Active Citizens

No More Mass Deaths from Drought in Northeast Brazil

The drought that has plagued Brazil’s semiarid Northeast region since 2012 is already more severe than the 1979-1983 drought, the longest in the 20th century. But prolonged dry spells no longer cause the tragedies of the past.

Feminism Helps Villagers Coexist with Drought in Northeast Brazil

“The vegetable garden changed my life,” said Rita Alexandre da Silva, in the village of Primeiro do Maio where 65 families have obtained land to grow crops since 1999, in this municipality in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, in Northeast Brazil.

New Technologies in Debate in Biodiversity Conference

Synthetic biology, geoengineering and the recognition of ancestral knowledge are the issues that have generated the most heated debate in the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity, which ends in this Mexican resort city on Friday Dec. 17.

Anti-Torture Law Helps Pay Off Chile’s Debt to Human Rights

After 26 years of democratic governments, Chile has finally passed a law that defines torture as a criminal act, but which is still not sufficient to guarantee that the abuses will never again happen, according to human rights experts.

India Steps Up Citizen Activism to Protect Women

Last month, Delhi Police launched a unique initiative to check spiralling crimes against women in the city, also known dubiously as the "rape capital" of India. It formed a squad of plainclothes officers called "police mitras" (friends of the police) -- comprising farmers, homemakers and former Army men -- to assist them in the prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order.

Nicaraguan Women Push for Access to Land, Not Just on Paper

A group of women farmers who organised to fight a centuries-old monopoly over land ownership by men are seeking plots of land to farm in order to contribute to the food security of their families and of the population at large.

Violence Against Black Women in Brazil on the Rise, Despite Better Laws

Four months in hospital and a number of operations saved the life of Maria da Penha Fernandes of Brazil, but the rifle shot left her paraplegic at the age of 37. When she returned home, her husband tried to electrocute her in the bathroom.

Coal Mine Threatens Ecological Paradise in Chile’s Patagonia Region

An open-pit coal mine in the southern island of Riesco, a paradise of biological diversity in Chile’s southern Patagonia wilderness region, is a reflection of the weakness of the country’s environmental laws, which are criticised by local residents, activists, scientists and lawmakers.

Trump’s Offensive Against Undocumented Migrants Will Fuel Migration Crisis

“Donald Trump will not stop me from getting to the U.S.,” said Juan, a 35-year-old migrant from Nicaragua, referring to the Republican president-elect who will govern that country as of Jan. 20.

Opposition to Oil Pipeline in U.S. Serves as Example for Indigenous Struggles in Latin America

Canadian activist Clayton Thomas-Muller crossed the border between his country and the United States to join the Native American movement against the construction of an oil pipeline, which has become a model to follow in struggles by indigenous people against megaprojects, that share many common elements.

Student Struggle in South Africa Gains Momentum

When #FeesMustFall began to trend on social media platforms in South Africa in October 2015, government shrugged it off as an example of isolated hotheads, while political pundits predicted the student campaign wouldn’t last.

Mexico City’s Expansion Creates Tension between Residents and Authorities

People living in neighborhoods affected by the expansion of urban construction suffer a “double displacement”, with changes in their habitat and the driving up of prices in the area, in a process in which “we are not taken into account,” said Natalia Lara, a member of an assembly of local residents in the south of Mexico City.

New Government Inherits Conflict over Peru’s Biggest Mine

Of the 150 socioeconomic conflicts related to the extractive industries that Peru’s new government inherited, one of the highest-profile is the protest by the people living near the biggest mining project in the history of the country: Las Bambas.

Global Citizenship Education Aims to Break Down Artificial Barriers

The importance of education in the promotion of peace, sustainable development and human dignity, and the prevention of violent extremism, was the focus of a Global Citizenship Education Seminar at UN headquarters in New York on Friday September 9.

Making African Palm Oil Production Sustainable

“In San Lorenzo they cut down the jungle to plant African oil palms. The only reason they didn’t expand more was that indigenous people managed to curb the spread,” Ecuadorean activist Santiago Levy said during the World Conservation Congress.

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