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philippines
September 10th, 2018

Support marriage equality in the Philippines

type:Petition
by:Yair Oded

The status of LGBTQ Filipinos has fluctuated dramatically over the past decade in the overwhelmingly Catholic country. Although pervasive and deeply rooted religious sentiments preclude complete equality of LGBTQ people in the Philippines, public opinion has nonetheless improved on the issue.

A 2013 Pew Research Center report reveals that roughly 70 percenty of Fiipinos believe that LGBTQ people should be accepted in society. In 2017, the House of Representatives passed a historic law which, now pending the approval of the Senate, seeks to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ Filipinos in areas of employment, health care, housing, and other public services.

When it comes to marriage equality, however, the public does not appear to be as supportive, with approximately 61% of the population opposing same-sex marriage.

In June, 2018, deliberations commenced in the Supreme Court regarding a 2015 petition submitted by an openly gay Filipino lawyer named Jesus Falcis, which seeks to alter the Constitution’s Family Code to allow for same sex marriages.

It remains unclear whether the Supreme Court will side with the majority Catholic public, which seems more accepting of a civil union but not of marriage between same-sex couples, or with the growing lobby in the country clamoring for complete equality of LGBTQ people under the law.

A Change.org petition launched by Marriage Equality PH is seeking to pressure the Supreme Court in the Philippines to amend the constitution to permit same-sex marriage and join Taiwan in spearheading the transition towards marriage equality and LGBTQ tolerance in Asia.

Sign the petition today and raise your voice in support of LGBTQ Filipinos! Every signature counts!

change.org
Students From A Maryland High School Organize Walkout And March On Capitol Demanding Gun Control Action From Congress
September 07th, 2018
Say NO to arming teachers in the U.S.
type:Petition
by:Yair Oded

Gun violence has spiraled out of control across America in the last two decades. Schools have been particularly vulnerable, with dozens of shootings taking place in educational institutions in recent years. So far in 2018, school shootings average at roughly one per week.

However, in responding to the tragic loss of innocent lives at schools, the current administration proposed to increase the proliferation of arms in educational institutions by arming teachers. Essentially, the President of the United States and his aids are seeking to end the cycle of violence by potentially inciting more violence, suggesting that arming school teachers will “instantly” solve the problem.

Such absurd and and dangerous sentiments were echoed by members of the National Rifle Association, who seconded the president and maintained that requiring teachers to bear arms is the most efficient way to guarantee students’ safety.

Everytown For Gun Safety, an organization committed to combating gun violence, has launched a campaign seeking to keep guns out of schools and torpedo the administration’s attempt to arm teachers.

In addition to signing the petition, one could visit Everytown For Gun Safety's website, and find information regarding upcoming events and campaigns, as well as guidelines and instructions on how to get involved locally to tackle gun violence, both in schools and in general.

Image credit: EVERYTOWN For Gun Safety

act.everytown.org
Lyudmyla
September 06th, 2018
#BringHerBack to the EU!
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The hastag #BringHerBack is circulating currently on Social Media. It was created by Lech Wałęsa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Poland. The woman who must be braught back is Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

Lyudmyla has been living in Poland for ten years now, being married to a Pole for five. Since her husband started protesting publicly against the politics of the ruling party PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość - Law and Justice), the difficulties started: the authorities performed numerous audits on Lyudmyla’s Open Dialog Foundation - an NGO defending human rights in post-Soviet states. The government’s motion to place the foundation under receivership was denied by a court and the audits had no outcome.

The next drastic step was to expell the young woman from the country by entering an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS), resulting in immediate deportation from the Schengen zone. The method and circumstances in which it was done, raise serious concerns of infringement of the European treaties by Poland.

A petition against Lyudmyla Kozlovskas ban from the Schengen zone on change.org was first signed by Wałęsa last week. Today it counts 28.800 signatures.

