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Petition Tag - humanitarian

1. Support for Euthanasia

I recently received a letter in the mail detailing that our MP Jim Hillyer intends to vote against legalizing euthanasia/assisted suicide. Being informed on this issue is of utmost importance as it will affect all, or at least most, Canadians at some point in our lives.

In the document mailed out Mr. Hillyer improperly defines euthanasia by claiming it is: “when someone other than the person to die makes the decision”. The person dying would often be a part of the decision-making process. Euthanasia should be defined as: a deliberate act undertaken by one person to relieve that person’s suffering where the act is the cause of death.

In Canada’s current system to allow a person to die we withhold treatment, meaning we take out the feeding tubes and hold the intravenous fluids until the infant or adult starves to death. This process can take days and the suffering endured is not to be taken lightly. There must be a more humane way to end a life; euthanasia must be made legal to assist with this process.

The emotional burden on the health care workers to witness a death like this, the economic burden on the health care system, as well as the suffering imposed upon those waiting for death to come are all immeasurable.

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2. Please help Vilma and the Serrano Family!

Vilma Serrano and her family need our help.

Vilma has end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and requires hemodialysis. According to doctors at Toronto General Hospital, a transplant from a living donor could improve her length and quality of life. Without a living donor however, there is a 10 year waiting period for a kidney from a deceased donor. Vilma has already been waiting 3 years.

Her friends and family have been able to locate a donor - a family friend from their native El Salvador. Despite the letters of support from Toronto General Hospital, their local MP Andrew Cash and the assurances on the part of the Serrano family that they will cover any and all expenses for the donor, he has been denied entry to Canada.

This decision is unjust and inhumane. Vilma Serrano, a Canadian Citizen deserves a chance to live. Her family needs our support.

Tell the Canadian government to allow the donor, Guillermo David Martell Novas into Canada in order to give Vilma and the Serrano's their life back!

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3. Stop violence against aid workers!

Aid workers, whether they be humanitarian responders or development specialists can face life-threatening risks when assisting others.

The threats are numerous and range from conflict, terrorism, kidnappings, assaults, travel accidents, exposure to disease, and many others. In the last 4 years over 800 aid workers were victims of security incidents.

The perceived politicization of aid has motivated individuals or groups to use violence and specifically target those who seek to help vulnerable populations.

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4. A Petition to Avoid an American Quagmire in Libya

The United States cannot afford a deepening quagmire in Libya. We call on President Obama to seek authorization from the U.S. Congress for his Libyan bombing campaign, including a mission statement limited to protecting Libyan civilians, a viable diplomatic strategy, an exact cost projection, and a timeline for the rapid withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops before the war becomes another quagmire.

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5. Pass Bill C-393 now and save lives

The acceleration of globalization of the market over the last
three decades, greatly facilitated by the expanding
influence of neoliberalism in international economic politics,
has advanced the internationalization of pharmaceutical
research and has influenced the ways in which it is market,
researched, and developed. In lieu of all the benefits they
bring, the pharmaceutical industry’s biggest companies
face a battle between the goals of corporate wealth and
public health. A small number of corporations have come to
dominate the research agenda and operate in a system
which the relentless pursuit of profit takes priority over
public good. While the majority world suffers because they
are deprived of essential medicines and die of neglected
diseases, people in the minority world still benefit. The
reasons for lack of access are diverse and complex, but in
many cases the high prices of drugs are a barrier to needed
treatments. Prohibitive drug prices are often the result of
strong intellectual property protection (‘t Hoen, 2002). The
devastating consequences of implementing patents on
pharmaceuticals and the influence of the market on
prioritizing research and development has led to a
perpetuation of global inequality.

Thousands die of preventable or neglected diseases like
malaria, HIV or tuberculosis every day (Albright et al.
2005). The reason why not enough attention is called to
the matter is because the people who are dying are too
poor to command it. If the same situation was found in
developed countries it would most likely be lead news every
day and they would be devoting serious resources to
finding a cure as fast as possible. As it remains, just 10%
of the world’s research and development on health is
targeted on diseases affecting 90% of the world’s people
and sadly, of more than a thousand new medicines
developed over the last 25 years, just 1% were specifically
for diseases of tropical countries (Albright et al. 2005).
Similarly, it is Western Europe, North America, and Japan
who make up 80% of the world’s pharmaceutical market
where as Africa is 1% (Robinson, 2001). The people who
need the most drugs are the people with the least access
to them. Therefore, they go without. Little money is to be
made in the developing countries that suffer from disease
pandemics. Therefore, they get neglected.

It is clear that the current state of modern medicine and
the pharmaceutical industry is not well. It needs an
accurate diagnosis and appropriate course of treatment.
The remedy to reversing the effects of the symptoms can
be achieved; it will be a challenge but it must not be
ignored.

