Defending Human Rights

Now the Sioux Must Battle Big Oil

Members of the Lakota Tribe at Standing Rock and their supporters around the world have garnered an important recent victory with the halting of the Dakota Pipeline construction. Their courageous actions captured world attention and in a surprise victory, three federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice ordered a halt to controversial project until the Lakota were properly consulted. However, the resisters at Standing Rock are also preparing for Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline corporation, to renew its attempt to complete the $3.8 billion project. The following article by Alan Gilbert, who visited Standing Rock recently, summarizes the key issues surrounding the pipeline controversy.

Major U.S. Labor, Human Rights, Environmental and Women’s Organizations Denounce “Legislative Coup” Against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

As the Olympic Games come to a close in Rio de Janeiro, non-governmental organizations and unions in the United States are condemning the impeachment process against Brazil’s president. A public statement released today states: “We, the undersigned organizations, support democracy in Brazil and denounce the forced removal of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, as well as the criminalization and repression of Brazilian social movements.”
“The impeachment of Brazil’s legitimately elected president, Dilma Rousseff, is essentially a coup by a group of right-wing politicians who themselves are under investigation for massive corruption.

Changing Haiti with PAPDA's Ricot Jean-Pierre

No social and political changes can be achieved without the men and women who dedicate their lives to the improvement of their communities' living conditions. Ricot Jean-Pierre is one of them. As the program director of our partner the Platform to Advocate Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA), Ricot works restlessly to better the lives of Haitians and the country itself – a fight he started at a very young age.
 
Ricot lived his early years under the violence of the Duvalier dictatorship. Very close friends of his and family members including his father directly experienced violence and repression.

Haitian Farmers to the U.S. Government: “No to free peanuts!”

The USDA is planning to ship 500 metric tons of dry-roasted U.S. peanuts to Haiti to feed schoolchildren this fall. Ask Haitian peanut farmer St. Abel Pierre her opinion, and she’ll tell you: she’s worried, and she isn’t alone.

Pierre is a lifelong resident of Kabay, an agricultural community set in the rolling hills of Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. She works with a group of ten other farmers in her area who come together to mitigate the effects of the region’s serious drought and worsening soil on their crops. These difficulties make peanut crops all the more important to farmers like her.

Mega-Dam Project in Brazil Halted: Grassroots groups celebrate victory

Indigenous peoples, local communities – and likely the earth itself – are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating a major victory. After years of organizing and a series of major environmental studies, São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dam, the largest hydroelectric project planned for the Amazon, has been canceled.

According to our partner, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), which has organized for years in opposition to the dam project, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) canceled the licensing of the São Luiz hydroelectric dam, citing an Environmental Impact Study.

Another COPINH Leader, Defender of Indigenous Communities and Rivers, Assassinated

With heavy hearts, Grassroots International mourns the death of Lesbia Yaneth Urquía Urquía, a member of COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), who was brutally killed on July 6, just 4 months after the assassination of Berta Cáceres. Lesbia Yaneth defended the rights of Indigenous communities and opposed the privatization of rivers in La Paz, Honduras. Since the 2009 military coup in Honduras, over 100 environmental activists (including Indigenous Peoples, peasant leaders, and more) have been killed, and thousands criminalized and jailed.

Organizing Women-Headed Households in Brazil

Since 1989, our partner the Association in the Settlement Areas of the State of Maranhão (ASSEMA) has organized thousands of women-headed rural families in Northeast Brazil to expand access to rights and to improve their quality of life.

Brazil: 12 Things You Should Know About What's Happening

Since the Brazilian Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff last month, the country of Brazil has made a sharp turn to the right (politically). Millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets in protest of the impeachment proceedings (calling them an administrative coup) and demanding that democracy be restored to their nation.

Below are 12 things you should know about what is happening in Brazil now.

Hearts Beat with Pulse of Orlando

On Sunday morning, the unthinkable happened… again. A gunman armed with legally acquired assault weapons opened fire on a crowded dance floor in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. He shot more than 100 people, killing 49, leaving more than 50 with serious physical injuries and the larger community with profound wounds in need of healing as well.

Sadly, violence, murder, intimidation and oppression pervade every country where we work – including the United States. Each instance stands alone in its particulars, but all share tremendous loss, aching hearts and enraging injustice.

Lessons from Feminist Organizing School

In May I participated in the first-ever World March of Women-US Chapter Feminist Organizing School. This training engaged World March of Women-US (WMW-US) member organizations – including Grassroots International -- around issues of feminism and gender justice. For me, this was an exciting opportunity to meet in person many of the women I’d interacted with on conference calls over the past year.

The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a member organization of the WMW-US, hosted the training in Albuquerque, New Mexico.