Symposium Report 2011- Immigration

For the first time ever, more people live in cities than in rural areas and people are living a truly urban life. The European Union is the closest experiment to open borders and works because the levels of disparities amongst the EU nations are not as wide as the disparities between Europe and North Africa.

Although exact figures are often thought to be unbelievable, it is estimated that there are approximately 214 million international migrants in the world today- this estimation does not include internal migrations. It should be noted that migrant numbers are not included in this statistic. Instead, migration scholars, such as Khalid Koser prefer to say that 3 percent of the total global population are international migrants, which is believed to be a more accurate statement. One in 35 people is an international migrant, constituting the population of the fourth biggest nation in the world, Indonesia. This may seem like an intimidating thought to think that an entire nation of migrants exists, but Koser asks the question, “Why is the forces of migration is so strong do the other 97 percent of the Earth’s population not migrant?”

Statistics can often be misinterpreted due to the differing definitions of migration terminology. The above stated numbers do not take into consideration the estimated 740 million internal migrants, according to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre.

Despite the current economic crisis, migration has not slowed down significantly. In fact, during the financial crisis unemployment amongst migrants was not as large as to be thought because average citizens were thought to rather accept welfare check than take jobs they thought were beneath them. However, the quality of the life of migrants decreased.  Also during the global financial crisis, flows of irregular migrations decreased, but stocks of migrants increased for fear that after unemployment if they left they would not be able to come back.

Almost 50 percent of migrations now are woman migrants; this used to be due to reasons of marriage, whereas now women are seen as the breadwinners. The feminization of migration is due to many countries’ liberalization where women have a more important role in society, the need for services stereotypically taken on by women such as cooking and cleaning, as well as prostitution and human trafficking.

Migrants are often placed into the categories of legal or illegal, by those who use migration as a political tool, especially for re-election, whereas humanitarian organizations refer to migrants as documented and undocumented or irregular migrants. The term irregular migrants can be used in circumstances where irregular circumstances occur that cause the migrants to leave their documentation behind. Refugees are not included in the estimation of migrants. Contrary to popular thought most migrants come in legally and then become considered ‘illegal’ because they have overstayed their visas.

The term ‘voluntary migration’ has been highly contested. If a family’s home has been destroyed by a natural disaster, they are considered a forced migrant, but if a member of a family leaves the country to find work in another country because their country of origin is lacking openings, are they then considered to be ‘voluntary migrants.’ There is no simple solution to this question, typically governments see these individuals are voluntary migrants, whereas humanitarian organizations are more liberal in interpreting the events that led to migration.

Remittances are the money made by the international migrants that is sent back to the migrants’ families. The top three nations to receive remittances are India, China and Mexico and 50 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP is dependent on remittances. The 2010 flow of remittances is estimated to be about $316 billion. Although some governments may state that the amount of remittances leaving the country in which the money was made, hinders the economy, only 10 percent of remittances are sent back to the migrants’ country of origin and the other 90 percent is sent in the country the migrants are living in to pay for food, rent and other immediate expenses. The danger of remittances stands in that a cultural dependence of this flow of money is established and migration looks more appealing.

International migration law is not recognized as a sect of international law, although it is an emerging field. The UN convention of 1990 does not refer to admission of migrants, but only the legal status of migrants. One of the principles governing migration is that migration and expulsion of ‘aliens’ is a part of the sovereignty of a country. Domestic jurisdiction is an evolving concept and is thought to be better to use than sovereignty in legal terms. States no longer enjoy absolute discretion and must adhere to certain grounds of rejection of aliens, being: a threat to security, not meeting financial requirements, having a contagious disease, a lack of documentation, a prior violation of immigration laws, war criminal status or having a criminal record.

Many fallacies exist about the state of migrants, such as they are unhealthy and bring disease into the country. According to the IOM, this is false, as the strongest and healthiest individuals are those that migrate for work purposes. In fact not only are most migrants healthy, but migrants often underutilize health services and do not take away from public health services, as thought by some. The World Health Organization has reported that Australia has the most access to health care for migrants, whereas Qatar has the least access to health care. Unfortunately the most cited reason for migrants being rejected from the health care system is the government thinks it is too costly.  Switzerland claims that migrants receive full health equality services in hospitals, but migrants are forced to use a different entrance to the hospital, as it is inappropriate for them to enter through the same entrance as a ‘regular’ citizen of the country. The IOM has launched a campaign to educate both migrants and doctors as to what their rights are, as both parties have been fed different stories by governments and are unaware of what their rights and obligations are.

Governments spend billions of dollars a year on making policies concerning migration laws and then approximately three years  later these laws are scrapped and replaced with new ones. Koser believes these funds would be better spent on policy evaluation. When discussing migration, civil society is excluded from official migration dialogues and the legitimacy of representation when one representative represents a thousand organization flounders as a list of three of four concise priorities are difficult to comprise. Private sector is also not involved in migration dialogue, even though they are often a driving force of migration.

Solutions for the models for global governance of migration should exhibit more formal cooperation between states, engage in more robust and regional global dialogues, consider cooperation between regional consultative processes, as well as institutional reform, which would include the creation of a new agency, designating a lead agency from the existing agencies bringing the IOM into the UN system, considering a leadership or WO model. The obstacles that lie within the global governance of migration is that this may impede on a nation’s sovereignty, cause institutional inertia, increase North vs South relations and exhibit a lack of consensus amongst advocates.

