Posts Tagged ‘violence against women’

New Light on Haiti

SO I recently read the horrifying facts about how women and girls are being attacked and raped in alarming numbers in and around the tent villages where displaced Haitians are living post-earthquake. Security and safety are dire with no power, after dark, it is simply unsafe to be out, which means women just headed to a latrine are in danger. An organization called EarthSpark is working to mobilize delivery of over 20,000 lamps to the camps to make them more safe for all, in addition to other clean and sustainable energy projects around the world. Just lighting the way can bring more security to these tough conditions.

In that same vein, Kris Allen, winner of American Idol last year, was the figurehead of a program via Idol Gives Back to which viewers donated to provide new solar street lamps for the Haitian camps. More than $250,000 was raised for the United Nations Foundation during the special AMERICAN IDOL episode in February of this year, and then Allen traveled to Haiti with UN representatives. The UN Foundation has granted the money to the United Nations Population Fund to provide energy efficient street lights, as well as emergency health kits to help pregnant women deliver their babies safely when they can’t reach a hospital or clinic or don’t have access to those facilities.

Since the devastating earthquake, which killed an estimated 200,000 Haitians, the United Nations Foundation has raised nearly $4 million for relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. The funds were  to help provide food, medicine, water, and shelter immediately following the earthquake, to the United Nations Development Program for their Cash-for-Work Program (to offer Haitians temporary jobs with necessary demolition and rubble removal work), and to the UN Population Fund for maternal health kits. The solar street lights are an additional arm of the programs.

Your support of EarthSpark, Idol Gives Back, and the UN Foundation will go farther than you think–so use those links.

Act Now to Protect Indigenous Women

The senate just passed an incredibly important act, H.R. 725,also known as the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act of 2010. While arts and crafts may not seem like a matter of life and death (except, of course, for the artisans–but that’s a different issue), attached to the act were most of the provisions of the “Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009,” and that’s where it gets monumental. Because of tribal law, sovereign nation status, and differing rules between tribal communities, a jurisdictional tangle and loophole has historically allowed for violent crime against indigenous women to go unpunished. Sexual assault and violence against Native American and Alaska women was not against the law!

The Tribal Law and Order Act represents an important step forward in combating violence against Native American women.  Violence that is an ongoing violation of Native American and Alaska Native women’s most fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Amnesty International detailed this violence in a 2007 report entitled Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.  The report revealed shocking statistics of violence such as the fact that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than two and a half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the United States in general.

But the victory is not yet complete!

The Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act must now pass the House with the Tribal Law and Order provisions attached. Take action now to let your Member of Congress know that you support passage of H.R. 725, the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendment Act, which includes the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009!

To find out who your Representative is, go to and enter your ZIP code.

Keep an eye out for an online action you can take – soon to be posted to the Amnesty International Maze of Injustice web page…and support Amnesty International while you’re there.