The Global Citizen: abowen
Today's Washington Post featured a story about an organizational letter that Citizens for Global Solutions, along with nearly two dozen other groups, sent to President Obama that urged him to attend the Rio+20 Earth Summit this June.
The letter read in part,"Your presence at this Summit would signal its critical importance to all Americans, demonstrate our country's deep concern over urgent global issues that will inevitably affect our security and well-being, and highlight our nation's determination to be a contender in the race to a low-carbon green economy." To read the full letter, click here.
Citizens for Global Solutions believes strong U.S. leadership at Rio+20 will spur other nations to commit to taking concrete action in preserving our planet for future generations.
If you think President Obama be a leader on sustainable development and attend Rio+20, sign our petition here.
This Sunday, we honor the women in our lives that gave us life and shaped us into the people we are today. Daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, will receive flowers, candy, or breakfast in bed prepared by the kids.
But did you know that Mother’s Day was originally founded as a Women’s Day for peace and disarmament? In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” advocated for the creation of Mother’s Day, dedicated to promoting “the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interests of peace.”
We can cherish the women who nurtured, protected, and cared for us by sending a Mother’s Day card that honors the original spirit of the holiday. Click here to choose a free e-card that celebrates the special women in your life and commemorates women working for peace around the globe.
To women who work hard for peace around the world, around the house, around their communities and around their country -- thanks for all that you do!
Feel free to share our eCard or post it on a facebook wall (just right-click to save the image or the url):
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last trial of a major figure for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Taylor was convicted of aiding rebels in the Revolutionary United Front in neighboring Sierra Leone in exchange for blood diamonds, but was found innocent of having direct control over forces.
It is a landmark victory, as it is the first conviction of a former national leader for grave crimes since Karl Doenitz, who briefly ruled Nazi Germany after Hitler, was convicted at Nuremberg. This verdict lays the groundwork for holding fair trials of other heads of state accused of atrocities, such as Sudan's Omar Al-Bashir and Syria's Bashar Al-Assad.
As international law has developed over time, there has been a dramatic increase in the world community’s acceptance of the prosecution of tyrannical leaders. From the U.N.’s request for an investigation into the Libyan conflict to Syrian protesters calling for Assad to stand trial at the International Criminal Court, it is encouraging that international courts are now regarded as a major tool to end the impunity of war criminals and to provide justice for their victims.
Taylor will be sentenced on May 30th to prison in Great Britain.
Citizens for Global Solutions sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on her to demand the Bahraini government release human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and 13 other political prisoners.
Al-Khawaja has been on a hunger strike for over two months, protesting his unjust imprisonment. In recent days, the Danish goverment's request to transfer Al-Khawaja to Denmark for treatment was denied by Bahraini officials. Al-Khawaja has dual Danish and Barhraini citizenship.
The letter reads in part,
"We are troubled by the ongoing conflict in Bahrain, where dozens have died and hundreds more have been wounded or imprisoned for protesting the human rights violations of the Bahraini government. Given the United States’ strong relationship with Bahrain, we are in the position to advocate for democratic reforms and protest the Bahraini government’s deplorable human rights record... Al-Khawaja’s health is rapidly deteriorating, so it is critical that you call for his release and for the freedom of the other jailed activists at once."
In the letter, we noted that we had started a petition campaign for Al-Khawaja's release that received over 15,000 signatures.
Click here to read the letter in full.
Citizens for Global Solutions CEO Don Kraus was quoted today in a story by Inter-Press Service on the U.S. being one of 7 countries that have still not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women treaty. Kraus noted CEDAW provides
"a blueprint for increasing gender equality and reinforces our role as a global leader in standing up for the rights of women and girls. In countries that have ratified CEDAW, women have partnered with their governments to engage in a national dialogue about the status of women and girls, and as a result have shaped policies to create greater safety and opportunities for women and their families."
Click here to read the full story.
Last week, staff gathered around a table in our office and discussed the sad accounts of Syrian activists feeling disillusioned and abandoned after Russia and China vetoed a UN Resolution aimed at stopping the conflict.
We knew we had to do something for the Syrian activists, but what?
The international community was moving at a snail’s pace, so our political advocacy options were unclear. But we did know one thing – even if mostly symbolic, it was important to let the Syrian people standing up for their freedom know that U.S. citizens haven’t forgotten about them.
We sent Syria a Valentine.
After all, Valentine’s Day has come to be regarded as a day that celebrates all kinds of love and friendship. If cards are given to teachers, parents, children, siblings, friends and sweethearts, why not Syrian activists?
Would our community understand the gesture and participate? YES!!
Yesterday, President Obama released a first-ever National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, which instructs agencies across the government to intergrate a gender persepctive in all matters relating to peace and security.
The plan's goal is to "empower half of the world's population as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity." The NAP recognizes that long-term peace and stability cannot be maintained without the particpation of women.
Some of the plan's implementation steps mirror key recommendations found in the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping's report, "U.S. Engagement in International Peacekeeping: From Aspiration to Implementation." For example, the NAP advocates for women to be considered for more senior level positions at the U.N. The peacekeeping report also identified a shortage of women in higher posts and called for this problem to be corrected.
The NAP calls for leveraging the participation of female U.S. military personnel to encourage and model gender intergration in other partner nations. The peacekeeping report takes this a step further and suggests that the U.S. engage with our own military and training institutions to increase the role of U.S. women in peacekeeping operations.
Citizens for Global Solutions CEO Don Kraus was interviewed today about the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo of Cote D'Ivoire who was transferred to the International Criminal Court today on charges of committing crimes against humanity and the state of international justice for WORT radio in Madison, Wisconsin.
Lloyd Axworthy, the former Foreign Minister of Canada and twice elected President of the U.N. Security Council, gave a presentation on the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Minnesota Law School last Tuesday in an event co-sponosred by the Minnesota chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions.
Click here to watch the webcast.
Citizens for Global Solutions, along with 11 other non-governmental organizations, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton asking her to push for strong democratic reforms ahead of her historic visit to Burma on Thursday.
Before planning a trip of a high-level government official to Burma, the U.S. required that President Thein Sein meet with political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, the government release political prisoners, and allow former political prisoners to participate in the electoral process. This will be the first visit of a U.S. secretary of state to the country in 50 years.
Don Kraus, CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions, said,
"Secretary Clinton's trip is an opportunity for the United States to use the Burmese government’s desire for warmer relations as a bargaining chip to strongly push for effective and long-lasting democratic reforms."
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