Every year in December, Pittsburghers write hundreds of letters on behalf people whose human rights are violated and in support of activists who defend those rights.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow us to host an in-person letter-writing event. However, our fight for human rights is needed as much as ever. So we are not giving up but just changing the modus operandi: You will write your letters at home, we will provide all the info, and there will be two communal online events, to learn about the cases and support each other in our letter writing goals. Follow these links:
Write for Human Rights materials and background information
Kick-off: Thursday, December 10, 7pm
Report and celebrate: Tuesday, December 15, 7pm
Members of Amnesty Intl. Group 39 met with City Council members Erika Strassburger and Corey O’Connor to present finding of the recent report from Amnesty Intl. USA on excessive use of force by police against African Americans and Black Lives Matter protesters. We discussed ways how the Pittsburgh Police could put more emphasis on deescalation, adopt international standards for use of force, and can be held accountable for abuse of their authority.
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.