What if you could help prevent the next Rwanda, Darfur or Syria? Would you?
Time and time again as atrocities unfold, the United Nations Security Council is called upon to act but cannot due to the threat of a veto by one of the permanent members. It’s time for that to change.
It’s time for countries to agree that permanent Security Council members have a “Responsibility Not to Veto” when it comes to genocide and other mass atrocities.
GlobalSolutions.org has just launched a petition to asking President Obama to be part of a discussion about the responsible use of the veto at the Security Council.
We envision a Security Council that works. Imagine a Security Council that pledged not to use the veto in situations of genocide and other mass atrocities. That’s a world we want to live in. Unfortunately, permanent Security Council members have used (or threatened to use) their veto power far too often. The veto power stopped immediate life-saving action in the Rwandan genocide, Darfur, and Syria.
This week I had the unfortunate experience of studying for an International Development Exam at the same time as watching CNN's shutdown coverage. With less than 24 hours until the US reached the debt ceiling, congress was still discussing possibilities with no clear outcome. For the first time in my young lifetime, I watched our politicians play a game with the global economy, and I was horrified.
The US Government has the ability to make an impact in international development more than any NGO, international institution, or campaign. These 536 men and women can make a tremendous amount of change if they set their minds to it, but instead they bicker over small details. They could fix education, cure a disease or just build a road in a country with no real infrastructure. They've benefited from wonderful educations, yet they don't care about the problems current students face. They all claim to be religious people, yet they spend millions of dollars on negative campaigns instead of helping dying children in the global south. They're willing to risk a global economy meltdown over a law that's been upheld by our systems of checks and balances, yet they don't seem to be wiling to actually put foreign investment behind that global economy to help it grow.
Secretary of State John Kerry has now added the United States' signature to the Arms Trade Treaty. This treaty is a great step forward in dealing with the unregulated and illicit global trade in conventional weapons and ammunition, which fuels wars and human rights abuses worldwide. I am so proud of thousands of GlobalSolutions.org members who emailed, petitioned and called the White House. Your efforts paid off!
GlobalSolutions.org also was one of 33 national organizations who urged President Obama to sign the treaty, saying it, "...would be a powerful step demonstrating the United States' commitment to preventing mass atrocities and protecting civilians from armed conflict around the globe."
Not only is it good for our nation to have all countries operating from the same rule book, it's also our responsibility. Without the treaty, warlords and terrorists will continue to get weapons which are used to force child soldiers to kill their parents, to attack American soldiers and missionaries, and to rape refugee women and girls.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Conference for GlobalSolutions.org at Hofstra University in New York. The conference focused largely on skills that can be used to become more engaged in our campaigns and to help build the GlobalSolutions.org movement. The staff at the conference certainly accomplished that, teaching many invaluable skills such as building community networks, fundraising, and using social media. Overall, I left the conference with an abundance of knowledge on how to build our movement effectively, and I hope other conference participants feel the same.
Of course, the most inspiring part of the conference was not the information itself, but the energy in the room. While the mood changed several times over the course of the day, sometimes serious, sometimes less so, the overall atmosphere was inspiring. Some of the participants hadn’t seen their old friends in years, yet still spoke as if it were yesterday. And of course, many new friendships were made. Overall, the room was filled with exciting discussion and intense energy – you could tell that everyone there had a passion to change the world.