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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

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Take Action

This is a place for petitions and other political action movements.

 

Location: #world
Members: 18
Latest Activity: Jan 29, 2017

Discussion Forum

Do Corporate Leaders Pay Attention to Their Bottom Line: Their Profits?

Started by Tom Sarbeck. Last reply by Tom Sarbeck Oct 10, 2016. 2 Replies

Customer protests have moved a few companies to quit ALEC (the most extreme of the many conservative lobbying organizations).Will customer protests move companies to reconsider their use of our…Continue

Tags: politics, corruption

Blasphemy in Indonesia: a jail sentence

Started by Michel. Last reply by Neal Jun 15, 2012. 1 Reply

This, from Atheist Alliance International:Dear AAI Members and SupportersAlexander Aan, the Indonesian atheist who was attacked and arrested after posting 'God does not exist' on Facebook, has been…Continue

Tags: crime, law, jail, blasphemy, Indonesia

It's Time to GET MONEY OUT of politics - PETITION

Started by Sydni Moser. Last reply by Chris Apr 15, 2012. 7 Replies

 Bailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money out of…Continue

Will Monsanto's RoundUp ever be Banned?

Started by Chris. Last reply by Chris Mar 10, 2012. 2 Replies

I started reading about the reduction of butterflies because of round up and found the links more interesting. Here are a couple of them:A …Continue

Tags: drinking, water, contamination, Organisms, GMO

Human Rights Watch

India: Reject Ordinance on Death Penalty for Rape

People hold a candlelight vigil in Bengaluru, India, to protest the rape of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua and a teenager in Unnao, April 13, 2018.

© 2018 Reuters (New York) – The Indian parliament should not adopt into law an ordinance which introduces capital punishment for those convicted of raping a girl under 12 years of age, Human Rights Watch said today. India should instead work towards abolishing the death penalty which is inherently cruel and irreversible, with little evidence that it serves as a deterrent.

The government passed the ordinance on April 21 following widespread protests after attempts by some leaders and supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to defend Hindu perpetrators of the abduction, ill-treatment, rape, and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim child in Jammu and Kashmir state. In Uttar Pradesh state, authorities not only failed to arrest a BJP legislator accused of raping a 17-year-old girl, but also allegedly beat her father to death in police custody.

“With this populist call for hangings, the government wants to cover up the fact that its supporters may have engaged in a hate crime,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “If the government is serious about dealing with violence against women and children, it will have to do the hard work of reforming the criminal justice system and ensure that perpetrators are not protected from prosecution by political patronage.”

With this populist call for hangings, the government wants to cover up the fact that its supporters may have engaged in a hate crime.

Meenakshi Ganguly

South Asia Director

Two BJP ministers in Jammu and Kashmir state government joined an affiliated group called the Hindu Ekta Manch to protest the arrest of the accused in the horrific case in the state. The accused include a former government official and four police personnel. The ministers have since resigned.

Following the 2012 gang rape and death of Jyoti Singh Pandey, a medical student in Delhi, the Indian government enacted legal reforms to respond to sexual assault and rape. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, added new categories of offenses regarding violence against women and girls and made punishment more stringent, including death penalty for repeat offenders. Similarly, the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012, established guidelines for the police and courts to deal with victims sensitively and provided for the setting up of specialist child courts.

“There was hope that these measures would encourage more victims and their families to step forward, and result in more successful prosecutions,” Ganguly said.

While the number of rape cases reported in 2016 increased by 56 percent over 2012, there remains much to be done to change the way the justice system responds to victims.

In a November 2017 report, “Everyone Blames Me,” Human Rights Watch found that survivors, particularly among marginalized communities, still find it difficult to register police complaints. They often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals, are still subjected to degrading tests by medical professionals, and feel intimidated and scared when the case reaches the courts. They face significant barriers when trying to obtain critical support services such as health care, counseling, and legal aid.

Although Indian law makes it mandatory for police officials to register rape complaints, Human Rights Watch found that police sometimes press the victim’s family to “settle” or “compromise.”

In cases of children, not only has the government not established effective oversight mechanisms that could help prevent child sexual abuse, but existing measures remain poorly implemented.

For women and girls with disabilities, who face a higher risk of sexual violence, the challenges are even greater, Human Rights Watch has found.

However, instead of fixing these structural barriers, the Indian government has expanded the use of capital punishment for rape. Now the parliament should ensure that this ordinance does not become part of permanent legislation.

The government’s ordinance comes despite the fact that both a high-level government committee and India’s Law Commission came out against the death penalty. Human Rights Watch opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases.

