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.

Friday

J Street Welcomes Resetting American Policy on Settlements: ‘Inconsistent with International Law’ -

J Street Welcomes Resetting American Policy on Settlements: ‘Inconsistent with International Law’ - J Street

J Street welcomes Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s clear statement today that “new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace,” are “inconsistent with international law” and expansion “only weakens, doesn’t strengthen” Israel’s security.

This move marks an explicit rejection of the Trump-era ‘Pompeo Doctrine’ – restoring US acknowledgment that settlement construction on occupied territory is a violation of international law.

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said, “J Street called on candidate Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign to reverse the Trump Administration’s permissive view of settlements, which overturned decades of bipartisan American policy. This has been a clear, consistent request by J Street over the last three years, and we welcome the Secretary’s remarks today.”

“Now, the administration must make clear that, particularly in light of the volatility of the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians, there must be no further expansion of the settlement enterprise. The United States government should take further steps to enforce its view – and the view of the international community – that the creeping annexation of the West Bank must stop, including through use of the Executive Order issued by President Biden on February 1.”

The Secretary’s comments follow a provocative announcement yesterday by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich of plans to advance over 3,000 settlement units as part of “deepening our eternal grip on the entire Land of Israel.”

Tuesday

Danielle Smith and gender affirming care - petition

Right now in Alberta, Premier Danielle Smith is launching an all-cylinder assault on medically-necessary healthcare for trans people.1

It’s nothing more than a cynical move to pander to her far right base amid the rising popularity of Trump-style culture wars in Canada. But if she gets her way, Smith’s latest fixation will harm queer and trans people across the province – forcing young people back into the closet and drastically increasing the incidences of youth self-harm and suicides.2

It’s a well-documented fact: gender-affirming care saves lives.3,4 And denying medically-necessary care to anyone goes against the very premise of Canada’s health care system.

Alberta receives billions every year in federal healthcare funding via the Canada Health Transfer.5 Will you sign the petition calling on federal Minister of Health Mark Holland to make access to gender-affirming care a condition of the Canada Health Transfer for all provinces?

 PETITION

Thursday

Council of Canadians 2nd letter calling for ceasefirel

 LINK

CALLING FOR A CEASEFIRE IN GAZA: OPEN LETTER TO PM TRUDEAU AND MINISTER JOLY

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Joly,

I am writing on behalf of the Council of Canadians, including 150,000 supporters and 45 chapters across the country, to urge your government to publicly support the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and take immediate measures to comply with its orders that all states must work to prevent genocide in the Gaza strip. Your government must:

  • actively work for an immediate ceasefire, a negotiated release of all hostages, and an end to the longstanding blockade of Gaza by the Israeli government;
  • ensure increased and uninterrupted humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, including by reversing your pause in funding for UNRWA, and;
  • immediately suspend all arms exports to Israel, which in 2022 were valued at more than $21 million.

While the full ICJ investigation is ongoing, the Court has found that there is a plausible case that Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute genocide, and the provisional measures it recommended on January 26, 2024, were clear: Israel and the international community must take immediate steps to prevent a genocide and any further loss of life. To date, more than 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, including nearly 10,000 children.

This ruling has major implications for Canada and must be treated with utmost seriousness. As a signatory to the Genocide Convention, Canada is obliged to act in accordance with the court’s ruling and take steps to end the destruction of civilian life in Gaza.

Canada has the power and leverage – and indeed a moral and legal obligation – to help bring an immediate end to the violence and destruction inflicted on Palestinians. Your government’s inaction places Canada at odds with the majority of Western governments, including the European Union, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium.

While the recent announcement of $40 million in aid is an important ongoing commitment, pausing funding to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) makes it more likely that Gazans will die from famine and increased diseases they are facing because of Israel’s military actions. UNRWA is a critical agency on the ground whose services cannot be replaced by other organizations. It has said it will be forced to stop operations by the end of February if funding is not restored. We are adding our voices to the dozens of leading aid groups around the world in urging you to change course.

There can be no military solution to this crisis. The humanitarian crisis, ICJ ruling, and spreading conflict across the region require immediate action to prevent further violence. Only a durable ceasefire can prevent further loss of life and create the conditions for a lasting and just peace.

Guyana, Leading the UN Security Council, Is Not Giving Up on a Ceasefire in Gaza

PassBlue LInk

The United Nations Security Council’s continuing failure to agree on a ceasefire in Gaza is troubling many members, including Guyana, which assumes the rotating presidency of the Council on Feb. 1. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Guyana’s permanent representative to the UN, told PassBlue that her country would continue to lead the conversation to get more humanitarian support to the people of Gaza.

