To hold the US accountable to its own rhetoric about democracy and human rights, Rep. Raul Grijalva has introduced the Arms Sales Responsibility Act, which would prohibit arms sales if there is a serious risk they would be used in human rights abuse.
Human rights must be universal, not something people deserve based on how the US feels about their government. Take action below to tell your representative to cosponsor the Arms Sales Responsibility Act today.
Did you know that Yahoo! has a Business & Human Rights Program? Today they hosted a Change Your World Summit in Washington, D.C.—a follow up to their first Summit in Cairo—dedicated to Women, Technology and Social/Digital Media. I showed up to see what’s new in the discussion on issues that are very much part of the work of social documentary filmmakers.
Women are still reticent to own their own expertise. That’s one of the motivations for the director of Business & Human Rights at Yahoo! Inc.. Ebele Okobi to host this event. In addition to robust panels, the Summit includes a session of the The Op Ed Project, “a social venture founded to increase the range and quality of ideas we hear in the world” by helping train women to communicate for the spread of influence and ideas. Women in social documentary film can certainly identify with the need.
Scores of Kenyans living with HIV sang and chanted outside a hotel in central Nairobi on Wednesday, demanding that $500m of unspent funds from the US government’s Aids programme be freed to provide life-saving antiretroviral treatment in Kenya.
The protesters’ shouts were meant to reach the ears of US officials, including ambassador Scott Gration and the country head of the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief(Pepfar), who were attending a conference at the hotel with Kenyan health officials. Protesters also waved placards featuring pictures of President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan.
The rally, organised by local and US-based activists, was called after it was revealed that about one-third of a $1.46bn pipeline backlog of Pepfar funds, earmarked for Kenya, had not been spent. Pepfar officials in the US said had remained unspent because of inefficient bureaucracies and reductions in the cost of Aids treatment, among other factors.
“It’s a tragedy that money goes unused while Kenyans with HIV get sick and die because they don’t receive treatment,” said Jacque Wambui, of Health Global Access Project (Gap) Kenya, the local branch of a US-based Aids and human rights activist group.
The protesters shouted: “Treatment is prevention, treat a million now”, a reference to a government commitment to double the number of Kenyans on antiretroviral treatment (Art) by 2015. That pledge was made at the same time as Obama vowed to raise the number of people on Art globally to 6 million by 2013.