Feel encouraged to support Lyudmyla in her right to return home to the EU, allowing her to reconnect with her family in Poland, as well as continue the work of her human rights foundation on EU territory without the risk of future deportation - help to #BringHerBack!

change.org
refugee
September 05th, 2018
Separated migrant children still need your help!
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

The court imposed deadline to reunite migrant children and parents separated by the U.S. government’s zero tolerance policy had passed over a month ago. Yet, more than 500 migrant children remain in government-contracted shelters with no prospect of seeing their parents in the foreseeable future (either because the latter have yet to be located, failed to pass background checks, or were already deported).

Even those who already were reunited with their parents are often held in detention facilities under harsh conditions, and have to cope with the anxiety surrounding their parents’ looming deportation. Parents facing immediate deportation are torn between taking their children with them or leaving them behind to try and fight for their chance for a future in the United States.

It is crucial that the public and media remain attuned to the devastating plight of separated migrant families, and pressure the authorities to drastically improve the treatment they’re afforded, ensure their ability to properly lodge asylum claims, and reunite children with their parents.

In the meantime, there are several ways in which you can help.

The Young Center for Migrant Children Rights  is an organization advocating on behalf of migrant children, including those who are currently separated from their parents. Visit their website to learn more details about the reality and conditions of separated migrant children. They also offer numerous volunteer opportunities (including organized visits to meet with detained migrant children and opportunities for attorneys to volunteer their services), information on how to contact one’s local representatives and pressure them to take action, as well as an option to donate.


The Texas Civil Rights Project is an organization that works tirelessly to reunite migrant families and provide them with proper legal representation as they face the lengthy and intricate immigration proceedings. Visit their website to learn about volunteer opportunities they offer or make a donation if volunteering is not a viable option for you.

theyoungcenter.org
lgbtq
September 05th, 2018
End gay conversion therapy in the U.S.
type:Petition
by:Yair Oded

Despite being proved as harmful and destructive, “ex-gay therapy” is, unfortunately, alive and well across the United States. According to a recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, at least 22,000 LGBTQ youths in the U.S. will undergo conversion therapy before the age of 18. This type of ‘therapy’, which aims to convert LGBTQ people into straight, has been shown to have catastrophic repercussions, ranging from anxiety and severe depression to suicide.

Alarmed by the prevalence of such dangerous “therapy”, several states have already banned its practice by state-licensed therapists for people under 18. California spearheaded the wave in 2012, and has since been joined by 11 other states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, 40 municipal bans are being reviewed and deliberated on by local jurisdictions in states across the country.

Alas, in over 30 states, including liberal New York, ‘ex-gay therapy’ for minors is still practiced and is perfectly legal.

A momentum is currently building to pressure legislators to ban gay conversion therapy, as over 50 bills and resolutions are circulating through 24 states, and public awareness is being increasingly drawn to this pressing issue.

A petition launched by Max Johnson at Change.org seeks to utilize this growing momentum and push the remaining 75% of states to outlaw ‘ex-gay therapy’.

Please consider joining the 27 thousand people who have already signed the petition, and raise your voice against gay conversion therapy.  

While such bans and regulations don’t prevent religious or spiritual advisers (who are responsible for the majority of ex-gay therapy cases in the U.S.) from providing such sinister services, it will nonetheless reduce the amount of youths that are subject to conversion therapy, and further erode the tragic misperception that being LGBTQ is something one is ought to be cured from.

Image credit: Change.org

change.org
never
September 03rd, 2018
Help fighting racism in Eastern Europe
type:NGO, Project
by:Yair Oded

As waves of migrants and asylum seekers continue to arrive in Europe, racism and xenophobia intensify among local populations whose fears are exacerbated by populist politicians and owing to a lack of knowledge of the root cause of the migration crisis.

In Eastern Europe, the rising hatred towards North African and Middle Eastern migrants ties directly to deep-rooted racist inclinations that afflicted this part of the continent for many decades, arguably due to religious zeal and lack of ethnic diversity.

