2013

Image: Government U-turn on torture inquiry promise “scandalous” Commenting on the publication of the preliminary work of the Gibson Inquiry into UK rendition in torture, and the announcement by Cabinet Office Minister Ken Clarke that the Government will no longer hold a judge-led inquiry into the issue but will instead pass the issue to the Intelligence and Security Committee, Clare Algar, Executive Director of legal charity Reprieve said: “These findings show just how crucial it is that a fully independent and transparent inquiry is held into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition.   Read More...
Image: Honor Mandela by carrying on the struggle for justice and peace Father John Dear's blog from The National Catholic Reporter

With everyone else, I've been mourning, celebrating and reflecting these past few days on the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela, who died Dec 5. I'm amazed at his political vision; his daring revolutionary commitment; his patient endurance through 27 years in prison; his determination to avoid war and reconcile South Africa upon his release; his persistent forgiveness; his outspoken stance against war, poverty, AIDS and U.S. imperialism; his towering example; and, perhaps most of all, his personal dignity and humanity.   Read More...

Image: Tell the Home Secretary to help end child trafficking in the UK Email action by Walk Free
At the moment the UK is introducing new laws on Modern Slavery. Let's make sure it helps protect children from trafficking.   Read More...
Image: Lobbying Bill unjust and undemocratic, says Christian think-tank Ekklesia has endorsed a new report, published today (10 Dec), calling for substantial changes to the government's Lobbying Bill, which in its present form would severely restrict the free speech of civic groups a year before an election.  "The Commission's consensus proposals for amendment represent a definite improvement, but serious doubts remain as to whether the Lobbying Bill can be rendered fit for purpose in time for the 2015 election. It will be open to significant legal challenge and may leave legitimate campaign groups with little option but to challenge an unjust law," warned Ekklesia co-director Barrow.   Read More...
Image: RIP Madiba “It always seems impossible till it's done” “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”   Read More...
Image: Call for Peace Wishes and Prayers - Messages of Peace for Bethlehem - Advent and Christmas 2013

All people of good will are invited to write a message of hope and encouragement to our friends in Bethlehem. The season of Advent and Christmas reminds us of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace.  The expectation of a just peace in Israel – Palestine is still alive, locally and globally. Pax Christi International supports all those in the Holy Land who show enormous courage in choosing peaceful ways that leads to a just peace. They raise their voices and speak truth to power, acting out inspirational stories to restore peace and build bridges between communities and religions in countries throughout the world.   Read More...

Image: One year on and still waiting for justice - Act Now Edinburgh Woollen Mill still refusing responsibility, and the Families of Tazreen Fashions fire victims continue to wait for justice. On November 24th 2012, over 120 workers were killed and many more injured when a fire ripped through the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photos taken and documents retrieved from the burnt out ruins showed Tazreen had been producing garments for the UK company Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM). EWM have yet to pay a penny in compensation to these workers.   Read More...
Image: A Disturbing Truth: the Church, the poor, and Oscar Romero Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP gave the following lecture entitled: 'A Disturbing Truth: the Church, the poor, and Oscar Romero' at Westminster Abbey, (29 October) Manchester (31 October) and Edinburgh (1st November)   Read More...
Image: St Andrews Day - STUC cancels St Andrew's Day march as mark of respect Saturday 30 November 2013.  Rally 12 noon, Glasgow Film Theatre, Rose Street, Glasgow.  Speakers include: Jerry Dammers, Musician and anti-racism campaigner: Hope not Hate, Speaker: Alan White, United Glasgow Football Club. Dee Matthew, Show Racism the Res Card

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Image: Political prisoners released in Burma, but many remain locked up

The release of several prisoners of conscience in Burma today is a positive step, but time is running out for the government to keep its promise to release everyone imprisoned for peaceful activism by the year's end, Amnesty International says. Burma (known by the regime as Myanmar) recently announced the release of 69 political prisoners, including several prisoners of conscience. (Ekklesia) 

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Image: Iraq: Executions at Their Highest in Post-Saddam Iraq A sharp increase in the use of the death penalty in Iraq has brought the number of known executions to the highest in the decade since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, with at least seven prisoners sent to the gallows yesterday, sparking fears that many more death row prisoners are at risk.  "Iraq's increased use of the death penalty, often after unfair trials in which many prisoners report having been tortured into confessing crimes, is a futile attempt to resolve the country's serious security and justice problems," said Phillip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.   Read More...
Image: Christmas Greeting Card Campaign If you would like to send greeting cards to prisoners this Christmas, here are some options Action by Action by Christians Against Torture: download the list here  Christian Solidarity Worldwide: download the list here  War Resisters International: download the list here   Read More...
Image: World AIDS Day 1st December 2013 UNAIDS reports a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001. World closing in on Millennium Development Goal 6, globally the AIDS epidemic has been halted and reversed—race is on to reach universal access to HIV treatment. See also SCIAF   Read More...
Image: Government needs to rethink Lobbying Bill, says Christian think-tank The government needs to listen to charities, churches and unions, and to amend substantially those provisions in its Lobbying Bill which would curtail the legitimate advocacy functions of voluntary organisations, says the Christian think-tank Ekklesia. The response came to news of a five week delay for further consideration agreed by the government on 5 November, after substantial pressure on parliamentarians concerning the advisability and workability of the Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill.
Read the full press release from Ekklesia    Read More...
Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. When citizens are prevented from enjoying that right, the social, political and cultural implications can be serious, as the debate will show. The loss of other human rights can swiftly follow. The debate is therefore important not only for Christians, but for all religious groups and minorities, and indeed for everyone seeking to live out the dictates of their conscience in worship, teaching, practice and observance, respectful of others' right to do likewise, and under the protection of a state striving to achieve that positive vision under the rule of law. That is a far cry from the reality for many Christians in the middle east. House of Commons, Westminister Hall Debate
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Image: Pope meets Aung San Suu Kyi Pope Francis on Monday (28 October) received Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi in the Vatican, offering his support to her commitment towards democracy. The Burmese opposition leader, a former political prisoner in her own country, is currently on a visit to Europe and on Sunday was made an honorary citizen of Rome. During the meeting, which took place in the Papal Library, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment towards democracy in her country, and assured her of the Church’s support towards this cause.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 603: Textile Workers In Bangladesh Email your MP
Please ask you MP to sign this EDM. 'That this House notes that Bangladesh is currently the world's second-biggest producer of textiles and garments, and that it's mostly-female workforce of four million people are the lowest paid in the world and face appalling working conditions on a daily basis for less than £28 a month; deeply regrets the tragic disasters at garment factories across Bangladesh in recent months, which have claimed well over 1200 lives, left tens of thousands too injured to work and pushed millions more into poverty; commends Global Citizen's See Through Fashion campaign, which is working with the British fashion industry to encourage retailers to sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which will ensure better safety and working conditions for the people who make a majority of Britain's clothes;   Read More...
Image: Electoral Reform Society: Please help stop the lobbying bill

The Lobbying Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords last week. Despite some amendments made in the Commons, it is still deeply flawed. Can you help out by sharing your views with the Lords as they prepare to debate the Bill in Committee Stage this week? You can write to the Bill’s sponsor, Lord Wallace, here. Let him know you share concerns – that the Lobbying Bill could severely affect our ability to raise important issues in the lead up to elections – and that’s why we are asking you to share your thoughts with him.

 

    

Image: Harmful Practices Against Women And Girls Can Never be Justified by Religion Harmful practices inflicted on women and girls can never be justified in the name of freedom of religion or belief, an independent United Nations human rights expert told a General Assembly committee dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues. "Countless women are exposed to complex forms of human rights violations based on both religion or belief and their sex," said Heiner Bielefeldt, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. (UN News Centre, 29 October 2013)   Read More...
Image: Procurement Reform Bill  - SCIAF email Action Nine billion reasons to act for justice
Every year the Scottish Government spends £9 billion buying goods and services - some from Scotland, some from much further away. This autumn, the Government and MSPs will debate a new law, the Procurement Reform Bill, which will guide how this £9 billion is spent. SCIAF is launching a new campaign calling for Scottish Government to make sure our money is not used to exploit workers, damage the planet or benefit unethical businesses.   Read More...
Image: Faith bodies express anxiety over effect of Lobbying Bill Thirteen faith-based organisations have written to David Cameron and Nick Clegg to express their fear that the Lobbying Bill will "curtail our ability to express deeply-held beliefs in the political arena" The letter states that even after the Government’s latest amendment to the Bill, the signatories believe there is a "very real risk that non-biased political activity will be captured by the…Act." (Ekklesia)
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Image: The Edinburgh World Justice Festival - 12th - 26th Oct. In the summer of 2005, while the G8 met in Scotland and made promises that have yet to be kept, a people’s movement was born in Edinburgh - The Edinburgh World Justice Festival. Bringing together people & organisations who share the common values of justice, peace, non-violence, human rights for all, democracy, respect of differences, independence and self-responsibility, honesty & openness, equality & solidarity. The 2013 EWJF programme is set to be packed with talks, workshops and action that will keep the issues of world justice in the public eye. View EWJF events here
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Image: Dying for a Bargain BBC One - Panorama,  Dying for a Bargain. If you missed 'Dying For A Bargain' on 23 September, you can watch it here. Panorama investigated the shocking working conditions in Bangladesh clothing factories and how the Western fashion industry is turning a blind eye.   

