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The Action Thread Part Two

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CITIZENSHIP

Justin Trudeau Says Attacks on Press Undermine Democracy

“The very capacity for a citizen to engage with truth is under attack”

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Press freedom, which is part of Global Goal 16, is key to holding leaders accountable and pursuing a world without poverty. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.  

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday that a robust and free press is essential to a functioning democracy and criticized leaders who attack and seek to silence news organizations, according to CBC Canada.

The prime minister was speaking at a press freedom event hosted by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as part of the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, a gathering of countries dedicated to improving international cooperation on a range of issues.

"If a democracy is to function you need an educated populace, and you need to have an informed populace, ready to make judicious decisions about who to grant power to and when to take it away," Trudeau said.

"When citizens cannot have rigorous analysis of the exercise of the power that is in their name and they have granted, the rest of the foundation of [their] democracies start to erode at the same time as cynicism arises,” he added.

Take Action: Share How Cyber Attacks Hurt the World’s Poor

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Trudeau’s words come amid a global rise in attacks on media institutions and journalists that are fanned by political leaders, according to RSF.

For example, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has said that reporters are “not exempted from assassination” and recently approved a measure for imprisoning journalists critical of him. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hires troll armies to disparage and foment anger against journalists. Turkey’s leader, Recep Erdoğan, has dissolved independent news organizations and jailed dozens of reporters in recent years, and Egypt’s President Abdel el-Sisi regularly accuses reporters of terrorism and recently enacted a law to clamp down on social media.

Even in the US, which has historically stood as a global beacon of press freedom, President Donald Trump routinely calls the press “the enemy of the people,” a phrase that echoes the former Russian tyrant Joseph Stalin. In October, a pipe bomb was sent to the headquarters of the news organization CNN, a frequent target of President Trump’s aspersions.

Read more: These Are the Worst Countries to Be a Journalist Today

Earlier in the year, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights censuredTrump for his “reckless” attacks on the media.

This rhetoric has contributed to an increasingly hostile media environment. At least 45 journalists have been murdered this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and a record number of journalists have been jailed for doing their work, with Turkey, China, and Egypt detaining the most reporters.

Efforts to silence journalists and deny them freedom have had an overall chilling effect, with news organizations often opting to steer clear of sensitive stories out of fear of being retaliated against, RSF reports.

Read More: 2017 Was Especially Dangerous for Female Journalists

“The unleashing of hatred towards journalists is one of the worst threats to democracies,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement. “Political leaders who fuel loathing for reporters bear heavy responsibility because they undermine the concept of public debate based on facts instead of propaganda. To dispute the legitimacy of journalism today is to play with extremely dangerous political fire.”

Trudeau stopped short of criticizing specific countries in his remarks on Sunday, but he urged citizens around the world to defend the press against incursions of totalitarianism.

Read more: One More Sign That Journalism Is Under Attack All Around the World

"There have always been tensions between those who would speak truth to power and those who like having their power, thank you very much, and don't necessarily want to see it frittered away," he said.

"But we are now in a phase where that capacity to speak truth to power, the very capacity for a citizen to engage with truth, is under attack,” he added. “And not just by the powerful, but by those who would see our institutions themselves weakened."

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CITIZENSHIP

This Is What You Should Do if You See a Muslim Person Being Harassed

How to de-escalate a hateful situation.

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Earlier this year, the harassment of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab on a public bus ended with two people dead when they tried to intervene and protect the woman from a white man yelling at her.

The incident rocked Portland, Ore., where the crime occurred, and also the nation, which has seen a 91% increase in hate crimes against Muslims during the first half of 2017. The dangers for both Muslim people and those that try to defend them felt, suddenly, immense.

