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September 19th, 2014
by Jen Bogle
Human rights defenders in Haiti risk their lives to protect the basic rights of Haitian citizens. Exile, intimidation, death threats, and assassinations have become part in parcel with human rights work in Haiti. Since January 2014, 15 local human rights defenders have been the targets of physical attacks and death threats that aim to end their critical work.
Making the connections beween the bombing of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine, violence faced by black communities in the United States, migrant rights and climate disruption may seem like a tall order. But that is what happened on a recent Learning Call facilitated by Grassroots International co-sponsored by the Climate Justice Alliance, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. (Grassroots International is a member of and works with these coalitions.)
Listen in by clicking the link here:
By Jen Bogle
August 27th, 2014
Although the damaging impacts of hydroelectric development are widely known, the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy reportedly plans to construct 168 new dams by 2021, including the massive Belo Monte Dam.
In the weeks of escalating violence in Gaza, updates from our partners on the ground there have become increasingly dire, desperate and sadly detailed in their listing of dead and displaced. The article below summarizes much of what we have heard.
After almost three weeks of bombing, the death toll in Gaza rose to more than 1,030 on Sunday. The Palestinian poet Jehan Bseiso writes, "There’s more blood than water today in Gaza."
Haaretz notes, "After two and a half weeks of bombardments from the air and ground, roughly two-thirds of the Gaza Strip’s inhabitants — 1.2 million people — are suffering from severe disruptions to the water and sewage systems, according to Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene, a coalition of around 40 humanitarian groups operating in the occupied territories. In addition to the damage of the central pipeline and the reservoirs — which affects cities and villages throughout Gaza — home pipes and water containers on roofs have been damaged by the bombardments."
The names of four children jutted out from my computer’s screen like daggers on the list of the dead by name as I refreshed it. Memories of children laughing while flying kites on a beach in Gaza flooded my mind. Are these the same Bakr children I knew, and are they now among the 211 dead in Gaza?
Of course it doesn’t matter if I heard the laughter of Ahed (10), Zakaria (10), Mohammed (11), and Ismail (9) when I spent time with the Bakr family known so well in Gaza’s fishing community. It matters that their parents and loved ones knew their laughter by heart, and will likely spend a lifetime trying to recall the innocent ring of it.
For the first time in Brazilian history, a decree will grant legal rights to people impacted by mega-dam projects. Tarso Genro, Governor of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, signed the decree creating a State Policy of People Affected by Hydroelectric Projects on June 23.
Grassroots International joins our partner, Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), in celebrating this huge victory. MAB played a key role in pushing for the rights of communities displaced or disrupted by dams, and works for the rights of dam-affected communities nationwide.
Thousands of families throughout Brazil face threats to their homes and livelihoods from large hydroelectric dam projects. Driven by corporate profit interests, the number of mega dam projects in Brazil has increase significantly in recent years, displacing farming and indigenous communities, diverting water from local communities, and increasing deforestation and methane emissions.
The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), a Grassroots Partner, organizes among these communities. In this video Alexania Rossato and Josivaldo Alves de Oliveira of MAB talk about the challenges and successes of their work, about building sustainable grassroots movements, and the value of international solidarity.
Imagine fishers heading out to sea on a beautiful day, ready for a hard day of work to support their families. They might face challenges—a poor catch, storms, not enough buyers—but ordinarily their job is fairly straightforward. Now imagine these fishers getting shot at—routinely—when they go fishing. Imagine the fishers stripped, searched, detained and their boats confiscated by the navy. This is an everyday reality for fishers in the Gaza Strip who live and work under constant threat of Israeli attack at sea.
This fact sheet highlights the impact of increasing restrictions and violence faced by fishers in Gaza. For example:
While Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are portrayed as a region where water is scarce and where innovation has enabled Israelis to "turn the desert green," the truth is far more troubling. A new fact sheet from Grassroots International outlines elements of the 60-year water grab by Israel of area water resources, from the Jordon River to the Western Mountain Aquifer.