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.


NEWS: 150 groups call on Harper to apologize to UN special rapporteur

NEWS: 150 groups call on Harper to apologize to UN special rapporteur
The Canadian Press reports, “A long list of human-rights groups, lawyers and activists wants the federal government to apologize for trashing the UN food envoy during his recent visit to Canada. Signatories include former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, former Progressive Conservative minister Flora Macdonald, as well as organizations such as Amnesty International (and the Council of Canadians).”

“Earlier this month, several cabinet ministers lashed out at the special rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter, after his trip across Canada led him to express ‘extremely severe’ concerns about the ability of aboriginal people and families on social assistance to afford the food they need to stay healthy. In an open letter issued Wednesday, more than 150 organizations and individuals say Ottawa is undermining the authority of the United Nations by publicly attacking its envoys to Canada. The letter points to personal attacks against De Schutter by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and others, in which the ministers said the UN envoy was ‘ill-informed’ and ‘patronizing’, and his mission was ‘completely ridiculous’.”
“The attack on De Schutter was not the first time the Conservatives have tried to undermine UN experts involved in Canadian policy, the letter adds. Last year, James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, wrote to say he was concerned about living conditions at the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario. But Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan dismissed his statements, saying it was a ‘publicity stunt’.”

Lobby Week | Amnesty International USA, NDAA andTorture

Lobby Week | Amnesty International USA
It's shocking. Some members of Congress are advocating to expand Guantanamo and return to waterboarding. Just recently, they defeated an attempt in the House to fix the problematic detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
We cannot let Congress' disregard for human rights continue.
You can help. This July 1-8, join in with activists across the US and meet with your Representative and Senators to tell them: "No to torture and indefinite detention, and yes to human rights."
With your help, we'll ensure that your Representative and Senators have the facts. We can help fend off repeated efforts by some Senators to introduce amendments that would open the door to torture; we can help push for the repeal of sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA justifying indefinite detention without trial; and we can help release an important Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA's detention and interrogation programs following the September 2001 terror attacks. We can encourage Congress to support human rights in several other areas as well.
Your Representative and your Senators are likely to be in a district office near you some time during the July 4th Congressional Recess. Apply to coordinate a delegation to visit your elected officials. Or, join a delegation near you. Coordinating a delegation is easy — it will take a moderate time commitment to read materials, contact the office to be visited, practice the meeting and actually conduct the meeting. Amnesty International will give you ideas, training and tips to be effective.


Security Council 'Unfit for Purpose', Says Amnesty International

Security Council 'Unfit for Purpose', Says Amnesty International - IPS
UNITED NATIONS, May 24, 2012 (IPS) - Amnesty International delivered a scathing condemnation of global and national leadership in its 2012 global human rights report on Tuesday, conveying profound disappointment in such leadership for its failure to match the determination and resilience of ordinary civilians in their resistance to repressive regimes.

The report deemed the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council "increasingly unfit for purpose", according to Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty International, one of the world's most prominent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) focusing on human rights.

The report cited several areas of failure and called for a strong Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with human rights provisions to ensure that politicians prioritise human rights over profit and power.

The veto power of the Security Council's five permanent members, China, France, Russia, the UK and the U.S., who also happened to be among the world's top arms suppliers, is "problematic", said José Luis Díaz, head of office and U.N. representative at Amnesty's U.N. office in New York. 

[30-May-12] Canada Declares Support for Human Right to Water: Now is the time for action, says Council of Canadians

[30-May-12] Canada Declares Support for Human Right to Water: Now is the time for action, says Council of Canadians
After years of national and international pressure, the Canadian government finally signaled that it will recognize the human right to water and sanitation. The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest social justice advocacy organization, has campaigned for more than a decade to ensure the human right to water, and to convince past and present Conservative and Liberal governments to accept Canada’s international legal obligations.
As recently as last month, Canada was isolated in the Rio+20 negotiations as the only country to publicly claim there is no legal basis for the right and call for its deletion. This position was untenable, however, almost two years after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the right (GA Res. A/64/292) followed by three subsequent confirming Human Rights Council resolutions.
Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and a former UN Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the General Assembly, says “It took unprecedented pressure to get this government to change its position, and the shift is a good thing, but words are not enough. We need actions, and the government’s actions directly contradict respect for the human right to water.”
According to Barlow, the recent omnibus Bill C-38 is evidence that this government does not respect the human right to water: “The changes to the Fisheries Act, Parks Canada, environmental assessments, and decades-long programs of environmental monitoring, as well as many more water-related cuts contained in the over 400 pages of C-38, aren’t compatible with the right to water.”
The Council of Canadians is calling on the government to reconsider those initiatives in Bill C-38 with devastating impacts on nature and communities across Canada, and put in place a plan to implement the human right to water. The Council will be presenting at the federal Finance Committee Hearings on Bill C-38 tomorrow at 5pm.
The Council has consistently asked Canadian governments to show their commitment to water by implementing a national water act including a domestic plan of action on the human right to water. The Council of Canadians looks forward to the government providing  a clear plan of what it intends to do to meet its international and domestic obligations with regard to the human right to water and sanitation.