Now, new posters plastered around bus and subway stations in San Francisco and Boston aim to teach would-be bystanders how to intervene and defend Muslims from potential hate crimes while also trying to de-escalate the situation to avoid violent endings like the one in Portland.

maeril muslim art.pngTumblr/@itsmaeril


Read More: The Day After the Mosque Burns: A Look at Islamophobia in the US and Germany

In Boston, posters with the headline “What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment” now hang in 50 locations near the transit system, according to the Associated Press. The posters have a comic strip drawing in which a man grimaces at a woman wearing a hijab, while another woman watches, uncertain.

The posters are directed at those people who might be witnesses.

The first step is to ignore the attacker and instead engage the victim in conversation, according to the posters.

“Pick a random subject and start discussing it,” the poster suggests, including the weather, a movie, or the clothing they’re wearing and where they got it.

Read More: When a Texas Mosque Burned Down, a Local Catholic High School Had the Perfect Response

Then, bystanders can help created safe space by keeping the victim engaged until the potential attacker leaves. If it’s safe, the bystander can accompany the victim to a safe space after the encounter.

Faisa Sharif, a mayor's liaison in Boston's Neighborhood Services Office within the Civic Engagement Cabinet, told NPR that the goal of the bystander is to try and break the tension that is mounting when someone starts harassing someone else.

Read More: Portland Has a Message for Muslim Girls in Hijabs After Deadly Hate Crime Attack

"This whole campaign is about de-escalation in terms of helping resolve a situation like this," she said. "Especially in the age that we live in when we see a different sort of national rhetoric targeted toward certain groups."

The posters were designed by an artist working in France, Maeril, following terror attacks in 2015, according to NPR. They’ve also been posted in San Francisco.

Lecia Brooks, an outreach director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told NPR that bystanders should also feel comfortable calling 911 if a situation looks too risky to get directly involved in, and that there’s always risk in intervening.

Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center Mosque, NPR the posters send a “message to everyone that Muslims are part of Boston” and are “phenomenal.”

"That they are not the other, that they are just like us, just like any other human being,” he said.

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ENVIRONMENT

6 Celebrities Pitching in to Help With California Fire Relief

Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, and more are trying to do their part.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
California’s wildfires sparked by climate change and extreme weather conditions, devastated thousands. Celebrities who lost their homes in the blaze — and others who just want to do good —, are supporting relief efforts to help those affected. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

It’s going to be a while before California fully recovers from the devastating wildfires that started Nov. 9. In the meantime, as authorities try to keep the fires contained, celebrities are doing their best to lend their support.  

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

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Rising temperatures due to climate change have made forests much drier, leading to an uptick in wildfires. The three monstrous California wildfires — Camp, Woolsey, and Hill — have already claimed thousands of homes and dozens of lives. Camp Fire, which set off in Northern California’s city of Paradise, is now the deadliest wildfire in California history, according to CBS News. It reached a death toll of 48 Wednesday — contributing to a statewide death toll of 50. 

Here’s how celebrities, some whose lives have been directly impacted by the disaster, have already started helping the affected communities rebuild.

Lady Gaga Delivered Pizza to a Shelter 

Gaga was one of 250,000 people who evacuated their homes this weekend. After having to leave her house in Malibu, she stopped by a Red Cross shelter at the Pacific Palisades High School on Sunday, Delish reports. She brought pizza, coffee, and gift cards over to evacuees affected by the Woolsey fire. While she was there, Gaga serenaded a 98-year-old woman who was displaced from her home and encouraged people to seek mental health counseling.

"What I can tell you is that I will pray for each and every one of you. You will be in my thoughts. I extend my love to each and every one of you. I know we do not know each other, but I love you. This is an emergency but you are not alone,” Gaga told the evacuees. 

 

Thousands of #California residents are displaced due to the wildfires. And on Tuesday, #LadyGaga delivered pizza to one of the many Red Cross evacuation centers in LA 🙏🏽🙌🏽👏🏽

 
See HONEY GERMAN's other Tweets
 
 
 

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Donated $500,000 to Rebuild Malibu

Cyrus and Hemsworth lost their Malibu home in the Woolsey Fire and are now advocating for others to support the beach city community. The Woolsey Fire has demolished at least 97,000 acres, but it’s still only 40% contained, the New York Times reported

“Their community and state are very special to them and they want to give back to the place that has created so many beautiful memories for themselves and others," a spokesperson for Cyrus told AP.