The new ordinance also increases minimum punishment for rape of girls and women. While the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act covers sexual abuse against both girls and boys, the ordinance does not cover rape of boys.

  • For rape of women above 16 years of age, minimum punishment is increased from 7 years to 10 years in prison;
  • For rape of girls between 12 to 16 years of age, minimum punishment is now 20 years which may extend to life in prison;
  • For gang rape of girls between 12 to 16 years of age, minimum punishment is life in prison;
  • For rape of girls under 12 years of age, minimum punishment is 20 years in prison which may extend to life in prison or death penalty;
  • For gang rape of girls under 12 years of age, minimum punishment is life in prison or death penalty.

In India, according to the 2016 government data, out of 38,947 cases of rape reported by children and women, the accused was known to the victim in 94.6 percent of the cases. In 630 cases, the accused was the victim’s father, brother, grandfather, or son; in 1,087 cases, the accused was a close family member; in 2,174 cases the accused was a relative; and in 10,520 cases, the accused was a neighbor.

Rape is already underreported in India largely because of social stigma, victim-blaming, poor response by the criminal justice system, and lack of any national victim and witness protection law making them highly vulnerable to pressure from the accused as well as the police. Children are even more vulnerable due to pressure from family and society.

With this background, an increase in punishment, including the death penalty, may, in fact, lead to a decrease in reporting of such crimes.

“The Indian government has repeatedly said that it is committed to dealing with violence against women and children. But actions speak louder than words,” Ganguly said. “The new amendments are ill-conceived and hasty. Protecting children requires a far more thoughtful approach and politicians need to summon the political will to deliver it.”

South Korea: Don’t Sideline Rights During Inter-Korean Summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech during a ceremony celebrating the 99th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule, at Seodaemun Prison History Hall in Seoul, South Korea on March 1, 2018. 

© 2018 Reuters / Kim Hong-Ji
(Seoul) – South Korea should raise the dire human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) during the April 27 summit between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Human Rights Watch said today.

“As the UN Security Council has recognized, human rights abuses in North Korea and threats to international peace and security are intrinsically connected,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Any long-term resolution of security issues on the Korean peninsula will require the North Korean government’s commitment to fundamental and wide-ranging reforms.”

As the UN Security Council has recognized, human rights abuses in North Korea and threats to international peace and security are intrinsically connected.

Brad Adams

Asia Director

On March 31, 2018, North Korea criticized Kang Kyung-hwa, South Korea's foreign minister, for asking North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and improve its human rights record. According to North Korean media, her remarks were “an open political provocation to the DPRK and an intolerable act of chilling the atmosphere for dialogue.” On April 4, 2018, Kang told journalists that Seoul maintains a “firm stance” on the terrible situation of human rights in the North, but her government will need more preparation to include the issue in the agenda.

On April 10, 2018, 40 organizations, including Human Rights Watch and representing over 200 non-governmental organizations from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and North America, sent a letter to Moon asking him to urge Kim to act on United Nations human rights recommendations; engage on inter-Korean human rights issues, including human rights dialogues and information exchanges; push for regular reunion meetings of separated families; and increase inter-Korean people-to-people contact. The organizations also called on the South Korean government to provide much-needed humanitarian aid with appropriate monitoring.

On April 11, 2018, an official from Moon’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae ruled out North Korea’s human rights record as an agenda item for the summit.

Human Rights Watch called on the South Korean government to rethink its decision and raise human rights in North Korea during the summit. Among other things, it should ask North Korea to engage with the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK and allow him to make a country visit. Other relevant UN human rights rapporteurs should also be given access.

Even if the situation of human rights in North Korea is not included as an agenda item during the summit, the South Korean government and other governments, such as the United States and Japan, should insist on the inclusion of human rights in all future security and other discussions, including possible economic or technical cooperation, investment in North Korea, and offers of humanitarian aid. The North Korean government has ratified one of the main international human rights treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as other international human rights instruments. It recently agreed with the United Nations on a strategic framework for cooperation (DPRK UN Strategic Framework (UNSF) for Cooperation) in all their cooperation projects between 2017 and 2021, whose goal is to improve the well-being of the North Korean people, particularly vulnerable groups, and applies a human rights-based approach intended to put people at the center of all dealings with the DPRK.

“This summit is a crucial moment for inter-Korean relations and particularly for the long-suffering people of North Korea,” said Adams. “The goal should be to find real, long-term solutions to the security challenges on the peninsula, while taking steps to improve the dire human rights situation in North Korea.”

Russia’s Internet War and its Collateral Damage

Last weekend, I attempted to buy new sneakers online for my five-year-old, but Amazon’s website was down. My husband wanted to look up traffic updates on Google, but Google search was down. I tried to check in online for my Monday morning flight, but the airline’s website was down.

