Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.


The US Goes 'Bonkers' at the UN Women's Conference - PassBlue

The US Goes 'Bonkers' at the UN Women's Conference - PassBlue
Hold the line” was the frequent refrain heard during the contentious negotiations swirling around the annual meeting at the United Nations ensuring the rights of women. Delegates from the UN’s 193 countries were urged by conference leaders to remain steadfast against a rising tide of conservative national positions, which included the United States, regarding the conference’s final document enshrining women’s rights.
At the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York and attracting 10,000 people worldwide, tensions were palpable throughout the 11-day gathering, starting on March 11. The Commission, established in 1946, is dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowering women.
But it was the negotiations on the agreed conclusions, setting in stone positions on women’s rights, where top diplomats and their delegations spent the most energy haggling — including one day until dawn — over such loaded language as “gender,” “family” and “sexual health.”

....Depending on the particular issue or word, some unlikely alliances emerged in which the US, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed, mostly with the overarching goal of weakening women’s rights.
Joining the US on certain issues was also the Holy See, a UN observer state, in demanding but failing, for example, to remove language in the final document around sexual health, contending that the language promoted sexual activity among girls as well as abortion.
(not posting the entire article, as it will stay online. - interesting, if depressing, read)


The Protected Places Declaration - Ontario Nature

Email the governments of Ontario and Canada | The Protected Places Declaration - Ontario Nature
Planet Earth is a shared home for humans and millions of other species, and our fates and well-being are interdependent. Recognizing our responsibility and impact on the whole, we invite you to sign the Protected Places Declaration.The declaration urges governments, civil society and business leaders across Canada to work together to protect at least 17 percent of our lands and inland waters, and 10 percent of our coastal and marine areas by 2020, in accordance with commitments under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Moreover, the declaration calls for protected areas identification and management processes that respect the right of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent.Protected areas are the cornerstone of efforts to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. By signing the declaration, you will be part of a movement demanding governments meet their protected areas targets, and respect Indigenous responsibilities and rights.Sign the declaration to show you care about protected places and ask the governments of Ontario and Canada to meet our commitment to protect at least 17 percent of lands and inland waters by 2020.We need to work together to make sure the next three years count so that all species and wild spaces are conserved for generations to come.
Photo: Algonquin, Edwin Poon

United Nations Calls to Fight Racism

United Nations Calls to Fight Racism

United Nations, Mar 21 (Prensa Latina) On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Thursday, the United Nations has called to fight those expressions that violate people''s dignity and rights.

In its latest resolution on the elimination of racism, the United Nations General Assembly reiterated that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies 

The resolution also emphasized that any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.

In her recent report, the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume, analyzed the threat posed by nationalist populism to the fundamental human rights principles of non-discrimination and equality.

She added that nationalist populism advances exclusionary or repressive practices and policies that harm individuals or groups on the basis of their race, ethnicity, national origin and religion, or other related social categories.

The UN independent expert highlighted the use of digital technology to spread neo-Nazi intolerance and related forms of intolerance.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed every March 21, because on that day in 1960, the police opened fire and killed 69 people in a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid laws in Sharpeville, South Africa.


Sign the Petition: Support Universal Pharmacare

Sign the Petition: Support Universal Pharmacare:
Canada continues to be the only developed country in the world with a universal health care system that does not include universal drug coverage. The Canadian government will decide soon on whether to adopt universal prescription drug coverage. Sign the petition to tell the government you support universal pharmacare.

 Prescription drug prices are some of the highest in the world and Canadians are being forced to choose between buying groceries or taking medication. Big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying aggressively to keep a system that enriches their rich shareholders. They have spent aggressively to keep the status quo, including foreign American companies who profit off of sick Canadians.

 The timing is critical. This could be the last change to adopt single-payer universal prescription drug coverage. Please send the government a message that you support universal pharmacare before it’s too late.