The statistic of refugees does not include asylum seekers, internally displaced peoples or stateless persons. In order to be a refugee, the ‘refugee’ must be recognized by the host nation. There are two different ways to determine refugee status. There is the individual procedure and examination and the collective determination of a population. Legally speaking, ‘asylum seeker’ refers to a person who has not been officially recognized as a refugee and the definition of a refugee is based on the well-founded fear of persecution.

The refugee problem was first addressed in May of 1945 in response to the Holocaust and World War II. Within this timeframe there were 40 million refugees and internally displaced people, 13 million expelled Jews, 11.3 million forced labourers and 100 million refugees beyond the parameters of Europe. UNHCR was created during 1949-1950, to replace the IRO that was founded in 1947, as of January 1951. UNHCR’s effectiveness is punted against its non-political mission, as helping those in need is seen by opposing sides as a political act. However, the UNHCR’s objective is not to ask how or why the refugee situation is caused, but rather how to provide basic services for refugees, such as food and shelter.

After the WWII refugees, the next group of refugees came from Hungary in 1956, where the UNHCR helped resettled 200,000 refugees in thirty countries and repatriated 10 percent of the refugees. The next largest UNHCR operations to date occurred in Bangladesh (1970-1971) and then followed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Afghanistan is the single biggest refugee population in the world, being affected by the invasion of the Soviets, the Taliban rule, the “War on Terror,” as well as other internal conflicts. Interestingly enough, the United States of America is the single biggest donor to the UNHCR. Afghan refugees account for 40 percent of all the refugees in the world, not including Palestinian refugees. Proportionally Somalia has the biggest percentage of refugees and Colombia has the most IDPs, approximately three million. These IDPs receive aid from UNHCR although their legal status is less clear than that of refugees. Another group of people of concern to the UNHCR are settled refugees, who still have access to assistance programs.

The principle of non-refoulement is guaranteed by Article 33 of the Geneva Convention which states that a country cannot force people to go back to nation of persecution if they still feel a sense of persecution.

The right of asylum is not acknowledged as an individual right and falls under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 40: the right to seek and enjoy asylum. This however is not an obligation for a state to provide asylum.

In 1951 the UN convention relating to the status of refugees has contributed to providing durable solutions by the UNHCR to refugee situation including voluntary repatriation to the country of origin, local integration into the country of asylum and resettlement to a third country. However, the UNHCR has been shy about repatriation in the past and usually leaves it up to the IOM to handle repatriation as they are not a U.N. entity.

UNRWA- The United Nations Relief and Work Agency is short for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Special attention should be given to the word ‘Palestine,’ as there were refugees who lived in Palestine but were not of Palestinian descent, including Turks, Armenians and other minority groups. UNRWA is the only U.N. organization set up to face a specific refugee problem for a specific group of people, with more than 30,000 employees. UNRWA has a budget of $700 million, as well as a $250 million emergency fund. The United Nations brought in Gordon Clapp,  the former Director of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the USA to help shape UNRWA. UNRWA is not responsible for finding a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, but rather they are to provide schooling and humanitarian aid to Palestine refugees, the longest standing refugee issue in modern history.

In concern with human security in world politics, the concept of a ‘traditional’ security of ‘national’ security erodes from the traditional concept of safeguarding the population and core values of a nation. The three main reasons why this concept erodes with time is due to a shift from interstate to intrastate wars, a fragmentation of global or common threats and fragile or failed states’ security threats that appear above and below the state level. 

In a survey in South Sudan, citizens were asked if they felt a sense of human security for the months to come. A majority of the surveyed said yes, but their definition of human security was equated with food security. This in mind, an interdisciplinary method is needed for human security. Human security catalysts are often economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political security factors. Environmental security is needed in cases where the well-being or survival of the community is being threated due to human activity that threatens the environment or in cases of environmental change or degradation caused by conflict.

Constructivism in a method for studying social phenomena that focuses on the role of ideas in shaping our identities and gives meaning to the world around us. Constructing security interests involves identifying the threats that weapons pose, the enemy and humanitarian intervention, keeping in mind that threats are a part of an ideological issue. Securitization on the other hand is when threats are socially constructed by powerful actors and accepted by a relevant audience and identification of an existential threat that takes an issue beyond the usual rules of policies and calls for urgent extreme or extra-legal measures to respond, for example: The war on terror or the war on drugs.

While new forms of multilateralism to address human security have been established, such as the Human Security Network, regional responses to human security and the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development have strengths such as their crossregional representation abilities, ministerial level initiatives and the taking on of cutting edge issues such as landmines and child soldiers, there are also weaknesses- they are too dependent on individual leadership, lack a consensus on issues of hierarchy and have bad timing and  weak follow through.