Tanya Lokshina’s own paper plane for Internet freedom. Moscow, April 22, 2018.

Welcome to Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation, where authorities are blocking millions of IP addresses. It’s part of their war on Telegram, an Internet-based messenger, for the company’s refusal to provide its encryption keys to security services.

Russia’s state media and communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, known as RKN, obtained a court order on April 13 to shut down Telegram, following RKN’s year-long battle with the company, which has close to ten million users in Russia and some 200 million worldwide. The court ruling is based on the problematic 2016 counter-terrorism legislative amendments requiring internet companies to hand over decoding information to the government.

Because of its end-to-end encryption, Telegram can’t provide decoding information to security services even if it wanted to. Nonetheless, the ban entered into force on April 16, with RKN blocking over 16 million IP addresses in the first 24 hours. As numerous Google services started collapsing over the past few days, RKN confirmed they were behind it and were aiming to stop Google from enabling Telegram’s operations.  Yet there is nothing in the court order that speaks to RKN’s entitlement to disrupt Russian residents’ access to other perfectly lawful, routine online services.

Life’s gone hay-wire for Russian internet users. Friends and strangers told me they couldn’t look up train schedules, buy tickets for travel or to a show. Some lost access to their Google drives and couldn’t retrieve contact lists. X-boxes froze. Music playlists and iPhone games stopped working. Some wire transfers couldn’t be accomplished. Some insurance policies couldn’t be purchased. Some banks even experienced problems with cash machines. A popular groceries franchise couldn’t process discount cards. Kids whined they couldn’t do their homework because online sources listed by their teachers were inaccessible. Parents couldn’t access some school and kindergarten listservs.

Business as usual is done and over with. Some of the most common internet-based services became collateral damage in RKN’s war and, for now at least, are not reliable; except Telegram itself, which has miraculously persevered. On Sunday morning, millions received a message from Telegram, calling all those who support internet freedom to throw paper airplanes at 7 p.m. Moscow time. My son enjoyed the experience tremendously – possibly more than he would have enjoyed the new sneakers.       

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Comment by Chris on January 29, 2017 at 7:49am

They along with other media outlets should stop calling the Affordable Care Act "Obama Care"

http://fair.org/home/action-alert-tell-cnn-to-stop-using-trump-prop...

CNN is uncritically adopting the Donald Trump administration’s preferred label for Muslim nations caught under its arbitrary ban: “terror-prone countries.”

On at least three occasions since the executive order was signed, CNN has used the term without scare quotes or explicit reference to the Trump administration talking points, instead using the demonstrably incorrect and pejorative phrase as an objective descriptor of the nations targeted by Trump’s order:

Trump Eyes Temporary Ban on Refugees (1/25/17)A senior White House official made it clear that Trump will not sign executive orders Thursday targeting the refugee program or immigration from terror-prone countries.
Trump Signs Executive Order to Keep Out ‘Radical Islamic Terrorists’ (1/28/17)The order bars all persons from certain terror-prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days and suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated “only for nationals of countries for whom” members of Trump’s cabinet deem can be properly vetted.
What to Know About Trump’s Visa and Refugee Restrictions (1/28/17)An executive order signed by Trump on Friday bans all people from certain terrorism-prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days.

In these reports, CNN is reflexively adopting a Trump talking point without any qualification or explanation. What’s more, it’s factually untrue.

As several outlets have noted (e.g., Intercept, 1/28/17; NPR, 1/27/17; Huffington Post, 1/28/17), since at least 1975, nationals from the countries Trump is banning entry from have killed zero Americans in terror attacks. Whereas countries that have had some of their citizens involved in US political violence (and sometimes even fund designated terror organizations), such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE, are entirely omitted from the administration’s list.

If stopping immigrants from “terror-prone” countries was the objective, the list Trump provided would make no sense. By adopting the Trump administration’s framing, however, CNN is treating it as a rational response to a realistic danger.

Smearing entire countries as “terror-prone,” of course, puts immigrants from these countries at risk at a time when xenophobic hate crimes are on the rise. Responsible news outlets should be discouraging scapegoating, not fueling it with lazy and malicious generalizations.

Given that no one, in or outside the administration, has shown how these countries’ nationals are more “terror-prone” than other immigrants, CNN’s adoption of the label is little more than mindless—and dangerous—stenography. CNN should only use the term in direct quotations from the Trump administration.

ACTION:

Please contact CNN and tell the network to stop adopting the Trump administration’s “terror-prone” label as its own description of the countries targeted by Trump’s immigration order.

