Monday, July 25, 2011

Palestine: the world's new nation

In five days the UN Security Council will meet, and the world has an opportunity to embrace a new proposal that could turn the tide on decades of failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: UN recognition of the state of Palestine.

Over 120 nations from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have already endorsed this initiative, but Israel's right-wing government and the US vehemently oppose it. Europe is still undecided, but a massive public push now could tip them to vote for this momentous opportunity to end 40 years of military occupation.

US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the Palestinians to small areas, confiscated their lands and blocked their independence. This bold new initiative could be the best opportunity to jump start a resolution of the conflict, but Europe must take the lead. Let’s build a massive global call for European leaders to endorse this statehood bid now, and make clear that citizens across the world support this legitimate, non-violent, diplomatic proposal. Sign the petition and send this to everyone:

While the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex, most people on all sides agree that the best path to peace now is the creation of two states. But repeated peace processes have been undermined by violence on both sides, extensive Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, and the humanitarian blockade on Gaza. The Israeli occupation has shrunk and fragmented the territory for a Palestinian state and made daily life a crippling ordeal for the Palestinian people. The UN, World Bank and IMF have all recently announced that Palestinians are ready to run an independent state, but say the main constraint to success is the Israeli occupation. Even the US President has called for an end to settlement expansion and a return to the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land-swaps, but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has furiously refused to cooperate.

It’s time for a dramatic shift away from a futile peace process and on to a new path for progress. While the Israeli and US governments are calling the Palestinian initiative ‘unilateral’ and dangerous, in fact the world’s nations overwhelmingly support this diplomatic move away from violence. Global recognition of Palestine could crush extremists, and foster a growing non-violent Palestinian-Israeli movement in step with the democratic momentum across the region. Most importantly, it will rescue a path to a negotiated settlement, allow the Palestinians access to a variety of international institutions that can help advance Palestinian freedom, and send a clear signal to Israel’s pro-settler government that the world will no longer accept their impunity and intransigence.

For too long, Israel has undermined the hope for a Palestinian state. For too long, the US has appeased them, and for too long Europe has hidden behind the US. Right now, France, Spain, Germany, the UK and the High Representative of the EU are on the fence about Palestinian statehood. Let’s appeal to them to stand on the right side of history and support a Palestinian declaration of freedom and independence, with overwhelming support, and financial aid. Sign the urgent petition now to urge Europe to support the bid and back this move for long-term peace in Israel and Palestine:

Palestinian statehood will not bring a resolution to this intractable conflict overnight, but UN recognition will change the dynamics and will begin to unlock the door towards freedom and peace. Across Palestine, people are preparing, with hope and expectation, to reclaim a freedom their generation has never known. Let's stand with them and push European leaders to do the same, as they have stood with the people of Egypt, Syria and Libya.

Palestinian statehood will not bring a resolution to this intractable conflict overnight, but UN recognition will change the dynamics and will begin to unlock the door towards freedom and peace. The majority of states across the world support this move to reaffirm the rights of the Palestinian people. Let’s join them and push Europe to stand with the Palestinians for self-determination, as they have stood with the people of Egypt, Syria and Libya.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ricken, Stephanie, Morgan, Pascal, Rewan and the entire Avaaz team


Abbas vows to continue UN statehood bid

Arab League will call for Palestinian State at the UN

Palestinians and Israelis march for Palestinian statehood:

Israel campaign against UN vote:

Palestinian call for statehood:

Palestinian statehood and bypassing Israel:

UN says Palestinians able to govern own state

List of countries recognizing the state of Palestine

Friday, July 22, 2011

Help stop the starving - and it's causes

You may have seen the pictures of starving people in the Horn of Africa on your TV screens. We are all asking: how can this be happening again? Parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are facing one of the worst droughts for 60 years, and around 10 million people are desperately in need of food, clean water and basic sanitation. But something can be done. You can add your voice to help make a difference.

Despite the urgency of the situation, most world leaders are responding too slowly. Immediate aid is essential. Yet at the same time we must not let them drop the ball on long term solutions as has too often happened in the past.

Please sign our petition:

Dear World Leaders,
Please urgently provide the full funding that the UN has identified as necessary to help people in the Horn of Africa, and please keep your promises to deliver the long term solutions which could prevent crises like this happening again.