     
Image: Take One Action Take One Action – Scotland’s global change film festival – is back in Edinburgh and Glasgow from 27 September to 12 October, premiering two weeks of the best new international cinema connecting us across our shared planet. Get involved today!   Read More...
Image: Eight UK clothing brands still refuse to fix dangerous factories in Bangladesh In April over 1200 people died in Bangladesh when the Rana Plaza building collapsed. There has never been a clearer sign that all retailers need to dramatically raise their efforts to ensure that those making their clothes are doing so in safety and with dignity. After huge public pressure over 80 clothing brands signed up to a union-backed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Please contact the 8 clothing brand that refuse to sign the accord telling them that there are no excuses for ignoring safety standards and workers’ rights in Bangladesh   Read More...
Image: Pope Francis to organise conference on human trafficking
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will call a conference in November to discuss an "action plan" against human trafficking and modern slavery, Vatican radio reported.
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Image: Stop Child Labour Many observers thought that child labour was a thing of the past in Europe. However, there are strong indications that child labour remains a serious problem and that it might be growing in the wake of the economic crisis. Governments need to monitor this situation and to use the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Social Charter as guidance for preventive and remedial action. Vulnerable people are always disproportionately affected in times of economic down-turn. The link between declining economic growth and increasing child labour is therefore no surprise. With the recession many European countries have drastically cut social aid. As unemployment soars, many families have found no other solution than sending their children to work.  Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, 20/08 /2013   Read More...
Image: More action urged on trafficking and forced labour

Communities, churches, statutory authorities, survivor groups, police and NGOs need to work together better to tackle modern day slavery in Scotland and across the UK. That was the message coming out of a conversation asking 'Does Slavery Exist in Scotland Today?' at Just Festival in Edinburgh on Wednesday 8 August. Human trafficking, exploitation of migrant labour, forced prostitution, child exploitation, selling of organs, organised sexual abuse and domestic servitude are only a few examples of modern human enslavement, and it has been a growing problem, participants in the discussion at St John's Episcopal Church heard. (Ekklesia)

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Image: Fund for Peace - Failed States Index 2013 Index compiled/researched by 'Fund for Peace' - An independent, nonpartisan,  non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security. Though the index will show that some countries have moved down the index, this does not mean that conditions have got better;  just that they have been replaced by countries with deteriorated conditions moving up the index. Top ten worst countries in 2012: Somalia, DR Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Yemen, Afghanistan, Haiti, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe   Read More...
Image: UN chief condemns violence in Egypt and calls for respect for human rights UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the deadly upsurge of violence in Egypt and called on security forces to respect the right to free speech and assembly while urging protesters to demonstrate peacefully. Protests on Friday and Saturday (26 and 27 July) have left scores of people dead and hundreds others injured. “The Secretary-General once again calls on the interim authorities to assume full responsibility for the peaceful management of the demonstrations and ensure the protection of all Egyptians,” Ban's spokesperson said in a statement. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Families of Guantanamo detainees tell Senate of 'suffering' and 'anguish' The children of Guantanamo detainee and British resident Shaker Aamer have submitted statements to a US Senate hearing on the closure of the prison, describing life without their father. On 24 July, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights – Chaired by Senator Richard Durbin – held a hearing on closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was the first hearing of its kind since 2009. In a statement put on the record at the hearing, Shaker’s son Michael wrote: “Since I have grown up I find it very difficult without my dad. I can feel how hard it is for my mum. Even though he has been cleared for release, he has been tortured.” (Ekklesia)
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Image: Breathless for Blue Jeans shocking undercover report from Chinese sweatshops, shows a killer disease being inflicted on workers in the name of fashion

Chinese workers are exposed to silicosis, a deadly lung disease, while working in factories that produce jeans for Western brands such as Levis, H&M and Gap. The ‘distressed’ denims found in almost any high street store come with a hidden human cost. Sandblasting, one of the techniques used to produce these popular jeans, destroy workers’ lives. War on Want jointly with their partners in China exposes in the report, Breathless for Blue Jeans: Health hazards in China’s denim factories, the plight of workers in six factories in Guandong, the Chinese province responsible for half of the world’s entire production of blue jeans.

 



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Image: Mandela Day 2013 “It is in your hands to make a difference.” Nelson Mandela. Today is the fourth International Nelson Mandela Day. All over the world, people are honouring Nelson Mandela's legacy by committing their time to serving others.  Follow this live blog for the latest updates.
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Image: Five Steps To Increase Women's Safety Violence against women is one of the most widespread and serious human rights violations occurring every day in Europe. Only in the last three weeks more than five women have been killed in different countries, including Austria, Italy, Spain and Ukraine.  These murders are only the tip of a much larger iceberg of thousands of cases happening all over the world. Although there is a lack of comprehensive data, it is conservatively estimated that more than 60,000 women and girls die yearly in the world due to violent causes. Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, Strasbourg, 10/7/2013   Read More...
Image: Traidcraft  - The dark side to our high street brands Fast fashion at what cost: what does the recent collapse of a garment factory, resulting in over 1000 deaths, reveal about how clothes get to our high street shops? Read this interview with Traidcraft's private sector expert Fiona Gooch to find out more:   Read More...
Image: Vietnamese Child Trafficking Victims Win Appeal Against Convictions Three children from Vietnam who were trafficked to the UK and forced to work for criminal gangs have had their criminal convictions quashed. The children were arrested after police raids on cannabis factories and later convicted of drug offences. In an unrelated case, a woman from Uganda had her conviction for carrying false documents overturned. The court ruled the four should not have been prosecuted because they were victims of a "vile trade in people". Lawyers for the four argued they should not have been prosecuted because they were all victims of trafficking.
(BBC News, 21/06/13)    Read More...
Image: 10.5 Million Children Worldwide in Forced Domestic Labour With an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide working in people's homes in hazardous and often slavery-like conditions, the United Nations labour agency today called for an end to child labour in domestic work and urged decent working conditions for adolescents who can be legally employed. "There is no place and no excuse for child labour in domestic or any other form of work," UN International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder, said in his speech in Geneva to mark World Day against Child Labour. According to the latest figures in ILO's report, Ending child labour in domestic work, of the 10.5 million underage workers, an estimated 6.5 million are child labourers aged between five and 14 years of age. More than 71 per cent are girls, some of whom work as a result of forced labour and trafficking.UN News Centre, 12/06/13
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Image: Kyrgyzstan: 3 Years After Violence, a Mockery of Justice Justice for crimes committed during the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 remains elusive and the authorities' commitment to accountability is in doubt. Many people have gone on trial in connection with the violence. But the justice process has been seriously flawed from arrest to conviction, and has led to lengthy prison sentences based on unsound convictions. Criminal investigations into the June 2010 violence have been marred by widespread arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment, including torture. Unchecked courtroom violence and other egregious violations of defendants' rights have blocked the accused from presenting a meaningful defence. Human Rights Watch has documented how investigations disproportionately and unjustly targeted ethnic Uzbeks, and how this group has a heightened risk of torture in custody.
 Human Rights Watch, 08/06/13   Read More...
Image: UN Committee against Torture criticises UK immigration detention UN Committee against Torture report May 2013. Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom, adopted by the Committee at its fiftieth session (6-31 May 2013). UK practice highlighted; Amending the 2010 UKBA EIG allowing detention of people with mental illness unless it cannot be managed in detention; Conducting an immediate independent review of the application of Rule 35; Reviewing the screening process for administrative detention of asylum-seekers upon entry; Lowering the evidential threshold for torture survivors; Deportations to Sri Lanka; Restraint of children.   Read More...
Image: World Day Against Child Labour - 12 June

Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

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Image: Obama fails Guantanamo detainees, says Reprieve President Obama, in a major defence policy speech, failed to provide any meaningful assistance to the hunger-striking detainees being held without charge at Guantanamo Bay, says legal charity Reprieve.  The speech comes amid revelations that prisoners are being subjected to invasive and aggressive cavity searches as a matter of policy if they want to take phone calls or meetings with their lawyers. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 112: Women In Afghanistan That this House notes with concern that despite steady improvement in the rights of Afghan women since the severe repression of the 1990s, women in Afghanistan are once again in danger; raises concerns about information indicating that women are being marginalised in the peace process, ignored in the security transition and that they continue to be subject to violence in the home and attacks against the defenders of women's rights; commends the efforts by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development to ensure the Afghan government upholds its commitments on women's rights, including through implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women law, which is a central commitment under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework; praises the campaign being led by Amnesty International UK to highlight the plight of women in Afghanistan; and calls on the Government to keep the pressure on the Afghan administration to put women first.