The objective of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development is to raise global awareness of the negative impact of armed violence and support the reduction of armed violence. There are about 700,000 deaths annually due to armed violence with 40-50,000 as a result of direct conflict, homicides at 490,000 and 200,000 as a result of indirect conflict deaths. Excess mortality rates are used in these armed violence statistics. There are at least 875 billion weapons held worldwide with more than 2/3 in civilian hands, ¼ with armed forces, few with police and less than 1% with armed groups. New issues on the human security agenda tackle issues such as landmines, cluster munitions, small arms and light weapons, child soldiers, civilian protection and conflict goods.

What is humanitarian action? According to the OECD/DAC in 2007 is to save lives, alleviate suffering, maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies and should be consistent with principles of human dignity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Humanitarian action is so relevant because it is easier to send money in contemporary times, it is foreign policy by default, media attention and it is a way to contain refugee issues.

To be a humanitarian is to have a transnational concern to help persons in exceptional distress while humanitarianisms propound loft goals and hide deep contradictions. Intervention on the other hand is the interference, forcible or supported by force, of one independent state in the internal affairs of the other.

There are for categories in categorizing humanitarianism. The first being the Dunantsists, who are strictly impartial, neutral and independent. Then there are the Wilsonians who are broadly tuned with foreign policy of their home country and have a liberal democratic peace agenda. Thirdly there are Faith Based, such as Islamic relief and fourthly there are the Solidarists who seek justice, human rights or development in addition to the objective of humanitarian assistance. There  is also a difference between development aid and humanitarian aid, as development aid is transformative, long term and utilizes local leadership and humanitarian aid has a conservative agenda, is short term and requires external intervention. There are five different action modes, three of which fall under the guise of protection: denunciation, mobilization and persuasion and the other two being support and substitution.

Actors of humanitarian intervention are those who have political interest and won’t refer to situations, such as Libya, as civil war. If it were to be referred to as a civil wall, humanitarian intervention crisis argument then collapses.

What is terrorism? Terrorism are a universal problem, social phenomenon, a strategy, a tactic, technique, crime, resorted to by the weak against the strong, psychological and physical weapons and are elusive in their goals. Terrorism has a long history starting with the Zealots in the year 60 AD with the Jews in Palestine against the Romans, then the Assassins in 1090-1270 in Persia and then the French Revolution in 1792-1794. However, modern terrorism is born in the 1860s by means of  an organic relationship between terrorism and technology, being triggered especially by World War I. And religious terrorism does not start until the1980s.

The initial terrorist mode is the destruction of the most harmful persons in government and the punishment of official lawlessness., but there are difficulties in defining terrorism because it is a disputed and nebulous concept, the definition must stay away from the avowed reasons of the terrorist, yet take them into account, the direct targets of violence aren’t necessarily the main targets and the problem at the crossroads of ideology. Hence, the US Army, FBI and Department of State do not have a standard, agreed upon definition of terrorism, in fact the United Nations have been meeting for 20-30 years concerning devising a standard definition. Despite the inability to define terrorism there are main agreed upon features of terrorist attacks: they are organized, deliberate and systematic, politically motivated, the usage of force, indiscriminately targeting of civilians, meant to communicate a problem, aimed at a symbol, conducted by state or non-state actors, part of a campaign and to achieve strategic direct or indirect results. 

Remembering Rachel Corrie on the anniversary of her death

contact@ifamericansknew.org

 

 

Dear Friend,

On this day 13 years ago, American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by Israeli soldiers driving a military bulldozer. She was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. According to numerous witnesses and photographic documentation, she was killed intentionally.

Representative Brian Baird from Washington State introduced a resolution in Congress calling on the federal government to “undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation” into Rachel’s death. The bill was co-sponsored by 77 representatives, but Congress took no action. 

The Corrie family then filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar Inc in 2005, alleging that Caterpillar supplied Israelis with bulldozers even though they knew they were being used to commit war crimes. The lawsuit was dismissed.

The Corrie family’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was also dismissed. The court acknowledged that the U.S. government paid for the bulldozer that killed Rachel, but said that they didn’t have the jurisdiction to rule on the “political question” of U.S. military aid to Israel. 

In 2010, the Corrie family filed a lawsuit in Israel against the Israeli Defense Forces. Israeli officials prevented the physician who had examined Rachel’s wounds from testifying in the case. The court ruled that Rachel was responsible for her own death. In 2014, the Corrie family’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Israel, and the IDF was absolved of any wrongdoing.

Keep Rachel’s message alive by sharing her story with your community. We have cards, a booklet of Rachel’s letters, and posters available for download and order.

#SupportPalestineInDC2016

U.S. taxpayers send Israel over $3 billion a year in military aid with virtually no strings attached, and now the prime minister of Israel wants $5 billion a year.

The majority of Americans oppose taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, but virtually all Democratic and Republican members of Congress continue to supply Israel with more and more weapons each year (Palestinians do not receive military aid).

American taxpayer dollars have enabled Israel to continue its decades-long illegal occupation of Palestinian land and deny Palestinians basic legal and human rights. With our money, Israeli forces have killed over 9,200 Palestinians as well as numerous international journalists and peace activists since 2000.

We are driving the violence in this region, and we must stop it.

This weekend, AIPAC kicks off its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump scheduled to give speeches. We hope you will join us this Sunday at noon at the White House to protest AIPAC’s influence on American politics and support Palestinian human rights. Your voice is urgently needed!

As always, thank for your commitment to peace, justice, and equality for all people.