They donated $500,000 to the Malibu Foundation, an organization set up to help the devastated area rebuild, and it will be used to aid those in financial need and provide emergency relief assistance, as well as toward wildfire prevention and climate change resilience, according to the statement.

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all I have left. Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff’s department! If you are interested in getting involved see next tweet....
Donate $ , Time , Supplies
I love you more than ever , Miley

 
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Read More: 15 Photos of California's Wildfires That Show the Devastation of Climate Change

Guy Fieri Served Meals to First Responders 

Fieri visited law enforcement officers at a staging area in Butte County, California, for officials fighting the Camp Fire, according to USA Today. Fieri lives in Santa Rosa, which suffered devastating fire loses in 2017. The celebrity chef reportedly served pulled pork and sides. 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

Guy Fieri made a surprise visit to serve dinner to everyone at the law enforcement staging area at Butte College. Thank you so much Guy for filling our bellies and lifting our spirits. #ButteSheriff #CampFire

 
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Sandra Bullock Donated $100,000 to Help Animal Victims

Bullock donated to the Humane Society of Ventura County, which is on the ground helping animal wildfire victims in Southern California, according to USA Today. 

“The Humane Society of Ventura County was deeply humbled today by a $100,000 donation from Sandra Bullock and family,” the organization wrote in a press release. “This donation will help the HSVC provide 24/7 care for the scores of horses, bulls, donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, and other pets evacuated from the fires," it explained.

 

This afternoon the Humane Society of Ventura County Animal Rescue Team brought back to the shelter 9 donkeys, 3 goats, 1 pig, 3 bunnies, 20 chickens, and a tortoise from the burn areas in the Malibu area. Staff and our... https://www.facebook.com/hsvc.org/posts/10155929649676238 

 
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Dave Grohl Volunteered to Feed Firefighters

Musician Dave Grohl donated his time to serve firefighters from Fire Station 68 in Calabasas, California, trying to contain the Woolsey fire, located just north of Los Angeles. Grohl brought the team meals from his restaurant Backbeat BBQ. 

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NOV. 16, 2018

 

 
 
FOOD & HUNGER

UN Says Solution to UK Austerity is to Make Poverty Illegal

After a 12-day tour, an envoy said the UK government had inflicted “great misery” on the poor.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Austerity in the UK is widely reported to have led to increases in poverty, food-bank usage, and spiralling homelessness. And according to this report, austerity was a choice — and a choice that can be reversed. Take action here to join the fight to end extreme poverty.

After a 12-day tour of the UK, a report from UN envoy Philip Alston has said the UK government’s policy of austerity has inflicted “great misery” on the public. 

Alston is what’s known as a “rapporteur,” an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to objectively examine how a country is performing on a certain issue.

During a press release on Friday, Alston said the UK was in potential breach of four UN human rights agreements: women, children, people with disabilities, and economic and social rights. 

Take Action: Call on the UK Government to Prioritise Support to Modern Slavery Survivors

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During his tour, Alston visited foodbanks, universities, Citizens Advice Bureaus, job centres, schools, and government departments. 

Alston reportedly bore witness to the consequences of 10 years of austerity, imposed by the UK government since the recession of 2007-2008 — and spoke with many members of the public to see how the policy had affected them.

Alston wrote in the report that “austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so.”

 
 

He said that the last government budget could have transformed the lives of millions, and added that poverty was a “political choice” — but that the choice they made was to “fund tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Alton cited the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, saying that 14 million people in the UK are living in poverty, with 1.5 million unable to buy even basic essentials.

Child poverty in particular was predicted to rise to as high as 40% by 2022, something which Alston called a “disgrace” in the world’s fifth-richest country.