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Image: 32.4 Million People Displaced by Disasters in 2012 A new report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected. 98% of all displacement in 2012 was related to climate- and weather-related events, with flood disasters in India and Nigeria accounting for 41% of global displacement in 2012. In India, monsoon floods displaced 6.9 million, and in Nigeria 6.1 million people were newly displaced. While over the past five years 81% of global displacement has occurred in Asia, in 2012 Africa had a record high for the region of 8.2 million people newly displaced, over four times more than in any of the previous four years. (Reliefweb, 13/05/113)
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Image: Souls of our Shoes Exhibition Scottish Interfaith Group on Domestic Abuse
Souls of our Shoes Exhibition from Monday 6th May to Monday 27th May at St Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh EH12 5AW. The shoes in this exhibition speak on behalf of abused individuals who suffer and some who die at the hands of their partner. Other comments come from those who journey with them. Their reflections represent a faith perspective. 'It is God’s intention for all human beings, male, female, child and adult, to enjoy safety, freedom, dignity and fullness of life. Abuse in the home is a violation of God’s wish for humanity as it can adversely affect an individual’s relationship with God and also creates substantial damage in the family, in the community and in society as a whole.' (From the Inter-Faith Statement) With timely help, many can escape from their abusive situation, rebuild their confidence and live in safety. This exhibition has been adapted from the ‘104 pairs of shoes’ initiated by the YWCA.
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Image: Where should I shop?: Labour Behind the Label - Our advice to you
In the face of stories about sweatshop factories and buildings collapsing in Bangladesh, it is often difficult to know where you should shop. Buying 'sweatshop free' clothes is a complicated business. Labour Behind the Label exists to help improve conditions for garment workers on the ground and empower them to change their systems for the better – they are not a consumer label and can't hope to know everything there is to know about all brands.

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Image: Stop Fatal Fashion Over 30 global brands have signed onto the Bangladesh Safety Accord. A huge thanks to everybody who has helped! The struggle is by no means over, but this is a major breakthrough that will bring real change. Shame on retailers like Walmart and Gap who refuse, but together with you we hope to change their ways still. Read the announcement.
 
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Image: Tell brands to take responsibility and sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement! Stop Press! Primark, H&M and Zara, have signed on to  the Bangladesh Safety Accord. This will save lives. Thank you to all who have signed petitions, over 30 brands signed up but some have not. Find out more. Stop The Killing! Demand safety for Bangladeshi workers. Over 1200 people were killed in the Bangladesh Rana Plaze building collapse. On Wednesday 24th April thousands of workers went to work at one of their garment factories located above the Rana Plaza shopping centre in Savar, Dhaka. They had been told to return to work despite noticing large cracks appearing the building only the day before. Over 370 of these workers were killed and over a thousand injured when that same day the building came crashing down, trapping them under tons of rubble and machinery. Send an email NOW
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Image: The Stateof the World’s Mothers 2013 Report The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world’s toughest place to be a mother – and Finland the best – according to Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The Mother’s Index, contained within the report, looks at 176 countries around the world that are succeeding – and failing – in saving the lives of mothers and their new-born babies. It assesses mothers’ well-being using indicators of maternal health, under-five mortality, levels of women’s education, income, and political status. The Nordic countries sweep the top spots while, for the first time, countries in sub-Saharan Africa take up each of the bottom ten places in the annual index. A woman or girl in the DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes – including childbirth – but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200.   Read More...
Image: Bangladesh factory collapse: Who really pays for our cheap clothes? The sad fact behind the building collapse in Bangladesh in whch hundreds died is that it isn't an isolated problem.  The story will leave the headlines at the end of this week but on Monday hundreds of thousands of workers will return to factories that are frankly further tragedies waiting to happen, and will keep producing clothes for high street brands.  (Anna McMullen, campaigner for Labour Behind the Label, on CNN)   Read More...
Image: Give adidas the boot! Join the Footlocker day of action 22 April
STOP PRESS PT Kizone workers paid by Adidas, A huge thanks and congratulations to everyone who helped win this momentous struggle.
In April 2011, 2,800 workers in Indonesia lost their jobs after their factory, PT Kizone, closed down. Since then these workers have been fighting to get the $3.4 million they are owed in severance pay. Since the closure many workers have been unable to find new work and struggle to stay in their homes and keep their children at school. An international campaign has called on brands producing at PT Kizone to pay severance. While Nike and Dallas Cowboys have paid $1.6million to the fund, adidas has refused to pay a penny, despite strong international campaigning. Join the Footlocker International Day of Action on 22nd April. Act Now!   Read More...
Image: 28.8 Million Internally Displaced People Worldwide In 2012 by conflict and violence The number of people internally displaced by armed conflict, violence and human rights violations at the end of 2012 was 28.8 million, an increase of 2.4 million people on the previous year and the highest global figure ever reported by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). Over 6.5 million people were newly displaced inside their home countries in 2012, almost twice as many as the year before. Because these people have not crossed a border, they are not refugees and do not benefit from international protection. ''Much of the spike in the number of internally displaced people worldwide was due to the 2.4 million people displaced by the crisis within Syria by the end of 2012,'' said Kate Halff, Director of IDMC.   Read More...
Image: Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the Tazreen Fashions Factory In November 2011 at least 112 workers died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the nine story building. Others were simply burned alive. Factory windows were barred to prevent theft and there weren’t enough fire exits, making it impossible for workers to escape. Workers’ families have not only lost a loved one but have been left in even worse poverty. Many injured workers are unable to afford medical treatment. The Tazreen workers produced for labels including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, who have so far refused to engage with Labour Behind the Label or the Bangladesh trade unions to ensure the victims of the fire get the justice they deserve. Act Now! Sign the petition calling on Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and other buyers from the Tazreen Fashions factory, to pay full compensation to the victims and their families.
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Image: International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery - 25 March Today on the International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery, we honour those who suffered at the hands of the brutal slavery system and renew our commitment to stand up against modern slavery.   Read More...
Image: Sri Lanka Accused of Ongoing Torture and Abuse of Tamil Prisoners According to a new report by 'Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice'. The Sri Lanka government continues to break its international treaty obligations and its own laws through its treatment of Tamil political prisoners. At Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (which periodically examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN members), the panel noted that four pledges made by the government in 2008, in relation to prisoners, were 'incomplete'. Overall, the government rejected 100 of the 210 recommendations made to it. See also Mark Townsend and Hussein Kesvani guardian.co.uk,  23 March 2013
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Image: World Water Day - 22 March

The fulfilment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. Good management of water is especially challenging due to some of its unique characteristics: it is unevenly distributed in time and space, the hydrological cycle is highly complex and perturbations have multiple effects. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population, now at over seven billion people, for food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses. Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.