“Several members of the Council continue to call for a ceasefire, but we have at least one Council member that is not at that point as yet,” Rodrigues-Birkett said. “I can tell you that Guyana will continue to call for this as it is with the other members. We have to go back to the mandate of the Council in the maintenance of peace and security around the world.”

The United States, a permanent Council member, is the only country in the body still resisting calls for a ceasefire. Jeffrey Laurenti, an international affairs analyst formerly with the Century Foundation think tank and a UN expert, told PassBlue that Guyana’s effort as rotating president would achieve nothing until President Joe Biden is ready to push “a ceasefire down Israel’s throat.”

Wednesday

How To Read the ICJ Decision and End Genocide, War and Settler Colonialism

 ARTICLE
On Jan. 26, the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, issued a historic decision that some progressives applauded while others decried it as not going far enough to demand a ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza.

The decision was a partial ruling in a case taken against Israel by the government of South Africa, an interesting note given that some — myself included — have been suggesting for months that the best path for peace and justice in the region will follow a pattern similar to the one that brought an end to the political apartheid of the racist South African regime of the 20th century.

In order to not lose sight of the ultimate goal — an end to the genocide, war and settler colonialism in Palestine — a better understanding of the ICJ decision is crucial. Here then, are answers to four of the most common questions stemming from the legalese inherent to international law mandates. As you’ll see, this better understanding reveals the tools activists can use to organize more strategically

South Africa says Israel ignoring UN court's ruling to prevent deaths in Gaza

LINK TO  AP ARTICLE

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Israel has ignored the ruling by the 
U.N.'s top court last week by killing hundreds more civilians in a matter of days in Gaza, South Africa’s foreign minister said Wednesday, adding that her country has asked why an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been issued in a case South Africa filed at the separate International Criminal Court.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said South Africa would “look at proposing other measures to the global community” in a bid to stop Israel killing civilians during its war in Gaza against Hamas militants, but didn’t go into details.

The preliminary ruling by the U.N.’s International Court of Justice in South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide against Palestinians in the territory. It stopped short of ordering a cease-fire. It also ruled Israel must urgently get basic humanitarian aid to Gaza and submit a report on steps taken to abide by the ruling within a month.

A top official in South Africa’s foreign ministry has said the country hopes that Friday’s ruling, and whether Israel is abiding by it, will be discussed on a wider level at the United Nations, possibly as early as Wednesday.

Friday

Petition to House of Commons on Universal Contraception

 https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-4516


Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • A federal policy for free prescription birth control in Canada is projected to create money, with studies showing up to $9 saved in managing unplanned pregnancies for each $1 invested in universal contraception;
  • Furthermore, fiscal benefits are predicted to be achieved quickly, with cost neutrality at year one and significant net savings within two years of implementation;
  • Reproductive rights are human rights and cannot be left to the whim of changing provincial governments;
  • Reproductive rights are currently being systematically dismantled south of Canada’s border in the United States at an alarming rate;
  • Worldwide, Canada ranks poorly compared to 46 European nations in universal access to contraceptive supplies, counseling and information;
  • British Columbia offers universal coverage of contraception, Quebec provides 80% coverage, while other provinces have programs that are patchy or difficult to access;
  • There exists an equity issue within Canada in accessing contraception;
  • Now is the time for the Government of Canada to introduce a federal policy for the universal coverage of contraception and reaffirm its commitment to reproductive rights for all Canadians;
  • Canada is the only country worldwide with universal healthcare that lacks coverage for prescription drugs;
  • The Government of Canada has committed to the implementation of a national pharmacare program; and
  • A federal policy for the universal coverage of contraception in Canada could be an important, immediate and symbolic first step in the implementation of a national pharmacare program.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to commit to a federal policy for the universal coverage of contraception by World Contraception Day on September 26, 2023.

Humanist International Meeting (Amsterdam, 2023)

 Over the weekend, more than 400 humanists from around the globe attended the 2023 World Humanist Congress in Copenhagen. The Congress is typically held every three years but, because of world events (including the COVID pandemic), the 2017 and 2020 conferences were cancelled. So this year’s event—hosted by the Scandinavian member organizations from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—was a long-overdue opportunity for members of Humanists International to gather, forge connections, exchange ideas, and explore the future of humanism.

Report here

HERE: Humanist Environmental Response Effort

 HERE - Humanist Environmental Response Effort

This is a project of the American Humanist Association.

