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.

Wednesday

LGBTQ+ rights 'going backwards' around world, warns UK envoy

LGBTQ+ rights 'going backwards' around world, warns UK envoy
As gay and transgender rights gains stall in places such as Hungary and Singapore, Britain's first Special Envoy on LGBT Rights Nick Herbert voices concern about the global outlook 

 LONDON, March 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Gay and transgender rights are going backwards in parts of the world, Britain's first special envoy on LGBT Rights has warned, as Hungary implements an anti-gay law and equality reforms in Singapore and Bermuda are blocked. 

 Hungary recently passed a law banning the "promotion" of homosexuality or gender identity to minors, following in the footsteps of Russia, while in February Singapore's highest court dismissed a challenge to the city-state's gay sex ban. 

 Earlier this month, London's Privy Council - the highest court of appeal for British territories - ruled that Bermuda's ban on same-sex marriage was allowed under the island's constitution. "It's important to realise that there are some countries where human rights issues are a real concern, where they are going backwards," Nick Herbert told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a video call.

OHS Condemns Attack on the Ukraine

The Ontario Humanist Society (OHS) joins our Humanist friends worldwide in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

OHS calls for Russia to cease its illegal and unprovoked actions, and to cease all challenges to Ukraine’s independence. Russia must terminate its violation of international law and of the UN Charter, and withdraw from Ukraine immediately. There is
 no justification for this aggression and the cost will be borne by innocent Ukrainians.

As Humanists we can NOT turn away from this humanitarian crisis. We encourage OHS members to stand behind the Ukrainian people through the many opportunities available to us, some suggestions are listed below. Our Ethical Actions Committee will further examine steps we can take to continue to show our support for Ukraine.

If you would like to donate to support Ukraine, here are some charities that you might wish to consider:

Canada/Ukraine Foundation  
Ukrainian Red Cross 
Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal
The Canadian Government will match all donations by Canadians dollar-for-dollar, to a maximum of $10 million.
United Nations High Commission on Refugees Canada

If you would like to provide input into Canada's response to the situation in Ukraine:  
Write to our Prime Minister
https://pm.gc.ca/en/connect/contact 
Or seek out an on-line petition that supports your point of view. 

Thank you for joining the OHS board in condemning this travesty that is unfolding before us.

Thursday

Ontario Allliance to End Homelessness Budget Submission to Govt of Ontario

 https://www.oaeh.ca/news/budget-submission-to-minister-of-finance-and-president-of-the-treasury-board/

 Send Letter

Pre-Budget Submission to the Government of Ontario

February 2022

Delivered to:
Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy
Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board
Government of Ontario

Contact:
Kaite Burkholder Harris, Daphna Nussbaum, Jennifer van Gennip
Co-Chairs, Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness
info@oaeh.ca

About OAEH

The Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness (OAEH) is a network of 50+ communities, agencies, and individuals dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in Ontario.

Our Issue

Housing affordability is one of the most pressing issues in cities, towns, and rural areas all across Ontario. There are a number of compounding factors that have allowed the costs of housing to far outpace average wages. As an alliance to end homelessness, our focus lies largely on non-market supply and demand, relied on by those on very low incomes to meet their human right to housing. This government has spent millions of dollars providing shelter accommodations throughout the pandemic. As that funding winds down and shelters return to pre-pandemic capacity, thousands of individuals and families face life on the streets without funding and housing units to transition them back into housing.

The province has the opportunity in this budget to take decisive steps that can prioritize those who find themselves without a safe, affordable place to call home. New investments and regulatory reform are both needed.