    

Image: 'Shameful' Failure To Tackle Slavery And Human Trafficking in the UK Ministers, the police and social workers have been accused of a "shocking" failure to prevent the spread of modern slavery in the UK, leading to sexual exploitation, forced labour and the domestic servitude of adults and children from across the world. Describing government ministers as "clueless" in their response to tackling human trafficking, both into and within the UK, the most exhaustive inquiry yet conducted into the phenomenon concludes that the approach to eradicating modern slavery is fundamentally wrong-headed. Instead of helping vulnerable victims who are trapped into forms of slavery after being trafficked from overseas, the legal system prosecutes many for immigration offences. Inquiry outlines 80 recommendations, including appointing an independent commissioner and new legislation to protect victims (The Observer, 09/03/13)   Read More...
Image: G4S accused over links to Palestinian 'torture' death jail Campaigners from War on Want have called for the British private security corporation G4S to be held to account for its involvement with Israel's unlawful detention of Palestinians. The call followed the death of a Palestinian prisoner, after his alleged torture in custody by Israel's internal security service Shin Bet.
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Image: Côte d'Ivoire : Widespread Human Rights Violations Continue A repressive cycle of widespread human rights violations by the armed forces pursuing former President Laurent Gbagbo's supporters is making reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire ever more elusive. The national army, set up by President Alassane Ouattara in order to integrate forces loyal to the former President in the wake of the 2010 post-election violence which led to nearly 3,000 deaths, was supposed to ensure "the safety of person and property without distinction" and "be a powerful instrument for national cohesion".   But the truth behind this public gloss is that this new national army, along with an armed militia of traditional hunters - the Dozos - are carrying out extra-judicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, politically motivated arrests and torture. They are acting with almost total impunity under the pretence of ensuring security and fighting against perpetrators of armed attacks. Reliefweb, 26/02/13
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Image: Please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1114: Afghanistan Legacy That this House is saddened by Panorama's account of the legacy of the UK's sacrifices in Afghanistan that revealed the Afghan police as an ill-disciplined, drug addicted force practising endemic child abuse, corruption, kidnapping, murder and the looting of equipment paid for by British taxpayers; is distressed to hear of the absence of remorse following the murder of three boys killed when attempting to escape from police abuse; and recalls that 440 British soldiers died attempting to improve life in Afghanistan.   House of Commons: 26/02/2013   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1058: Human Trafficking That this House recognises that human trafficking represents a form of modern-day slavery and that many victims are held under conditions of enforced or bonded servitude whilst being exploited for their labour; urges the Government fully to implement the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Trafficking, including appointing an independent rapporteur or ombudsperson and to work closely with other EU member states to adopt an effective regime to combat this appalling practice......    Read More...
Image: More Women Forced Into Slavery After Change To Immigration Law The number of women suspected of being trafficked to perform housework in embassies and private houses in Britain has increased amid warnings that vulnerable workers have been denied an escape route from domestic servitude by new immigration rules. The rise in domestic servitude comes amid a 25 per cent increase in the number of trafficking victims reported in 2012 to the national referral mechanism. The authorities say the increase to nearly 1,200 people could be attributable to both better detection of trafficking rings and an increase in the crime. (Paul Peachey, Indpendent, Sunday 03 February 2013)
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Image: Slavery: Can You Spot It Outside the Cinema?

Have you been to the cinema lately? If so, there are a few syllables that won’t have escaped your attention. Lincoln and Django – two big budget films on slavery, from some of the biggest names in Hollywood. A great boost to public awareness, right?  Well, not exactly. With all this buzz about the past, it’s dangerously easy to forget that slavery is the stuff of present headlines as well as history books. A recent poll has found that 75% of the population do not consider human trafficking a ‘widespread problem’ at all. Meanwhile, the trial of a nine-man ring of suspected sex-traffickers from Oxford paints a bleaker picture.

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Image: Torture On Rise In Afghan Jails, Says UN Report The use of torture has risen in Afghan police jails over the past year, and there are "credible reports" the country's intelligence service has created secret prisons and sometimes hides detainees from international observers, a damning UN survey has found. Just over half of prisoners held in connection with Afghanistan's long-running war endured torture or ill-treatment while in custody between October 2011 and October 2012, with 14 different methods recorded, including electric shocks, twisting of genitals, beatings with cables and rifle butts and suspension from the wrists or feet. Emma Graham-Harrison, guardian.co.uk, 20 January 2013
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Image: Take action: Tell H&M to dump slave-grown cotton from its supply chain Every year, more than a million men, women, and children in Uzbekistan are forced by their government to work in the state-run industry harvesting cotton. Activists who speak out are tortured and detained. Please sign the petition.   Read More...
Image: Obama must correct Guantanamo failure in second term President Barack Obama must revisit the promise he made in 2009 to close the Guantanamo detention facility, Amnesty International has said ahead of the 11th anniversary of the first detainee transfers to the US naval base in Cuba. The plea came just days before Mr Obama's re-inauguration as US president. This time, says the globally known human rights NGO, he must commit the USA to releasing the detainees or bringing them to fair trial. (Ekklesia)
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2012

Image: NEW -Take action with the Clean Clothes Campaign over factory fire On the 24th November, at least 112 workers died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions, a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the nine story building. Others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names, including C&A, KIK, Walmart, Li & Fung, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Disney, Dickies, Sean Comb (ENYCE) and Kmart/Sears.   Read More...
Image: A living wage is on their christmas list

Send a festive campaign christmas card to highstreet brands. They're making a list, they're checking it twice – yes, it still only has one main thing on it – a living wage. Workers in Cambodia need our support this Christmas, as many continue to suffer from overwork and malnutrition.  Labour Behind the Label are renewing their demands and sending a Christmas message to H&M, GAP and Zara to ask  them to commit to pay a living wage in Cambodia.
 

 

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Image: Nigerian Christians concerned about more attacks at Christmas Nigerian Christians are asking churches across the world to pray for their safety from deadly attacks this Christmas, amid renewed threats. The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has been carrying out a series of attacks on Christians from northern Nigeria. (Ekklesia)
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Image: Iraq: 32% of Children Deprived of Many Basic Services and Rights The Government of Iraq and UNICEF today launched the results of the most comprehensive survey on the situation of children and women in Iraq. It found that 32 per cent of children under 18 years of age are deprived of many basic services and rights. A key finding of the survey is that major disparities exist between Iraq's 16.6 million children under 18 years of age over their access to health care and nutrition, education, water and sanitation, protection, shelter and information services. (Reliefweb, 12/12/12)    Read More...
Image: Tell the World Bank and IDB to pay reparations to Guatemalans It is 30 years since the West backed one of the most brutal regimes in the world in Guatemala, in central America. The construction of the World Bank-supported Chixoy mega-dam led to 400 people being massacred. But the survivors still wait for compensation. ACT NOW: Tell the World Bank and IDB to pay reparations to Guatemalans   Read More...
Image: Human Rights Day Monday 10th December 2012 However, there are No Human Rights for Those who are 'Stateless'
As the world marks international human rights day, millions of stateless persons continue to live in silence and exclusion, unable to participate in public life as equals, to freely organise and express themselves and to associate with others. The focus of this year's celebration - 'inclusion and the right to participate in public life' - is consequently particularly pertinent to the stateless among us. Under this theme, the provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which enshrine the freedom of assembly and association (Article 20), the right to take part in elections, in public life and decision-making (Article 21) and the freedom of expression and opinion (Article 19) are being celebrated, scrutinised and reflected upon worldwide. European Network on 'Statelessness   Read More...
Image: Transparency International - 20 Most Corrupt Countries 2012 Governments must prioritise the fight against corruption. Looking at the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, it's clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts. The Corruption Perceptions Index scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). While no country has a perfect score, two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem.   Read More...
Image: Christmas Greeting Card Campaign If you would like to send greeting cards to prisoners this Christmas, here are some options 
Action by Christians Against Torture: Email them for lists at: uk.acat@gmail.com Prisoners name and addresses do not appear on the website
Christian Solidarity Worldwide  A list of names and addresses of persecuted Christians to send greetings cards to is available here 
War Resisters International: Their database of prisoners for peace and conscientious objectors  is part of the Right to Refuse to Kill programme.   
Image: Bangladesh factory fire: brands accused of criminal negligenc The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following yesterday's fire in Dhaka Bangladesh, which cost the lives over one hundred garment workers. The killed and injured workers were producing garments for international clothing brands when their factory, Tazreen Fashions, went up in flames. According to their website Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names including C&A, Carrefour, KIK and Walmart.    Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to sign EDM 731: International Migrants Day EDM 731: International Migrants Day - Tuesday 18th December. hat this House acknowledges the contribution that migrants continue to make to this country in all spheres of life; notes that many migrants are vulnerable to exploitation and can face unacceptable levels of abuse; and joins in the celebration of United Nations' International Migrants Day on 18 December 2012 as an opportunity to raise awareness about the contribution and the rights of migrants in the UK.
Sponsors: Sharma, Virendra / Bottomley, Peter / Durkan, Mark / Russell, Bob   Read More...
Image: DR Congo - Mass Arbitrary Executions of Civilians A United Nations investigation into the human rights situation in southern Masisi in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has revealed that at least 264 civilians, including 83 children, were arbitrarily executed by armed groups in more than 75 attacks on villages between April and September this year. Reliefweb, 14/11/12   Read More...
Image: Obama urged to shut Guantanamo and restore human rights record