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6. A Petition Against Four More Years of War

We object to the United States proposal for Afghanistan being presented this week to NATO ministers.

It is not a peace plan. It is a plan for four more years of combat by US and NATO forces.

It is not a plan for US or Western troop withdrawals but for further occupation. It is a proposal to gradually lessen Western casualties and lessen Western visibility while transitioning to Western-financed, Western-armed, and Western-advised Afghan army combat in a civil conflict. It is a plan for long-term Western military bases.

It is not a plan to stop al Qaeda or terrorists from attacking Western targets. There are virtually no al Qaeda left in Afghanistan. The most recent terrorist attacks on America have been inspired by our deepening wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In seeking to save our military reputation, we all but assure future threats against Western targets. CIA officials even describe Yemen’s al Qaeda cell as more dangerous than al Qaeda in Pakistan. [NYT, Oct. 18, 2010]

It pre-empts the Administration’s own proposal for a full “review” of Afghan policy in December. The timing instead is aimed at shoring up a faltering Western alliance.

The central proposal--to increase the scale of the Afghan army and police in order to prop up a corrupt Kabul regime--will never work without a parallel cease-fire, deep institutional reform, enforceable human rights, and peace-keeping arrangements with leadership by neutral countries.

The current expenditure of over $100 billion American dollars per year for Afghanistan could be spent on medical care for 15 million veterans, or 15 million college scholarships, or 1.8 million new teachers, or 72 million installations of renewable energy for American homes.

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7. Offset Student Debt through Volunteer Work

Society's young people are the ones who have the drive and energy to help protect our threatened habitats, species and communities. They also have the most interest as it is they who will inherit the mess that the rest of society has created, globally!!

Society should encourage them but, instead, we seem to be committed to lumbering them with huge student debt for when they start their careers and this having sacrificed so many years in lost wages as they worked hard to achieve their qualifications - something that society benefits from as it makes our economy more competitive and dynamic.

They will persevere. they will continue to study and to achieve and they will take on the extra debt into their careers and, they will be successful, BUT, it is not fair!

It is also damaging to global society as our young people more so than any others on the planet are the ones who are capable of going out into the world, volunteering with our NGOs, and making change- to threatened habitats, species and communities. They WANT to do this BUT their increasingly burdensome debt commitments are making it simply impossible.

Society should support them! What this petition proposes is that young people volunteering with our NGOs can earn credit for their time which is then offset against their student debt. In this way we make it possible for our young people to continue to help, 'save the planet', and, as importantly, we, as a society, demonstrate our commitment, support and respect to them.

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8. Stop sending money to Israel to kill American citizens

Israeli forces killed humanitarian activist Rachel Corrie who was trying to stop destruction of a doctors home in Palestine.

They killed humanitarian activist Furkan Dogan who was a member of the freedom flotilla and onboard the Mavi Marmara. He was killed in international waters near Gaza while attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

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9. CALL TO END AUSTRALIA’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Reasons are as outlined in the petition.

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10. Help Bring the children from Haiti

Manneau and Evena Jean-Charles have began the adoption process of Stevinson, Millard and Sabine Jean-CHarles in 2007 from there homeland of Haiti.

The adoption process has been completed from the Haitain side, since the Haitian earthquake, and now under the policy involving Humanitarian Parole for Haitian Orphans signed by Secretary Janet Napolitano on January 18th 2010, we have requested our children to come to the United States, and made request via Homeland Security and the USCIS and Haitian Adoptions. All paperwork is in order.

To date the children, one of which is injured with two broken legs, and all three homeless, living in the streets of Haiti, have yet to be delivered into our care and custody.

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11. Stop Eavesdropping On Citizens

There is a large number of persons within the United States that are being targeted by the same communities that are being paid by the taxpayers to ensure our civil and human rights issues.

Those agencies are using "eavesdropping" techniques and tracking persons throughout their daily lives and this is a direct violation of the United States civil and human rights policies. The techniques are called HUMINT, COMINT, ELINT, SOSUS, and, as I understand, there is yet other methods that have been developed that will get these criminals into your home and track you with every move, both in and out of your home.

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12. To Get Barack Obama to change his Mind about Michael Jackson

I am a UK citizen who is outraged about the fact Barack Obama will not consider giving Michael Jackson His Legacy title.

Even though 1993 was a tough time for Michael after the Chandler made false allegations about Michael i do believe the innocence from children is exceptional, and is solely and purely seen by alot of people and Michael loved these attributes gave "he loves the innocence in their playful smiles and wanted to bring healing in to this harsh and awful world we live in" Yet people still try to deceive their way in to Michael's Life and even in his death trying to claim the rights to something that they have no right to - Michael's property, dignity, pride, innocence, love and pure soul of which they had eventually destroyed a very gentle man.