Our Recommendations

  1. Investments in both capital and operations. Municipalities need increased provincial contributions for affordable housing development. There is also an ongoing need for the province to invest in operating grants for affordable housing providers, especially supportive housing providers.
  2. Increased social assistance rates. Ontario’s social assistance programs, including Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), are a targeted solution to poverty in this province. But when the social assistance rates are out of step with the costs of living, people remain trapped in poverty with few choices to better their circumstances. Currently, a single person on OW receives just $390/month for housing.
  3. Renewed and expanded rent supplement programs. According to the March 2021 Housing and Homelessness Programs Report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO), the province currently only provides rent supplements for approximately 40% of the households identified as being in core housing need. The same FAO report shows the provincial portion of all housing programs averages only 0.3% of the province’s expenditures. Rent supplements are currently provided through three main funds slated to end in the next two years.
  4. Transitional supports from provincial institutions. Youth aging out of care, patients being discharged from health care institutions, and people being released from incarceration often end up homeless or underhoused due to the lack of transition supports. 
The under-investment in the housing needs of low-income Ontarians is contributing to the large increase in the inflow into our homelessness systems, and severely impacting communities ability to re-house people. We are all aware that it is more cost-effective to offer financial support to provide individuals with housing than to house them in shelter beds so providing deeply affordable housing benefits us all. We are asking the province to invest in a healthier, more resilient Ontario through this budget with permanent solutions for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessnes

Wednesday

Petition to Canadian House of Commons re non-believers refugee claims in Canada

 https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-3638?fbclid=IwAR1YyBRPPP9qi4rUkNs6ABZ6D-SfEAHIatWZKO4Je8eqWV28wrWtX5DeEUs

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

Whereas:
  • Non-believers are persecuted in several countries, both by government and the public;
  • Persecution of non-believers can result in serious injury, imprisonment, or death at the hands of family members, street mobs, or governments;
  • Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, wrongly label all non-believers as terrorists and this alone should not disqualify them for refugee status;
  • The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled several times that Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to freedom from religion as much as the right to freedom of religion, a standard which Canada should apply to refugees as well as citizens; and
  • Non-believing refugee claimants for refugee status through the Less Complex Claims policy would be qualified by such international organizations as Humanists International, and Atheist Alliance International, both of which have Special Consultative Status at the United Nations, and Participatory Status at the Council of Europe.
We, the undersigned, citizens or residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to clarify the status of the Less Complex Claims policy, and to ensure that non-believers are included in the list of people eligible for any special refugee status so that they will be treated equally with those people belonging to the religions which are listed in the Less Complex Claims policy.

Monday

Humanists warn of climate change emergency

Humanists warn of climate change emergency

Today at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Humanists International has asserted the urgent need to accept climate science, and to face squarely the potentially catastrophic global impacts of global warming and biodiversity loss.

Humanists International Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey, comments:

“It it about time that member States recognized that any debate on climate change is long over. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from accepting what the science is telling us about how we are heating up the Earth, changing the climate more rapidly than we can keep up with, let alone the capacity of other living things to adapt, and so we are driving many thousands of species toward extinction and threatening the very fabric of human civilization.”

Sunday

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty | United Nations

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty | United Nations

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have pushed between 143 and 163 million people into poverty in 2021.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have increased poverty by 8.1% in 2020 relative to 2019 (from 8.4% to 9.1%).
  • The number of people living under the international poverty lines for lower and upper middle-income countries is projected to have increased in the poverty rate of 2.3 percentage points.
  • Almost half of the projected new poor will be in South Asia, and more than a third in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, extreme poverty rates nearly doubled between 2015 and 2018, from 3.8 percent to 7.2 percent, spurred by the conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Yemen.
  • Current projections indicate that shared prosperity will have dropped sharply in nearly all economies in 2020–21, as the pandemic’s economic burden is felt across the entire income distribution.
  • COVID-19 has already been the worst reversal on the path towards the goal of global poverty reduction in last three decades.

Friday

Free Rapid Antigen Testing Now! « Ontario NDP

Free Rapid Antigen Testing Now! « Ontario NDP

Parents, guardians, education workers and community members are concerned about children in Ontario who are not yet eligible for vaccination against COVID-19. The Ford government has placed the burden of purchasing the rapid antigen tests on to parents, guardians, and education workers, thereby increasing inequality of access to health and safety measures for communities that disproportionately bear the burden of the impacts of COVID-19.

Wednesday

Orange Shirt Day 2021 | Events | Hart House

Orange Shirt Day 2021 | Events | Hart House:

Join us for a virtual event on Orange Shirt Day, a national movement in recognition of the experiences of survivors of residential schools in Canada. In the spirit of reconciliation and healing, Canadians are asked to wear an orange shirt on this day to acknowledge that every child matters.

Whether you are working or going to school online or in-person, wear your orange shirt on September 30 to show your solidarity with Indigenous people. 