Amnesty International USA will be urging second-term President Barack Obama to finally close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. On his second day in office in 2008, Obama ordered that Guantanamo should closed within one year. Today it remains open, with 166 detainees. Writing on the NGO's blog, Zeke Johnson says that human rights violations have become the "new normal" there, at Bagram in Afghanistan and elsewhere, including indefinite detention, unfair trials, unlawful killings with drones and impunity for torture. (Ekklesia)

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Image: Clean Clothes Campaign - email action Call on Gap to protect Bangladeshi workers' lives. Since 2006 at least 500 Bangladeshi garment workers have died in factory fires while sewing clothing for giant fashion companies, like Gap and H&M. Future tragic deaths could be prevented if companies like Gap would follow the lead of brands like Tommy Hilfiger and the German retailer Tchibo by agreeing to a fire safety program that includes really independent inspections, mandatory repairs and renovations of safety hazards...  
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Image: Anti-Slavery Day - Thursday 18th October 2012 Established in 2010 Anti-Slavery Day provides a focal point for raising awareness about the many people in the UK and around the world who continue to be trapped in modern slavery, and to promote the need for many individuals and organisations across society to play a part in ending it. Slavery exists today despite the fact that it is banned in most of the countries where it is practised. Although this exploitation of millions of people, including children, is often not called slavery, the conditions are the same. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their 'employers'.   Read More...
Image: Rise in violent land evictions fuelling discontent in China Violent forced evictions in China are on the rise as local authorities seek to offset huge debts by seizing and then selling off land in suspect deals with property developers, Amnesty International said as it urged government action. In a new 85-page report, Standing Their Ground, Amnesty International highlights how forced evictions - a longstanding cause of discontent within China - have increased significantly in the past two years in order to clear the way for developments.
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Image: Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Urge your MEPs to vote against new Agreement

Please write to your MEPs and call for them to vote against a new pharmaceuticals agreement with Israel until there is tangible progress in Israel’s respect for human rights. MEPs will be deciding on the 23rd October about whether or not to vote to ACAA (Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products) protocol to the EU-Israel Association Agreement. If they vote for the protocol Israel's pharmaceutical market will be granted easier access to the EU. This would undermine EU policies against the occupation by signalling that EU-Israel relations can continue to be strengthened regardless of unlawful policies and practices.

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Image: A message from the Playfair campaign from London 2012 to Rio 2016
Thank you for supporting the Playfair 2012 campaign, in support of ending exploitation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thousands of you have taken action over the last three years, and the London Games organisers have responded - even if they didn't do so as far or as soon as we wanted.
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Image: Taxis Against Trafficking What do you usually talk to taxi drivers about? The weather? Plans for the weekend? The football results?   “One day I got talking to my taxi driver, and after I mentioned human trafficking he revealed that he suspected one of his passengers might have been a trafficking victim. I went back to my community group and everyone agreed there was great potential to raise awareness with taxi drivers. We designed a sticker that drivers could put in their taxis with information about trafficking, and a helpline to call.”   Read More...
Image: No More Excuses: Labour Behind the Label campaign

For decades, global fashion brands have made excuses to us about why they shouldn't pay a living wage. But its not a choice, its a pressing necessity. In Cambodia hundreds of female garment workers have been fainting en mass in factories which supply clothes to European retailers because they haven't had enough to eat, and are overworked. This is the shocking consequence of the fact that they are paid poverty wages. Clean Clothes Campaigners across Europe to demand H&M, Gap, Levi's and Zara pay sweatshop workers in Cambodia enough to lift them out of poverty.
Take action here watch the video here

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On the 4th of October, the trial begins in Turkey of 69 trade union leaders - all of them women, from the public sector union - on trumped-up charges of 'terrorism'.  The international trade union movement is demanding their release, and sending a delegation to observe the trial. 
Please email the Turkish government today.
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Image: Human Rights Violations In the ongoing debate about the state of human rights across the world, one thing is very clear: without the existence of impartial and independent professions and in the absence of proper systems allowing business people to operate with integrity, no society can truly call itself free or open. In other words, the implementation of basic standards of democracy and human rights at a political level will never be enough.
Westminister Hall / 12 Sep 2012 : Column 75WH
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Image: Rainforest Rescue: Stop the Palm Oil Terror in Honduras In Honduras, the population is protesting against the palm oil plantations encroaching on their land. Armed gangs are terrorising the people at the behest of corporations; dozens have been killed. The ecologically vital wetlands along the Caribbean coast and in the Aguán River valley are being drained for the palm oil monocultures. Take Action      Read More...
Image: Pax Christi International and World Council of Churches on Status of Jerusalem Pax Christi International and the World Council of Churches submitted a joint written intervention before the 21st session of the Human Rights Council taking place at the United Nations in Geneva from 10 – 28 September 2012. They are calling for an urgent resolution to the issues destabilising Jerusalem, and applauds the Human Rights Council’s attention for the numerous and disastrous violations of human rights in Jerusalem. Jerusalem has special status, given its pluralistic and religious importance   Read More...
Image: 'Home Alone' campaign has been successful The United Nations officially announced that after ratification of Domestic Workers Conventions by two countries - Uruguay and Philippines - the International Labour Organization's (ILO) 189 Domestic Work Convention will come into legal force. Working behind closed doors and invisible to society, lacking sufficient legal protections, domestic workers are among the most exploited and abused workers in the world. Many are in slavery. That's why the Convention is a great milestone.
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Image: Please ask your MP to sign EDM 496: Day of the Girl

That this House celebrates the Day of the Girl on 11 October 2012 which was the result of extensive campaigning by Plan, the global children's charity committed to helping children from the world's poorest countries build a better future; recognises the link between girls' education and poverty; acknowledges that 70 per cent of those in poverty worldwide are female; notes that one in three girls around the world is denied an education as a result of poverty, conflict or discrimination; and supports Plan's Because I Am A Girl campaign which aims to help girls reach their full potential.

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Image: UN Human Rights Expert 'Appalled' at Level of Executions in Iraq An independent United Nations human rights expert strongly condemned the recent execution of 21 people within one day in Iraq, including three women, which was followed two days later by the reported execution of five more people. "I am appalled about the level of executions in Iraq. I deeply deplore the executions carried out this week, and am particularly alarmed about continuing reports of individuals who remain at risk of execution," said the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. Refworld, 30/08/12   Read More...
Image: International Day of the Disappeared - Friday 30th August

The families of countless people all over the world who went missing in connection with armed conflict and other emergencies are enduring painful uncertainty as they remain without news of their loved ones.

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Image: Olympics blocks 'Light the flame for workers' human rights' action A message from the Playfair 2012 campaign
Thank you for taking the Playfair 2012 campaign action Light the flame for workers' human rights, in support of ending exploitation in the Olympic Games. Thousands of you have taken action, and the International Olympic Committee have certainly noticed everyone's concern. In fact there were so many that they quickly blocked all emails from the campaign. Our apologies if you're one of the people who has received a message from the IOC to say your email was rejected.   Read More...
Image: Racial Justice Sunday - 9 September Being an Inclusive Church... and not an exclusive club
This year the theme is Being an Inclusive Church. Many of us consider that our local churches as well as our national Church institutions are inclusive but when
we listen to those who feel on the outside we learn that we still have a long way to go, particularly those from different ethnic backgrounds.   Read More...
Image: It's about SPORT, not exploitation - Sign the petition

International Olympic Committee under pressure to act. The Olympics are here. Athletes are lining up. Olympic officials are merrily patting each other on the back. And yes, it's great.  But in the background the global machine that produces all the products that got us to this day needs a revolution, and fast. The months of sweatshop media reports and human rights exposes have built a damning case for action.* It is time for the International Olympic Committee to step up to the mark and acknowledge there is a problem to fix and that they need to act.
 

