Archive for the Humanity Category

Remembering the World Conference against Racism

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Humanity with tags , , , on October 10, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

In 1997, the General Assembly of the United Nations planned the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

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“As we see all around us, racism and racial discrimination continue unabated. Although we refer to our world as a global village, it is a world sadly lacking in the sense of closeness towards neighbour and community which the word village implies . . . there are problems stemming from either a lack of respect for, or lack of acceptance of, the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings . . ”

– Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights March 24, 1999.

The World Conference was held in Durban, South Africa from August 31 to September 7, 2001. It was intended as a landmark in the struggle to eradicate all forms of racism. Governments were asked to “deliver on their promises and make it a conference of actions not just words”.

Combating racial discrimination is a principle of the United Nations as stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Faith in fundamental human rights, in dignity and worth of the human person” is stated in the preamble. The Conference focused on achieving these objectives:

  • Review progress made and reassess obstacles since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Right
  • Increase awareness of racism and racial discrimination
  • Formulate ways to increase effectiveness of UN activities and programs aimed at combating racism
  • Consider ways and means to better apply existing standards of combating racism
  • Build the UN resources necessary in the combat against racism
  • Review political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and other factors to racism and racial discrimination
  • Formulate action-oriented national, regional, and international measures aimed at combating racism and racial discrimination

Sadly, the delegates from the U.S. and Israel walked out of the Conference and joined 15 nations in a boycott.  Nine nations boycotted the Conference entirely.

Boycotting nations:

  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • United States

Six nations that limited their participation:

  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Czech Republic
  • European Union
  • France
  • United Kingdom

The inability to come together in the common goal to end racism is also reflected in the fact that empowering victims of racism is not included as a Millennium Development Goal.//

U.S. Syphilis Experiments on People of Color / Crimes Against Humanity

Posted in HISTORY, Humanity, NEWS, North America, Our Health, South America with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

From 1932 to 1972 the U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Alabama conducted a “clinical study” using poor African American sharecroppers to research the progression of untreated syphilis. Approximately 400 poor men of African descent were enticed into the program with free meals, medical exams, and burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis. They were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a term used at the time in the African American community for illness with fatigue symptoms. Actually, they were never treated. This “study” became known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or the Tuskegee Experiment.

According to a Reuters article on Oct. 1st, President Obama offered his personal apology for another syphilis experiment. This time researchers deliberately infected 696 Guatemalan women, mental patients, and prison inmates with the disease. This “study” was to learn the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis. It was conducted from 1946 to 1948.

Guatemalan government released this statement:

“President Alvaro Colom considers these experiments crimes against humanity and Guatemala reserves the right to denounce them in an international court.”

Susan Reverby, a professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts uncovered the “study” while investigating the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and informed the U.S. government before she published her findings.

Free West Papua

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Oceania with tags , , , on September 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

The indigenous people of West Papua are sending this message to the UN and the world:

“40 years ago, all UN members, including the UK, recognised our right to self-determination but until now we have never been allowed to exercise our right freely and legally. We did not want to become Indonesian in 1969and after so many years of Indonesian oppression we certainly do not want to be Indonesian now. We want to be free!”

Benny Wenda – West Papuan Independence Leader in the United Kingdom & Chair of the Koteka Tribal Assembly –  FREE WEST PAPUA CAMPAIGN

HISTORY LEADING TO THIS MESSAGE//

In 1957, Indonesia was involved in a dispute with the Netherlands for control over West New Guinea. After four unsuccessful resolution claims to the UN General Assembly, they then tried a threat of military force disguised as diplomacy. Backed by ties with the then Soviet Union, Indonesia was seen as a “real threat of war”. The US then persuaded the Netherlands to accept a compromise involving “self determination” for the indigenous people.

On August 2, 1969, the Indonesian dictator Suharto claimed that 100 percent of the Melanesian people of West Papuan chose to be annexed by Indonesia. This was called the Act of Free Choice. Since then when peaceful protesters try to voice their objection they are met with a military response of killing, torturing, and imprisonment.

Indonesian Crimes Against Humanity:

  • Arrest without trial
  • Police violence and torture
  • Bombed and machine gunned villages
  • Evictions with no prior warning
  • Homes burned to the ground

Many of the people that the police have forced from their homes include families with pregnant mothers, children, and the elderly.

Support the Papua National Consensus Collective Leaders in their petition to the UN General Assembly. In accordance with the International Standards of Human Rights, the principles of International Law, and the Charter of the United Nations, the people of West Papua have the right to self-determination. Show your support by signing the petition.

