBTQ community have become a cultural norm in Iraq- with the media, local leaders, militias, and government all clamouring for their demise. In 2017 alone, over 200 LGBTQ persons were murdered in Iraq due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Seeing as the government does not recognise LGBTQ members as citizens, it does not grant them any protection from persecution, and in fact often part-takes in it. It has been reported that 41 percent of violence against LGBTQ people was committed by militia members (including ISIS), 27 percent by the people’s own family members, 22 percent by the government of Iraq, and 10 percent by other elements.

IraQueer is a non-for-profit NGO committed to supporting, strengthening, and aiding the LGBTQ community in Iraq and Kurdistan. Founded in 2015, IraQueer is currently the only active LGBTQ advocacy group operating in Iraq and Kurdistan.

One of the organisation’s main areas of focus is raising awareness of the plight of LGBTQ Iraqis both internationally and at home, by partnering with international organisations, publishing statements and information kits, and conducting trainings and information sessions about the challenges facing the community, as well as dispelling prevalent myths, misconceptions, and vendettas against them.

IraQueer also assist LGBTQ Iraqis who seek asylum in other countries by connecting them with lawyers and organisations in their destination countries, providing information regarding the asylum process in each country, and furnishing them with documents they will need to present in order to support their case.

Another important aspect of the organisation’s mission is to increase the visability of LGBTQ Iraqis and boost their confidence and morale by urging them to share their stories, experiences, thoughts, and artistic talents on their website.

If you are an LGBTQ person residing in Iraq and are interested in having your work shared by IraQueer, please contact them at blog@iraqueer.org. If you are interested in publishing your personal story, you may contact them at stories@iraqueer.org

If you are a journalist, professor, or a member of any type of organisation and are interested in getting training on the issue, please contact IraQueer at info@iraqueer.org

And, of course, you may also choose to donate to the organisation by following this link: https://www.iraqueer.org/home/donate/

For more information about the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in Iraq, you may consult the 2018 study published by IraQueer titled Fighting for the Right to Live; the State of LGBT + Human Rights in Iraq, visit their media section, or watch the BBC documentary titled Gay Witch Hunt in Iraq.

Image: retrieved from Iraqueer website

iraqueer.org
subsahara
November 09th, 2018
Support efforts to end hunger in Sub Saharan Africa
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Despite the economic promises researchers predict for Sub-Saharan countries in the next couple of decades, a humanitarian crisis still rages in South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

A deadly combination of climate change-induced droughts and inconsistent weather patterns, political corruption, surging food prices, and deepening poverty has wreaked havoc upon populations in the above mentioned countries. In Somalia, for instance, 73 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day, and life-threatening malnutrition affects a growing number of men, women, and children.

The road to recovery is still long in those countries, and establishing mechanisms that will render such communities self-reliant and resilient would require ongoing efforts by both public and private elements.  

In the meantime, urgent global response and attention are needed to save the lives of the over 20 million Sub Saharans at risk, and support the recovery process of their communities.

Mercy Corps is a humanitarian aid organisation which is dedicating to providing first response to communities facing emergencies. They operate locally and directly with the communities at risk.

The organisation has launched a campaign calling attention to the famine raging in Sub-Saharan Africa (and Yemen) and collecting donations in order to provide relief on the ground, help those communities overcome their current emergency, and build a better life.

Please consider visiting their website and donating to their cause.

Image: Mercy Corps

mercycorps.org
hla
November 07th, 2018
Become a humanitarian and help make communities their own first responders
type:Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Communities around the world face varying types of humanitarian crises and emergencies. From natural disasters, such as droughts, storms, and floods, to famine and ongoing wars, disasters are, regrettably, rife. One of the main factors in determining a community’s ability to deal with and recover from different states of emergency is its degree of self-sufficiency.

Thus, while the role of international aid is important, it is crucial to equip local communities with the tools they need in order to be the first responders to the crisis they’re affected by.

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) is a U.K. based organisation which operates in centers across the world (including in East Africa, the Middle East, the Philippines, and Europe) and grants local community the skill sets required to ensure that humanitarian needs are addressed at the point of impact.  

The HLA focuses on two main areas of influence: Learning and Partnerships. As part of its Learning initiative, the organisation facilitates access of local leaders and community members to knowledge and instructions on how to establish a first-response mechanism based on the specific challenges they face (be it war, earthquakes, tropical storms, etc.). The HLA employs advanced technology to promote learning on various platforms and tools that are easily accessible.

