Active Citizens

Imprisoned Saudi Activist and Other Rights Defenders Seek Justice in 2021

Two events generated significant interest and global solidarity in the final days of December 2020. A court in Saudi Arabia handed down a five years and eight months sentence to activist Loujain Al-Hathloul for publicly supporting women’s right to drive. Nicholas Opiyo, Ugandan human rights lawyer and defender of persecuted members of the LGBTQI community and political opponents of the president was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges of ‘money laundering.’ Nicholas Opiyo was granted bail on 30 December following an outpouring of global support for his activism for justice. In handing out the verdict to Loujain Al-Hathloul, the court partly suspended her sentence raising hope that she might be released from prison in a couple of months due to time already served.

Mining giant Rio Tinto Face Environmental, Human Rights Complaint in Papua New Guinea

Local communities in the vicinity of the abandoned Panguna copper mine, have taken decisive action to hold the global mining multinational, Rio Tinto, accountable for alleged environmental and human rights violations during the mine’s operations between 1972 and 1989.

USA Downgraded as Civil Liberties Deteriorate Across the Americas

Few images better illustrate the recent decline in civil liberties in the United States than that of peaceful protesters near the White House being violently dispersed so Donald Trump could stage a photo-op.

If Your Civic Space is Closed, your Human Rights Dissolve

On Human Rights Day, civil society calls for the protection of civic space as a fundamental freedom, as more than 80% of the world’s population live in countries where civic space is closed, repressed or obstructed.

The Importance of Investing in Volunteerism

The International Volunteer Day will approach soon and the 5th of December will become a day to celebrate the actions of millions of volunteers from all over the world, in the south as well in the north of the world.

Amid COVID-19, What is the Health of Civic Freedoms?

More than half a year after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, governments are continuing to waste precious time and energy restricting human rights rather than focusing on fighting the virus.

Community Hydropower Dam Illuminates Life in Salvadoran Villages

Ermelinda Lobos's life has improved substantially since she and the rest of the people in her small village, hidden in the mountains of northeastern El Salvador, worked hard to build a mini hydroelectric plant and become self-sufficient in energy.

‘Leave No one Behind’: How Inclusive is World Leaders’ Call to Climate Action?

Wrapping up Climate Week at the United Nations General Assembly, global leaders called for climate action that may be “ambitious but achievable” and called for climate measures that would “leave no one behind”. But some climate activists remain concerned about how this can be achieved.

The Culture of Peace: Change our World for the Better in the Age of COVID 19

Last year, we paid tribute to the 20th Anniversary of the 1999 Declaration of the Program of Action on a Culture of Peace. Today, we need to ask ourselves if we had genuinely carried out our moral responsibilities to transition from a culture of hatred and violence to a culture of tolerance and peace.

Sierra Leone – Why Everyone is Not Celebrating the New Media Law

Last week, Sierra Leone’s parliament voted to repeal the country’s 55-year-old libel law, which criminalised the publication of information that was deemed defamatory or seditious, and which had been used by successive governments to target and imprison media practitioners and silence dissenting views. But not everyone is convinced it was in the best interest of media freedom.

Indigenous Farmers Harvest Water with Small Dams in Peru’s Andes Highlands

A communally built small dam at almost 3,500 meters above sea level supplies water to small-scale farmer Cristina Azpur and her two young daughters in Peru's Andes highlands, where they face water shortages exacerbated by climate change.

Racism and Dominance

The #MeToo movement triggered worldwide protests that hopefully was instrumental in making people better aware of a continuous and often hidden mistreatment of women. Maybe can the current I can’t breathe movement make people realize that institutional racism is far from extinct.

World Protests Show Rising Outrage and Mounting Discontent

After a period of forced silence because of the Covid-19 quarantines, citizens around the world are defying coronavirus restrictions and claiming the streets to fight for real democracy, jobs, living wages, public services, human rights and against corruption, inequality and injustice. We predict an increasing wave of protests all over the world led by different types of people defying the status quo. Unless policies change, clashes in the street are likely to become the new normal.

The Need, Within the UN, for an Honest Conversation on Racism

I want to once again express to all colleagues my enormous appreciation, my enormous gratitude, for your fantastic professionalism, your flexibility and the way you have been able to fully deliver for the people we care for during this period.

George Floyd: US’ Week of Broken Glass and Broken Dreams

The United States has been a story of broken dreams and broken glass this past week. Once again, an unarmed black man died at the hands of a white police officer, with George Floyd being pinned to the ground under a lawman’s knee in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as stunned passersby made cell-phone videos of the incident to post on social media.

Mexico’s Development Banks Fuel the Fossil Energy Trade

Since 2012, Teresa Castellanos has fought the construction of a gas-fired power plant in Huexca, in the central Mexican state of Morelos, adjacent to the country's capital.

Coronavirus Hasn´t Slowed Down Ecological Women Farmers in Peru’s Andes Highlands

It's eight o'clock in the morning and Pascuala Ninantay is carrying two large containers of water in her wheelbarrow to prepare with neighbouring women farmers 200 litres of organic fertiliser, which will then be distributed to fertilise their crops, in this town in the Andes highlands of Peru.

Citizen Action is Central to the Global Response to COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an unprecedented human and economic crisis. Governments are taking strong actions, enforcing quarantines to reduce contagion, testing populations, building emergency intensive care units. Governments have also launched large fiscal stimulus plans to protect jobs and the economy, as well as temporary social protection programs such as income/food support, subsidies to utilities and care services.

Bioenergy, the Ugly Duckling of Mexico’s Energy Transition

Rosa Manzano carefully arranges pieces of wood in a big mud igloo that, seven days after it is full, will produce charcoal of high caloric content.

10 Ways Young People are Leading the Way Against COVID-19

As the world grapples with unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, young people are demonstrating their continued leadership in their communities and countries. According to a new UN plan to address COVID-19, young people are some of the most affected by the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts. Nevertheless, youth are also among the most active in global responses: Not only are they on the frontlines as health workers, but they are also advancing health and safety in their roles as researchers, activists, innovators, and communicators. As such, decision-makers must commit to ensuring youth voices are part of the solutions for a healthier, safer, and gender-equal world.

Never Give up on Women’s Rights – Edna Ismail

For Dr Edna Adan Ismail maternal health and midwifery is deeply personal. In an interview with Women Deliver Young Leader Musu Bakoto Sawo, Ismail recalls her mother’s devasting experiences which impacted on her own life’s choices.

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