Tell the US EPA: Ban Diesel Fuel From Fracking - Sierra Club

Tell the EPA: Ban Diesel Fuel From Fracking - Sierra Club
In 2011, the natural gas industry was caught red-handed, secretly pumping over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel and diesel by-products into the ground -- and right through our drinking water. This is after the industry denied using diesel in their fracking cocktails!

The use of diesel in fracking fluids poses a great threat to our drinking water. Containing known carcinogens like benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes, ingesting diesel can damage your central nervous system, liver and kidneys.

In response, EPA has released draft regulations for the use of diesel in fracking. However, we need EPA to take it a step further and ban the use of diesel and diesel by-products in fracking fluids.

Send a message today -- tell EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to protect our communities and our health by banning diesel fuel and diesel fuel by-products in fracking.


    Wild Salmon alert - BC makes whistleblowing illegal?!

    from Alexandra Morton:
    In two weeks the Province of BC wants to make it illegal to talk about reportable diseases in animals destined for human consumption  They also seek to amend the Offence Act so that the punishment can be maximum for talking about reportable diseases in animals/fish people are going to eat.  I am in shock.

    Last night Anissa and I went to observe the offloading of the OCEAN KING mort packer for Mainstream. They are moving the viral infected fish through the most productive wild salmon waters of the west coast of Vancouver Island - Alberni Inlet, avoiding every fish farm. There was no containment around the vessel as they pumped, the trucks were dripping bloodwater as they drove to the nearby Land, Earth and Sea "organic" composting facility between China Creek and Port Alberni. There is concern this will leach directly into the Inlet. People do not understand why this facility was used and not the much more secure mass mortality compost facility in Parksville. These fish should be removed before the next big rainfall.
    We contacted Local First Nations who were not notified. DFO was called but they were not visible on scene, the mayor showed up but did not speak with me.  The boat left and will presumably be back late today.

    We have posted videos at Salmon Are Sacred facebook page and a posting on my blog

    So folks this may be the last chance the people of Canada have the opportunity to be vocal about highly infectious diseases in Norwegian feedlots, leaching into BC. Christy Clark, premier of BC is taking us into Dark Ages.  Mainstream is telling the world I breached quarantine at the dock, but there was none when we arrived and once there was I never stepped inside.

    If you want wild salmon - this is your last chance to protect them from viruses in salmon farms.  The doors on free-speech are slamming shut if you feel like using democracy to try and stop this now would be a good time.


    The Enviro Disaster You Know Nothing About: The Eco-Devastating Quest for "Frac Sand" in Rural America

    The Enviro Disaster You Know Nothing About: The Eco-Devastating Quest for "Frac Sand" in Rural America | | AlterNet
    Jerry Lausted, a retired teacher and also a farmer, showed me the tawny ridges of sand that delineated a strip mine near the town of Menomonie where he lives. “If we were looking from the air,” he added, “you’d see ponds in the bottom of the mine where they dump the industrial waste water. If you scan to the left, you’ll see the hills that are going to disappear.”
    Action in Wisconsin:  Save The Hills Alliance:
    Northwest Wisconsin’s rolling hills are sandstone hills, containing the kind of sand used in hydraulic fracturing. Just as mountain top removal for coal has devastated the coal region, many here fear that hill top removal for frac sand will devastate this beautiful region.  Canadian Sand and Proppants, Inc. (CSP) (now owned by EOG) is only one of many mining companies seeking to remove the hills of Wisconsin to get access to the frac sand.
    Canadian Sand and Proppants Inc. worked for many months in secret with our city and county officials to pave the way for a Silica Sand Processing Plant in Chippewa Falls. Small notices of annexation and rezoning were published in the Chippewa Herald, but there was no end user named and no mention of SAND.