Comment by Chris on January 9, 2014 at 11:13pm
Comment by Chris on June 24, 2013 at 2:09am

I sent them the following quick letter: Does Joe Klein often include gaffs about the secular community in his articles, or does his religious bias only see secularists as a enemy to disparage when he gets a good opportunity?   Obviously it's perfectly acceptable to Time's editorial staff for Klein to insult a large percentage of the American public. I thought Time was at its lowest point with the excessive coverage of the OJ Simpson trial, not I see it's reached a new low.

During the OJ trial I had subscriptions to several news weekly magazines like Time and didn't renew them because of their excessive coverage. I wonder if the success of the coverage of that show helped networks decision to produce reality tv programs and the flood of real murder tv shows.

Comment by Neal on June 23, 2013 at 5:15pm

Time Magazine's cover article on "How Service Can Save Us" has this great paragraph:

… there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals — and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.

Nice. I don't have a subscription to Time, so caught up with the article at The Friendly Atheist.

I did as requested, and wrote a quick letter to the editor:

Why was there a seeming need for slamming the secular groups in the United States? Being an atheist who has given up his own cash to help those in need from natural disasters, I find it appalling that the article in question casts aspersions on those who helped in their own ways.

Joe Klein writes, "funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals."

Well Joe, it's funny to me how far your head is up your ass. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. Sorry we didn't stick up a big sign for you to ignore. I take it that all the theists who sat on their asses wasting the world's air with their useless prayers are to be commended for their stupidity. Screw Time Magazine.

An apology for your self-serving text should be issued. Are you guys really clueless about how large this community is? I hope you'll soon find out.

If you're so inclined, go fuck with the bastards.

Comment by Chris on September 8, 2012 at 1:18pm

A Massive Ray of Hope on Climate

By Avaaz.org

07 September 12

 

limate change is accelerating, but there’s a massive ray of hope: clean energy is booming, producing nearly 20% of the world's electricity! Incredibly, the US and EU are threatening to stifle this breakthrough - but together we can stop them.

In the last decade the Chinese government has invested billions in solar, sending panel prices plummeting and making clean green tech almost as cheap as dirty fossil fuels. But the US and EU, who give billions in taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and Coal, are about to drive solar prices back up by putting tariffs on China, and now China is threatening to retaliate. A full on trade war is brewing that could kill the crucial green energy revolution.

The EU and US are deciding right now. Most of the solar industry is against tariffs - and now massive public support could tip the balance. Sign the urgent petition to save solar – if we build a 500,000 strong petition, Avaaz will make a formal submission to the US International Trade Commission and EU trade Commissioner calling for talks not tariffs:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/a_ray_of_hope_on_climate/?bYIwnbb&v=17644

China has a poor human rights and environmental record, and its strategy of flooding the global market with subsidised goods could be found to be too aggressive. But the right response to this is not tariffs, it is investment. While China, the EU, and the US all funnel billions into Big Coal and Oil to destroy our planet, China is also providing huge loans and subsidies to the solar industry. And that's exactly what other governments have failed to do.

Following the bankruptcy of a handful of US and EU solar manufacturers, some lobbyists are pushing politicians to blame China, instead of their own insufficient and inappropriate subsidies. Some claim that domestic jobs are threatened by low cost Chinese panels, but the truth is the opposite - experts predict that tariffs could cost 60,000 jobs in the US alone. The vast majority of jobs in the solar sector outside of China are in installing and servicing panels, not manufacturing them, so cheaper panels now means more work, and more jobs. And less climate change.

The EU trade Commissioner initiated the investigation into tariffs today and the US ITC proceedings are about to kick off. Written statements to both must be submitted in days to be considered. We're in a race against the clock to green our economies and prevent catastrophic climate change, and Chinese success in green tech could be the perfect catalyst for the rest of the world to scale up the technology and sustainably bring down prices. Let's make sure the EU and the US don't kill our ray of hope:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/a_ray_of_hope_on_climate/?bYIwnbb&v=17644

In the world most of us everywhere want, our governments would incentivise clean energy, and not hand out our tax money to polluters making record profits from dirtying our land, air and water and destroying our planet. Today, we can save solar, and take one step closer to that future.

Comment by Neal on July 6, 2012 at 7:20am

Cool.

Comment by Michel on July 3, 2012 at 12:49pm

Seen last night in San Francisco:

Comment by Neal on July 2, 2012 at 10:04am

As far as I can tell from the main media outlets, there are no protests going on anywhere worth covering. Nice photo.

Comment by Doone on July 1, 2012 at 8:14pm
Comment by Chris on July 1, 2012 at 8:13pm

Great composite picture. Was America silent that week?

 
 
 

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