Active Citizens

Volunteerism – An Antidote to a World in Flux

As the world warms, as inequality widens and as an increasing number of societies suffer from instability and conflict, many people are left wondering what they can do about it.

With the UN Security Council in Paralysis, Are there New Hopes for Rohingya Muslims?

The 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) stands virtually paralyzed in the face of genocide charges against the government of Myanmar where over 730,000 to one million Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since a 2016 crackdown by Myanmar’s military.

End Rape—an Intolerable Cost to Society

If I could have one wish granted, it might well be a total end to rape. That means a significant weapon of war gone from the arsenal of conflict, the absence of a daily risk assessment for girls and women in public and private spaces, the removal of a violent assertion of power, and a far-reaching shift for our societies.

Los Angeles Joins a Global Movement to Protect Human Right to Water

On November 6, Los Angeles became the first major city in the United States to earn the designation of “Blue Community” – a bold move that will keep water protected from privatization.

Campaign Targets UNESCO’s Tie-up with ‘Saudi Spies’

The United Nations faces renewed criticism over its partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Misk Foundation amid revelations that the charity is headed by the mastermind of a recent Twitter spying operation.

The Rapid Decline in Civic Freedoms: 5 Countries to Keep an Eye on

2019 has been a year of protest. From Algeria, to Chile, to Hong Kong, ordinary people have taken to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction with governance systems. Their causes are as diverse as the people pouring into the streets.

Wall Street can Free the World’s 40 Million Modern-Day Slaves

Financiers in Wall Street, the City of London and other banking centres should play a bigger role in freeing the millions of people who endure slave-like working conditions globally, according to a new study.

A Rising Youth Movement Picks Up Where Governments Have Failed

When the Youth Climate Summit concluded last week, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres predicted that if governments still lack the political will to make peace with nature, “there is huge hope in what the youth is doing all over the world".

We Have Swung into the Dark Ages, Says Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams

On Monday, United States President Donald Trump continued to float the idea that he should be awarded a Nobel Prize, but that it would never happen because the system was rigged.

50 Days of Kashmir Under Lockdown – in Pictures

It is 50 days into the lockdown in Kashmir since roads were blocked off, schools shut, and internet and communication services stopped.

‘I Want my Kids to Know What a Rhino and Turtle Are’ – #ClimateStrike Kids Say

From Nigeria, to Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo, to South Africa, thousands of African climate campaigners have taken to the streets joining millions around the world for the global Climate Strike ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, which starts in New York next week.

NYC Library Ditches Controversial Saudi Royal MBS’ Event

A New York library appeared to bow to pressure this week when it canceled an event that was being co-hosted by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is accused of a range of human rights abuses.

Calls for Reform, Research and Reorganisation in Leprosy Healthcare

Rachna Kumari of Munger in Eastern India’s Bihar state is not yet 30. But she's already been married at 18, abandoned by her husband after she was diagnosed with leprosy and become an award-winning advocate of the disease. She has traversed a long road. And this week she undertook another step in her journey to fly to Manila, Philippines, as a delegate at the 20th International Leprosy Congress (ILC).

‘Conference Emphasises Need for Partnerships to Create a World Without Leprosy’

Forty years ago, Yohei Sasakawa saw his father moved to tears after meeting and witnessing the suffering of people affected by leprosy – also known as Hansen’s disease. Not only did the patients have a physical illness, but they also suffered from social exclusion and discrimination. It made the young Sasakawa vow to work for the elimination of leprosy from the world – just as his father had been doing.

The Emergence of a Global Voice for Hansen’s Disease Affected Persons

The Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which was attended by members of people’s organisations from 23 different countries, wrapped up in Manila, Philippines, today Sept. 10 after four days of discussion and deliberation. The main outcome was a set of recommendations, which included participants stating that those affected by the disease should have more inclusive roles in the global campaign against leprosy.


Culture of Peace Takes Big Stride as UN Observes 20th Anniversary of Norm-Setting 1999 Decision

It has been a long, arduous journey – a journey ridden curiously with obstacles and indifference. Two decades have passed by since the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted, by consensus and without reservation, its landmark and norm-setting resolution 53/243 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace in 1999.

Litigation, a Mechanism to Ensure Justice and End Stigma for Hansen’s Disease

Professor Ai Kurosaka remembers the day she first interacted with a person affected by Hansen’s disease. It was 2003 and Kurosaka, then a graduate student of sociology at the Saitama University in Japan, had been assigned to interview ex-patients and their family members to document what kind of discrimination they faced. It was a very difficult task because nobody wanted to speak or identify themselves.

The Business of Social Enterprise

Organisations supporting people affected by Hansen’s disease (leprosy) have social rather than capitalist aims, but they need to take a business-minded approach to their work if they wish to be sustainable, experts at a global conference in Manila, Philippines said.

Global Network Key to Strengthening Leprosy Organisations

Organisations of people affected by Hansen’s Disease or leprosy agree that a global network of volunteer groups is key to eradicating the disease, but concrete steps need to be taken to move the idea from an often-discussed concept to a reality.

First Global Forum of Leprosy-Affected People’s Organisations Kicks off in Manila

Being part of a platform where leprosy-affected people from all over the world can freely interact, exchange and share opinions, ideas, experiences and strategies was always something Tasfaye Tadesse dreamt of.

A Global Forum to Encourage Dialogue and Share Solutions

Professor Takahiro Nanri is the executive director of the Sasakawa Health Foundation, co-organiser of the Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which will take place from Sept. 7 to 10 in the Philippines.

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