Some people look back to previous droughts and question whether things will ever change. But because of the smart aid that is supporting African leadership, progress really is being made. For example, 87% of people in the world today have enough food to eat and lead healthy lives – up from just 76% in 1970. And in Ethiopia the number of people malnourished has fallen from 71% in 1992 to 46% now.

But we know how to change things even more: we can help stop starvation now - and stop the causes of starvation. Firstly, we need to make sure funding is provided to pay for urgent help that will prevent people from dying. Secondly, the promises that world leaders made to invest in long term solutions must be kept, so that the people of this region can feed themselves and will not need food aid in the future.

Thanks for helping us to pressure our governments to save millions of lives - today and tomorrow.

Thanks for all you do.

Stuart McWilliam,

Monday, July 18, 2011

24 hours to save Europe's seas #Avaaz

European seas face catastrophe if industrial fishing boats continue plundering and obliterating fish stocks. We have just 24 hours to call for stronger safeguards before EU decision makers begin closed-door sessions on a new policy.

The EU Fisheries Commissioner is committed to protecting our seas and developing strong new rules, but the industrial fishing lobby is out in full force to protect its outrageous subsidies and profits. Only an urgent and massive public outcry now could prevent the total collapse of future fishing.

The EU public consultation on fishing quotas ends tomorrow -- let’s flood it with messages, and urge our decision-makers to take urgent measures to stop industrial ransacking of fish stocks and impose strict, scientifically calculated catch levels. Click below to send an urgent message to save our seas and forward this email to everyone:

88% of Europe’s seas are dangerously overfished, and the current EU fisheries policy is a disaster, allowing countries to catch well over their quotas, discard thousands of tonnes of fish and profit from overfishing. Setting viable fishing quotas is a crucial step to helping stocks recover, but the fishing industry is lobbying hard, even seeking to set its own catch limits instead of accepting sustainable science-based ones.

Experts fear that within 40 years our oceans could be completely fished out. Industrial fishing companies say efforts to limit catches are hostile to fishermen -- but on the contrary, only a strong, science-based commitment to resuscitating fish stocks will prevent the total collapse of fishing interests in the coming years.

For too long, we’ve treated these vast bodies of water as indestructible -- vacuuming up fish, dumping our dangerous waste, and assuming that there are no consequences to our actions. We have an opportunity in the next 24 hours to call for policy makers to stop this and take a giant step forward to saving our seas by putting science and the environment in charge of determining our fishing policies, not short-term commercial interests. Click below to send an urgent message and kick-start a new movement to save our oceans:

We’ve already fought and won on oceans. Actions from Avaaz members were pivotal in a UK government decision to create the world’s largest marine protected area, and over a million of us persuaded the International Whaling Commission to uphold the global ban on commercial whaling. But we’ve still got a long way to go in our struggle to save the worlds oceans. Right now, our fight is right here in Europe, one of the world’s biggest catchers and consumers of fish. Let’s make sure we are a global champion on oceans.

With hope,

Stephanie, Iain, Alice, Ricken, Saloni, Giulia and the rest of the Avaaz team.

More information:

EU invitation to the public to discuss EU fisheries management:

The Guardian “Maria Damanaki unveils EU fishing reforms”:

BBC “Q&A: Reform of EU Fishing Policy”:

The Telegraph "European Commission apologises for disastrous fishing policy":

Bloomberg “EU plans fishing quotas trade as stockpiles unsustainable”:

Deutchse Welle “EU Fisheries proposals get mixed reviews”:,,15233034,00.html

New Scientist "No more seafood by 2050?":

Links to partners and friends:

Fish Fight: over 700,000 people have signed their petition calling for an end to wasteful discards under the Common Fisheries Policy --

OCEAN2012: a coalition of over 100 organisations, working for a brighter future for our oceans --

CFP Reform Watch: 3 Green MEPs providing information and analysis of the CFP reforms --

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sudan: Enough is Enough #Avaaz

Sudan's President al-Bashir is the world's worst mass murderer. Indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, he has for 20 years repeatedly butchered whole communities that challenged his rule. And it's happening again -- unless we stop him for good.

Right now he's bombing women and children in the Nuba mountains, while his militias go door to door slitting the throats of whole families. For decades, world leaders have shamefully allowed al-Bashir's unspeakable brutality so they could maintain access to his regime's large oil reserves. But this week things are changing -- Sudan is splitting apart, inflation and food prices are sky-rocketing, and Bashir's grip on power is at its weakest ever.