NEVER AGAIN, a Poland-based ‘anti-racism’ organization made dispelling hatred and promoting tolerance its primary mission. Founded in 1996, the organization operates across Poland, as well as in other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, in an attempt to “ promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society.” NEVER AGAIN’s objectives are raising awareness of racism (among both local populations and internationally), and formulating a strong movement to tackle and eliminate xenophobic sentiments from all spheres of life in Eastern Europe.

The organization’s two primary areas of focus are eradicating racist tendencies among the youth through pro-tolerance education and tackling xenophobia in football stadiums (which proves to be a dire plague across Eastern Europe).

The organization provides periodic reports to both local and international media outlets and journalists regarding trends of racism in Eastern Europe, and organizes fairs, events, football matches, and workshops aimed at promoting tolerance.

Supporting local organizations, such as NEVER AGAIN, that focus on educating the young generation and inspiring them to renounce racism, is an effective way to tame the wave of xenophobia raging across the Western World.

Visit NEVER AGAIN’s website to learn about their ongoing projects and programs, help spread the information they compile on trends and manifestations of racism, and donate to their cause.

Image credit: NEVER AGAIN

nigdywiecej.org
assan
August 31st, 2018
Save Assan Muslims from genocide
type:Petition
by:Yair Oded

By the end of the week, India could strip as many as 7 million Muslim residents of Assan state of their citizenship and subject them to indefinite imprisonment.

On July 30th, 2018, the final draft of the National Registration of Citizens (NRC) bill will be voted on by the Indian Parliament. As part of the law, residents of Bengali descent who migrated to India beginning in the colonial times will be required to prove their Indian citizenship. Those who fail to do so will be regarded as stateless and be placed in one of the state’s prison camps.

Muslims are expected to be disproportionately affected by the new law, as a result of poor documentation and prolonged discrimination towards them, which was exacerbated under the rule of PM Narendra Modi of the ruling Hindu nationalist party- BJP.

As indicated by prominent human rights figures across the globe, this is nothing short of a genocide in the making. The situation unfolding in Assan bears terrifying resemblance to those preceding nearly every genocide throughout history: ongoing discrimination and violence towards a group, revocation of citizenship, internment… and murder.

Avaaz launched a petition calling to pressure the international community to intervene and prevent the catastrophe before it takes place.

Avaaz wrote on their website, “This is how genocides begin - how the nightmare of the Rohingya began. But it’s all unfolding quietly -- if we raise a massive alarm calling for the UN Secretary-General and key governments to intervene - we can stop this horror before it starts.”  

Sign the petition today and join the growing clamor to save the Assan Muslims.

For more information on the bill and targeting of Assan muslims, read the Genocide watch alert:

http://www.genocidewatch.com/single-post/2018/07/17/Genocide-Watch-Issues-Genocide-Watch-for-Assan-State-India

Image credit: Avaaz

secure.avaaz.org
trump
August 29th, 2018
Tracking Trump: a guide for concerned citizens
type:Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

It’s becoming difficult to keep track of the various calamities caused by the Trump administration. In virtually all areas, from trade to conservation to immigration to healthcare, the U.S. government has pursued unscrupulous policies that put people’s rights and the future of the planet at risk. In such a state of bewilderment, with morbid headlines popping up incessantly, it’s hard to stay focused, remain engaged, and take action.

To that end, multiple organizations and media outlets have compiled orderly timelines that detail the actions taken by Trump and his administration on a particular issue, to ensure that citizens remain conscious of the bigger picture and fully informed as they embark on their protest of choice.

Here are two such guides we particularly recommend:

Tracking Trump is a website operated by Planned Parenthood, which lists every policy enacted by the Trump administration with regard to health care and reproductive rights. The website also details precisely who are the individuals involved in crafting, supporting, and enacting the policies, and explains who are the people impacted by them.

