Join us next week for Human Rights on the Hill at UDC!

May 29, 2015
Martin pontificating as usual!

Martin pontificating as usual!

Our executive director, Kevin Martin, will be speaking next Wednesday at 10:30 am, but the whole lineup for this annual course organized by former national Peace Action board member Joshua Cooper is outstanding, hope you can make one or more of these sessions!

Please join us at one or more sessions of this, the 14th annual Human Rights on the Hill program, organized by Joshua Cooper of the Hawaii Inst. for Human Rights at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.  Each year, Cooper magically assembles an absolutely terrific line up of human rights activists, lawyers, government officials and policy wonks – see schedule below – to whose presentations interested students and citizens of all ages are cordially invited.

Venue: UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, Street address: 4340 Connecticut Ave.,Washington, DC 20008

The weeklong program is free, but please register here: http://www.law.udc.edu/event/HR14.

If you’d like to donate to support the program go to: www.law.udc.edu/donations and choose the general fund with a note to “HR 14”

Schedule:  14th Human Rights on the Hill 

Monday, June 1

9:00 a.m. The Peoples Voice at 70; From the Green Room in San Francisco to the Global Stage of Diplomacy & Decision-Making: Strong NGOs Means Stronger UN and The Best World Possible.

Joshua Cooper, Executive Director, Four Freedoms Forum

10:30 a.m. The Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America

Amanda J. Wall, Attorney Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State

12:00 p.m. Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America

UN Webcast TV

1:30 p.m. Business & Human Rights at the United Nations and the United States of America: The UN Forum & Working Group on Business and Human Rights Early Results as well as Current National Action Plan Progress and the Upcoming Initial Treaty Negotiations

John Richardson, Professorial Lecturer, School of International Service, American University

3:00-7:00 p.m.  TBA – Watch this space!

8:00 p.m. at Busboys & Poets

The News: Jeffrey Brown with Gwen Ifel

Tuesday, June 2

9:00 a.m.  The Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America:

An Opportunity to Organize Partnerships Across Communities in Our Country to Unite People for Rights Realization

Joshua Cooper, Executive Director,  Four Freedoms Forum

10:30 a.m. Local Human Rights Lawyering: Implementation of International Recommendations to Realize Right in Individuals Lives at the Community Level

Lauren Bartlett, Research and Training Director, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law & Director of Law Clinics and Assistant Professor of Law Ohio Northern University Petit College of Law

12:00 p.m. Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America

UN Webcast TV

1:30 p.m.  Gender Justice and Women’s Rights: Beijing+20 Beyond the Beltway in Our Beautiful Communities, Tarah Demant, Senior Director, Identity and Discrimination Unit, Amnesty International USA

3:00 p.m. The Implementation of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations in the United States of America

Sakira Cook, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

7:00 p.m. at Busboys & Poets.  Stolen Futures:  Palestinian Children in Israeli Military

No Way to Treat a Child Campaign American Friends Service Committee

Wednesday, June 3

9:00 a.m. The United Nations Human Rights Charter Bodies and NGOs Ability to Advocate for Fundamental Freedoms

Joshua Cooper, Executive Director, Four Freedoms Forum

10:30 a.m. Peace is a Human Right: The UN Efforts on Demilitarization from NPT to Small Arms

Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action 

12:00 p.m.  Testify! Voices for Human Rights in the U.S.

WITNESS

12:30 p.m.  U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:  Current Status and Challenges Ahead

Jorge Araya, Secretary, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Eric Rosenthal, Executive Director, Disability Rights International

1:30 p.m. The U.S. Foreign Policy of Drones & the Denial of Human Rights

Jeff Bachman, Ethics Peace & Global Affairs Program Co-Director, American University

3:00 p.m.  Implementation of the UPR Recommendations for Indigenous Peoples Human Rights in the U.S.

Christina Snider,  National Congress of the American Indians

5:00 p.m.  Strategies for Eco-Innovation: Open Source or Orthodox IP?

Jeremy DeBeer, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

8:00 p.m.  White House Freedom of Speech Action

Implement the UPR Recommendations

Bring Human Rights Home

Thursday, June 4

9:00 a.m. The United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies Process & Participation: Growing a National Human Rights Movement Through the Ratification, Reporting and Realizing Recommendations from the UN Committees Responsible for Human Rights

Joshua Cooper, Executive Director, Four Freedoms Forum

10:30 a.m. A People Forgotten: Diego Garcia and the Exiled People of the Chagos Archipelago

David Vine, American University

12:00 p.m. The Treaty Bodies Bringing Human Rights Home

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

1:30 p.m. Islamophobia & Muslims as Targets of the War on Terror:  Origins & Impacts

Maha Hilal, Deputy Executive Director, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

3:00 p.m. Panel: The United Nations Tells U.S. Government That Guantanamo is a Black Hole: Now What? A National Response to Restore Human Rights

James G. Connell III, Attorney

Raashid Williams, Major

Jennifer Kamorowski

Kim Lanoue-Chapman

Maha Hilal

Friday, June 5

9:00 a.m. Gun Violence in the United States of America

Jamira Burley, Senior Campaigner, Gun Violence and Criminal Justice,  Amnesty International USA

10:30 a.m. Bringing Human Rights Home

Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner, Individuals at Risk, Amnesty International USA

12:00 p.m. The Lady Aung San Suu Kyi

Freedom to Lead

1:30 p.m.  A U.S. Congressional Mechanism to Promote and Protect Human Rights Around the World: The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

 

 

 


Your Priorities, Not War

May 12, 2015

by Paul Kawika Martin

It’s that time of year when Congress figures out the federal budget for next year. The House will take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. Despite the Republican stranglehold in the House they may allow a few amendments to be voted on where we can make a difference.