Special thanks to Andrew for sharing this petition!

Life in the Slums of Kibera

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , on September 19, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Imagine your baby falling to the floor onto a sheet of reused plastic as he enters the world. Imagine no one is there to catch him.  No doctors, or midwives, to assure his safe arrival, only well meaning neighbors. This is how babies born poor come into the Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Families in slums often consist of mothers with no husbands; no jobs; no money. Children of these slums exists with no food; no education; no future. Husbands wonder in and out. They have lost hope of being a providing husband and father. They are the product of growing up in slums without learning productive skills. They are the sons of fathers who like them had nothing to pass on. They are the husbands of women who out of necessity have had to be the backbone of the family.

Hopelessness is the biggest threat in slums. Without hope what is there? There is the lack of opportunity and the promise of death. Without hope, people are vulnerable to crime, imprisonment, and the spread of disease.

Child Brides of East and West Africa

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 16, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Why would a man marry a child? In Africa girls as young as 7 are forced to marry men age 20 and over. At this age children’s minds and bodies are still developing. Forcing children to perform as adults is abusive. As a result girls suffer both mentally and physically. At age 7 girls should be in school and at play. These functions are important in development. Because their bodies are not developed enough for sex or giving birth tears between their bladder, vagina, and rectum occur. This condition is called obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula robs thousands of girls of urine and bowel control. She is then rejected by both her husband and community. The problem does not stop there. Left untreated it could lead to infections, kidney failure, and death. Other problems that occur are:

  • Children of child brides are at higher risk of developmental diseases.
  • Child brides are at higher risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Child brides are not educated.
  • Child brides often have at least 5 children.
  • Child brides often live in poverty.
  • Child brides often endure abuse from their husbands and in-laws.
  • Child brides suffer high mortality rates.

Marrying young girls is a violation of human rights. When sex is involved it is legalized rape of a child. Even in countries where it is not legal, it is accepted, and often expected. Parents are willing to sell their daughters into marriage because girls are not valued as much as boys. In many countries this is just the start of limited rights for women. The role of women is often reduced to:

  • Providing sex
  • Giving birth
  • Performing hard labor

A Tribute to the Displaced of New Orleans – Five Years Later

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, North America, Spotlight with tags , , , on August 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

On August 29, 2005, 18 to 25feet waves caused by Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. Before that day, New Orleans was a city with an unique culture. Like her native dish of gumbo, New Orleans developed her flavor from a blend of African, French, Spanish, Native American, Caribbean, and Acadian ancestry.

Known as ‘The Birthplace of Jazz’, a name she earned for her festivals, music, and swag. The rhythm of New Orleans was celebrated by local residents and tourist during:

  • Funerals
  • Mardi Gras
  • Satchmo Summer Fest
  • French Quarter Festival
  • Voodoo Music Experience
  • Live Music Clubs and Halls

Katrina was a category 5 hurricane. New Orleans was under a mandatory evacuation. About 1.3 million people lived in New Orleans, with 62.9% of African descent. Those with the means to transportation left the city; an estimated 150,000 remained. Those who remained lined up to weather the storm in the Louisiana Superdome. Stranded tourists went to the highest floors of their hotels. There was no federal or state aid to evacuate those who remained. For years before the hurricane, local officials had requested state aid to update the levies (similar to dams).

Five years after the massive evacuation over 100,000 people remain displaced. Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 180,000 homes and much of the city’s infrastructure was destroyed. Up to 80% of New Orleans was underwater. Rebuilding has not created affordable homes for the displaced.

The lack of response to request to updated levies and the lack of evacuation aid for the poor, allowed a natural disaster to become a genocide attempt to the city. Much of New Orleans’ flavor has been ‘watered’ down. It has been a lost to the city.

IRIN Africa | SUDAN: Thousands struggle to survive as Kalma aid cut off | East Africa | Sudan | Health & Nutrition Refugees/IDPs Water & Sanitation | News Item

Posted in Humanity, Mother Africa, NEWS on August 13, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

NAIROBI, 12 August 2010 (IRIN) – Aid agencies are still barred from Kalma, the largest settlement for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s Southern Darfur State, 10 days after the government blocked the UN and NGOs from distributing food and medical aid to an estimated 82,000 IDPs.

IRIN Africa | SUDAN: Thousands struggle to survive as Kalma aid cut off | East Africa | Sudan | Health & Nutrition Refugees/IDPs Water & Sanitation | News Item.