Human rights still need defending during COVID-19 lockdown. But how do we reach our fellow citizens?
One possibility are sidewalk chalk actions – with a simple message and a web link where one can find phone numbers to call and more information on the issue.
Although we are physically distant at the moment, we are more united than ever. We may be stuck inside, but we can continue advocating for human rights.
Millions of people are already suffering from the catastrophic effects of extreme disasters exacerbated by climate change – from prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa to devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. And its effects will continue to grow and worsen over time, creating ruin for current and future generations. This is why the failure of governments to act on climate change in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence may well be the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history.
Human rights are intimately linked with climate change because of its devastating effect on not just the environment but our own wellbeing. In addition to threatening our very existence, climate change is having harmful impacts on our rights to life, health, food, water, housing and livelihoods.
Amnesty is calling for governments to:
- Do everything they can to help stop the global temperature rising by more than 1.5°C.
- Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest. Richer countries should do this faster. By 2030, global emissions must be half as much as they were in 2010.
- Stop using fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) as quickly as possible.
- Make sure that climate action is done in a way that does not violate anyone’s human rights, and reduces rather than increases inequality
- Make sure everyone, in particularly those affected by climate change or the transition to a fossil-free economy, is properly informed about what is happening and is able to participate in decisions about their futures.
- Work together to fairly share the burden of climate change – richer countries must help others.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are unable to hold group meetings at the First Unitarian Church. Instead, Group 39 is planning to conduct online meetings via Zoom. To get the connection info, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For human rights actions related to COVID-19, there are some excellent resources assembled by Amnesty Intl USA.
Join us on Wednesday, March 4, 7:30pm at Sixth Presbyterian Church (1688 Murray Ave) to hear Juan Melendez tell his moving story of injustice, hope, and survival!
Juan Roberto Melendez spent seven-teen years, eight months, and one day on Florida’s death row for a crime he did not commit. Upon his release on January 3, 2002, he became the 99th death row prisoner in the United States to be released with evidence of innocence since 1973. Beyond the death penalty, Mr. Melendez’s story is an energizing and inspiring story of hope and survival that resonates with people all across the political and socio-economic spectrum, inspiring many to activism and public service.
Co-sponsored by Amnesty International Pittsburgh, Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and Sixth Presbyterian Church