Please call your Representative now at 202-224-3121 and ask them to support amendments to the NDAA that cut Pentagon spending and cut the OCO slush fund.

You’ve heard us talk about the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. It is supposed to be used to fund the U.S. wars abroad that we oppose. The Republicans and, to a lesser extent, the Obama administration has been using it as a slush fund to cover costs for programs the Pentagon would otherwise be forced to cut. Indeed, the Republicans almost doubled the account to nearly $100 billion at a time when the war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down.

This week, Congress may vote on amendments to slash the OCO, make the slush fund more transparent, or both. Additionally, House amendments might address various Pentagon boondoggles like the wasteful F-35 and unneeded nuclear weapons.

This is not how we want our hard earned tax dollars spent. Pick up your phone now and call your Representative, 202-224-3121, and tell them to slash the OCO slush fund and cut Pentagon pork like the F-35 and nuclear weapons.


Iran: Our Hard Work Pays Off

May 12, 2015

With a little over a month to go before negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) are concluded, everything is proceeding as planned. The technical details are being worked out in Vienna with no obvious hurdles in evidence at this writing. The deadline for presenting a final document, expected to be several hundred pages long, is June 30, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Corker Bill, which we have been opposing, has passed the Senate, but it’s been watered down and has yet to pass the House. Just last week, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) sent a letter, signed by 151 Representatives, to President Obama praising the work of his administration to finalize an agreement that verifiably ensures Iran will refrain from developing nuclear weapons. The letter demonstrates strong support for the agreement in the House, sufficient to sustain a presidential veto on any effort by congressional opponents of the deal should they attempt to torpedo an agreement this summer.

Peace Action affiliates across the nation generated calls, letters and emails to Representatives urging them to sign on to the letter and will continue to pressure Congress until a final agreement is reached and implemented. Thanks to all our members and our allies for all your hard work.


Liquid Blue

May 12, 2015

Carrying the banner of tolerance and understanding, Liquid Blue revisits classic peace songs on their latest album, Peace Anthems, and is sharing 25% of proceeds with Peace Action!  Thanks Liquid Blue!

Liquid Blue, indie pop rock band formed in San Diego, has performed in more than 500 cities in 100 countries on six continents and has been recognized as “the world’s most traveled band”.  They are more popular in parts of Asia and Europe than in their home country (USA).

PeaceAnthemsCover400

 

Hear Liquid Blue perform Earth Passport

Hear Liquid Blue perform Imagine


Nuclear Weapons Group Praises Historic Iran Agreement

April 2, 2015

Nuclear Weapons Group Praises Historic Iran Agreement

Washington, DC — April 2, 2015 — The United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany (P5 + 1) and Iran reached an historic framework agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program in Switzerland today.  The “Common Understanding On Principles” claims to take steps that will keep Iran from producing a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the country.

“This historic agreement between the international community and Iran on its nuclear program will ensure it will not produce a nuclear weapon making the U.S. and the world a safer place.  This agreement promises to keep Iran at least a year away from having the fissile material needed to make a crude nuclear weapon.  Without an agreement, that timeline shrinks to three months and the threat of war increases dramatically,” commented Paul Kawika Martin the political director of Peace Action (the largest peace group in the U.S. founded on abolishing nuclear weapons) who has been working on the Iran issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in Iran and enjoyed hospitality from its people and its vast culture.

Recent polls show that Americans oppose military intervention with Iran by 71% and support reaching an agreement.  The parties conducted marathon negotiations past their self-imposed deadline of March 31 to develop the solutions that will create the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (CJPOA).  The parties have until June 30th to agree to all the technical and implementation specifics and sign the CJPOA that will last ten years with parts lasting longer like inspections and monitoring set to occur indefinitely.

“The success of these talks, again proves that diplomacy works.  Instead of isolation, sanctions that don’t affect leaders or military intervention that costs vast amounts of blood and treasure and untold longterm costs and unintended consequences, the U.S. used dialogue, negotiations and the international community to solve conflict.  These notable negotiations may pave the way for more discussions on issues like human rights and regional security that will further reduce Middle East tensions,” added Kevin Martin, executive director, of Peace Action.

The agreement includes five major components.  Decreasing the stockpile of material that could possibly be made into fissile material.  Limiting the quantity and quality of centrifuges that could make highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.  Reconfiguring the nuclear reactor (and securing its spent fuel) in the city of Arak so it produces an insignificant amount of weapons grade plutonium.  Implementing unprecedented inspections and comprehensive monitoring.  And lastly, scheduling and implementing the lifting of specific sanctions on Iran.