In 2005 the same happened again only this time Michael was given the best gift any person could give him - Freedom from all haters and Bullshiters (tabloids) and found himself cleared of all charges despite a 40 years within the entertainment industry, and his good works as a fabulous humanitarian, Michael is still being betrayed and he should not have to endure such filth and ignorance from his fellow country men and people from all over the world too.

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13. Afghanistan - A Petition to Take Action Against the War

An escalation of troops to Afghanistan is pending.

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14. Heal The World Day

My name is Latonya Brown and I would like to introduce a resolution to the House of Representatives. Yesterday, we saw how the world came together in recognition of a legend. Michael Jackson has done so much for the world so much that Congressman Lee announced there's a resolution 600 that would name Michael Jackson A Humanitarian, LEGEND, and WORLD Icon.

Michael Jackson deserves a day of recognition for all of his humanitarian acts. I am no writer but I am a concerned fan and citizen. For years, people have misunderstood all that Michael Jackson was and is to so many. I think it's high time that he finally gets the respect that he truly deserves.



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15. Tamils fighting for freedom are not terrorists

Tamils fighting for freedom are not terrorists [ Ottawa Citizen Canada ] [ 20:07 GMT, Jun. 14, 2000 ]
By: Karen Parker

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, is not a " terrorist" organization, but rather an armed force in a war against the government of Sri Lanka. Characterization of the LTTE as a "Terrorist" organization is politically motivated, having no basis in law or fact.

There is a war in Sri Lanka. The LTTE are organized militarily, with a military commander and military chain of command. The LTTE uses traditional, modern military weaponry in its combat against the military forces of the government of Sri Lanka. The LTTE uses a variety of military tactics, including open warfare, raids or guerrilla warfare. The government armed forces use similar military means against the armed forces of the LTTE. Most armies in the past 200 years have utilized essentially the same tactics. The war in Sri Lanka may be characterized as a civil war or war of national liberation in the exercise of the right to self-determination. A civil war exists if there is armed conflict inside one country between government armed forces and at least one other force having an identifiable command and having sufficient control over territory to carry out "sustained" and "concerted" military action and the practical capacity to fulfill humanitarian law obligations. The LTTE has clearly met this test for more than 10 years.

A war of national liberation exists if armed conflict exists between the armed forces of a government against the armed forces of a people that has the right to self-determination. The war in Sri Lanka is a war of national liberation because Tamil people have the right to self-determination. This is because the Tamil people, the original inhabitants of the north and east of the island of Ceylon, had their own state complete and separate from the Sinhala state prior to colonization by the British. The Tamil people, primarily Hindu, and secondarily Christian and Muslim, speak their own language and have their own traditions and customs. The Sinhala people are primarily Buddhist, and secondarily Christian and their traditions and customs reflect that heritage.

With the forced unitary rule, first as a result of colonization and then under the post-colonial Sinhala majority rule, the Tamil people were increasingly threatened. In the late 1970s, after nearly 30 years of attempted peaceful resolution to profound differences, the Tamil people began forming armed defense forces. At present, Tamil forces are consolidated in the LTTE, which continues to defend Tamil areas in a war against the Sinhala government's armed forces, "home guards" and other armed entities.

If the war in Sri Lanka is a civil war, outside states are required to be neutral- a civil war is by definition an internal affair of a state. This is known as the duty of neutrality. If the war is a war of national liberation, outside states are required to support the side with the self-determination claim- the Tamil side. This is because of the jus cogens nature of the right to self-determination. This does not mean another state must provide direct aid to the Tamil armed force. However, the other states must not engage in any activity with the Sinhala government that in any way undermines the realization of self-determination by the Tamil people.

Both parties to the armed conflict on Ceylon violate the rules of armed conflict or humanitarian law. However, the mere fact that one side or the other violates humanitarian law norms does not deny either the rights or duties of combatant forces. Accordingly, the LTTE may not be called a "terrorist" organization because in the course of the armed conflict, some of its soldiers have violated the rules of armed conflict. In the same light the government cannot be called a "terrorist " state because some of its military operations have violated armed conflict rules. Neither side, of course can be considered to violate humanitarian law for carrying out military actions.

I have noted "condemnation" of the LTTE by the government and others for carrying out military operations not prohibited in humanitarian law. For example, the LTTE shot down number of airplanes and sank a number of ships of the Sri Lankan forces. These are not violations of humanitarian law and therefore are not "terrorist".

I do note, however, the rampant disregard of humanitarian rules by government forces in military operations against hospitals, schools, market places, churches and locations with historical and cultural significance to the Tamil people. I also note the difficulty in establishing the culpable party (ies) in situations where the LTTE has been accused by the government of killing civilians. This is not to say the LTTE has not resorted to killing civilians. However, the fact that the government accuses the LTTE does not mean the LTTE actually carried out the acts in question. The government's rejection of impartial, international fact-finding makes ascertaining the truth ever more difficult.

