Get Active

Get Active

Activists don't just fight for themselves - they want to make the world a better place. There are plenty of causes outside of Heathrow that are worthy of your efforts. For example you might want to campaign for better access to cancer treatment in Britain or lobby to end torture of prisoners in Sudan of the murder of trade unionists in Columbia. It all depends on what you feel strongly about. Activists speak up for those whose voices are not heard. Below are a few campaigns that you may want to get involved in -

UK Uncut

Many people believe that the coalition governments cuts to jobs and services in the public sector will hit the poor hardest whilst sparing those who caused the recession from bearing their share of the financial cost of recovering the UK economy. MP for Slough Fiona MacTaggart has challenged the government on the grounds that the cuts and tax rises that they are introducing will have 5 times the impact on women that on men.

This policy is also far from guaranteed to benefit the economy in the way intended, as hundreds of thousands will be thrown out of work, be forced to claim benefits and reduce the tax revenue to the treasury. Some countries have actually increased public spending and recruitment in their public sectors to generate jobs, spending and a higher proportion of working taxpayers.

UK Uncut has highlighted a number of incredible decisions by the coalition to apparently allow giant corporations to avoid paying their tax liabilities to the treasury. It is claimed that Vodafone had a six billion tax bill waived - revenue that could have been far better used to protect jobs, education and services. Boots the chemists was also alleged to have been allowed to escape most of its tax payments by changing the address of its head office to a post office box in Switzerland.

Find out more about UK Uncuts campaigns to get the big corporations to pay their full tax bills below.

Unite is carrying out its own campaign to stop the destruction of public services across Britain in a march in London on March 26th 2011.  See More details will be announced shortly on Unite's main website.

The government's cuts of 20% to certain benefits that will impact on groups such as the disabled may be challenged through human rights legislation. The BBC reports that disabled people losing their mobility allowances may become prisoners in their own homes, which will deny them the dignity and quality of life that is guaranteed in the Human Rights Act.

General Elections in Burma

I was recently contacted by Amnesty International, an organisation I have contributed small donations to for the past two decades regarding the forthcoming General Elections in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. This is the first such election in 20 years, with the military backed regime clinging on to power long after its constitution allows. Opposition leaders and party members have been banned from standing for election. Over 2,000 people who have peacefully objected to the government's policies have been held in prison for 3 years. Other demonstrators were killed by the military at the time and another 74 simply disappeared. If any individuals or Unite branches wish to indicate support, then please contact Amnesty at their web site, which can be reached through the link below. Amnesty are lobbying the European Parliament next month for action to monitor that the elections are held fairly and to put political pressure on the Myanmar government to allow opposition members to be allowed to take part. J.P.

The Miami 5 - Campaign for Justice

Unite is backing the campaign to bring visiting rights to the families of the Miami Five who have been imprisoned for ten years in the United States for attempting to protect their homeland from terrorist attacks.

October 2009 update: A US judge scrapped the life sentence of Cuban anti-terror agent Antonio Guerrero this month, but resentenced him to 21 years plus 10 months in jail, two years more than was agreed by the defence and prosecution teams at his resentencing hearing. Mr Guerrero will walk free in about seven years, counting time served since his 1998 arrest and time off for good behaviour. The international campaign to free the Miami 5, supported by Unite, continues to demand the freedom of the Miami 5 and calls for a minimum of visiting rights to the families of the Miami Five who have been imprisoned for more than decade.

June 2009 update: Unite's film on the Miami 5 was submitted to the Irish Film Institute Stranger than Fiction Documentary Film Festival that took place from the 18th - 21st June in Dublin.

On 27 May 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a report by its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stating its opinions on the facts and circumstances of the case and calling upon the US government to remedy the situation.[30] Among the report's criticisms of the trial and sentences, section 29 states:

29. The Working Group notes that it arises from the facts and circumstances in which the trial took place and from the nature of the charges and the harsh sentences handed down to the accused that the trial did not take place in the climate of objectivity and impartiality that is required in order to conform to the standards of a fair trial as defined in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States of America is a party.

Find out more about the Miami 5 at -

Boycott Coke (Coca Cola) until the company respects the human rights of its workers

Coke is arguably the most famous brand name in the world. But it has a very questionable attitude to employment practices abroad.

Researchers have made a number of allegations against the company, including supporting the use of child labour, union busting and even obstructing the investigation into the murders of a number of trade unionists at factories it controls through subsidiaries over which it exerts a high level of control.

Find out more about why a number of activists think that we should be boycotting Coke at -

Stop Torture - Close Guantanamo Bay and never let this happen again

The term "National Security" has been used time and time again to prevent people the world over from getting basic human rights that are guaranteed under the United Nations Universal Declaration to which most countries are signatories. But where does it all end?

It is bad enough when a small country with limited resources and political instability denies individuals the right to a fair trial or uses "cruel and unusual punishment" or "enhanced interrogation techniques." But when the richest country in the world stoops to such measures and the United Kingdom fails to protest or even acts as an accomplice, there is a real danger that our society is under threat from the lack of a moral backbone.

Today it's happening to a bunch of strangers, tomorrow - who knows - it could be a friend, a family member or even you.

Amnesty International has campaigned since 1961 for an end to the abuse of human rights and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its efforts to end torture.

End Violence against Women

The United Nations has designated the 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Sexual harassment, assaults, domestic violence and rape are only a fraction of the problems that the world's women have to face on a daily basis. A 2008 report in the Daily Telegraph stated that a survey of Russian women reported that 100% had been sexually harassed at work, nearly a third had had sex with their boss because they felt it was necessary to their careers and 7% had been raped by their boss. The article reported that their had only been 2 successful court cases by a woman bringing a claim of sexual harassment against her employer in Russia.

There is no doubt that the situation id better in the UK - but it is still not acceptable. Women are far more likely to be the victims of sexual assaults and men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators. From Amnesty International - "In poor and rich countries alike, women who are raped or abused have little chance of seeing their attackers brought to justice," said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International. "It is shocking that in the 21st century with so much legislation designed to ensure women's equality, that virtually every government fails to protect women or to ensure that their abusers are held to account for their crimes."

Find out more -

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