The If Americans Knew team

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Human Rights Newsletter

mazin@qumsiyeh.org

Gratitude blog available here where you can leave comments

http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/2016/02/grateful.html

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming

gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

I am so grateful for all that is happening in resistance to the incredible

odds and repression practiced by the elites in power. While some may get

activism or compassion “fatigue” , there are literally millions of people

deciding to leave their apathy behind and put their hands with other people

to work.  Our tiny little small part of the world (Palestine now an

apartheid sate called a “Jewish state”) has become a major center of global

activism. This centrality can be due to many factors:

1.Religious centrality to three main religions, one of which was hijacked

for political purposes locally in the past (Christianity –> Crusaderism),

the other hijacked in the past 150 years and is still strongly hijacked

(Judaism –>Zionism) and the other more recently and in nearby areas

beginning to be hijacked (Islam –> Isis and Wahhabism).

2. Nowhere else on earth is Western government hypocrisy more evident than

in Palestine. While the western leaders speak of democracy and human

rights, they support an apartheid racist “Jewish state” that engaged and

engages in racism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing

(so far 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people).

Thus, this is the Achilles heel of Western propaganda.

3. The 12 million Palestinians in the world, most refugees and others

squeezed into bantustans have been remarkably peaceful and tolerant and had

a long history of popular resistance for the past 130 years that provided a

stellar example to the world (see my 2012 book “Popular Resistance in

Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment”).

4. Israeli citizens and the global community are increasingly joining hands

with us to demand justice as the only road to peace.

5. More and more people realize that peace in the “Middle East” (Western

Asia) and around the world is dependent on peace for Palestine. Zionism

with its (sometimes dominant, sometimes subservient) twin US imperialism

are and have been most destructive forces in causing global conflict.

But what really gives us optimism daily are the people we interact with.

Students at the universities who see the importance of knowledge (power)

and come to school with enthusiasm even in the face of suppression of their

movement. Farmers that work hard in their fields even as land and water are

being taken from them by the occupiers. Unarmed young demonstrators showing

bravery in challenging the heavily armed Israeli forces (who occasionally

murder them). Thousands of political prisoners and “administrative

detainees” who resist the prisoners (one on hunger strike is close to

death). Activists who sometimes sacrifice comforts to be with us.

Organizers of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities around the

world who refuse to be silenced by illegal measures their governments try

to impose on them to suppress free speech. Volunteers at our activities

from refugee camp youth centers like Al-Rowwad to our Institute of

Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ ).

Sometimes small actions make us retain our sanity and gives joy and meaning

to our lives. Just this past week:

– A small village of Izbet al-Tabib managed to gather 300 demonstrators

protesting the illegal confiscation of land and resources to serve settlers.

-We saved a cattle egret (bird with long legs and beak from the heron

group) which had been shot and with a macerated wing. We did an operation

that saved its life (unfortunately the wing had to be amputated).

-We released a fox that was drowning in a water treatment pool in the

Bethlehem garbage dump site.

– My tourism class did an exercise to help in a local tourism promotion

project.

-We noted several species of butterflies in our botanic garden already and

the flowers of rare orchids and even the Star of Bethlehem

-We had our first class in biodiversity for the new master program in

environmental biology at Birzeit University.

-We received dozens of visitors to our facilities and added to our very

large network of friends (now tens of thousands)

-We submitted two small grant proposals (we hope to start to do major

fundraising soon for our museum, botanical garden, and institute of

biodiversity and sustainability)

-Our aquaponic system is doing great and we expect our first harvest next

week (lettuce)

– We said goodbye to some volunteers and we welcomed others who helped us

build this institution.

We expect to receive more volunteers next week including a professor from

Jordan and an aquaponics researcher from Switzerland and at least 10

students from Bethlehem University doing their community service. We are so

grateful for all the above and we welcome volunteers and supporters with

all backgrounds and skills. We are guided by love and respect (to

ourselves, to others, then to nature). We are strengthened amid all the

suffering (here in Gaza, in Syria, in Yemen etc) by human connections and

by caring for each other.

Israeli soldiers beat detained Palestinian teenaged boys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzw2D5iL0bg

Palestinian Teacher Among World’s Top 10

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/palestinian-teacher-among-worlds-top-10/

Reconstruction Of Gaza: Zero Buildings, Massive Profit

http://www.whoprofits.org/content/reconstruction-gaza-zero-buildings-massive-profit

Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery? Richard Kreitner

http://forward.com/culture/213776/should-jews-have-to-pay-reparations-for-slavery/

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have

roses.” Alphonse Karr

Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Professor and (Volunteer) Director

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability

Bethlehem University

Occupied Palestine

http://qumsiyeh.org

http://palestinenature.org

Legs wrapped in chains dipped in acid

 

Shut Down the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration

 

[if mso]> <v:rect xmlns:v=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml” xmlns:w=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word” href=”http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/ATnkT/zQ94/CIPEy&#8221; style=”height:57px;v-text-anchor:middle;width:285px;” stroke=”f” fill=”t”> <v:fill type=”tile” color=”#e64706″ /> <w:anchorlock/> <center style=”color:#ffffff;font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:17px;font-weight:normal;”>Sign Abbie’s Petition</center> </v:rect> <![endif] Sign Abbie’s Petition