Tuesday

‘See us, hear us’: Residential school survivor on how to mark Sept. 30 holiday

‘See us, hear us’: Residential school survivor on how to mark Sept. 30 holiday - National | Globalnews.caFor the past six years, Geraldine Shingoose has been sharing her truths as a residential school survivor – or warrior as she prefers to be called – in Manitoba classrooms.

As Canada prepares to recognize the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Thursday, Shingoose, who is affectionately known as Gramma Shingoose, says the desire to hear from survivors has soared across the country.
“This year, 2021, is a year of truth for us survivors,” Shingoose said in an interview.
When the Tk’emlups te Secwe’pemc Nation announced the grim discovery of what are believed to be the 215 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., Canadians had to face the horrific realities Indigenous children and youth had to live with while being forced to attend the schools.Stories of unmarked burial grounds were featured in a report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2015, but the events of this summer sparked a national conversation unlike anything before.Some schools, businesses and different levels of government across the country are also choosing to observe the day, which is also known as Orange Shirt Day.
As non-Indigenous people in Canada navigate the best way to commemorate and honour survivors and their families, educators and those who were forced to attend the schools are offering advice on what can be done in the lead up to Sept. 30.
Shingoose believes it’s important to listen to survivors’ experiences. “I ask Canada to see us, to hear us and to believe us,” she said, echoing the sentiments of Murray Sinclair, who served as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This year Shingoose suggests Canadians take a moment of silence at 2:15 p.m. – referring to the number of graves found in Kamloops. She adds small gestures such as displaying an orange shirt in your window can have a powerful impact on survivors.

Kenya Censors Another Gay-Themed Film | Human Rights Watch

Kenya Censors Another Gay-Themed Film | Human Rights Watch

On September 23, Kenya’s Film Censorship Board (KFCB) slapped a ban on “I Am Samuel,” claiming the film contravenes Kenyan values. Which values? During my years living in Kenya, the values I saw in action every day included care and kindness, tolerance, and openness to difference. Kenya is diverse in every way: geographically, ethnically, religiously, and, yes, in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. For over a decade, LGBT people have publicly staked out their place within Kenya’s vibrant social fabric, challenging discrimination and claiming their rights.

KFCB may want to silence them with flimsy claims that reduce Samuel and his partner Alex’s rich relationship to a “same sex marriage agenda.” It will not succeed; censorship rarely does. Like the lesbian-themed film “Rafiki,” banned by KFCB in 2018, Samuel's story will be seen by Kenyans who will make up their own minds. In trying to force on the blinders to deny LGBT people’s existence and rights, KFCB is on the wrong side of history.

Sept 28 - Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortions

September 28 has been a regional campaign for the decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean for over twenty years before being taken on by SRHR activists all over the world in 2011. The campaign was formerly known as the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.

http://www.september28.org/callforaction/


China to clamp down on abortions for ‘non-medical purposes’

China to clamp down on abortions for ‘non-medical purposes’ | China | The Guardian

China’s pledge to limit abortions puts women’s bodies under the state’s control just as the one-child policy did and could endanger the lives of women seeking abortions, rights groups have said.

The Chinese government announced on Monday that it would seek to reduce abortions for “non-medical reasons” – a move seen as being in line with its attempts to accelerate birthrates.

Government guidelines did not provide detail on what constitutes a non-medical abortion.

Yaqiu Wang, China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: “This government in the past 40 years has tried to restrict women’s reproductive rights, making women forcefully abort their children and now restricting abortions. I don’t know what non-medical means, but everyone who knows Chinese government knows this isn’t good.

“The core of the policy is the same – to restrict women’s reproductive means, to see women as a tool. Now there’s an ageing population, a not large enough labour force, so we need more babies. It’s the same: seeing women as a tool for economic goals.”

Yaqiu Wang said what the government defined as non-medical reasons and how the rules would be implemented was unclear, but that the move could endanger the lives of women who were denied abortions. “Around the world a lot of women die from not having safe access to abortions,” she said.

Amnesty’s China researcher Kai Ong, said: “The Chinese government has a record of enforcing birth policies that blatantly violate reproductive rights, such as implementing forced birth control measures and limiting women’s access to healthcare. This announcement could further restrict women’s access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, especially for unmarried women and same-sex couples.