UN chief calls for double efforts to protect women's rights

UN chief calls for double efforts to protect women's rights - Xinhua |
UNITED NATIONS, March 6 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for double efforts to protect and promote women's rights, dignity and leadership.
Gender equality and women's rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development, said Guterres in a message to mark the International Women's Day, which will be observed on March 8.
"We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Only when we see women's rights as our common objective, a route to change that benefits everyone, will we begin to shift the balance," said the UN chief.
Increasing the number of women decision makers is fundamental, said Guterres, adding that the United Nations now has the highest ever numbers of women in senior management, and this progress will continue to be built on.
However, women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. According to the World Bank, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work, he said.
"If current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap," he said.
"We need to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women's rights, dignity and leadership. We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change," said the UN chief.
"Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change" is the theme for International Women's Day this year.
Guterres said that women decision makers in areas like urban design, transport and public services can increase women's access, prevent harassment and violence, and improve everyone's quality of life.
Innovation and technology reflect the people who make them. The underrepresentation and lack of retention of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design should be a cause of concern to all, he added.

Meet Seven Women Changing the World for Good in 2019

Meet Seven Women Changing the World for Good in 2019

Some inspiring stories here!

Who runs the world? Meet seven influential women whose important work in film, business, advocacy and beyond positively affects women within their own communities, and the world

International Women's Day - UN Women Watch
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
The 2019 theme Think equal, build smart, innovate for change focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
Echoing the priority theme of the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), in 2019 we look to industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists, and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation can remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls.
On 8 March 2019, join us as we celebrate a future in which innovation and technology creates unprecedented opportunities for women and girls to play an active role in building more inclusive systems, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and gender equality.


It’s official: the planet is getting greener

It’s official: the planet is getting greener: After nearly two decades of recording data, NASA has confirmed what it began to suspect in the 90’s; the world really is becoming a greener place and two unlikely countries are leading the charge. Areas with the greatest increase in foliage are indicated in dark green. Image by NASA Earth Observatory

For nearly 20 years NASA has been monitoring the Earth’s foliage using two satellites and the high-resolution data has revealed changes in the world’s vegetation in impressive detail, taking four images every day of every area of the planet. Overall, the planet is 5% greener than it was in the early 2000s. This is the equivalent of the Amazon rainforest in extra leaf cover from plants and trees.

At first, NASA believed it was as a result of climate change but with the new data, they’ve concluded that humans are behind a large part of this trend.

They also discovered something that surprised them; India and China accounted for one-third of the greening, despite having only 9% of the world’s green areas. Both countries have embarked on an extensive reforestation programme and, over the period of research, China’s foliage grew more than 10% while India’s increased by more than 6%. The global average was 2.3%.

 While the message is positive in some places, the researchers are careful to note that this does not detract from the dire warnings in places like Indonesia and Brazil, where the loss of vegetation is ongoing and will have disastrous consequences for those ecosystems and biodiversity if left to continue. However, it does show that deforestation can be reversed.

Populism is eroding human rights across the world, says Amnesty International | News | DW | 22.02.2018

Populism is eroding human rights across the world, says Amnesty International | News | DW | 22.02.2018
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International published its annual report, warning of increased violations across the globe.
Amnesty International's David Griffiths told DW that they made a conscious choice to release the report in Washington, given "how President (Donald) Trump's hate-filled rhetoric has translated into reality." "There are complex links between human rights abuses and social inequality," Griffiths added. "But one of the ways we see them connected is how many leaders have exploited people's fears about economic fragility in order to promote hatred and fear."
But the United States isn't the only place to witness a dangerous erosion of human rights due to populist leaders. Across the globe, Amnesty said, political leaders have used divisive rhetoric to shore up support for their causes, including in Turkey, Hungary and Myanmar.
The report said that at least 312 human rights activists were killed in 2017 because of their work. Journalists and media workers are increasingly being targeted by state actors, it noted. Griffiths said the number of human rights defenders killed in 2017 marked an "increase on the previous year."
"But it is not just killing; it is also intimidation and smears and harassment, making life very difficult for those who choose to stand up for human rights," he said. "And those threats are coming from lots of different places, whether it is governments or armed groups or companies or others."
The report called on Germany to do more at the international level to defend human rights, especially for the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told DW that the human rights situation is "getting alarmingly worse in many places" across the globe.
"It seems people are forgetting it now, and that's very worrying because then you risk a repeat of many of the awful things that have happened in not-so-distant history," Colville said.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, backed by 48 of the 58 UN member states in 1948, was created in response to the atrocities committed during World War II.
"The anniversary this year is a critical opportunity to try and reclaim those values that are articulated so beautifully in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - the idea of the fundamental dignity and equality of every member of the human family,"


