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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

Image credit: Planned Parenthood
August 27th, 2018
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.
August 24th, 2018
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.
August 22nd, 2018
by:Yair Oded

It is now official. The majority of Zimbabweans oppose the death penalty. With the boost of an abolitionist leader, and the unrelenting work of human rights organizations, the elimination of capital punishment in the African nation seems more likely than ever to occur.

A relic of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe (who was toppled in a coup last year), death penalty is now supported only by 41% of the population; an additional 20% of Zimbabweans are on the fence. This is according to an April 2018 survey sponsored by the Death Penalty Project and Veritas, a local organization committed to tracking the work of the government and campaigning on behalf of human rights agendas in Zimbabwe.

The work of The Death Penalty Project (which is comprised of lawyers, human rights activists, and forensic experts) concentrates on four main areas: free legal assistance (to individuals facing death penalty), capacity building (providing training to judges, lawyers, and all who work in the criminal justice system and deal with issues related to human rights and the death penalty), research and publications (commission and publish research material regarding the death penalty), and policy and engagement (engage policymakers, government officials, and stakeholders in a constructive debate regarding the death penalty).

Now operating in 30 countries worldwide, the organization has set Zimbabwe on its sights and is endeavoring to utilize the growing momentum to raise awareness of the public’s opposition to capital punishment and encourage public officials to promote legislation to abolish it.

If opposition to capital punishment (either in Zimbabwe or elsewhere) is of particular concern to you, the Death Penalty Project could provide information on the topic and offer methods to get involved.To track the activity of the Zimbabwean government regarding the capital punishment abolition (as well as on other matters), sign up to Veritas’ alert service (available via email, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp).
glyphosate farming
August 21st, 2018
by:Murat Suner

Groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson, a 46 year old husband and father of three, is dying. Cancer has spread throughout most of his body, and he has just months to live.

Last week a U.S. court ruled that his cancer was caused by glyphosate - a chemical widely used as a weedkiller in farming also in the UK. Glyphosate is in our soil, our water, and our food. 

This petition is calling to get this carcinogenic weedkiller out of our soil, out of our food and out of our bodies.

You can sign here to ban glyphosate now in the UK. 

anti-islamophobia rally
August 20th, 2018
by:Murat Suner

In the last few weeks hate crime monitoring group Tell MAMA has reported a spike in anti-Muslim hate directly linking them to comments made by Boris Johnson comparing Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers.”

Hate incidents such as: a Muslim woman on a bus was told to remove her niqab, and Muslim women have reported that passersby have said “oh there goes a letterbox”. Mosques have been attacked. And these are only a small number of attacks that have been reported, many more victims remain silent and are reluctant to speak up.  

As these attacks are likely to continue to alienate and isolate British Muslim women from society a petition is calling to launch an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in major political parties. 

LGBT petition
August 08th, 2018
by:Yair Oded

In yet another attempt at weakening the LGBTQ family unit in the U.S., Republican lawmakers advanced an amendment to the funding bill for the Department of Health, Labor, and Education, that would cut by 15 percent the federal funding of child and welfare services in states that ban adoption agencies that refuse to work with same-sex couples.

In the guise of defending religious freedom of discriminatory child services providers, such as Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services, Republicans, lead by congressman Robert Aderholt from Alabama, are launching a full blown attack against LGBTQ families.

The funding bill pushed by Aderholt will not only infringe on the rights of same-sex couples across the country to lead a decent family life, but also deprive tens of thousands of children from the chance of finding new homes, seeing as LGBTQ parents in America are six times more likely to adopt than heterosexual ones.

The recently proposed amendment is but one of numerous bills introduced by Republicans that seek to encroach on the freedoms of LGBTQ community members and block their access to government services. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2017 alone 120 ‘anti-gay’ bills were introduced in 30 different states, 12 of which had become law by 2018.

Using the Care2 Petitions platform, Jamie McGonnigal and Sean Carlson, a gay couple, have launched a petition last month in a bid to pressure Rep. Aderholt, as well as other Republican and Democrat congress members, to tank the amendment to the funding bill and prevent federal dollars from financing intolerance and bigotry.

Please consider signing the petition and raising your voice against the systemic and ongoing discrimination of LGBTQ families.

Let the U.S. become an example to governments elsewhere that are struggling to end institutionalized discrimination of LGBTQ people; let it not morph into a case study in how to slyly enshrine anti-gay sentiments in law and carefully craft draconian policies that cripple their rights.

Photo: Care2 Petitions
July 26th, 2018
type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Some of the world’s largest multinational tobacco companies purchase tobacco grown in Zimbabwe, either directly or at auction, including British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco Group, and Imperial Brands.

Under human rights norms, companies buying tobacco from Zimbabwe have a responsibility to ensure that their business operations do not contribute to child labor and other human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch contacted the companies that collectively bought 86 percent of Zimbabwe’s tobacco in 2016. Most of the multinational companies involved have policies prohibiting their suppliers from using child labor and engaging in other human rights abuses, but Human Rights Watch’s findings suggest serious gaps in carrying out and monitoring these policies in Zimbabwe.

Tobacco companies should explicitly prohibit direct contact by children with tobacco in any form, conduct regular and rigorous human rights monitoring in the supply chain, and report transparently on their findings, Human Rights Watch said.

If you want to support the work of Human Rights Watch covering this topic, feel encouraged to support them by making a donation. Child labour is a serious abuse of children's rights and has to end!

Credits: Human Rights Watch

Photo: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/ AP Photo, 2017
nazanin ratcliffe family
July 24th, 2018
by:Murat Suner

British-Iranian mum Nazanin was brought in front of a parole judge in Iran this week. After spending over two years in prison for allegedly trying to overthrow the Government, she was told that she won’t be released until the UK pays a £400m debt owed to Iran since the 70s.

Her husband Richard has been campaigning for her release and is calling on the UK Government to save Nazanin from being treated like a political pawn and urgently bring her back home.

Help Richard to bring his wife and daughter home by signing his petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to use her power and intervene.
indian muslims
July 22nd, 2018
type:Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

A 2016 report on caste-based discrimination by the UN special rapporteur on minority issues noted that caste-affected groups continue to suffer exclusion and dehumanization. Such is the case in India, especially in the Assam region close to the border of neighbouring Bangladesh.

Limits on free speech and attacks on religious minorities, often led by vigilante groups that claim to be supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are an increasing concern in India. Often muslims or Dalit people are targets of violence, exclusion and other severe forms of discrimination.

The Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a collective of lawyers and social activists dedicated to the use of the legal system to advance human rights in India and the sub-continent. HRLN collaborates with human rights groups, and grass-roots development and social movements to enforce the rights of poor marginalised people and to challenge oppression, exploitation and discrimination against any group or individual on the grounds of caste, gender, disability, age, religion, language, ethnic group, sexual orientation, and health, economic or social status.

HRLN provides pro bono legal services, conducts public interest litigation, engages in advocacy, conducts legal awareness programmes, investigates violations, publishes 'know your rights' materials, and participates in campaigns.

Support this important network of human rights activists and lawyers in India by donating, volunteering or spreading their contents through your channels!

Credits:Amnesty Report India 2017/2018; Human Rights Watch India Report 2016

Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images