The international Court of Justice decided that all states have an obligation under Article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions to "ensure respect" for the Geneva Conventions even when not directly or indirectly involved in a conflict. From my point of view, this requirement mandates at least that the international community insist that the government of Sri Lanka allow both humanitarian reliefs to all victims of the conflict and international, impartial fact-finding to take place

Karen Parker, a lawyer specializing in international law and humanitarian rights, has testified on the Tamil conflict before the United Nations and the U.S. Congress. She lives in San Francisco.

Pg:A19 :: Wednesday 14th, 2000

Courtesy : Ottawa Citizen

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16. Say "no" to sanctions and War Against Iraq

In Iraq, infant and child mortality has doubled in the past 12 years - 1 in 5 children in south and central Iraq are chronically malnourished - Iraqi hospitals in areas heavily bombed by US and UK planes during the Gulf War are full of children dying from a cancer - epidemic and many babies are born with congenital malformations. The Iraqi national literacy rate has dropped 22% over the past 12 years There continues to be regular bombing of Iraq by the US and UK - wounding and killing Iraqi citizens.

When asked whether the death of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth the price of implementing sanctions, the US Ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, said "it was worth the price". We campaign as a women-only group in order to create a space in which women, from all nationalities, feel comfortable expressing themselves and acting together. The economic sanctions which affect ordinary Iraqis must be separated from diplomatic and military sanctions against the regime War is not the way to fight terrorism on a global scale, nor is it the way to improve the plight of the Iraqi people. Opposing sanctions is not the same as supporting the Iraqi regime - Opposing sanctions is supporting the Iraqi people 'If people could hear and see what is being done in their names in Iraq, they would be outraged. But they don't, so it continues.' -- John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor 12 years ago Iraq was a rapidly modernising state. It had good health care and education, modern tele-communications, water treatment and electricity systems. But it also had a dictatorial, oppressive regime which the Iraqi people neither elected nor were able to remove from power. Economic, military and political sanctions were imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 - 'the most comprehensive in history' according to a US State Department official. 12 years later they are still in place. Sanctions, far from weakening the government, have helped it to keep control over an exhausted and desperate population. Saddam Hussein is still in power and is still carrying out massive human rights violations. Iraq is now one of the least developed, most damaged countries in the world. At least half a million children under 5 have died because of economic sanctions and countless others continue to suffer. Goods have been scarce, prices high and it is ordinary people who are suffering most. Disease, child mortality and malnutrition are rocketing because food, essential medicines and clean water are often unavailable or unaffordable. The UN has recently accepted a new so-called 'smart sanctions' proposal sponsored by the US and the UK. 'Smart sanctions' may allow more goods into the country, but will do nothing to increase the purchasing power of ordinary people or provide the means to reconstruct the country's shattered infrastructure. In emphasising the two most import causes of the humanitarian crisis - poverty and poor public infrastructure - Tun Myat, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq has said: 'No matter how much you try and modify (the existing UN humanitarian programme) it is not designed for - and it will never be - a substitute for normal economic activity... I consider water and sanitation to be the biggest killer of children in this country." Without resources or spare parts, roads, power plants and sewage works, many of which were targeted in the Gulf War, remain unrepaired and have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of Iraqi people. With the decline in normal economic activity, there has been a huge increase in poverty, high unemployment and very low salaries. Many people are so poor that they have to sell part of the food ration - the only income they receive. Sanctions have also torn at the social fabric of Iraqi life, creating an increase in violent crime, divorce and prostitution. Women are risking backstreet abortions or abandoning their babies because they know they won't be able to feed them and there has been an increase in street children. Iraq has also suffered an intellectual embargo. For 12 years no educational or research materials have been allowed in and about four million Iraqis have fled, creating a terrifying brain drain. Participation in education at all levels has declined and the illiteracy rate has risen sharply. The 1991 Gulf War has left a fatal legacy of depleted uranium carried in the warheads of missiles released during the blanket bombing in the south of Iraq. It will cost a fortune to clear up and even then it will be too late for the many Iraqi children suffering from leukaemia and related cancers.

Many children are born with malformations so severe that they do not live. Several high-ranking UK officials working in the country have resigned in protest at this misguided policy. 'We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral.' Dennis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. And the bombing raids continue-- The US, supported by
Britain, is now threatening to extend the 'war on terrorism' to Iraq. Inevitably, any military action will result in large civilian casualties and further damage and disruption to the fragile infrastructure and food distribution systems is likely to result in a humanitarian catastrophe. It's time to stop punishing the ordinary Iraqi people. -- Act Together. Women Against Sanctions in Iraq

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