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Image: London 2012 - The Playfair 2012 campaign The Playfair 2012 campaign has made some progress with influencing the London 2012 organisers to take action to protect the rights of workers in its global supply chains, and they are now working with Playfair Brazil to try to ensure that the organisers of the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 build on this progress.   Read More...
Image: Mandela Day - 18 July Archbishop Desmond Tutu has sent a short video message in support of Mandela Day in Scotland. 
"The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so to build a global movement for good". Archbishop Desmond Tutu    Read More...
Image: High Court judgement finds Serco shackling detainee for 8 days breached Article 3 - 5/7/12 FPG was restrained and attached to security staff at all times, 24/7, during nearly 9 days hospiatlisation. This included while showering and using the toilet, as well as during medical consultations and treatment and while asleep. There was nothing in FGP’s history to suggest he would abscond from custody. The high court judge found that Serco, the private company that runs Colnbrook and Dungavel, acted in violation of the detainee's right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.   Read More...
Image: HUMAN TRAFFICKING & 2012 GAMES The United Nations, in collaboration with Stop The Traffick, has created an exciting and innovative project called GIFT box to help communities raise awareness of human trafficking during, and beyond, the 2012 Olympics. Using an enticing community sculpture, people will be able to encounter real life trafficking stories mostly across London and also at football venues nationwide by being invited to enter inside a box to find out more.    Read More...
Image: UK Ready to take on Israel Over Fate of Children Clapped in Irons Terri Judd, Indpendent, 27/06/12
The Foreign Office will be challenging the Israelis over their treatment of Palestinian children after a report by a delegation of senior British lawyers revealed unconscionable practices, such as hooding and the use of leg irons. In the first investigation of its kind, a team of nine senior legal figures examined how Palestinians as young as 12 were treated when arrested. Their shocking report 'Children in Military Custody' details claims that youngsters are dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, have their wrists bound behind their backs, and are blindfolded and made to kneel or lie face down in military vehicles.    Read More...
Image: Stop UK Enabling Shell's Human Rights Violations in Nigeria

Shell has a murky history in Nigeria, where it has a practical monopoly on the country's oil. The multinational's environmental infractions in Nigeria are well documented, with spill after spill ruining ecosystems and people's lives. There have been over 2,000 oil spills in the Niger delta, many extremely serious. Clean up and compensation has been scanty, when it exists at all. In a US court case, the corporation is also accused of "aiding and abetting" gross human rights violations. The UK Government has decided to intervene in the case on Shell's behalf, based on a very narrow (but convenient) interpretation of international law.

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Image: Tell Rio Tinto to get off the podium! Mining giant Rio Tinto is the official Olympic supplier of the metal used to make the 2012 Olympic medals – yet it locked out 780 workers who are standing up against the company’s aggressive contracting-out demands at a highly profitable aluminum smelter in Alma, Quebec.
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Image: Fund for Peace - Failed States Index 2012 Though the index will show that some countries have moved down the index, this does not mean that conditions have got better;  just that they have been replaced by countries with deteriorated conditions moving up the index. Top ten worst countries: Somalia, DR Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, Iraq, Central African Republic   Read More...
Image: Payfair 2012 Light the flame for workers’ human rights The Olympic torch relay and the symbolism of the Olympic torch - respect, excellence and friendship - provide a fantastic opportunity for us to demand a Games that truly respects the human rights of all the workers who make it possible. Please stand in solidarity with exploited supply chain workers producing Olympic branded goods. You can email the International Olympic Committee and call on them to light the flame for workers’ human rights 
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Image: Playfair 2012 -Fair Games? Not for workers making sportswear for the Olympics Read the new report Fair Games? on the conditions of workers making goods for the Olympic games. Official Olympic clothing sold by Next is claimed to have been produced in sweatshop conditions in Sri Lanka. The allegation comes days after the high street chain unveiled the formal outfits that Team GB will wear at the opening ceremony. TAKE ACTION: Following the shocking findings of the report, you can contact brands producing kit for Olympic consumers, athletes and volunteers, to tell them to do more to protect workers' rights. Read more at the Independent on Sunday   
Hundreds of migrant workers continue to live in a climate of fear, poverty stricken, subjected to inhuman conditions and indebted to gangmasters, a report published today reveals. 'Experiences of Forced Labour in the UK Food Industry', a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and one of the largest studies into the plight of those in the industry from farm and factory workers through to those toiling in restaurants, found a catalogue of abusive practices.  Its researchers discovered workers were subjected to racist or sexist bullying and threats. Isolated, unable to speak English and unaware of their rights, many complained of feeling depressed and some were driven to self harm. Terri Judd, Independent, 15/05/12
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Image: Co-op boycotts exports from Israel's West Bank settlements The Co-operative Group has become the first major European supermarket group to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements.   Read More...
"Children in Northern Mali are no longer on the brink of disaster," says UNICEF Mali Deputy Representative Frederic Sizaret, "Now it is here." Citing recent reports, Sizaret adds: "Far too many are suffering from under nutrition, displacement,  many are out of school, and now there are credible reports of grave violations of child rights." According to UNICEF, more than 300,000 people from the north, half of them children, are now displaced elsewhere in Mali or in neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, the insecurity is hampering the delivery of aid to those who remain. Recent reports say women and girls are being kidnapped and children are being recruited into the armed groups. Landmines on the ground have already killed several children.  Reliefweb, 08/05/12    Read More...
Image: Survival International: How to save Earth’s most threatened tribe Many of Brazil's Awá are still uncontacted, and they are running for their lives. A wave of illegal loggers, settlers and ranchers have invaded their lands, and time is running out. A major new campaign is being launched to save the Awá, and your help is needed. ‘One man has the power to stop the loggers: Brazil’s Minister of Justice. But it’s just not his priority. Let’s push it up his list.’ Please watch the new film, and take a few seconds to send a message to Brazil's Minister of Justice: he can send in the federal police to catch the loggers, and keep them out for good.   Read More...
Image: Palestinian farmers ordered to uproot 1,400 olive trees by Israeli Civil Administration The Fairtrade Foundation has expressed outrage and shock at the news that Israel has ordered nine Palestinian olive farmers of Deir Istiya, Salfit on the West Bank to uproot 1,400 olive trees in Wadi Qana area by 1 May 2012. For farmers in this district olives are the primary source of income. Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said: ‘We are dismayed and appalled at this devastating news of what is a blatant act of aggression attacking people’s livelihoods. Sign the petition   Read More...
Image: Mexico: Send an email to protect the Purépecha from criminal loggers Eight indigenous people were brutally murdered by criminal loggers - simply because they were trying to protect their forest. A staggering 80 percent of the trees and their livelihood have been cleared by illegal loggers. However, so far police has failed to start investigations.
Please demand the protection of the Purépecha and their forest. (Rainforest Rescue)   Read More...
Suspected Islamic terrorists killed as many as 20 Christian worshippers in an attack on a makeshift church at a university in northern Nigeria. Several small bombs, believed to have been fashioned from fizzy drinks cans, were thrown into a lecture hall that was being used for a Sunday morning service in Kano, a city that has been repeatedly attacked by Muslim radicals. The explosions killed one person and injured many others. But as the crowd fled the lecture hall, gunmen waiting outside opened fire with automatic rifles. Within minutes, as many as 19 others were killed, and their bodies littered the campus grounds as the gunfire continued for up to half an hour more, witnesses said.  Telegraph 29/04/12
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Image: Olympic Games - ask your MP to sign EDM 2951 and EDM 2969 EDM 2951: Greenwash Gold
EDM 2969: Ethical Trading Standards and the London 2012 Olympics
please ask your MP to sign both EDM's. find out who your MP is at http://www.writetothem.com/
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Image: Two-fifths of UK trafficking victims are male, survey reveals Men account for more than two-fifths (41%) of adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales helped by the Salvation Army, contrary to the public perception that the crime almost exclusively affects women. The finding comes in a survey by the charity, which provides specialist support for the adult victims of trafficking on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. The charity's survey found that 45% of those it supported had been forced into sexual exploitation, 43% were involved in labour exploitation and 8% were trafficked into domestic servitude. The Guardian 26 April 2012
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Image: Papua New Guinea: Sexual violence forcing girls out of school In the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea sexual violence against young girls, and the shame and stigma that follows, is forcing many out of school and others into early marriage.  A recent study by Médecins Sans Frontières, one of the country's main providers of medical and psychological assistance to survivors of family and sexual violence, showed that from 2008 to 2011, a significant proportion of patients who received treatment as a result of violence were children, some under the age of five. Reliefweb, 06/04/12
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Image: Turkmenistan: Damning UN Report Shows Need for Urgent Action

The Turkmen government's clampdown on freedom of expression and repression of civil society activism, torture and ill-treatment in places of detention, and the lack of an independent judiciary topped the committee's concerns. The committee also criticized the government's "refusal to grant entry visas to international human rights organisations," including no fewer than 10 UN rapporteurs, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and nongovernmental organizations. Human Rights Watch, 30/03/12