    Support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act - US

    Support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act - The Petition Site
    • Target: U.S. House of Representatives
    • Sponsored by: Safe Horizon

    What if you became the victim of domestic violence or rape and learned that you had fewer resources for help in your community, from the police, or through the court system?

    This could happen if the U.S. House fails to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

    Since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first enacted in 1994, it's helped save thousands of lives by recognizing domestic and sexual violence as crimes at the federal level, and by giving organizations like Safe Horizon the vital resources they need to help women and families affected by violence and abuse.

    VAWA is once again up for reauthorization. The Senate voted 68-31 in favor of this bill, and now it's up to the House. But they have voted to strip protections for immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, which is a huge setback.

    Don't let victims lose this lifesaving legislation. Join Safe Horizon to support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act -- WITH protections for immigrants!


    WIN! Fracking ban in Vermont an important step in protecting groundwater

    WIN! Fracking ban in Vermont an important step in protecting groundwater
    CNN reports, “Vermont’s governor has signed a bill making it the first U.S. state to ban fracking, the controversial practice to extract natural gas from the ground. ‘This is a big deal,’ Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday. ‘This bill will ensure that we do not inject chemicals into groundwater in a desperate pursuit for energy.’ Shumlin said fracking contaminates groundwater and the science behind it is ‘uncertain at best’. He said he hopes other states will follow Vermont’s lead in banning it.”
    “Fracking involves injecting water, sand and some chemicals deep into the earth to crack shale rock, which frees oil and gas. Critics fear the chemicals are seeping into the groundwater.”
    We congratulate our US allies who have worked to protect groundwater and make this state-wide ban possible.
    Vermont has also taken other great steps to protect it’s groundwater - with the help of Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow.
    In July 2006, Barlow was in Vermont “urging citizens to act quickly to protect (their) public water supplies from pollution, depletion and corporate exploitation,” according to the Vermont Natural Resources Defense Council. As they noted at that time, her visit coincided “with the enactment of H.294, Vermont’s groundwater management act, which took effect July 1. This landmark legislation, which was signed by the governor in May, marks Vermont’s first step toward determining exactly where we stand in relation to that precious natural resource beneath our feet.”

    Q&A: The Future of Agriculture May Well Be in Cities - IPS

    Q&A: The Future of Agriculture May Well Be in Cities - IPS
    Q: What are the places that really need this the most?

    A: The concept of vertical farming will emerge in most people's perception as an elitist activity. Because only people with the most money and a high desire for local produced vegetables and fruits will support this concept. As with all other ideas that have application to the general population, the idea will be manipulated by technology, so that it becomes economic, efficient, mobile and modular.

    Imagine vertical farming as a LEGO-like structure, in which all the (components) that fit together are already growing food. If you walk into this warehouse, it's enormous, and the order is for a vertical farm eight stories tall that manufactures lettuce and some really exotic crops. And you click them all together and ship them out. You can situate these on a base anywhere in the world.

    It is not an elitist activity at this point. Suddenly it becomes a way of intervening in natural disaster, to prevent unnecessary deaths. To prevent high rates of infant mortality, to supply food on a continuous basis for places that have no soil, like Sub-Saharan Africa, most of South Asia, and a lot of places in Southeast Asia. Places that are people-rich and food-poor.

    Vertical farming will eventually morph into a strategy to supply clean drinking water and abundant safe to eat food to whoever needs it. Not (just) whoever wants it. 

    NEWS: RCMP spying on the Yinka Dene Alliance

    NEWS: RCMP spying on the Yinka Dene Alliance
    The Toronto Star reports, “The RCMP has been spying on a group of British Columbia First Nations (opposing) Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline…, according to documents obtained through an access-to-information request. The documents show that a provincial RCMP unit has been closely tracking the potential for ‘acts of protest and civil disobedience’ by the Yinka Dene Alliance, a coalition of northern B.C. First Nations who have been at the centre of resistance to Enbridge’s $5.5 billion pipeline proposal. …The revelations add ammunition to critics who have charged that the Harper government is waging a campaign to demonize legitimate opponents of resource developments like the Northern Gateway, by labelling them as radicals or including them in Canada’s ‘counter-terrorism’ strategy.”