 

meet the petition author

Abbie Johnson

Nottingham, United Kingdom

 

Hebatullah,

Legs wrapped in chains dipped in acid. “Stacks” attached to hooves like sadistic platform shoes. Nails and screws put under hoof pads. This is what horses are forced to go through at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

Every year, Tennessee walking horse trainers and owners gather for eleven days of competitions to see which horses have the fastest, highest-stepping “big lick” walk. In order to achieve this unnatural gait and win blue ribbons, the trainers make it so painful for the horses to put their hooves down on the ground that they immediately pull them back up again. When Abbie saw videos of the horses suffering through these barbaric competitions, she created a Care2 petition demanding that the USDA shut down the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration once and for all. Will you sign her petition?

For as long as Tennessee walking horse competitions have been around, trainers have looked for new ways to inflict enough pain on their horses to achieve the “perfect” gait. The most common “soring” method is to put caustic chemicals on the horses’ hooves and legs, leaving painful blisters and scars. In the most extreme cases, trainers have been known to beat horses and use cattle prods to get the gait they want. Apparently, the more pain the horses are in, the more likely they are to wow the judges.

Even though soring was made illegal in 1970, walking horse trainers continued their systematic abuse completely undeterred. Due to public outcry, the USDA decided to do a major crack down starting in 2006. Unfortunately, even surprise inspections and competition disqualifications didn’t stop the trainers. They just figured out new ways to mask their barbaric practices.

It is obvious that as long as there are walking horse competitions, there will always be soring. It is time to say enough is enough. Sign this petition demanding that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA shut down the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. APHIS has been giving negative reports on the competition for years, so this petition might just be the push they need to finally put an end to the biggest and most prestigious walking horse competition in the U.S.

Thank you,

 

Lacey K.

The Care2 Petitions Team

 

1,794 wild horses sent to the slaughterhouse.

 

Justice for Wild Horses Illegally Sold to Slaughter

 

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meet the petition author

Amy Thompson

Mankato, Minnesota, US

 

On October 23rd, a report revealed that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sold 1,794 federally protected wild horses that ended up in Mexican slaughterhouses. Despite evidence of wrongdoing, state officials have refused to even investigate what happened.

The BLM’s history of mismanaging and abusing the horses in its care has outraged Amy for years. The latest report was the last straw. She started a Care2 petition to demand that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch investigate the BLM for sending wild horses to the slaughterhouse. Will you sign Amy’s petition?

It is illegal for the BLM to sell federally protected horses to “kill buyers” who would send them to be slaughtered. It is also illegal for the BLM to sell large numbers of horses to one buyer. So BLM staff broke the law when they sold the 1,794 horses to Coloradan rancher Tom Davis, who then sold them to Mexican slaughterhouses.

It is unclear whether the BLM is corrupt or negligent, but it is clear that Davis has made a lot of money from the deal. He only paid the BLM $10 for each horse, but sold them to the Mexican slaughterhouses for at least $100 a head. Davis didn’t even have to pay for their transportation since the BLM spent $140,000 of taxpayer money to deliver the horses right to his doorstep.

The BLM is supposed to protect the wild horses in its care, not send them to the slaughterhouse. If the Colorado state and district attorneys don’t want to pursue an investigation, then the U.S. Attorney General should step up. Sign this petition to demand a federal investigation into the BLM. The more people speak out, the more likely it is that we will pressure U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch into taking action.

Thank you,

 

Lacey K.

The Care2 Petitions Team

 

Fact Sheet on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2015

 

FACT SHEET: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Boosts Made in America Exports, Supports Higher-Paying American Jobs, and Protects American Workers

 

Today, the United States reached agreement with its eleven partner countries, concluding negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

 

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new, high-standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, supporting more Made in America exports and higher-paying American jobs. By eliminating over 18,000 taxes – in the form of tariffs – that various countries put on Made in America products, TPP makes sure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses can compete – and win – in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, TPP will significantly expand the export of Made in America goods and services and support American jobs.

 

TPP Eliminates over 18,000 Different Taxes on Made in America Exports

 

TPP levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses by eliminating over 18,000 taxes that various countries impose on Made in America exports, providing unprecedented access to vital new markets in the Asia-Pacific region for U.S. workers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers. For example, TPP will eliminate and reduce import taxes – or tariffs – on the following Made in America exports to TPP countries:

 

·         U.S. manufactured products:  TPP eliminates import taxes on every Made in America manufactured product that the U.S. exports to TPP countries.  For example, TPP eliminates import taxes as high as 59 percent on U.S. machinery products exports to TPP countries. In 2014, the U.S. exported $56 billion in machinery products to TPP countries.

 

·         U.S. agriculture products: TPP cuts import taxes on Made in America agricultural exports to TPP countries. Key tax cuts in the agreement will help American farmers and ranchers by expanding their exports, which provide roughly 20 percent of all farm income in the United States. For example, TPP will eliminate import taxes as high as 40 percent on U.S. poultry products, 35 percent on soybeans, and 40 percent on fruit exports. Additionally, TPP will help American farmers and ranchers compete by tackling a range of barriers they face abroad, including ensuring that foreign regulations and agricultural inspections are based on science, eliminating agricultural export subsidies, and minimizing unpredictable export bans.