Mother Jones has created a timeline which lists every development pertaining to the Trump- Russia collusion case, beginning in Trump’s real estate ties to Russia in the mid 80’s, and spanning all across his pre and post election period until the present. As the FBI and Mueller investigations unspool, it is crucial that people remain aware of the case’s developments and ramifications, as it bears great impact on the future of American (and potentially global) democracy. If you have any tips, leads, or information to contribute, please email Mother Jones directly at trumprussia@motherjones.com.

Image credit: Planned Parenthood

trackingtrump.org
zimbabwe
August 27th, 2018
Spread the word about child labor and abuse in Zimbabwe’s tobacco fields
type:Education
by:Yair Oded

An extensive report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) titled “A Bitter Harvest” details the ghastly reality on Zimbabwe’s tobacco fields, where child labor and human rights abuses are rife. According to the report, children are employed under harsh conditions in Zimbabwe’s tobacco fields, and suffer from acute nicotine poisoning and Green Tobacco Sickness, the symptoms of which include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. HRW further mention that the long work week interferes with the kids’ education and prevents them from attending school. It’s been reported that adults suffer from similar health risks in tobacco fields, and, like the minors, are subject to severe abuse and harsh working conditions. Some have reported working excessive hours without overtime compensation, receiving less money than was initially promised, and having their salary withheld from them for weeks or months without explanation.  

As the sixth largest exporter of tobacco in the world, Zimbabwe is eager to maintain the hefty profit being generated from the industry, which in 2016 reached nearly $1 billion, even if it means brushing off criticism regarding working conditions in the fields. The Zimbabwean government has been blamed with failing to provide proper training to workers on tobacco fields that would ensure they are familiar with their rights and know how to handle toxic pesticides. Reacting to the HRW report, the Zimbabwean government strongly denied any knowledge of child labor on tobacco fields.  

After compiling the report, HRW contacted the companies that purchased 86% of Zimbabwe’s tobacco in 2016, including British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco Group, and Imperial Brands. The majority of those companies indicated that they have strict policies prohibiting their suppliers from employing child labor and engaging in other human rights abuses. Alas, HRW’s findings demonstrate that such companies fail to abide by their own policies.

Though no substantive action has yet to take place on the international stage to tackle child labor and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s tobacco fields, Fairplanet pledges to keep investigating the issue and search for petitions which readers could sign in order to pressure tobacco companies to cut ties with unscrupulous suppliers (as per Human Rights Watch’s recommendation).

Image credit: Freedom United


In the meantime, sharing news  and reports regarding the situation on social media and spreading the word will keep people informed and spark a more widespread debate on the matter.

freedomunited.org
pakistan
August 24th, 2018
#finishthirst in Pakistan
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Pakistan currently grapples with a worsening water crisis, exacerbated by the country’s rough topography, shaky political reality, and global warming. It has been reported that 22 million Pakistanis don’t have access to clean water, 79 million of them haven’t a decent toilet, and that roughly 19,500 children under 5 in the country die every year of diarrhoea (resulting from consumption of dirty water and usage of improper toilets).

WaterAid (an international organization committed to ending thirst across the globe by the year 2030) has launched an exhaustive campaign to provide Pakistanis with clean water, decent toilets, and access to hygiene. The organization supports local communities, government agencies, and service providers by increasing awareness of the importance of maintaining good hygiene and developing sustainable infrastructure that would grant citizens in both urban and remote areas access to water and decent toilets. All the while, WaterAid gives a voice to residents struggling with water shortages and lack of hygiene access by publishing their individual stories on their website, social media, and campaigns.

In order to spread global consciousness of the issue and promote their cause, WaterAid sponsors events across the world (including sporting events and marathons under the hashtag #FinishThirst), organizes both corporate and private engagement campaigns, holds fundraisers, and maintains a robust volunteer team operating in 34 countries.To make a donation, attend an event, start or join a campaign, or volunteer- visit the WaterAid website.

wateraid.org