Let's send a massive message to our leaders that enough is enough and demand they end their shocking inaction now: by arresting this monster, levying powerful sanctions on his cabal, and committing to protect the people of Sudan from genocide. Click below to sign and tell everyone -- we'll deliver the petition to UN Security Council members when we reach 300,000 signatures:

The Nuba mountains are under siege. Al-Bashir killed an entire generation of men, women and children there in the 1990s, and now he's back to brutalize the survivors. But in just days, long-suffering South Sudan will finally become independent, taking with it much of the oil that al-Bashir uses to buy international complicity with his crimes. Bashir is also facing pro-democracy protests, a worsening economy, and tense relations with long-time patron, China. This is our best chance in decades to organize the international action we need to end al-Bashir's brutal rule.
Strong international sanctions, a concerted global plan to arrest al-Bashir and others indicted by the International Criminal Court, and a commitment to protect the Sudanese people from further crimes against humanity would send al-Bashir a signal that the game is up, weaken his position in his own regime, and show the Sudanese people that he no longer has impunity for his crimes. The Sudanese - in the South, in Darfur, in Nuba, and many other places - have waited far too long for the world to stand up for humanity and justice, let's stand with them now:


It's almost impossible to imagine the desperation and terror of women and children in Nuba right now, or Darfur before them. It's a great stain on the conscience of the entire world, that we have not done what was necessary to stop al-Bashir's reign of terror. Let's end that reign now, with a massive outcry to governments to act.

With hope,

Ricken, Stephanie, Nicola, Alice, Morgan, Rewan and the rest of the Avaaz team


Ethnic Killings by Army Reported in Sudanese Mountains

Sudan seen massing troops in oil state, U.N. staff blocked

Ex-rebels accuse Sudan's Bashir of blocking ceasefire

The struggle for South Sudan

How will southern independence affect Sudan?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Stand with Aung San Suu Kyi #Avaaz

The future of Aung San Suu Kyi and her amazing movement for democracy in Burma is hanging in the balance this week, and we could make the difference.

Suu Kyi has bravely called on the military regime to free the thousands of monks and peaceful activists still held in horrific prisons, some in cramped dog cages. Unprecedentedly, thousands of Burmese have risked their own safety to join her call for freedom through an online petition! Yesterday, the regime issued an ominous warning to Suu Kyi – and the Generals may be deciding right now between dialogue or another brutal crackdown.

This could come down to us. Activists in Burma have appealed to the world for help, saying that pressure from the international community is crucial to preventing violence and freeing political prisoners. Let's stand with Suu Kyi and the brave Burmese, sign on to their petition, and send it to the EU, India and other key governments who can press the regime. Sign below and forward this email to build our outcry:

International pressure, including a massive Avaaz campaign, helped free Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years in detention. But over 2000 of her fellow political prisoners remain in filthy jails, some in cramped, lice-filled kennels normally used for military dogs. Suu Kyi has consulted widely with the Burmese people since she was freed and is now making the push to release political prisoners -- her first major effort to press the regime for change. The future of Burma could depend on their response.

Suu Kyi led the party that won Burma's last real democratic elections in 1992. After a military coup, the brave Burmese have pursued a peaceful non-violent movement for democracy and rights, facing killings, torture and intimidation in response. Pressed by economic woes, international sanctions and national strife, the military junta has tried to set up a fake democracy -- but Suu Kyi's movement is still banned and her campaign for prisoner release is a key test of whether the Generals will allow real change.

Burma has suffered too long. Let's stand with this incredible woman and help her put her country on the road to democracy. Sign below and forward this email to everyone:

Our community has stood with the Burmese people many times. Our massive petition and ad campaign in 2007 helped build an unprecedented level of international outcry against the crackdown then. Avaaz members also donated to provide technical support and training to Burmese activists who faced an internet and phone blackout. We sent millions of dollars and euros in relief funds after a devastating cyclone. Now, the Burmese are appealing again for support -- let's answer their call for help.

With hope and determination,

Stephanie, Alex, Pascal, Giulia, Ricken, Brianna, Morgan, Emma and the rest of the Avaaz team



Myanmar's Suu Kyi to plans first trip since release

Myanmar tilts towards civil war

Burma: prisoners kept in ‘dog cages’ after protests

Myanmar politician warns of Arab Spring

Gordon Brown: The release of political prisoners in Burma
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