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Image: Imprisonment of Women and Girls for 'Moral Crimes' in Afghanistan The Afghan government should release the approximately 400 women and girls imprisoned for 'moral crimes', Human Rights Watch said in a new report. These 'crimes' usually involve flight from unlawful forced marriage or domestic violence. The fall of the Taliban  in 2001 promised a new era of women's rights. Significant improvements have occurred, yet the imprisonment of women and girls is just one sign of the difficult present and worrying future faced by Afghan women and girls. Human Rights Watch, March 28, 2012   Read More...
Image: Ensuring the right of all children to acquire a nationality Possession of a nationality is essential for the protection of every child. As set out in article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This is important because while human rights are generally to be enjoyed by everyone, selected rights may be limited to nationals. For example, only 'citizens' have the unrestricted right to enter and reside in a country under international law. Stateless persons may therefore end up without any residence status or, worse, in prolonged detention. Statelessness also causes difficulties in a range of other areas, including travel, access to education and healthcare, and heightens the risk of trafficking. Statelessness may lead to displacement. Refworld   Read More...
Immigration procedures can favour administrative convenience over safeguarding individuals' rights to liberty and security. Periods in detention can be unlawful if release or removal is not imminent. The UN High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) has criticised Britain's use of fast track detention for asylum applicants for administrative convenience rather than last resort,
 and the lack of adequate safeguards to guarantee fairness of procedure and quality decision making.  The length of time in detention for those who have committed no crime risks breaching the right to liberty and security under Article 5.   Read More...
Image: Social media makes International Women's Day a big hit From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe women have been heavily using social media to focus global attention on areas where inequalities prevail. International Women's Day (IWD) 2012 has been a big hit on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, among other networking sites. Each year the United Nations declares an overall International Women's Day theme. Their 2012 theme is "Empower Rural Women - End Hunger and Poverty". (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: London Olympics under pressure over Adidas sweatshops London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe has come under pressure over revelations that workers in Bangladesh producing clothes for Adidas, the official sportswear partner of the 2012 Games, are illegally paid less than the minimum wage. Claims have also emerged of illegal working hours as well as bullying and violence by factory managers. (Ekklesia)
See also Labour behind the Label   Read More...
Our duty to Sri Lanka, and human rights. It is not just Sri Lanka's people that the UN Human Rights Council must serve this week, but the cause of international law. This week the UN Human Rights Council has an opportunity and a duty to help Sri Lanka advance its own efforts
on accountability and reconciliation. Both are essential if a lasting peace is to be achieved. In doing so, the council will not only be serving Sri Lanka, but those worldwide who believe there are universal rights and international legal obligations we all share. Guardian, 26 February 2012   Read More...
Image: Human trafficking convention 'does not create new principles', Lord Judge says In what are understood to be the Court of Appeal's first rulings on child trafficking for labour exploitation, Lord Judge said implementation of the convention should normally be achieved by "long-established prosecutorial discretion". He said this enabled the CPS, however strong the evidence might be, to decide that it would be inappropriate to proceed with the prosecution of a defendant unable to plead duress as a defence but who falls "within the protective ambit" of article 26. "This requires a judgment to be made by the CPS in the individual case in the light of all the available evidence," Lord Judge said.  Solicitors Journal, 21 February 2012
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Child Recruitment, Forced Marriage, and Attacks on Schools
Somalia's warring parties have all failed to protect Somali children from the fighting or serving in their forces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab has increasingly targeted children for recruitment, forced marriage, and rape, and attacked teachers and schools.  Human Rights Watch, 21/02/12   
Image: Ask your MP to sign EDM 2715: Deteriorating Human Rights in Tibet That this House strongly condemns the Chinese security forces' unwarranted use of force  including opening fire on unarmed demonstrators to quash peaceful protests in Tibet; Primary sponsor: Fabian Hamilton, Jeremy Corbyn, date tabled: 08/02/2012   Read More...
The Report  documents human rights abuses worldwide including: mistreatment of migrants in Western Europe; violations of the laws of war in Libya and Afghanistan; the plight of political prisoners in Vietnam and Eritrea; the silencing of dissent in China and Cuba; internet crackdowns in Iran and Thailand; killings by security forces in India and Mexico; election-related problems in Russia and the DR Congo; neglectful maternal health policies in Haiti and South Africa; suppression of religious freedom in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia; torture in Pakistan and Uzbekistan; discrimination against people with disabilities in Nepal and Peru; detention without trial in Malaysia and by the United States.   Read More...
The Catholic community in Glasgow has been served by several Nigerian priests in recent years. In his New Year message, Archbishop Mario Conti expressed his support and concern for Christians in Nigeria that suffered violent attacks over Christmas.   Read More...