Collaborating with local and international partners is viewed as the HLA’s “cornerstone”. The organisation forges partnerships with both global institutions, such as Unilever and the International Rescue Committee, as well as  with governments, businesses, and numerous NGOs that operate locally, in order to produce self-reliant communities and thus alleviate the pressure from the international system and reduce the socio-economic impact of disasters. The HLA emphasise the importance of securing a mutual benefit for both the community and the partner operating to make it more self-reliant.

If you are part of an individual or an organisation looking to learn how to become a member or a humanitarian, visit HLA’s Kaya website and enroll in one of the many online courses they offer.If you are job hunting and are interested in becoming part of an organisation that promotes positive change around the world by strengthening local communities and rendering them more self-sufficient, consider checking out available job opportunities.

Image: Humanitarian Leadership Academy

humanitarianleadershipacademy.org
Ecological Farmers Supermarket in Lyon
November 05th, 2018
Ditch throwaway plastic packaging!
type:Petition
by:Murat Suner
org:GREENPEACE

According to Greenpeace, UK supermarkets currently generate 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging every year. But our oceans and marine life can’t stomach any more plastic! Greenpeace claims. 

From turtles entangled in six pack rings to whales with stomachs full of plastic bags, the effects of plastic pollution are devastating.

The UK supermarket chain Iceland has announced its own-brand packaging is going plastic-free.

By ditching plastic packaging, supermarkets have the power to lead the way in dramatically reducing the amount of single-use plastic produced.

Add your name to Greenpeace's petition and tell UK supermarkets to follow Iceland’s lead and ditch throwaway plastic packaging.

secure.greenpeace.org.uk
children detention us border patrol
November 05th, 2018
Children don't belong in cages
type:Petition
by:Murat Suner
org:change.org

The Trump administration is holding on to its inhumane policy to indefinitely imprison immigrant families and children in cages.

If this ruthless practice of deterrence is successful, "we’re going to see babies celebrating birthday after birthday from behind a chain link fence – all because their families tried to escape unspeakable violence in their home countries" argues Kids in Need of Defense. 

Join Kids in Need of Defense's campaign on Change.org to end long-term, indefinite detention of immigrant children.

Photo: A government issued handout image of the US Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, on June 17, 2018. Credit: US Customs and Border Protection

change.org
indo
November 05th, 2018
Help save Indonesian earthquake survivors
type:Crowd Funding, Donation
by:Yair Oded

In the past three months, Indonesia has suffered a wave of catastrophic earthquakes, with a series of four hitting in late July and early August, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands, and a deadly 7.5 earthquake and Tsunami hitting on September 28th, resulting in over 2,000 deaths.

Although news coverage of the battered country has waned, Indonesians still face a dire and urgent humanitarian crisis, with thousands injured, 1.5 million affected by the devastation, and more than 300,000 internally displaced and lacking shelter.

According to Worldvision.org, “The people affected by Indonesia’s 2018 earthquakes will need help for years as they rebuild their lives, homes, and communities.”

As the country grapples to deal with the crisis, hundreds of shocks continue to rattle the Indonesian islands, making the recovery process even harder.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched by the Lombok Earthquake Relief Fund to gather donations for the victims of the earthquakes in Indonesia. Please consider helping this local organisation as it endeavors to save the lives of survivors and acquire supplies.

Image: IG @Roy_Sembalun (retrieved from GoFundMe website)

gofundme.com
googla
November 02nd, 2018
Learn about and become part of a sustainable off-the-grid energy market
type:NGO
by:Yair Oded

It is estimated that one sixth of people around the world live without access to electricity. This is particularly true in third world and poverty-stricken and developing countries. Such lack of access often exacerbates humanitarian crises of remote communities and hinders their ability to prosper.

Off-the-grid energy systems offer a solution to such problems. Yet, if not operated properly, such systems risk causing even further damage to the communities that utilise it and exacerbate pollution.

Gogla is a non-for-profit international group which facilitates the expansion of affordable, environmentally friendly off-the-grid electric systems, particularly in emerging and developing countries.

Gogla currently represents over 135 companies that deliver quality, affordable, and sustainable off the grid services to remote communities around the world, thereby improving their health, education, and employment opportunities. To date, Gogla members have transformed the lives of over 150 million people world-wide.

The organisation’s main methods of operation include connecting eligible member companies (which comply with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7) with potential investors, doing advocacy work with local governments and influencers in order to promote policy that supports sustainable off-grid systems and foster an environment of awareness, as well as promoting “globally harmonized minimum quality standards” to ensure consumer protection and safety.

If either you or anyone you know takes an interest in becoming part of this socially and environmentally conscious energy movement, visit the Gogla website and learn about ways in which you can become part of this growing market.

Image: Gogla

gogla.org