 

·         U.S. automotive products: TPP eliminates import taxes as high as 70 percent on U.S. automotive products exports to TPP countries. In 2014, the U.S. exported $89 billion in automotive products to TPP countries.

 

·         U.S. information and communication technology products: TPP eliminates import taxes as high as 35 percent on U.S. information and communication technology exports to TPP countries. In 2014, the U.S. exported $36 billion in information and communication technology products to TPP countries.

 

TPP Includes the Strongest Worker Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History

 

TPP puts American workers first by establishing the highest labor standards of any trade agreement in history, requiring all countries to meet core, enforceable labor standards as stated in the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

 

The fully-enforceable labor standards we have won in TPP include the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively; prohibitions against child labor and forced labor; requirements for acceptable conditions of work such as minimum wage, hours of work, and safe workplace conditions; and protections against employment discrimination. These enforceable requirements will help our workers compete fairly and reverse a status quo that disadvantages our workers through a race to the bottom on international labor standards.

 

In fact, TPP will result in the largest expansion of fully-enforceable labor rights in history, including renegotiating NAFTA and bringing hundreds of millions of additional people under ILO standards – leveling the playing field for American workers so that they can win in the global economy.

 

TPP Includes the Strongest Environmental Protections of Any Trade Agreement in History

 

TPP includes the highest environmental standards of any trade agreement in history. The agreement upgrades NAFTA, putting environmental protections at the core of the agreement, and making those obligations fully enforceable through the same type of dispute settlement as other obligations.

 

TPP requires all members to combat wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal fishing, as well as prohibit some of the most harmful fishery subsidies and promote sustainable fisheries management practices. TPP also requires that the 12 countries promote long-term conservation of whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and other marine species, as well as to protect and conserve iconic species like rhinos and elephants. And TPP cracks down on ozone-depleting substances as well as ship pollution of the oceans, all while promoting cooperative efforts to address energy efficiency.

 

TPP Helps Small Businesses Benefit from Global Trade

 

For the first time in any trade agreement, TPP includes a chapter specifically dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized businesses benefit from trade. Small businesses are one of the primary drivers of job growth in the U.S., but too often trade barriers lock small businesses out of important foreign markets when they try to export their Made in America goods.  While 98 percent of the American companies that export are small and medium-sized businesses, less than 5 percent of all American small businesses export. That means there’s huge untapped potential for small businesses to expand their businesses by exporting more to the 95 percent of global consumers who live outside our borders.

 

TPP addresses trade barriers that pose disproportionate challenges to small businesses, such as high taxes, overly complex trade paperwork, corruption, customs “red tape,” restrictions on Internet data flows, weak logistics services that raise costs, and slow delivery of small shipments.  TPP makes it cheaper, easier, and faster for American small businesses to get their products to market by creating efficient and transparent procedures that move goods quickly across borders.

 

TPP Promotes E-Commerce, Protects Digital Freedom, and Preserves an Open Internet

 

TPP includes cutting-edge rules to promote Internet-based commerce – a central area of American leadership, and one of the world’s great opportunities for growth. The agreement also includes strong rules that make sure the best innovation, not trade barriers and censorship laws, shapes how digital markets grow. TPP helps preserve the single, global, digital marketplace.

 

TPP does this by preserving free international movement of data, ensuring that individuals, small businesses, and families in all TPP countries can take advantage of online shopping, communicate efficiently at low cost, and access, move, and store data freely.  TPP also bans “forced localization” – the discriminatory requirement that certain governments impose on U.S. businesses that they place their data, servers, research facilities, and other necessities overseas in order to access those markets. 

 

TPP includes standards to protect digital freedom, including the free flow of information across borders – ensuring that Internet users can store, access, and move their data freely, subject to public-interest regulation, for example to fight spamming and cyber-crime.

 

TPP Levels the Playing Field for U.S. Workers by Disciplining State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)

 

TPP protects American workers and businesses from unfair competition by State-owned companies in other countries, who are often given preferential treatment that allows them to undercut U.S. competitors. This includes the first-ever disciplines to ensure that SOEs compete on a commercial basis and that the advantages SOEs receive from their governments, such as unfair subsidies, do not have an adverse impact on American workers and businesses.

 

TPP Prioritizes Good Governance and Fighting Corruption

 

TPP includes the strongest standards for transparency and anticorruption of any trade agreement in history. As such, TPP strengthens good governance in TPP countries by requiring them to ratify or accede to the U.N. Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), commit to adopt or maintain laws that criminalize bribing public officials, adopt measures to decrease conflicts of interest, commit to effectively enforce anticorruption laws and regulations, and give citizens the opportunity to provide input on any proposed measures relating to issues covered by the TPP agreement. TPP also requires regulatory transparency policies based on standard U.S. practice.

 

TPP Includes First Ever Development Chapter

 

For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, TPP includes stand-alone chapters dedicated to development and capacity-building, as well as a wide range of commitments to promote sustainable development and inclusive economic growth, reduce poverty, promote food security, and combat child and forced labor.

