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.


InterPares statement on Sudan


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.


Amnesty: Stop Schoolgirl poisoning in Iran



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.