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By Sara Mersha
February 2nd, 2016
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a potentially disastrous “trade” deal, fundamentally undermines economic and social equality, environmental protection, and human rights. With Congress poised to vote on the Obama-touted deal, it’s time to expose the false promises of the TPP.
The final TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive negotiations, during which 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access and Congress, the public and press were shut out.
By Chung-Wha Hong and Sara Mersha
December 30th, 2015
Despite all the fanfare, the bottom line from the Paris Agreement is that emissions from fossil fuels will continue at levels that endanger life on the planet, and the trading schemes the agreement promotes will lead to an increase in natural resource grabs.
While government dignitaries engaged in UN climate negotiations (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the COP21) we had a chance to participate in 10 days of powerful strategy sessions and actions for climate justice in Paris alongside many of Grassroots International’s Global South partners. We will tell you more about movement proposals and accomplishments soon, but let's start by reviewing the official agreement.
Two nights ago, we co-hosted a sold-out screening of the Avi Lewis film This Changes Everything, based on Naomi Klein’s recent book about climate change and capitalism. The energy was electric, as a crowd full of people from the Boston area watched, hissed and cheered in response to stories on the screen. The film exposed the root causes of climate disruption – a global economic system that exploits people and the earth – as well as highlighting stories of Indigenous Peoples and farmers around the world who are standing together to defend humanity and Mother Earth.
Scores of people – showing a great diversity of races, ages and backgrounds – packed into the room to look together at the connections between climate justice and Black Lives Matter, and how these movements present themselves in the experiences of Haiti, New Orleans and elsewhere. More people spilled out into the hallway, illustrating how ready people were to hear the powerful words coming from inside: everyone matters and has a role in the struggle for human rights and the survival of the planet.
In this moment when it is vital to assert that Black lives matter, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance honors Black and Afro-Indigenous farmers, fishermen, and stewards of ancestral lands and water with the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize.
The two prize winners are the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the U.S., and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). The prizes will be presented in Des Moines on October 14, 2015.
The award honors both groups as a vital part of food chain workers, who together are creating food sovereignty, meaning a world with healthy, ecologically produced food, and democratic control over food systems.
The challenges faced by indigenous peoples often transcend geographical location, so it’s not surprising that indigenous groups in India and Brazil share similar stories of oppression and strife.
Grassroots International stands with people on the frontlines of defending the human rights to water, land, and food. Recently, we awarded more than 15 grants to movements in Haiti, Latin America, Palestine, West Africa and India – bolstering the efforts of those leading the global struggle for climate justice and creating sustainable solutions that we can all learn from.
Building relationships with grassroots organizations that advocate for human rights-based development takes time, but without investing in them, philanthropy is likely to stumble. The case of Haiti is instructive.
With questions surfacing in the media about the Red Cross' housing program and Sean Penn rising to the organization’s defense, the debate about how best to help Haiti is in full swing.
Haitians are preparing for an influx of deportees from the Dominican Republic. That’s what we learned during our recent site visit to Haiti from some of the organizations we met with like the Limonad Women's Association for Development of Agriculture and Artisanal Production (AFLIDEPA), who were preparing to welcome and do what they can to support them..
The US Treasury Department will now be responsible for restructuring Guatemala’s tax collection agency (the Superintendency of Tax Administration, or SAT). That announcment came last week from the US Ambassador and Guatemala’s President and follows weeks of public outrage and political fallout after a customs bribery ring was exposed in a UN-backed investigation.