Related StoriesAug. 23, 2018The UN Is Investigating Extreme Poverty in the UK for the First Time

When Alston visited Avenue End School in Glasgow, the Guardian reportedthat 12-year-old John Adebola-Samuel said his family relied on food banks for two years, and that for a long time he took only bread and butter to school for lunch.

At a meeting in Edinburgh, Alston was reportedly told the story of woman with chronic physical and mental health issues who had sex for money after her benefits were stopped. She hadn’t eaten for nearly a week.

In Newcastle, where universal credit — the UK government’s controversial benefits scheme — was first rolled out, Alston met with a man called Michael who was struggling to feed the three people in his family on just £465 a month (about £5 each a day).

Alston wrote: “It thus seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty.” 

 
Embedded video
 

“The harshness, the worst aspects of a lot of these policies could be changed overnight”

UN Poverty Envoy Philip Alston’s blistering attack on austerity and the effects of government policies on the country’s poorest people

Read more: http://huffp.st/eUShAvJ 

 
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“This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in food banks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the government to appoint a minister for suicide prevention, and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation,” he added.

Alston concluded that a solution could be to ensure the “legislative recognition of social rights”  — a move which could essentially make poverty illegal. Social rights are already incorporated into Swedish and German law.

The Guardian reported that Alston was pleased to meet Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who plans to make adequate housing, food, and welfare a legal human right in Scotland.

Related StoriesNov. 7, 2017Universal Credit Puts 41,000 Children At Risk of Destitution by Christmas, Warns Housing Trust

Concluding his report, Alston wrote: “As the country moves toward Brexit, the government should adopt policies designed to ensure that the brunt of the resulting economic burden is not borne by its most vulnerable citizens.”

The government replied to Alston’s analysis, saying it “completely disagreed.”

A spokesperson said that household incomes were at a record high, income inequality had fallen, and that universal credit was helping people get back into work faster than before.

“We are absolutely committed to helping people improve their lives while providing the right support for those who need it,” the spokesperson said.

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NOV. 21, 2018

 

 
 
FINANCE & INNOVATION

Canadian Government Gives World's Poor Millions in Cash to Fight Extreme Poverty

Officials confirmed the country has been providing cash directly to people in over 35 countries.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Right now, more than 1 billion people live in extreme poverty around the world. Foreign aid from countries like Canada works to lift them out of poverty through education, health services, and more. You can take action on this right now.

Canada is trying out a new approach to delivering foreign aid — by providing cash to people most in need in developing countries, according to information obtained by CBC.

CBC spoke with two anonymous senior officials with Global Affairs Canada who confirmed the government has been providing cash directly to people in over 35 countries.

“Direct cash transfers have become a key element of humanitarian response and development in the last two to three years," one senior aid official told CBC. "It is much more efficient to deliver assistance this way. There is no middleman to decide what the needs are. In humanitarian projects, it is being considered the default approach now."

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

 

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Canada’s current international assistance spending — which is often referred to as foreign aid — sits at $5.6 billion.

The officials did not confirm how much of that goes directly to cash transfers, which are often part of other aid programs.

For instance, a program run by Oxfam that is partly supported financially by Canada, allowed for direct cash transfers in a refugee camp in Ethiopia this year, CBC reported.

One of the recipients was Nyatlak Nyiet, a refugee from South Sudan who had given birth in the camp. Before receiving the unconditional transfers, she earned only a small income from selling firewood at a market.

Related StoriesJune 19, 2017CHIME FOR CHANGEWhat Canada's Female-First Foreign Aid Policy Really Means for Women

“It was not possible for me to breastfeed. I had only [a] small [amount of] milk, so the baby kept crying,” Nyiet told Oxfam researchers in June (in an interview that was then shared with CBC).

Nyiet was approved to receive about $30 per month, according to Oxfam Canada. That money helped her buy food and clothes, as well as chickens.

The benefit of this approach is that it eliminates the need for foreign aid consultants, shipping fees, and general bureaucratic procedures.

Another argument for it is that the beneficiaries know what they need — most notably so for women, according to CBC.

 

In #Ethiopia, there are around 1.7 million persons internally displaced by conflict and climatic factors. The displaced are settled in 916 sites across the country.

 
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But critics argue that this approach might not work in the long term.

"This type of a thing is good as a kickstart, almost like a jump, but not as a ladder to fundamentally lift people out of poverty," Aniket Bhushan, a Carleton University professor who heads up a research group on aid policy, told CBC. "The real question is sustainability: What happens after the fact?"

What’s more is that providing people with cash doesn’t always make sense, as in some cases, like following a natural disaster or in conflict zones, there’s nothing to buy with cash.

"Giving people money to procure health services in the absence of health services doesn't help too much," a Global Affairs official told CBC.

Related StoriesNov. 12, 2018Australia's Step Up in the Pacific Ignites Concerns Over Foreign Aid Cuts

There are measures in place to prevent exploitation of the funds. The UN's World Food Programme, for instance, uses iris scans and digital cards, according to CBC.

Bhushan still cautions that final results could be minimal.

One study from Uganda observed two groups over nine years — people in one group received $400 in unconditional cash transfers and people in the other didn’t.

Over time the differences between the groups for employment income and general economic well-being were about the same, Bhushan said.

Still, there is something to be said for providing direct funding to women like Nyiet who is able to feed her children and herself thanks to this cash.

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16 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2018

 

12
 
CIUDADANÍA

Las parejas del mismo sexo podrán casarse en Costa Rica en 2020

Es la primera vez que esto sucede en Centroamérica.

 

Por qué los Global Citizens deberían preocuparse
En muchos lugares del mundo, las parejas del mismo sexo no reciben los mismos beneficios económicos y de salud que las parejas heterosexuales. El nuevo fallo de Costa Rica, que permite el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, limitará la discriminación y promoverá la igualdad dentro del país. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.



Costa Rica ha levantado oficialmente su prohibición del matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo.

El jueves, el tribunal constitucional del país dictaminó que las parejas del mismo sexo tendrán derecho a casarse a mediados de 2020, según informó Reuters.

El gobierno tiene previsto publicar el fallo la próxima semana y entrará en vigencia 18 meses después, según indica Reuters.

El tribunal falló a favor de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, que ordenó a los países de América Central que legalicen el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en enero.

"Los hombres y mujeres mayores de edad, sin ninguna limitación por motivos de raza, nacionalidad o religión, tienen derecho a casarse y formar una familia", dijo la organización de derechos humanos Amnistía Internacional en una declaración sobre la igualdad en el matrimonio.

Si bien en Sudamérica ya se ha permitido que las parejas del mismo sexo se casen en muchos países, el caso de Costa Rica es un precedente para América Central.

Según el informe publicado por Amnistía Internacional en 2017, los asesinatos y la violencia contra las personas LGBTQ en América Central conducen a cientos de personas a huir de sus hogares.

Si bien Costa Rica es conocida por ser socialmente progresiva en términos de educación superior y atención médica, no se protegen por igual todos los asuntos relacionados con los derechos humanos. Los derechos reproductivos aún son limitados, y solo el 30% de los costarricenses apoyaron el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo, según una encuesta publicada en enero por la Universidad de Costa Rica.

La primera boda del mismo sexo de Costa Rica fue bloqueada en enero por funcionarios que se negaron a reconocerla hasta que la prohibición fue oficialmente levantada por la ley. Tras la decisión, activistas de derechos humanos protestaron por la igualdad de derechos LGBTQ en las urnas.

El presidente Carlos Alvarado Quesada, quien asumió el cargo en mayo, también hizo campaña para legalizar el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo y la igualdad para todos.

Si bien la decisión del tribunal lleva meses en proceso, no todos están satisfechos con la noticia.

"En el orden natural de las cosas, ese núcleo familiar básico de la sociedad se basa en el matrimonio monógamo y heterosexual", dijo en una declaración la Conferencia Episcopal de Costa Rica de la Iglesia Católica.

Pero el presidente Quesada se mantiene esperanzado.

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EDUCATION

Refugees Have Missed 1.5 Billion Days of School Since 2016, UN Says

UNESCO says countries are not prepared to support students on the move in a new report.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Conflicts and disasters continue to explode around the world, meaning millions of children in those areas are prevented from learning. UNESCO’s 2019 “Global Education Monitoring Report” states national education systems aren’t equipped to teach migrant and refugee students. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Migrant and refugee children face many roadblocks to receiving an education, according to a UN report published Tuesday. 

 

In the Global Education Monitoring Report 2018, “Migration, displacement
and education: Building Bridges Not Walls
,” the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted national education systems are not always equipped to accommodate incoming migrant and refugee students, according to UN News. This puts over 50 million children at risk of never reaching their full potential and lifting up their communities. 

 

Take Action: Step Up to Support Migrants and Refugees!

Take Action: Tweet Now

 
 
 
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In partnership with: CHIME FOR CHANGE

 

Makeshift schools, many of which aren’t certified, language barriers, and limited resources prevent students from excelling in the classroom. 

While governments are aware of these issues, they don’t always kick solutions into action, the UN agency explained in a statement.

“The right of these children to quality education, even if increasingly recognized on paper, is challenged daily in classrooms and schoolyards and denied outright by a few governments,” UNESCO said

Since 2016, refugees have missed 1.5 billion days of school, according to UNESCO. 

Read More: This Artist Wants to Humanize the Refugee Experience Through Comics

Young girls are especially vulnerable when they lose opportunities to learn, Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, senior advocate for women and girls at Refugee International, explained to the Thomson Reuters Foundation in August. 

"Less education increases vulnerabilities to forced marriage, exploitation, and even trafficking in refugee contexts," she said

 

Migrant and refugee children in the 🌏today could fill half a million classrooms. They shouldn’t have to leave their right to education behind when they move 📚

Read the new @UNESCO #GEM Report: http://Bit.ly/2019gemreport #EducationOnTheMove

 
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UNESCO also delivered promising news in the report. Some of the countries with the biggest refugee populations are showing progress in including refugee children in education systems. 

Low-income countries like Chad, Ethiopia, and Uganda are leading the way for refugee education, as well as wealthier nations such as Canada and Ireland. But low- and middle-income countries still host 90% of the world’s refugees and don’t have the funds to adequately support them.  

The report offers suggestions for making greater progress. 

It calls on donors to increase their refugee education funding and commit to long-term support and pushed for a better understanding of refugee and migrants’ needs. UNESCO also recommends that countries make an effort to represent migration and displacement narratives in school curriculums to fight discrimination. Teachers need to be prepared to tackle diversity and difficulties refugees and migrant students face, as well. 

“Everyone loses when the education of migrants and refugees is ignored. Education is the key to inclusion and cohesion,” Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, said

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NOV. 21, 2018

 

 
 
FOOD & HUNGER

85,000 Children Have Died From Hunger in Yemen: Report

Save the Children called its estimate “conservative.”


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals call for peace, justice, and strong institutions, as well as an end to violence everywhere. Conflict directly impacts on the mission to end extreme poverty, causing massive instability, displacement, hunger, lack of access to education and health care, among many other things. Join us by taking action here to support people around the world living in conflict zones.

Just weeks after UN agencies issued warnings about the risk of death facing hundreds of thousands of malnourished children in Yemen, international aid organization Save the Children has issued a report that 85,000 children under the age of 5 may have already died due to hunger and disease since 2015, the Associated Press reported.

The organization, which called the estimate “conservative,” based their approximation on UN data on mortality rates from severe acute malnutrition, which has plagued more than 1.3 million children since March 2015 when conflict escalated between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, according to the Guardian.

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen director, said. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely.”

Take Action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty

 

Take Action: Sign Now

 
 
 
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The UN has called Yemen’s situation “the worst humanitarian crisis” in the world. Currently, 14 million people are on the brink of famine, which evidently poses a particular threat to young children.

Conflict overtook Yemen in 2015 when the Houthi rebels sought to overturn the country’s internationally recognized government. Saudi Arabia then stepped in and lead a coalition of eight other Arab states, supported by the US, the UK, and France, to restore the power of Yemen’s government.

Airstrikes have since hit schools and hospitals, directly impacting and killing civilians.

Related StoriesNov. 9, 2018Hospitals in Yemen Are Struggling to Treat Civil War Casualties

More than 10,000 people have died due to violence and airstrikes, over 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes, and over 8 million people depend on humanitarian food aid to survive.

The international community is now calling for ceasefires as the crisis remains and the mortality rates continue to rise.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Michigan Judge Dismisses Charges in Historic FGM Case

In the US, more than 500,000 women and girls have experienced or are at risk of FGM.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse and gender-based violence that to which millions of women and girls around the world are subjected. This case in Michigan highlights a need for stronger legislation to combat FGM, which can cause life-long damage. Join us in taking action here to end this harmful practice.

A federal judge dismissed charges in a historic female genital mutilation case in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday after determining that it is up to individual states to regulate the harmful practice, CBS News reports.

US District Judge Bernard Friedman dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges against eight people, including two doctors, who were arrested after nine girls were forced to undergo FGM in the suburbs of Detroit in April 2017.

Take Action: Help Global Citizen End Female Genital Mutilation

Take Action: Sign Now

 
 
 
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Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room doctor, who was accused of performing the brutal cutting procedure on nine girls — between the ages of 6 and 12 — was cleared of the genital mutilation charges. However, she still faces conspiracy and obstruction charges.

Three mothers, who brought their daughters to Detroit under the pretense of a girls' weekend only to have FGM performed on them as part of religious practice are among Nagarwala's co-defendants, the Detroit Free Pressreports.

Activists are worried about the larger implications the ruling could have on efforts to stop the practice, which is on the rise in the US.

"Unfortunately, this is going to embolden those who believe that this must be continued ... they'll feel that this is permission, that it's OK to do this," Mariya Taher, who leads a campaign in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to ban FGM told the Detroit Free Press.

"This is a violation of one person's human rights. It's a form of gender violence ... This is cultural violence," Taher said.

While the court order recognized FGM as a form of physical abuse and a "despicable practice," it deemed the practice a "local criminal activity" — that can only be regulated at the state level — not by Congress.

In the US, FGM is illegal in 27 states. However, FGM was not illegal in Michigan until after Nagarwala and others were arrested, and the defendants cannot be retroactively charged under the new law. As a result, Nagarwala, who was on trial for crimes now punishable by 15 years to life in jail, may serve much less or no time at all.

Although FGM has been federally illegal since 1996, a case had never been brought to court before this one. The judge ruled that it is unconstitutionalfor Congress to regulate the procedure since it falls under local crime and has no impact on interstate commerce.

More than 200 million women and girls globally have undergone FGM, the majority of them before the age of 15, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More: The UK and US Just Signed a Major Pledge to Crack Down on FGM

While the practice is most prevalent in countries across Africa, it impacts many women and girls in Western countries too, including the US, the UK, and Canada.

An estimated 513,000 women and girls have experienced or are at risk of FGM in the US — and many of these women and girls live in one of the 23 states, where laws against the medically unnecessary practice have not been passed.

Even those who live in states where FGM is illegal are at risk since they can be transported across state lines for the procedure.

It's a giant step backward in the protection of women's and girls' rights," Shelby Quast, the Americas director of Equality Now, told the Detroit Free Press. "Especially when there is a global movement to eliminate this practice."

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