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Archive for the ‘African Diaspora’ Category

GTAH and UAC Building Bridges Across Boundaries Award Luncheon

December 20th, 2015

         Give Them A Hand Foundation and United African Congress

Building Bridges Across Boundaries

Awards Luncheon

The Friars Club, 16 December 2015

 

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Give Them a Hand Foundation (GTAH) and partnering organization, United African Congress (UAC), held their first Building Bridges Across Boundaries Awards at the famous and prestigious Friars Club in Manhattan on 16 December 2015. These awards are given to individuals within the Diplomatic Community who have worked to bring peoples of all different races, ethnic groups, faiths, cultures and national origins together in pursuit of harmonious co-existence.

As 2015 was the first year of the International Decade for People of African Descent, GTAH and UAC decided to make these awards to individuals who have worked to bring the peoples of the African Diaspora together and to help bring about a greater understanding and appreciation of a shared heritage.  The celebration was fast-moving and interesting, moderated by Gordon Tapper. Introductory remarks were offered by Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein, and closing thanks by Sidique Wai.

The recipients of the 2015 awards were Ambassador Tete Antonio, Permanent Observer of the African Union Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Jean-Francis Zinsou of the Republic of Benin, Ambassador Anatolia Mba of Equatorial Guinea and Ambassador Tekeda Alemu of Ethiopia.  Since Ambassador Mba was unable to attend, H.E. Miss Isabelle Sima Abvomo, Chargé d’Affaires at the Equatorial Guinea Mission to the United Nations, accepted the award on his behalf.

In accepting his award, Ambassador Zinsou spoke about his role in the recently concluded discussions in the important Paris Conference on climate change, giving some inside information on the behind the scenes give-and-take which resulted in the positive decisions. Dr Judy Kuriansky, co-sponsor of the event and Friars Club host, showed a video from her visit to Sierra Leone during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic which affected Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Also speaking during the programme were Dr Edmund Bourke, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and father of Samantha Power, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Honorable Patricia Gatling, Former Commissioner of Human Rights in New York City; Eric Edwards who has the largest private collection of African artifacts in the United States; Gary Schulze, Paramount Chief in Sierra Leone; Milton Allimadi, Publisher and Editor of the Black Star News; Richard Lue, Director of Marketing at VP Records; Jabati Wai, UAC member; and Sapna Lal, GTAH officer.

This very successful event was organized by Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein, Chairman of United African Congress, Sidique Wai, president of UAC and Gordon Tapper, Founder and Chairman of GTAH. Dr Judy Kuriansky, Main UN representative, International Association of Applied Psychology and member of the Friars Club, was a key organizer of the event and made possible the use of space at the Friars Club.

  Luncheon Programme

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Benefit Event for African Centre in Kiev, Ukraine

June 14th, 2014

30 May 2014     GTAH, UAC and Black Star News held a Benefit and Discussion Event for the African Centre in Kiev in response to its plea for assistance to aid the people of African descent who were experiencing extreme economic hardship and hostility from racist groups targeting them during the civil unrest in Ukraine in 2014.

African Ctr May 2014 FINAL flyer

December 2013: GTAH and UAC present letter to UN High Commission for Human Rights protesting mistreatment of Haitians in Dominican Republic

March 1st, 2014

 

Photo of GTAH and UAC at the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to deliver letter protesting the mistreatment of Haitians and persons born in  the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent by the Government of the Dominican Republic

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Give Them A Hand Foundation and United African Congress meet with the UNHCHR in December 2013 to present a letter from them protesting the mistreatment in the Dominican Republic of Haitians and persons of Haitian descent by the Government of the Dominican Republic.  Shortly after this letter was presented and forwarded to the Human Rights Council that was meeting in Geneva, the Government of DR suspended its deportation programme.  However, this suspension lasted for only a short period of time and the Government is now back to driving thousands of these persons out of the country in violation of their human rights and civil rights and creating unhealthy and unsanitary refugee conditions on the border between the two countries. It’s time that the world stops looking the other way and boycott the DR tourist industry until there is a change in its behaviour.

 

LETTER FROM GTAH/UAC TO UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:

December 16, 2013

HE Ivan Simonovic Assistant Secretary General OHCHR in New York
UN Headquarters
New York NY 10017

Re: Citizens of the Dominican Republic of Haitian Ancestry

Your Excellency,

“All victims of human rights abuse should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard to action.” Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.

The ruling of the High Court of the Dominican Republic on September 23, 2013 stripping Dominicans of Haitian decent of their citizenship rights has rendered an estimated quarter million of them suddenly stateless. This latest outrage follows a long history of discrimination against Haitians in the Dominican Republic. In 1912, the government passed laws restricting the number of black-skinned people who could enter the country. In a 5-day orgy of killing in October 1937, the Dominican Dictator Trujillo massacred an estimated 20-30 thousand Haitians to “cleanse the border”as he put it. This crime against humanity went unpunished. His successor, Balaguer, had said that the presence of Haitians would “contaminate Dominican blood” and in 1983, he made the racist remark that Haitians “multiply with the rapidity that is almost comparable to vegetable species.” It is against this historical backdrop that the current shameful court ruling should be viewed. The ruling is all the more egregious as it makes the law retroactive to 1929, thus putting the lives of several generations of Dominicans of Haitian decent in jeopardy. This ruling goes against all acceptable norms and standards of civilized behavior and violates almost every article of the UN Universal Declaration of Human rights.

Widespread incidents of abuse, killings and deportation of Haitians without due process since the court ruling have been reported by media outlets. This is a matter of the utmost urgency for the UN Human Rights Commission to address, lest we become yet again helpless witnesses to a human tragedy as history of the plight of Haitians in the Dominican Republic repeats itself. This is the time for the Commission to use its offices as a ‘springboard to action’ as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon implored the UN Human Rights Council.

As immigrants of people of African descent, other people of color and citizens of the United States, we cannot remain silent and become passive observers to this latest atrocity which is an affront to the world community and a flagrant violation of international law.

We therefore call on the UN Human Rights Commission to put the Dominican Republic on notice that it is violating international law and should therefore immediately cease the implementation of this repugnant and reprehensible law.

Failing compliance with the UN demand, the Commission should recommend immediate action by the Security Council to take further actions such as sanctions and bringing the Dominican Republic to the international court if need be, to answer for its behavior that is not acceptable under international law in the 21st century.

We urge the Commission to demand of the Dominican Republic that the citizenship rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent be immediately restored and proper state protection be given to the undocumented migrant workers while humane and just solutions are sought in consultation with the UN and the Haitian Government.

We further urge the Commission to monitor compliance by the Dominican Republic in implementing the UN recommendations expeditiously.

We, as civil society, will continue to follow the progress closely. We will, in the meantime, garner mass support for our campaign for human rights of Haitians in the Dominican Republic and urging our government and the CARICOM nations to bring pressure to bear on the Dominican Republic with the threat of sanctions and boycott of its tourist industry should it fail to comply with their demands.

We are hopeful the UN Human Rights Commission will take up this issue as a top priority and live up to the promise of the office when it was established and fulfill its obligations.

Respectfully submitted,

(signed) Mohammed A Nurhussein MD, National Chairman of the United African Congress (UAC)

(signed) Gordon M. Tapper, Founder and President of Give Them a Hand Foundation (GTAH)

Copies to: Hon. Sidique A. Wai, President and Chief Spokesperson of the United African Congress (UAC)

Anne Goeke, Co-founder and President of Earth Rights Institute (ERI)
Dr. Ron Daniels, Chairman of Institute of Black World (IBW) and Pan African Unity Dialogue (PAUD)

 



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