Stop the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement talks!
I am very concerned about the likely impacts of a Canada-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on people in both countries.
I oppose the investor-state dispute settlement provision that is already in the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). This provision allows transnational corporations to sue governments for future lost profits due to legislation that protects the public interest, including the environment. I think that this provision should be removed from FIPA and should not be strengthened by a new FTA.
I am concerned about the impact of a Canada-China FTA on Indigenous rights. The Chinese government has said that a free trade deal would require Canadian concessions on investment restrictions in the oil and gas sector, and a commitment to build an energy pipeline to the coast. This violates Indigenous rights in that these projects affect their lands and waters – without their free, prior and informed consent.
I am also concerned that a Canada-China FTA could lead to water pollution and increased bottled water takings. An expansion of the tar sands would mean more water pollution in northern Alberta, while pipelines put waterways across the country at risk. As well, about 90 per cent of the groundwater in Chinese cities is polluted and 700 million people in those cities drink contaminated water every day. Given China already sees Tibet as a source for bottled water, it's possible that China might look to Canada as a source of bottled water as well. Canada could also be promoted as a country with ample water for China's water-intensive industries.
I am disappointed that you launched an online consultation on a Canada-China FTA six months after you announced exploratory talks would take place and three weeks after those talks began. The online consultation form gives you the opportunity to say you have consulted Canadians, but it does not give me the opportunity to directly say I oppose a Canada-China FTA.
I ask that you stop the current talks on a Canada-China FTA, that you hold proper consultations with Canadians and First Nations, and that any future talks be open, transparent and accountable to the public.
Ethical Action Alerts for Human Rights, Environmental Issues, Peace, and Social Justice, supporting the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Treaties and Conventions.
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.
Women's rights under assault: UN
Women's rights under assault: UN, Agence France-Presse
Women's rights are under fresh assault worldwide, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday as a two-week conference kicked off at the United Nations to take stock of the fight for gender equality.
President Donald Trump's "global gag rule" cutting US funding to groups that offer abortion services and Russia's decision to ease punishment for domestic violence are casting a long shadow on the annual gathering of the Commission on the Status of Women.
"Globally, women are suffering new assaults on their safety and dignity," Guterres told the opening session of the conference at UN headquarters in New York.
"Some governments are enacting laws that curtail women's freedoms. Others are rolling back legal protections against domestic violence."
Trump, who declared himself opposed to abortion during his campaign, signed a decree just days into his presidency barring US funding for foreign non-governmental groups if their work touches on abortion.
A few weeks later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that reduces penalties for domestic violence to a fine instead of a jail term, if the assault is a first offence and does not cause serious injury.
This year's gathering focuses on women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work, with attention turning to pay inequality and paid parental leave.
The United Nations has set a global goal of achieving gender equality by 2030. A recent study by the International Labour Organization warned that without stronger measures, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap.
UN Secretary-General's Message for International Women’s Day | UN Women
UN Secretary-General's Message for International Women’s Day | UN Women – Headquarters
UN Secretary-General's Message for International Women’s Day
Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.
Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.
Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.
Women’s legal rights, which have never been equal to men’s on any continent, are being eroded further. Women’s rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined. Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.
Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.
Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.
Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.
UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world
UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world | Environment | The Guardian
The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.
A new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.
The report says pesticides have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. Its authors said: “It is time to create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.”
The world’s population is set to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion in 2050. The pesticide industry argues that its products – a market worth about $50bn (£41bn) a year and growing – are vital in protecting crops and ensuring sufficient food supplies.
“It is a myth,” said Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food. “Using more pesticides is nothing to do with getting rid of hunger. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), we are able to feed 9 billion people today. Production is definitely increasing, but the problem is poverty, inequality and distribution.”
Elver said many of the pesticides are used on commodity crops, such as palm oil and soy, not the food needed by the world’s hungry people: “The corporations are not dealing with world hunger, they are dealing with more agricultural activity on large scales.”
NCSE and the March for Science | April 22, DC
NCSE and the March for Science | NCSE
NCSE is among the scientific, academic, and educational institutions endorsing the March for Science that will take place in Washington DC on April 22, 2017, with satellite marches planned in almost three hundred communities across the world. The goal of the march is to celebrate science and its crucial role in protecting the health of our communities, the safety of our families, the education of our children and the foundation of our economy and jobs.
As NCSE's executive director Ann Reid explained in a March 6, 2017, blog post, "we believe that the marches will be a powerful and positive reminder that there is something that virtually everyone agrees on: the value and importance of science. ... While it is certainly true that Americans seem to be intractably divided over more issues than ever before, support for science is something that all of us share, and can continue to share."
Among the partners with the March for Science besides NCSE are the American Anthropological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Society for Cell Biology,the Entomological Society of America, Research America, Science Debate, Sigma Xi, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
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