Sunday

InterPares statement on Sudan

 Statement

April 28, 2023–Ottawa 

Inter Pares has been monitoring the situation in Sudan since intense fighting broke out in the capital city Khartoum on April 15. Temporary ceasefires have enabled the evacuation of many foreign nationals from the country, including many Canadians. In the absence of journalists, humanitarians and other members of the international community as witnesses, Inter Pares fears that the humanitarian situation will deteriorate catastrophically. 

Inter Pares is raising the alarm that human rights defenders—including our counterparts—in Sudan will be at extreme risk in the coming days and weeks.

In conflict and post-conflict situations, human rights defenders are often targeted for their work. Women human rights defenders in particular face a heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence. 

We call on the international community to maintain their focus on Sudan even after foreign nationals have been evacuated.

On April 15, fighting broke out in Khartoum between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese military. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured. The ongoing clashes have forced millions of people in the city to shelter in place. Others have fled Khartoum or the country.

Those unable to leave the country will continue to be caught in the crossfire of the clashing factions. Some Sudanese people say they feel abandoned by the international community.

Inter Pares has collaborated with counterparts in Sudan since 2007. 

At this time, all Inter Pares counterparts continue to prioritize survival and normal programming is not possible. Some counterpart staff have fled the city or country; others remain in Khartoum in increasingly dire situations, with dwindling supplies of food and water and unreliable power and Internet access. We are keeping in close contact with our counterparts and are continuing to assess how to best support them. 

We remain committed to supporting Sudanese counterparts to provide legal services for women experiencing sexual and gender-based violence, bolster women’s political participation and strengthen women’s civil society.

Friday

Amnesty: Stop Schoolgirl poisoning in Iran


Petition

MORE THAN 100 SCHOOLS TARGETED SINCE NOVEMBER 

The rights to education, health and life of millions of schoolgirls are at risk amid ongoing chemical gas attacks deliberately targeting girls’ schools in Iran. Since the first reported gas attack in the city of Qom, the incidents increased exponentially with some 300 separate attacks now reported.

The poisonings appear to be a coordinated campaign to punish schoolgirls for their peaceful participation in nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the "morality" police in mid-September 2022. As women and girls lead the call for change in Iran, schoolgirls have engaged in acts of resistance such as removing their mandatory hijabs and showing their hair in public while in school uniform. 

These attacks have left schoolgirls hospitalized with symptoms including coughing, difficulty in breathing, nose and throat irritation, heart palpitation, headache, nausea, vomiting and numbness in limbs. As of mid-April, official statistics said 13,000 schoolgirls had received medical care. Some parents removed their daughters from school fearing for their safety. 

Authorities in Iran have downplayed the gravity and scale of the attacks – dismissing the symptoms as stress, mischief or “mental contagion” – and tried to silence calls for accountability and reporting by the media. No effective investigation or any meaningful steps have been taken to end the attacks. 

In March, the authorities announced the arrest of over 118 people for alleged involvement in “smuggling stink bombs”, which they claimed was the main cause of the poisonings. Many people in Iran suspect actors tied to the state or pro-government vigilantes, who have been empowered by Iran’s discriminatory and degrading laws and policies that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

Tuesday

Myths about fossil fuels and renewable energy are circulating again. Don’t buy them. » Yale Climate Connections

Myths about fossil fuels and renewable energy are circulating again. Don’t buy them. » Yale Climate Connections

large and growing fraction of U.S. residents understands that human-caused climate change is a significant problem in need of urgent solutions. But as public alarm increases, misinformation about fossil fuels and renewable energy has also seen an uptick.

For example, some politicians and petroleum producers have said that the Biden administration is addressing climate change by slowing down domestic energy production, characterizing the president’s policies as an attack on American energy. But the data doesn’t bear that out.

Oil and gas extraction has been on the rise since the COVID-induced slowdowns of late 2020 and early 2021. Since then, gas production has set multiple all-time records, and the Energy Information Administration anticipates new oil production records will be set in 2023. The data behind those assessments stands in stark contrast to accusations that the Biden administration is curtailing domestic oil and gas extraction...

Bottom line: When you compare the amount of electricity generated, rather than the amount of raw fuel, it becomes clear that renewables are already producing about as much electricity as coal...

Fossil gas is around 44% efficient, so “only” 56% of the energy in gas is lost in conversion to electricity. That’s better than coal, but still very inefficient. As renewables offset fossil-fueled electricity, they are replacing large amounts of inefficient energy production with a more efficient process that consumes less energy overall. This is partly why renewables tend to be cheaper than extraction-based sources of electricity.

It takes a careful eye to spot these nuances, but in the end, a data-driven approach not