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Defending Human Rights
July 8th, 2016
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.
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.
By Carol Schachet
June 23rd, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)