Oppose Ford's Plan to Cut Access to Safe Drinking Water

Oppose Ford's Plan to Cut Access to Safe Drinking Water
The media is reporting that Ford is proposing changes to allow businesses to bypass environmental regulations, including the Ontario Clean Water Act which keeps our drinking water safe.
These rules were brought in after six people died and thousands were poisoned in the Walkerton ecoli outbreak.
Doug Ford is putting people's lives at risk in order to help his big business friends make more money. He's putting our lives and the environment at risk just so businesses can make generate bigger profits. We must not let this happen.
Email Doug Ford, the Minister of the Environment and your Conservative MPP to tell them not to cut safe drinking water protections. 


Ten Good News Stories for Kids in 2018 | Human Rights Watch

Ten Good News Stories for Kids in 2018 | Human Rights Watch:

A couple of years ago, a friend following me on Twitter said he found my feed really depressing. “Doesn’t anything good ever happen for children?” he asked.   Spreading doom and gloom sometimes seems an occupational hazard of human rights work. But I’ve taken my friend’s words to heart and now, as we approach the end of the year, here are 10 good news stories for kids:

1.  A number of armed forces and armed groups released child soldiers from their ranks in 2018, including more than 900 in South Sudan, 833 in Nigeria, and 75 in Myanmar.

2. Twenty-one US states now ban sentences of life without parole for crimes committed by children, up from only five in 2012.

3. The number of children detained in adult prisons in the US has dropped by more than 80 percent in the past 20 years.

4. The number of children and adolescents who are out of school has dropped by 110 million since 2000.

5.In 1979, only one country prohibited all corporal punishment of children: Sweden. Today, 54 do. 6. AIDS-related deaths are expected to decline by 57 percent among children under 14 by 2030.

6. Child marriage is on the decline. In the past decade, rates have dropped by 15 percent globally, and by one-third in South Asia.

7. Rates of female genital mutilation have also fallen dramatically among girls in Africa since 1990. A 2018 fatwa in Somaliland forbids the practice.

8. Eleven countries endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2018, bringing to 82 the number of countries that have pledged to protect students, teachers, and schools during war.

9. The UN reports that military use of schools has dropped by one-third since 2014.

10. Since 2000, the number of children in child labor globally fell by 94 million, a drop of more than one-third.

To be sure, millions of children continue to experience exploitation and abuse on a daily basis. But these successes show progress is possible. As we celebrate them, let’s also renew our commitment to advance the rights of children in 2019.


Council of Canadians debunks Fraser Institute water report | The Council of Canadians

Council of Canadians debunks Fraser Institute water report | The Council of Canadians: The Fraser Institute recently released the report, Evaluating the State of Fresh Water in Canada. The report concludes that “...there is no shortage of freshwater in Canada as a whole. Despite concerns about water usage and the unequal distribution of freshwater across the country, freshwater resources in Canada are abundant and Canadians consume only small fraction of the water supply.”  
 The information in the report and its conclusions paint an inaccurate and dangerous picture of water security in Canada. Information about long-standing drinking water advisories in First Nations, droughts and other climate events, and extreme energy projects like the tar sands is missing from the report. This gives a skewed view of water quantity and quality in Canada.  
 Drinking water advisories in First Nations   Council of Canadians chapters flagged the lack of information on Drinking Water Advisories (DWAs) in First Nations. Nowhere in the report are DWAs in First Nations (or municipalities for that matter) mentioned.