 

TPP Capitalizes on America’s Position as the World Leader in Services Exports

 

TPP lifts complex restrictions and bans on access for U.S. businesses – including many small businesses – that export American services like retail, communications, logistics, entertainment, software and more. This improved access will unlock new economic opportunities for the U.S. services industry, which currently employs about 4 out of every 5 American workers.

 

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Under Secretary Novelli to Host World Wildlife Day Google+ Hangout with NGO Leaders on March 3

Under Secretary Novelli to Host World Wildlife Day Google+ Hangout with NGO Leaders on March 3

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

March 2, 2015

To celebrate the second annual World Wildlife Day, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli will host a Google+ Hangout March 3 on the subject of combating wildlife trafficking.  The Under Secretary will be joined by prominent African and Asian leaders from several non-governmental environmental organizations.  Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid, will moderate the discussion and panelists will include: Paula Kahumbu, Executive Director of Wildlife Direct; Nhi Thoi, Rhino Project Lead for CHANGE; and Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The Hangout will be broadcast live at 9:00 a.m. EDT on the U.S. Department of State’s YouTube channel and Google+ page.  Questions can be submitted in advance on the Department’s Google+ page and via Twitter by using #WorldWildlifeDay.

Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that poses not only a critical conservation concern, but also represents a serious threat to the security and economic stability of the countries involved.  World Wildlife Day presents an opportunity to raise public awareness about the impacts of wildlife trafficking on the natural environment and the people who share it, and the key role that the U.S. is playing to combat this illegal activity.

Follow @StateDept and @StateDeptOES and the hashtag #WorldWildlifeDay on Twitter for more information.

The Scholarship Blues

I earned a place for Doctoral studies at some of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the world, but it all goes to waste if I can’t fund my studies. I deferred my place last year because I couldn’t get the funds together or at all for that matter. I figured, I’d take a year and hopefully things will come together.

But no one wants to give me PhD funding because my grades weren’t the best in undergrad  due to my undiagnosed learning disabilities  which influenced my grades in areas like math and science which I had to take for my journalism degree. Math, science and classes like Amish culture were completely irrelevant to my degree, but prerequisites are prerequisites. I’m told that in order to get funding my grades need to be the best of the best, but this doesn’t take into account my mitigating circumstances. Surely had I had the financial opportunity to get diagnosed earlier, I would have gotten the opportunity to learn ways to study and learn what worked for me. But alas, I didn’t have those opportunities and there go my funding chances.

Another reason no one wants to fund me is because my academic papers are not published in peer reviewed journals or academic journals, but every time I try and publish, I get told “we only accept published academics,” or I get told that I need to pay in order to get published. So let me get this right: I need money to publish so I can be a recognized academic so I can get PhD funding, but I can’t publish until I’ve been published and have the money? Maybe things work differently when you are already an established academic, but realistically speaking, how am I supposed to get started out? I was a journalist, but when applying for PhD funding, no one seems to care about journalism publications. Or at least this is what the rejection emails tell me.

Next step was to contact charities with grant applications. A list of charities was provided by my prior university, so I used that as a starting point. These are charities that are known to give student grants. And the response there has been dismal. Charities have been rude, mean, have told me to stop soliciting them, told me I’m not Palestinian enough or Arab enough. They’ve told me I don’t meet residency requirements, I don’t display financial hardship, I can’t provide up-to-date information about my disabilities, my grades aren’t good enough, I’m not involved enough or not Muslim enough. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too this, I’m too that. I’m not enough of this and not enough of that. One person even told me that it was “illegal” for them to give grants, when I know other students who have for a fact received grants from them. One person even replied saying “We don’t have any money. You probably have more money than our charity does.” Really, Really?! You want to go there. Okay, let’s go there. If you have consistent working plumbing, you have consistent heating in your house, don’t have to choose between  paying your bills or buying food to eat, then trust me– you are way ahead of me.

Or what about the charity that tried to change my entire PhD topic of study, deeming my topic irrelevant and uninteresting. Firstly, I never asked for your advice on my topic of study, I asked for your sponsorship. Secondly, I have advising teams at each university that differ with you. Not only is my topic ever the  more relevant, as it makes headline news regularly, but the top academics in my field believe it to be interesting, important and relevant. Thirdly, you may not know how academia works. For example: I can’t enroll in a music doctoral degree, get there and ask my advising team to support me in studying cryptozoology. Fourthly, you changed my ENTIRE topic. Meaning I would have to reapply all over again with a different proposal. And lastly, by changing every little thing about my topic, you made it your project and no longer mine.

Keep in mind that I am not harassing these people, charities, organizations, entities, etc. I send one email: A grant proposal. A university approved grant proposal.  I don’t call, follow up, knock on their doors. I’m completely calm. And I’m not about to waste my life or time arguing with these ignoramuses.

Next, crowdfunding. Even though I have had limited success with crowdfunding. (By the way, I’m VERY grateful for the money I was able to raise. VERY!) Getting £1000 was not easy and almost impossible. I don’t know many people. The people that I do know don’t have money to spare. I’d even get emails in response to my crowdfunding that told me to give up, it was a waste of time, it’s never going to happen, that I need to not bother people, etc. I put myself out there. I tried. I got burned.

