An ‘Israeli only’ by-pass road that links Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sitting below an Israeli settlement outside of Jerusalem (Photo Credit: Edith Garwood).
ALL Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal.
Israel’s long-running policy of settling civilians in occupied territory amounts to a war crime.
This needs to be clearly said now, without ambiguity. The United States government, as sponsor of the current ‘peace talks’ between Israel and Palestinians, must uphold rule of law and human rights. Despite the fact that the U.S. has historically taken the same position as the international community that Israeli settlements within the OPT are illegal, they have chosen to prevaricate in recent years, using words like ‘unhelpful’ or ‘illegitimate’ to describe settlement building by Israel.
Students shout slogans while a trash can burns during a protest of what is now called the ‘Tropical Spring’ against corruption and price hikes, at National Congress in Brasilia, on June 20, 2013. Brazilians took to the streets again on a new day of mass nationwide protests, demanding better public services and bemoaning massive spending to stage the World Cup (Photo Credit: Evaristo SA/AFP/Getty Images).
By Francisco Ciampolini, Brazilian Country Specialist
The last time Brazilians took to the streets to the degree they have in the last few days was 20 years ago, when the nation demanded (and obtained) the impeachment of President Fernando Collor. Back then, the country’s citizens were outraged because of the president’s corrupt practices; today, people are reacting to their deep frustration with inflation, unjust policy and corruption.
At the beginning of this week, Sao Paulo police were called into action after thousands of Brazilians launched a protest against a 20-cent increase on bus, metro and train fairs. Initially, it seemed to be a localized case of indignation for the country’s over-stretched public transportation system.
‘You may say that we are DREAMers…’ But, as the vote on Question 4 of the Maryland ballot demonstrated, we are definitely not the only ones! You helped successfully defend the Maryland DREAM Act last night as Marylanders voted 58% to 42% in favor of the act.
The Maryland DREAM Act is legislation that would afford students from Maryland, who have been state high school students, and whose parents file state taxes, the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates for their higher education. (For more information regarding the Maryland DREAM Act, check out our Maryland DREAM Act one-pager and our infographic.
This is an important victory for the students and families who will be affected, for DREAMers across the country and for human rights supporters fighting for immigrants’ rights and the right to education. It’s important for another reason too. Ballot referendums are a critical barometer of public opinion, and an indication of how ready U.S citizens and residents are ready for political change on the issue in question. The results in Maryland are pretty clear – voters strongly support common sense measures that recognize the contributions that our talented young people, regardless of immigration status, are making to the nation.
On November 6, 2012, Maryland residents will vote on a ballot initiative that will allow undocumented students who have lived in Maryland, whose parents have paid taxes in Maryland, and who meet some other conditions, to pay in-state tuition fees for their higher education.
The Maryland DREAM Act, if it is able to come into force, would enable many DREAMers to attend state universities that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. At a time when many states in the U.S. were passing anti-immigrant legislation (adding to a climate of hostility to migrants, those perceived to be migrants, and Native Americans), Maryland passed legislation in April 2011 that realized the right to equal access to education for a significant number of students.
Now, the Maryland Dream Act is in jeopardy. Let’s defend the right to education, and the Maryland DREAM Act! On November 6th, Vote ‘Yes!’ on Question 4 on the ballot. Help spread the word by sharing this graphic widely:
Malala Yousufzai got on the bus on Tuesday morning to go to school. With her, were two of her school friends, also bound for Mingora, the largest town in Pakistan’s Swat District, where their school is located. It was an ill-fated journey. Before the girls could get to school that morning, Tehreek-e-Taliban gunmen accosted the bus.
One of the girls, Shazia Razaman confirmed that they were specifically looking for Malala. She was easy to find, and when they did find her, they shot her in the head. Hours, later as Pakistanis and the world, watched, aghast and stunned at yet another act of inhumane violence, the spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban, specifically took responsibility for the attack saying:
“She is a Western-minded girl. She always speaks against us. We will target anyone who speaks against the Taliban.”
Mumbai slum residents protest the destruction of their homes by multi-national corporations. PHOTO: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
I’ve spent the past two weeks working with a number of NGOs focused on women’s human rights in the urban slums surrounding Mumbai. These communities are a ground zero for human dignity, where basic needs are not met and human rights are routinely crushed by poverty and the pace of urbanization.
Just two weeks ago Governor Brown signed into law California DREAM Act AB 130, allowing undocumented students, who studied at least three years in California high schools or have an equivalent high school degree, to be eligible for non-state private scholarship awards.
For the last ten years California has already provided students the right to access instate tuition, regardless of immigration status, as long as they meet the requirements set under AB 540, which was signed into law almost 10 years ago and was successfully upheld by the Supreme Court this past year.
California advocates continue to push Governor Brown to also sign AB 131, a law that would extend instate funds for undocumented students.
The implementation of both bills will prevent students from being forced to decide between foregoing a college education and remaining in the US with their families and community or leaving the U.S. in search of an affordable and accessible education.
Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released their “Education under Attack” report, in which they have experts discuss the incidence of politically and ideologically motivated attacks on teachers, students and school buildings throughout the world. The report includes both a case study and a country report on Pakistan, both of which paint a stark picture of the impact of the Taliban on education in northwestern Pakistan.
Young girls and men queue separately for cooked rations in Jalala camp, Pakistan, 17 May 2009. Copyright UNHCR/H. Caux
The report tells us that between 2007 and March 2009, 108 schools were fully destroyed, an additional 64 were partially damaged, and 40,000 children, including 23,000 girls, were deprived of their education. This is occurring in the context of a ruthless campaign by the Taliban against girls’ education, which is part of a larger campaign to impose their strict social rules and norms on the people of Northwestern Pakistan. As UNESCO’s report clearly states, “The Taliban in Swat Valley, Pakistan, left no ambiguity about their intent to target girls’ education.”