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Defending Human Rights
By Alice Rothchild
May 24th, 2016
Portland is hosting an event [the week of May 9, 2016] that could have a significant impact on the search for Middle East peace. If the United Methodist Church General Conference votes to divest from companies that profit from Israel's occupation, all the mainstream Protestant churches in the U.S. will have taken a principled stand for Palestinian freedom through boycott and divestment, joining the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ and others.
The ouster of Brazil President Dilma Rousseff from power, just weeks before that nation will host the Summer Olympic Games, smacks of abuse. Her impeachment is being used to distract voters from widespread corruption in the government, and from a power grab by right-wing politicians.
By Carol Schachet
May 13th, 2016
Yesterday, May 12, the Brazilian Senate voted to begin the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff in what many many Brazilian are calling an institutional and neoliberal coup. Dilma has been withdrawn from office for 180 days pending the results of Supreme Court proceedings. For her part, Dilma has vowed to fight the proceedings and has called on supporters -- both of her presidency and of democracy -- to take to the streets in protest.
Berta Cáceres – indigenous, environmental, and human rights defender and fierce feminist who was assassinated in Honduras on March 3rd, 2016 – was, among so many other things, a mother in resistance. She inherited this from her mother, who was an inspiration to her, and she passed this down to her own daughters and son.
Berta’s mother, Austra Bertha Flores Lopez, worked as a midwife and served as mayor of their town and then governor of their state. She taught her daughter about fighting for justice from the time she was a child. During the period of intense violence of the 1980s, Austra took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, showing her children what real solidarity looks like.
Right wing forces in Brazil are using all kinds of sneaky tricks to remove the democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff and take power. They have the backing (both official and unofficial) of major corporations, the Brazilian elite and the media (especially the Globo Network who monopolizes media in Brazil.)
On this Earth Day and every day, Grassroots International is honored and humbled to stand together with the social movements around the world that are most impacted by ecological destruction, and that are at the forefront of struggles for ecological justice. As members of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the Climate Justice Alliance, we are proud to share an important report released this week.
Today is Land Day in Palestine. It’s a day when Palestinians mark with protest the continual expropriation of their land. There is a lot to protest since Palestinians have been losing land for 68 years. For Palestinians, the year 1948 is the year of the Nakba (or catastrophe) during which 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, and land and hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed.
1967 marks the year when the state of Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, and Sinai in Egypt. This year is known to Palestinians as the Naksa (or grief).
Today, Israel continues with relentless plans to annex the Jordan Valley for illegal settlements.
Grassroots International has the privilege of working with some very courageous women working on the frontlines of human rights defense. One such woman is Yasmín López, a national coordinator for the Council for the Integral Development of the Peasant Woman (CODIMCA). A partner of Grassroots International, CODIMCA is the lead organization for the Women’s Regional Commission of La Vía Campesina–Central America, and one of the first women-led peasant organizations formed in Honduras with the explicit objective of reclaiming women’s land rights.
March 22nd is International World Water Day and it serves as a reminder that water has not yet become a human right, and that millions continue to be denied access to water or have difficulty obtaining a fresh supply on a daily basis.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve come to see that solidarity can be a gritty, challenging, dig-deep-into-your-spirit kind of thing. But above all that, solidarity can be dangerous, and it matters.
On Thursday, March 17 movement organizations in Honduras showed the world – and most especially the Honduran government – what solidarity looks like. Fierce. Smart. Unrelenting.