2011

Image: Please send a message to prisoners of conscience this Christmas Action by Christians Against Torture have provided lists of prisoners in many countries whose hope may depend upon receiving a message, card or some communication from us in the free world; please give this urgent consideration and action, but please do observe their advice concerning exactly how to communicate our support with sensitivity to their predicament. 
Full Christmas Card list 2011 .pdf   
Inquiry says Women, men and children trafficked into Britain not seen as victims of crime whose rights have been breached. The victims of human trafficking, including women forced into the sex industry or trapped as unpaid domestic servants, are being unfairly treated as criminals and illegal immigrants, an inquiry has found. Guardian, Severin Carrell, 27/11/2011   Read More...
Both the global economic downturn and the pending London Olympic year bring issues involving the exploitation of vulnerable workers into sharp focus in the UK, says a major ecumenical Christian agency working for corporate responsibility. The wide-ranging nature of this exploitation and the opportunities for large companies to do more to prevent it were discussed by five expert speakers in at a public panel debate organised by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) London on 17 November 2011.   Read More...
El Salvador has bestowed the first 'Amigo de El Salvador' award on the London-based Archbishop Romero Trust, which celebrates the legacy of human rights advocate Archbishop Oscar Romero. On 11 November 2011 Hugo Martinez, El Salvador's minister for foreign affairs, presented a gold medallion at a London reception to the trust chair, Julian Filochowski, and said the award was in honour of the trust's stalwart social justice work.   Read More...
Management at Nestle's giant Kabirwala dairy factory in Pakistan - a state-of-the art facility with a feudal industrial relations system - is criminalizing the union's fight for the rights of hundreds of contract workers at the plant. Email Nestle   Read More...
Human trafficking is serious, international, organised crime. The money generated from it (an estimated $32 billion per annum worldwide) is only marginally less than from arms dealing and drug smuggling. We call on the Government to establish an independent watchdog, in line with the recommendations of the CoE Convention on trafficking in human beings (#29.4), to which the UK is a party, to monitor the performance of key agencies ensuring that victims' needs and experience are central. The watchdog should report to Parliament on a regular basis to ensure transparency and accountability.   Read More...
Despite this year's vote by South Sudan for independence, churches in Sudan and South Sudan have decided to remain united, mainly to help denominations in Muslim-majority Sudan. Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have approved maintaining one conference covering the two states, alluding to shared history and existing "very real practical human links."   Read More...
Human Rights Watch has revealed that serious human rights violations persist in Burma, despite an apparent commitment by the government to defend human rights. HRW's deputy Asia director said yesterday that "while the new government has passed reformist laws and promised policy changes, the real test will be the reaction when Burmese citizens try to avail themselves of their rights." She added that "atrocities against civilians in conflict zones, torture of political prisoners, and courts that justify repression have been features of the first year of nominally civilian rule as much as the announced reforms."  Human Rights Watch, 4th November   Read More...
Chinese-run copper mining companies in Zambia routinely flout labor laws and regulations designed to protect workers' safety and the right to organize. Zambia's newly elected president, Michael Sata, a longtime critic of the Chinese labor practices, should act on his campaign promises to end the abuse and improve government regulation of the mining industry to ensure that all companies respect Zambia's labor laws.  Human Rights Watch, 03/11/11   Read More...
Victims of human trafficking who end up in the UK could be forced to claim asylum to stay in the country, the general secretary of the Immigration Law Practitioners Group has warned. Alison Harvey said asylum claims would continue to be publicly funded under the legal aid bill, but other immigration cases would not, apart from those involving detention or questions of national security.
Solicitors Journal, 25 October 2011   Read More...
The United Nations independent expert on the situation of human rights in Iran today voiced concern over alleged violations in the country's judicial system, citing practices such as torture, cruel or degrading treatment of detainees, and the imposition of the death penalty without proper safeguards.   Read More...
Burma's armed forces have committed serious abuses against ethnic Kachin civilians in renewed fighting in Kachin State, Human Rights Watch said today. Since hostilities began over five months ago against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Burmese armed forces have been responsible for killings and attacks on civilians, using forced labor, and pillaging villages, which has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 30,000 Kachin civilians. Human Rights Watch, October 18, 2011   Read More...
Reports from the BBC's Uzbek service and other Uzbek news sources confirm that the 2011 cotton harvest has started and yet again children and adults are being forced to pick cotton, with some schoolchildren reported to have been working 7 days a week under watch by local administration observers.   Read More...
Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights, Strasbourg, 15/09/11
The importance of the work of human rights defenders is recognised in international conventions. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders lists several fundamental rights necessary for the work of human rights defenders, such as freedom of association, peaceful assembly, expression and opinion. Many of these rights are also enshrined in other binding human rights treaties of the UN, in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the OSCE commitments.   Read More...
Sign the pledge
With less than a year to go before the start of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Anti Slavery are launching a new campaign for a Slavery-Free London to draw attention to the potential risk of an increase in modern slavery connected to the 2012 Games, and ensure more is done to stop it in the run up to and during the event.   Read More...
Image: Racial Justice Sunday – 11th September 2011 Created By God, Treated Like Slaves: Tackling Human Trafficking
This year's Racial Justice Sunday resources are based around the theme "Created by God, Treated like Slaves: Tackling Human Trafficking" and "Love your neighbour as yourself, do this and you will live" from Luke 10:27-28.   Read More...
What's the role of human rights in a period of cut backs to public services? What is the role of human rights in protecting the vulnerable? Do human rights offer an effective tool for people wishing to challenge the impact of service cuts or changes? How do we make sure we balance one person's rights against the interests of society as a whole?  These are the questions at the heart of a National Human Rights Tour by the British Institute of Human Rights.  There will be 16 free-to-attend events taking place across the UK between September and December 2011
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Urgent Request from Anti Slavery International   Read More...
President Aquino came into power a year ago. Since then, his military has been linked to the murder of seven activists and the disappearance of three more. Investigations into military-related killings and disappearances often lose momentum quickly or are stopped entirely, allowing the military to continue their violence unchecked. Take action sign the petition   Read More...
Government forces in Ivory Coast have been accused by the United Nations of a spate of extra-judicial killings targeting supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo, including a 17-month old baby. They have documented 26 cases of extra-judicial killings, 85 arbitrary arrests and 11 cases of rape," said Guillaume Ngefa, the peacekeeping mission's human-rights officer. By Daniel Howden, Indpendent, Saturday, 13 August 2011   Read More...
In a bid to break the silence around violence against children, Tanzanian authorities launched a five-year plan on 9 August to eliminate all forms of violence against children, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse. "Levels of violence [against children] reported are high in all settings; forms of violence reported and described are equally disturbing, including being beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and even murdered," Sophia Simba, the Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, said in Dar es Salaam during the launch of a survey on the subject. The report identifies the perpetrators of violence as including parents, guardians, relatives and teachers as well as other people entrusted with daily care of children.
IRIN, 9 August 2011
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During July the Government released its long-awaited anti-trafficking strategy, but charities including Anti-Slavery International, have warned that it places too much emphasis on border control and not enough on protecting the victims.
To find out more, please read: Anti-Slavery's full statement here The Government's strategy here   
Channel 4 recently screened a Dispatches documentary, The Real Price of Gold. You can watch again online and see some of the issues with the gold that is available to buy on the high street. 
The programme highlights the need for Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold. Watch it again here and sign the pledge opposing dirty gold   
Women and children who it is suspected have been trafficked into the UK should no longer be treated as criminals, according to new guidance to prosecutors issued by the Crown Prosecution Service. Robert Booth, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 3 July 2011   Read More...
National figures indicate the silent crisis of the 42% (5,000,000) children who are not in school due to poverty and vulnerability and an acute shortage of funding due to a very low response to education projects under CAP 2011. The continued shrinking of humanitarian space and accessible areas to humanitarian agencies, and the looming transition is making programme implementation including regular monitoring difficult. Relief Web, 26/06/11   Read More...
Image: Less than 400 days to go to the Olympics Time to Act
There are lass than 400 days to go until the London Olympic games. Yet for workers in Indonesia production is ramping up, pressure is mounting, and the likelihood is that rights are few and far between. For many workers producing sportswear such as that  worn by athletes competing in the Olympic Games, the right to stand together with other workers and demand a fairer deal is crucial. Yet this is a right that is systematically denied to workers across the board. Take action today   Read More...
Image: Anti Slavery International have won their Home Alone: End Domestic Slavery campaign Just last week, the International Labour Organization (ILO) made a historic step forward in protecting up to 100 million domestic workers worldwide from slavery and exploitation by officially adopting a new landmark Convention on Domestic Work   Read More...
A major inquiry into human trafficking will be launched this week amid claims that slavery remains as much of a problem in modern Britain as when it was abolished more than 200 years ago. Among the investigation's aims will be to establish the scale of human trafficking and slavery in Britain. Between April 2009 and March last year, 706 potential victims of slavery were formally identified in the UK. Up to 18,000 women and children are also believed to have been trafficked into the UK and forced to work as prostitutes.  Mark Townsend, The Observer, Sunday 12 June 2011   
European Governments: "Their silence and passivity are difficult to accept. When preventing migrants from coming has become more important than saving lives, something has gone dramatically wrong."   Read More...
Investigation into Alleged War Crimes in Sri Lanka
Contact your MP   Read More...
Guardian, Louise Hunt, 24 May 2011
The hidden world of child sexual exploitation hit the headlines last week, with the announcement by children's minister Tim Loughton of a new action plan to tackle the crime. This was a welcome acknowledgment that child trafficking is a much bigger problem than the government thought.   
Yet with one doctor per 10,000 people and life expectancy a mere 47 years, who’s benefitting from the wealth beneath their feet?
As with countless countries around the world that have a wealth of natural resources, Zambia’s mineral riches won’t last forever. Men and women in resource-rich countries are unaware of how much foreign mining companies pay for their birthright in the form of taxes and royalties. Without this information, they can’t call for a fair share of the profits to be spent on schools, hospitals and basic services like electricity. Please email Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne!   Read More...
This Easter, much of the chocolate we enjoyed may be tainted by child slavery.
Anti-Slavery International’s latest research shows the continuation of child trafficking, a form of modern slavery, to cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, which produces almost 40% of the world’s cocoa. Instead of going to school young boys are forced to spend long days hacking open cocoa pods with machetes, handling dangerous pesticides and carrying heavy loads - work that is deemed extremely hazardous, can lead to injury and ill-health, and that no young child should have to do.   Read More...
Take Action
A Honduran palm oil company is looking for funds from the carbon markets even though they have been implicated in 16-25 assassinations of peasants in 2010 alone. During the first three months of this year, they have been linked again to violent attacks and kidnapping. Unless the British Government stops the sale of those carbon credits, which they can do, the company will further increase their profits and thus be able to pay even more armed paramilitaries and to continue oppressing the peasant communities that are reclaiming lands which are legally theirs   Read More...
Campaign by Anti Slavery International
Home Alone: End Domestic Slavery campaign is gearing up for its most crucial time - the International Labour Conference in Geneva in June - where governments will vote as to whether a new international measure on domestic work will be created or not. Domestic workers are often seen as home ‘help' rather than a legitimate workforce meaning that they are often treated differently to all other workers who enjoy protection under the law, making them more vulnerable to exploitation and slavery. The new domestic work Convention would require countries around the world to change their laws to include domestic workers. Please ask your MP to urge the the Government to change its position and vote in favour of adopting the Convention.   Read More...
After months of campaigning the government has announced it will sign up to the eu trafficking directive giving greater protection to trafficked peopl
We did it! Together we've just won our campaign for the UK to sign up to a new European law to tackle human trafficking. Thousands of you have taken action helping us reach an amazing 47,000 petition signatures!   Read More...

 As reports by Human Rights Watch and formal documentation from the UN Human Rights Commission decry the worsening human rights situation in Côte D'Ivoire, many Ivoirians IRIN spoke with in Abidjan are appalled by recent acts of gruesome violence.

"We are seeing any and all forms of killing," said an Ivoirian human rights activist who requested anonymity. "It's sheer horror we're living hereŠ People are being burned alive and hacked to bits with machetes," he said, adding that the violence seemed to be spiralling out of control. IRIN, Tuesday 8th March 2011   Read More...

2007

Advice on dealing with Amnesty International.   Read More...
on the Current Crisis of Our Country
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