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

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.

Monday

U.S., Europe urge Turkey to revist ditching violence-on-women pact

U.S., Europe urge Turkey to revist ditching violence-on-women pact: ISTANBUL, March 21 (Reuters) - U.S. and EuropISTANBUL, March 21 (Reuters) - U.S. and European leaders denounced what they called Turkey's baffling and concerning decision to pull out of an international accord designed to protect women from violence, and urged President Tayyip Erdogan to reconsider.

Erdogan's government on Saturday withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, which it signed onto in 2011 after it was forged in Turkey's biggest city. Turkey said domestic laws, not outside fixes, would protect women's rights.

The Council of Europe accord pledged to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and promote equality. Killings of women have surged in Turkey in recent years and thousands of women protested on Saturday against the government's move in Istanbul and other cities.

The United States, Germany, France and the European Union responded with dismay - marking the second time in four days that Europe's leaders have criticised Ankara over rights issues, after a Turkish prosecutor moved to close down a pro-Kurdish political party.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Turkey's withdrawal from the accord was "deeply disappointing" and a step backward in efforts to end violence against women globally.

"Around the world, we are seeing increases in the number of domestic violence incidents, including reports of rising femicide in Turkey," Biden said in a statement on Sunday. "Countries should be working to strengthen and renew their commitments to ending violence against women, not rejecting international treaties designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable."

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said late on Saturday that the decision was incomprehensible and "risks compromising the protection and fundamental rights of women and girls in Turkey (and) sends a dangerous message across the world. ... We therefore cannot but urge Turkey to reverse its decision."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen - who spoke with Erdogan a day before Turkey ditched the pact - wrote on Twitter on Sunday: "Women deserve a strong legal framework to protect them," and she called on all signatories to ratify it.

The Council of Europe, which gathers 47 members states, also regretted the decision.

The convention had split Erdogan's ruling AK Party (AKP) and even his family. Officials floated pulling out last year amid a dispute over how to curb domestic violence in Turkey, where femicide has tripled in 10 years, one monitoring group has said.ean leaders denounced what they called Turkey's baffling and concerning decision to pull out of an international accord designed to protect women from violence, and urged President Tayyip Erdogan to reconsider. Erdogan's government on Saturday withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, which it signed onto in 2011 after it was forged in Turkey's biggest city. Turkey said domestic laws, not outside fixes, would protect women's rights. The Council of Europe accord pledged to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence and promote equality. Killings of women have surged in Turkey in recent years and thousands of women protested on Saturday against the government's move in Istanbul and other cities. The United States, Germany, France and the European Union responded with dismay - marking the second time in four days that Europe's leaders have criticised Ankara over rights issues, after a Turkish prosecutor moved to close down a pro-Kurdish political party. U.S. President Joe Biden said Turkey's withdrawal from the accord was "deeply disappointing" and a step backward in efforts to end violence against women globally. "Around the world, we are seeing increases in the number of domestic violence incidents, including reports of rising femicide in Turkey," Biden said in a statement on Sunday. "Countries should be working to strengthen and renew their commitments to ending violence against women, not rejecting international treaties designed to protect women and hold abusers accountable." EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said late on Saturday that the decision was incomprehensible and "risks compromising the protection and fundamental rights of women and girls in Turkey (and) sends a dangerous message across the world. ... We therefore cannot but urge Turkey to reverse its decision." European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen - who spoke with Erdogan a day before Turkey ditched the pact - wrote on Twitter on Sunday: "Women deserve a strong legal framework to protect them," and she called on all signatories to ratify it. The Council of Europe, which gathers 47 members states, also regretted the decision. The convention had split Erdogan's ruling AK Party (AKP) and even his family. Officials floated pulling out last year amid a dispute over how to curb domestic violence in Turkey, where femicide has tripled in 10 years, one monitoring group has said.

Wednesday

Bitcoin isn't getting greener: four environmental myths about cryptocurrency debunked

Bitcoin isn't getting greener: four environmental myths about cryptocurrency debunked

 The price of bitcoin has reached US$50,000 (£36,095) – another all-time high. It’s hard to believe that 10,000 bitcoin would only buy a couple of pizzas ten years ago. It’s even stranger to think that bitcoins are completely virtual. You can’t hold one, except on a hard drive, and there’s no underlying asset to them. A bitcoin is simply a digital representation of the computer power needed to make one, what’s called its “proof-of-work”.

This isn’t actually a new idea though. Rai stones were one of the first forms of money used on the Micronesian islands of Yap. To get hold of a Rai, you had to row a canoe for 500km or so to Palau and chisel away at some local limestone. Then you needed to take the 3m-wide lump of rock back to Yap without sinking in the Pacific. No one is quite sure when it started, but the practice is at least several centuries old. Yapese money had no inherent value. For everyone to respect the proof-of-work, the process was deliberately inefficient and incredibly resource-intensive, just like bitcoin

This might all sound like a harmless game of digital bingo. But with more and more people enticed by the heady rewards, bitcoin mining on some days uses as much energy as Poland and generates 37 million tonnes of CO2 each year.

New institutional investors, like the carmaker, Tesla, are driving the asset’s price skywards while ignoring bitcoin’s climate-changing appetite. And to keep the bull market charging, supporters are working hard to argue for bitcoin’s green credentials.

 

Friday

‘Poster child for destruction’: The fight to save the Duffins Creek wetland from developers | TVO.org

‘Poster child for destruction’: The fight to save the Duffins Creek wetland from developers | TVO.org: PICKERING — Several months ago, Devin Mathura and Ally Zaheer learned that a large swath of wetland in their hometown of Pickering was set to be turned into a massive warehouse. Stuck in their respective bedrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the university students started interviewing experts and local politicians about the proposed development.
“What is most at stake is the future of our green spaces,” says Zaheer. “I am extremely worried about the fact that they're just going to get into this cycle of paving over things, and it's going to be too late before they realize what's done."
The friends reached out to students at their former high school to share what they’d learned about the Duffins Creek wetland complex, which has long been designated provincially significant, indicating its special ecological value. They set up a Zoom session with other students and explained that the development had been approved through a Minister’s Zoning Order — a provincial edict that allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to make decisions on land zoning while bypassing normal planning processes, such as the citizens’ rights to appeal. Then they coordinated a “phone zap.”

“Everyone muted themselves, and we started spamming Doug Ford’s office, [MPP] Peter Bethlenfalvy’s office, and the [Pickering] mayor’s office,” says Mathura, who is attending his first year of environment, resources, and sustainability studies at the University of Waterloo from his home in Pickering. “It’s really hard to see,” says Zaheer, who studies environmental engineering at the University of Guelph. “Pickering is setting itself up as the poster child for wetland destruction.”

Zaheer and Mathura see the fight for this 57-acre site, consisting largely of wetland, as part of a larger battle over public participation and the future of conservation in Ontario. They’re not alone. In a recent letter, 96 environmental organizations slammed the Progressive Conservative government’s use of MZOs to overrule protections for provincially significant wetlands and called for the Duffins Creek MZO to be revoked. And the matter is also headed for judicial review: two environmental organizations, Environmental Defence and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, filed papers about a month after the MZO was issued.