“An agreement with Iran on its nuclear program is better than any imaginable alternative.  Military strategists have said over and over again that a military intervention with Iran would at best slightly delay any nuclear program and at worst force Iran to engage in getting a nuclear weapon even if they had no such program.  Any letters or legislation that offers more sanctions or ties the hands of the negotiators are clearly meant to kill the talks.  Poison pill bills like Senator Bob Corker’s that could delay implementation of an agreement for months and puts certification hurdles nearly impossible to clear should be defeated.  Scuttling the accord would be very short sighted as an agreement with Iran on their nuclear program would likely lead to productive negotiations on other items of concern with the Iranian Government.  More sanctions on Iran are likely to only embolden Iranian hardliner rather than solving the problem,” concluded Paul Kawika Martin.

###

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace- Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika


Largest Peace NGO Opposes Obama’s War Proposal

February 11, 2015

Washington, DC — February 11, 2014 — In response to President Obama this morning sending proposed language for an Authorization of use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS to Congress, Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. released the following statement by its policy and political director, Paul Kawika Martin:

After six months of Congress ignoring its constitutional duty, finally President Obama sent language to Congress to authorize war for the next three years (an Authorization for the Use of Military Force or AUMF) against ISIS.  It’s about time that Congress fully debate the U.S. war being waged in the Middle East.  Peace Action agrees with past statements of the president that there is no military solution to ISIS and so we oppose any AUMF.

While we oppose any AUMF because the war is not working, we encourage members of Congress to push for tighter restrictions than what President Obama proposes should an AUMF move forward.   Limitations could include:  a one-year sunset clause; geographic limitations; definitively no combat troops on the ground; repealing both former AUMFs, not just one;  and robust reporting requirements including civilian deaths.

The president’s proposed AUMF does one good thing: it repeals the outdated and ill-advised Iraq AUMF.  It fails, however, to repeal the 2001 AUMF which has been used as a blanket “war on terrorism.”  Additionally, it uses the legally ambiguous language of no “enduring offensive ground operations” rather than expressly forbidding combat troops.

As it stands, it doesn’t seem that the current military strategy is working against ISIS.  Instead the international community should:

*Reduce civilian deaths, casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure that tends to recruit financial support and foreign fighters for ISIS.

*Weaken ISIS by reducing its income (oil, antiquities, sex trade), freezing assets, reducing military resources (weapons, training and foreign fighters).

*Support political solutions to the Syrian civil war and Iraqi ethnic tensions.

*Increase humanitarian aid and refugee support.

*Support actions that will help prevent extremism in the first place: education, religious tolerance, poverty alleviation and justice.

###

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace- Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika


The Movement for Global Nuclear Weapons Abolition: On from Vienna to New York City!

December 16, 2014

– Peter Deccy, Development Director

Peace Action and our allies in the global movement for nuclear abolition won a small but significant victory at the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons last week in Vienna.  We have been pressing the administration for over a year now demanding greater participation in international fora dealing with nuclear disarmament.  This was the first time the United States was present to address the impact of nuclear weapons and the potential for their use on human health, the environment, agriculture and food security, and the economy.

The U.S. was absent at the first two of these international conferences, a visable reminder to the growing number of nations working for zero nuclear weapons that the U.S. wants to keep nuclear weapons out of their hands but isn’t planning to give up its nukes anytime soon.  The Obama administration needed to demonstrate it is taking their work seriously or risk serious blowback at the next year’s review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT RevCon).

Peace Action’s Field Director, Judith LeBlanc and our chapters in New York and New Jersey are playing a key roll in organizing an international grassroots presence at the NPT review conference, just as we did at the last one in 2010, organizing an international conference and a 15,000 person march to the United Nations.

Peace Action and the American Friends Service Committee have dedicated staff working with an ad hoc committee of nuclear abolition allies formulating plans for the our presence at the NPT review conference which will involve:

•    Organizing an inclusive international Nuclear Weapons Abolition conference on the eve of the NPT RevCon;
•    Organizing a mass rally and march on the eve of the Review Conference to demand nuclear weapons abolition, peace and justice – including reducing military spending and the funding of essential human needs;
•    Organizing an international  peace festival at the conclusion of the rally and march;
•    Facilitating organizing by the rising generation of young nuclear abolitionists;
•    Facilitating delivery of millions of Japanese petition signatures urging negotiations without delay for a nuclear weapons abolition convention;
•    Facilitating the organization of an international interfaith service on the eve of the Review Conference;
•    Facilitating the visits of Hibakusha and international peace activists to communities in the United States to encourage nuclear weapons abolition organizing; and
•    Exploring additional nonviolent actions that can reinforce our demand for nuclear disarmament.

You can expect to see more from us on our NPT actions as plans are finalized early next year.  We certainly hope you will take action in support of our nuclear abolition campaign in the coming months and we promise to provide you with ample opportunities to do so.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,281 other followers

%d bloggers like this: