Tag Archives: human rights

10 December 2020

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With help from my friends, today’s playlist contained 72 songs in honor of the anniversary.
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
Give Peace A Chance – Aerosmith Feat. Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars
Rise Up – Andra Day
Just One Candle (Live) – Abraham Jam
Masters Of War – Eddie Vedder & Mike McCready
Ella’s Song – Sweet Honey In the Rock
Victor Jara’s Hands – Calexico
Took The Children Away – Archie Roach
This Land – Gary Clark Jr.
Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Mothers Of The Disappeared – U2
Respect – Aretha Franklin
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil
Blowin’ In The Wind – Stevie Wonder
Dead Man Walkin’ – Bruce Springsteen
Not In My Name – John McCutcheon
Ballad for Americans – Paul Robeson
This Is America – Childish Gambino
Luka – Suzanne Vega
1 2 3 – Indigo Girls
Lives In the Balance – Richie Havens
Wonder – Natalie Merchant
Is This the World We Created…? – Queen
Ring Them Bells – Natasha Bedingfield
Solidarity Forever – Pete Seeger
You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind) – Buffy Sainte-Marie & Tanya Tagaq
Wake Up – Rage Against the Machine
Hope – David LaMotte
The Times They Are A Changin’ – Keb’ Mo’
Jerusalem 3:56 Steve Earle
Libertad – Los Miserables
Freedom – Beyoncé (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
No Human Is Illegal – The Wakes
Which Side Are You On? – The Freedom Singers
Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) – Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger
If I Had a Hammer – Odetta
Redemption Song – Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer
Everyday People – Sly & The Family Stone
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman
Imagine – Willie Nelson
One (Hu)’man One Vote – Johnny Clegg & Savuka
The Dreamer – Jackson Browne (feat. Los Cenzontles)
Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley & The Wailers
Weary Mothers (People Union 1) – Joan Baez
When The Ship Comes In – Marcus Carl Franklin
Know Your Rights – The Clash
Among the Believers – Little Steven
Fight the Power – Public Enemy 20th
White Man’s World – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
The Music Of Healing – Tommy Sands (With Pete Seeger)
Crowded Table – The Highwomen
Canticle of the Turning – Princeton Seminary Choir
The Cellist of Sarajevo – A Lament in Rondo Form for Solo ‘Cello, Op. 12 – Yo-Yo Ma
Our Precious Mothers – Bear Fox
Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday
This Land Is Your Land – Sharon Jones & The Dap-King
American Remains – Highwaymen
Call It Democracy – Bruce Cockburn
We Will Not Stop – Tom Chapin (feat. The Chapin Sisters)
Woke Up This Morning – Mary D Williams Blood
Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie
Dear Mr. President – P!nk (feat. Indigo Girls)
Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down – Eric Bibb
Trail Of Freedom – Bill Miller
Stimela – Hugh Masekela
Treaties – Frank Waln
Wavin’ Flag – K’naan
Hallowed Be Thy Name – Iron Maiden
No Knock – Gil Scott-Heron
Wedding March – Walter Rinaldi
How Can I Keep From Singing – Eva Cassidy

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, United Nations

Human Rights Day, Seventy Years On


This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

The Declaration, and the commitment of UN Member States to affirm and implement its principles, has resulted in the dignity of people uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid in the treaty regime built upon the Declaration. It is both an aspirational, visionary document and a set of standards that permeates international law.

The Declaration articulates a vision that has been built upon and used to extend rights and protect people around the globe. In a world where exploitation and violation are so strong, we can be grateful for the many ways in which the Declaration has had an impact. Its successes are many.

At the same time, violations of international law and human dignity are perpetrated in many countries. In a report released on Friday, a team of experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council noted that:

Recent memory is replete with multiple examples of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Impunity reigns supreme in many countries undergoing conflicts or political upheavals, encouraged by narrow national objectives, geopolitics and political impasse at the United Nations Security Council.

The report expressed concern that an “upsurge of nationalism and xenophobia seen in countries of asylum, at a time of rising forced-migration” is “reversing the gains of international humanitarian cooperation of the last 70 years.”

UN News notes that :In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, the UN is urging people everywhere to “Stand Up for Human Rights”.

One way to do that is to  choose a place in the world where human rights are abused (including in the United States of America) and become informed. Take one action today that affirms and celebrates the worth and dignity and rights of others.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Death Penalty, Human Rights, United Nations

Walk for Congo with CongoSwim

CongoSwim FLYER 8.5 x 11 JPEGIn conjunction with Orange Days to end violence against women and girls, CongoSwim brings together Presbyterians and people of good will to witness and raise funds to

In solidarity with the Walk for Congo in Oakland, CA, I will walk 5k (a little over 3 miles) with family members in Cleveland Heights August 23rd. If you are in town and would like to walk with us, let me know. In support of my participation, please consider the below ways to support groups working for lasting peace and an end to violence against women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  1. Pray.  Lift up all families and leaders in Congo.
  2. Advocate. One of the top requests from community leaders in Congo is for the full implementation of an existing US law regarding how the US extends military aid within the region. Click HERE to order a postcard to mail to Secretary of State Kerry.  The postcards have already helped create a change in the way the U.S. officials have chosen recent policy for Congo. Details about the US law are in the 30 minute documentary Crisis in the Congo which you can watch on the VIDEOS page.
  3. Donate. Click the ‘Donate’ button below to give what you can.  You may specify my name as the participant you are supporting.  Details about the groups we are raising funds for are on the Who We Support page.  Thank you!


If you prefer to give by check, make it payable to Friends of the Congo and put CongoSwim and my name in the memo line.  Mail your check  to:

Friends of the Congo
1629 K St., NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
See you along the Trail

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Filed under Exercise, Family, Friends

Japanese-American Remembrance Day

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which set in motion the forced evacuation and incarceration of many thousands of loyal United States citizens solely by reason of their Japanese ancestry.

I have read about the internment of Japanese-Americans. I have seen films and videos. I look forward to Allegiance: A New American Musical.

Yet as Japanese-American Remembrance Day draws to a close, I am reminded that nothing carries the power of speaking with people who experienced internment.

I give thanks for the grace and courage of the Rev. Dan Ogata, Alice Nishi, and Dave Sugiuchi who shared their stories with me. I give thanks for the grace and courage of the people I never met who endured imprisonment in their own land.

I pray my memories will move me to honor the ideals on which the United States is founded and to work for human rights for all people.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Enforce the law!

Call on President Obama to enforce U.S. legislation related to the use of children as soldiers!

The U.S. Child Soldier Prevention Act addresses the issue of children in situations of armed conflict. The act seeks encourage governments to disarm, demobilize and rehabilitate children who have been used as soldiers by government forces and government-supported militias.

Using the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights as a barometer, this bill would place limits on the provision of U.S. International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing and other defense-related assistance in our foreign operations programs for countries in violation of the bill’s standards.

However, this act has been waived in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). President Obama could take steps to prohibit military assistance to the DRC until the government meets specific benchmarks.  These benchmarks should include: 1) demonstrating that it no longer recruits child soldiers; 2) showing concrete progress in demobilizing or releasing children from existing forces; and 3)engaging in credible efforts to render persons suspected of recruiting child soldiers to justice.

Call on President Obama to enforce U.S. legislation related to the use of children as soldiers!

I did. Will you?

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Human Rights

Commission on the Status of Women


 Between 2,000 and 4,000 women. And a few men.

Those will be my companions for the next two weeks.

Within that group, my circle will likely focus on 40 or so Presbyterians and some of our ecumenical partners..

The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (“CSW” or “the Commission”) begins on Monday, February 27.

For Presbyterian participants things started last night with an orientation at the Church of the Covenant.

The CSW is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Comprised of representatives of 45 UN Member States, the Commission gathers every year at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

There are a number of places to follow the CSW including Swords into Plowshares where I blog for my work with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

Watch the plenary sessions of the Commission on UN Webcast.

Other sources of information include:

This morning we will take part in an orientation with our partners in Ecumenical Women.

Thanks to Grace Bickers who volunteers at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for the picture.


Filed under Human Rights, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

I signed. Will you?

The international movement to end the death penalty grows. I signed a petition this morning from the World Coalition against the Death Penalty.

Amnesty International notes that in 2010 (the last year for which they have published records):

23 countries carried out executions and 67 imposed death sentences in 2010. Methods of execution in 2010 included beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and shooting.

Amnesty’s report “Death Sentences and Executions 2010” notes:

Bahrain (1), Bangladesh (9+), Belarus (2), Botswana (1), China (1000s), Egypt (4), Equatorial Guinea (4), Iran
(252+), Iraq (1+), Japan (2), Libya (18+), Malaysia (1+), North Korea (60+), the Palestinian Authority (5),
Saudi Arabia (27+), Singapore (+), Somalia (8+), Sudan (6+), Syria (17+), Taiwan (4), United States of
America (46), Viet Nam (+), Yemen (53+).

The petition from the World Coalition against the Death Penalty states:

139 nations have already abolished the death penalty. In December 2012, the United Nations’ General Assembly will vote on a resolution calling for a worldwide halt to its use.

We, the undersigned, in recognition of the five million people who signed the moratorium petition that was handed to the United Nations’ General Assembly in 2007, promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in collaboration with Amnesty International and other organizations all over the world, renew the call for a worldwide moratorium on sentences and executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty worldwide in the belief that this penalty is inhumane:

* Whatever the method of execution, there is no humane way to kill
* Whatever the country, death row is inhumane
* Whatever the length, awaiting death dehumanizes people sentenced to death

We welcome the strong progress already made towards a global end to capital punishment and acknowledge that 139 nations have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

For the 4th vote of the United Nations General Assembly on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, to be held in December 2012, we, the undersigned, call on all countries to support the resolution and all those which retain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on its use, with a view to abolishing this inhumane practice altogether!

I signed. Will you?

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Human Rights

Nine years of resistance

Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon went to President Calderón of Mexico on behalf of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo.

For more than nine years, these two courageous women have taken on the military and authorities to demand justice after soldiers raped them in 2002. Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo are Indigenous Me’phaa (Tlapaneca) women. Amnesty International notes that:

Indigenous women in Mexico who are raped rarely file a complaint due to cultural, economic and social barriers. Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo have shown courage in reporting their ordeals and have followed up their cases in national and international courts. The women and their families have faced threats as their battle for justice continues.

Guided by Amnesty International’s sample letter, I urge President Calderón to ensure a swift, full and impartial investigation into the rape Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú. This investigation should take place in civilian courts as should all cases of human rights violations by military personnel.

Sign up to participate in the Write-a-thon.

Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

See you along the Trail.

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Freedom of expression and association for student leaders

Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon focused on two student leaders in Iran: Majid Tavakkoli and Behareh Hedayat. Amnesty reports that they have been imprisoned simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Amnesty notes:

Majid Tavakkoli was arrested and reportedly beaten, after speaking at a university rally in Tehran to mark National Student Day in December 2009.  Behareh Hedayat was arrested later that same month after a video recording of a speech she gave was widely circulated on the internet.

The letter asked for the immediate and unconditional release of Majid Tavakkoli and Behareh Hedayat. It further asked that they should receive access to adequate medical care, including assessment and treatment by an independent specialist outside of prison if necessary. Finally it reminded the Head of Iran’s judiciary of the country’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Sign up to participate in the Write-a-thon.

Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Human Rights

Freedom of expression in Paupua province

English: Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosev...

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon addressed the situation of Filep Karma, who was arrested in December 2004 for his participation in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony in Papua province of Indonesia. Karma is serving a 15-year sentence on charges of treason.  Amnesty International considers him to be prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

My letter asked Amir Syamsuddin, Indonesia’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights to release Filep Karma and to make a public commitment that there will be no further arrests of individuals purely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, assembly, or association.  It included a request that the Minister ensures that laws concerning “rebellion” (Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code) are not used against people who have engaged only in peaceful activities. The request was rooted in the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate referenda, independence, or other political solutions.

Sign up to participate in the Write-a-thon.

Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Human Rights

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