    “According to the documents, the RCMP unit gathered intelligence from unspecified ‘industry reports’, newspapers and websites, and Facebook and Flickr photo accounts. They also appear to have monitored private meetings, including one between First Nations and environmental organizations held in Fraser Lake, B.C., at the end of November, which Saik’uz First Nation Chief Jackie Thomas says was not announced publicly. The meeting’s purpose was ‘to strengthen the alliance between First Nations and environmental groups opposing Enbridge’, an intelligence report from December states. …The monthly intelligence reports note that the oil company ‘will experience increasingly intense protest activity due to the environmental sensitivity of the Northern Gateway path, combined with the fact that the territory has never been ceded to the Crown by First Nations in B.C.’ …An intelligence report notes that the Yinka Dene Alliance will show an ‘increasing propensity and likelihood of utilizing blockades and confrontation to deter industry from accessing disputed territory.’”
    “Enbridge declined to comment about whether it has been exchanging information with the RCMP.”

    Climate Reality | Push button. Save planet - letter to Obama on EPA carbon limits

    Climate Reality | Push button. Save planet.
    For the first time ever, the EPA has proposed a limit on carbon pollution. It's a courageous and critical step toward curbing carbon emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants and solving the climate crisis.And it's your opportunity to take real action.

    By clicking here you will be signing and sending a message to the White House that this measure is a step in the right direction -- a direction of leadership on the issue of climate-altering carbon pollution


    Send a Message of Support « Campaign for Southern Equality

    Send a Message of Support « Campaign for Southern Equality
    Send a message of solidarity to LGBT people in  North Carolina.

    This message will be shared with all the people participating in the WE DO Campaign, including the couples requesting licenses and the LGBT people and allies supporting them every step of the way. (You can also add a personal message at the bottom of the form): As you take action, we want you to know that we are right there with you. We believe that LGBT people are fully equal and fully human. We believe that the right to love and create a family are basic human rights. We support you in taking action to resist discriminatory laws that deny these fundamental truths. You are not, and never will be, acting alone. We will follow your stories and tell the story of your actions far beyond North Carolina.


    Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train Arrives in Toronto for Tomorrow’s Enbridge AGM

    Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Train Arrives in Toronto for Tomorrow’s Enbridge AGM

    The Yinka Dene Alliance, one of the groups of First Nations opposing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, arrived in Toronto today and will be at the Enbridge Annual General Meeting tomorrow to enforce their ban on having the pipeline pass through their territories.
    As part of the Freedom Train, the YDA has been travelling from their territories in northern BC, holding rallies, speaking events, feasts, and ceremonies in Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. For the final Freedom Train stop in Toronto there will be a Solidarity Concert, a water ceremony, and a rally at the Enbridge AGM.
    The rally at tomorrow’s Enbridge AGM will be a clear sign of southern Ontario resistance against tar sands expansion and the pipelines as buses are organized to bring supporters from Sarnia, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo to oppose the pipeline project.
    For more information on why the YDA has come to Toronto to oppose the Enbridge pipeline, check out the latest article on
    1. Sign the Freedom Train 2012 petition, which states: We call on Parliament to recognize the decision that has been taken by the Yinka Dene Alliance and other First Nations to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers in their lands and waters - including the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project.
    2. Attend the Toronto events:
    Tuesday May 8
    8:00 p.m. Freedom Train Solidarity Concert at The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West). Admission by Donation
    Wednesday May 9
    - 11:45am Rally, March & Water Ceremony at David Pecaut Square near King St. & John St. (behind Metro Hall)
    The closest subway station is St. Andrew Station (TTC tokens provided). A mobility vehicle will be made available for those that cannot walk the march route. For a spot in the van or for any other accessibility concerns, please email:
    - 12:30pm March from the rally - towards Endbridge AGM (Meridian Hotel, King and Victoria St.)


    ACTION ALERT: Tell the Museum of Nature to Rethink Partnership with Barrick Gold!

    ACTION ALERT: Tell the Museum of Nature to Rethink Partnership with Barrick Gold!
    Amidst reports of human rights violations and massive public opposition to the environmentally destructive operations of Barrick Gold around the world, it is shocking that the Canadian Museum of Nature would undertake a partnership with the notorious multinational mining company.
    The Canadian Museum of Nature is a largely publicly funded institution that states the following about its objectives: The purpose of the Canadian Museum of Nature is to give Canadians an opportunity of discovering and understanding the natural world and how to live in balance with it.
    This partnership is an attempt by Barrick Gold to improve its public image and influence public opinion. It severely undermines the ability of the Museum of Nature to serve the public interest and educate about the natural world.
    Barrick Gold has used its political influence to lobby against regulatory oversight of the environmentally and socially harmful practices of mining companies here in Canada and around the world.
    Please use the template on the link or send your own message to the President of the Museum of Nature demanding that the Museum reconsider the partnership with Barrick Gold.