Tried the online scholarship search engines. I spend my life on those search engines. I qualify for nothing. Somehow, I don’t qualify for anything.

Even the Said scholarship set up for Palestinians won’t fund me unless I go to Oxford or Cambridge and even though there’s an academic at Cambridge who said he would take me on, I applied there twice and couldn’t get through the first round because my undergrad grades from 10 years ago in math and science were rubbish. I got rejected by Oxford three times for the same reason. (If you’re really polite, nice, desperate and willing to make contacts, lecturers/professor/staff will secretly tell you why you didn’t get in. Doesn’t work everytime, but you get lucky every so often.)

Bottom line-  no one cares that I have learning difficulties. No one cares that the American education system is different than the British, European and Australian systems. No one cares that my overall undergrad GPA was a 3.12, but my GPA for my major and minor was a 3.67. No one care that my first MA was on a pass/fail basis. No one care that during my 2nd MA I became registered disabled due to some serious problems in my back that can’t be fixed, but only coped with.

No one cares that I went to the 4th most overpopulated high school in my state, or that my high school teachers told me I wouldn’t succeed to my face or that 9/11 happened during my sophomore year or that the devastation of 9/11 turned our sophomore curriculum upside down or that some of my classes didn’t have classrooms, books, set curriculums or that so many times our teachers gave up, walked out of class and stopped teaching, or that there were 50 students in my classroom or that my high school suffered from riots, bomb threats and at least one major fight a day or that I got bullied mercilessly or that all of these problems affected my learning experience.

When I got to my first year of undergrad I had no confidence, I thought I was dumb, I didn’t know how to study, I had never had to sit through a class longer than 40 minutes, I never had to write an assignment longer than two pages, I never had to use citations, I had never done a research paper, I never had to memorize information, I didn’t know I could get tested for learning disabilities, I didn’t know so many things. I spent most of the first two years of undergrad crying because undergrad hit me like a brick. High school in no way prepared me for undergrad and in comparison to the students in my class that had better academic upbringings, I could tell I was behind.  No one cares that I can play a mean game of catch up. But catch up can’t change the past.

I worked my nerves to its ends and got into an Ivy League MA program, where again, I felt I had to play catch up because I was no longer studying journalism and entered into the wonderful world of Liberal Studies. I competed against students who had formal training in studying gender, culture and globalization. It was all new to me. I struggled, a lot. But I’m proud of what I accomplished there. And again I had to play catch up for my second MA as I competed against students who had their first degree is Middle Eastern Studies. Middle Eastern studies was  a topic I read about in my spare time. I never studied it intensely or formally, I dabbled, but everyone else was way ahead of the game. I worked day and night, in spite of my medical difficulties and hardship to reach a level in which I finally felt my peers were finally my intellectual peers. I stumbled, A LOT, but no one gets points for most improved on their transcript. If only their were a module in which there were marks for effort, motivation, time spent, passion, determination and promise. If only I could get graded against myself as opposed to against my classmates. Or get a mark for moving my life across the planet by myself to another country, to a completely different educationally structured system and succeeding.

My motivation and ambition doesn’t count for anything on paper because there will always be someone with a perfect GPA or academic standing that gets ahead of me. These things will never show up on a transcript. And if there is anything I’ve learned it’s that transcripts are more important than letters of purpose.

I can’t provide up-to-date information on my disabilities because I haven’t seen a doctor since being back in America. I signed up for that whole Obamacare business and my application for health insurance keeps getting bounced around from office to office and no one seems to know when I will finally have health insurance or if I ever will. Whenever I ask what I should do if I’m sick, they say go to this and this doctor, but you’ll have to play out of pocket. Yup, can’t do that. I have no money. No income.

That no income part, my loan servicers don’t seem to believe that. Seeing as they are federal loans, you’d think they can check and see if I am employed or not via paying taxes, but maybe that’s asking too much.  I have to pay back $130,000 in student loans starting in March because that is when my deferment period ends. I applied for unemployment deferment, got rejected and told to apply for income based repayment. Yeah, that’s going to be tough to do because there is no income to speak of.

Not because I don’t want an income. I  have been applying for every type of job under the sun since May 2014. Even physical labor jobs which I know will only cause my disability to worsen. And guess what? I still can’t get a job. Signed up with recruitment and temp agencies, LinkedIn profile, Craigslist, Indeed, Simplyhired, Idealist– I get maybe 20 emails a day from different websites listing all these job opportunities. I apply and apply and apply and nothing. When I finally do get the chance at an interview, I set it up, date and time. I’m dressed and ready and pumped and every time they cancel on me with no prior notice.

Even though I have no job and I’m living off of my maxed out credit cards, I still somehow don’t qualify for food stamps, unemployment benefits or any other kinds of benefits. How did I manage that? How? Beats me!

Despite it all, I’m not bitter. I’m not angry. I’m upset, sure. I don’t expect a handout or pity. I’m not going to sit here and toot my own horn about how I’m an amazing human being or list all my good karma points. I’m far from perfect and I’m not entitled to anything in this world. But I want a fair fighting chance. I want more than what’s on paper to count. I want to live and not simply get by, but to really live.

I still remain optimistic that things will work out. I won’t stop trying and neither should you.

Opportunity: Look out, I’m coming for you!