In just over 18 months, the Avaaz community has grown to almost 3.4 million people from every country of the world, an average growth of over 40,000 people per week! Working in 13 languages, Avaaz members have taken nearly 8 million actions, donated over 2.5 million Euro ($3.5 million), and told over 30 million friends about Avaaz campaigns. A wonderful new source of global community and democracy is being created, and we've started to win real victories to close the gap between the world we have and the world we want -- on human rights, environmental protection, poverty, global justice and more.
Huge thanks and congratulations to everyone who has signed a petition, sent a message, donated, attended a rally, lobbied leaders, told friends, given advice or otherwise been a part of this effort. Scroll down this email to see some of the latest campaign highlights and achievements over the last 3 months, and click the link below to see a report back on all our achievements since launch and leave a comment:
Campaign Update -- May-July 2008Over the last 3 months, Avaaz members have helped to win the first global treaty banning cluster bombs, successfully campaigned for a ceasefire to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, prevented G8 summit leaders from spinning their failure to act on climate change, run a major global ad campaign in Chinese communities promoting a constructive dialogue with China over Tibet and other issues, and personally rankled the President of Sudan (indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court) with a campaign to help bring him to trial.
Below is a quick summary of campaigning developments on Israel and Palestine, the food crisis, Zimbabwe, climate change, China, Tibet, and the Olympics, Darfur, cluster bombs, and more. On all of these issues, much more remains to be done -- but we have all contributed in important ways. What we've done so far is just the beginning.
China, Tibet, and the Olympics
|More than 175,000 Avaaz members have joined a global handshake chain -- launched by the Dalai Lama, carried through London by a 2000-person chain of Avaaz members to the Chinese Embassy, and then racing around the world online. A positive symbol of constructive dialogue, the Avaaz team travelled to Beijing to personally deliver the handshake to senior officials, including UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. |
To further amplify the handshake's message, Avaaz members funded ads in Chinese publications from Hong Kong to California, launched a Mandarin-language Avaaz sister site in China, hired "mobile and walking billboards" in New York's and London's Chinatowns -- among a host of other tactics.
|More than 400,000 Avaaz members, including tens of thousands in Africa, have taken action to support democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe. This past weekend, South African trade unionists marched to a regional summit in Johannesburg with Zimbabwean refugees and civil society groups carrying a sea of red cards for Mugabe -- and holding banners representing the more than 75,000 virtual red cards sent by Avaaz members last week. Avaaz members have contacted governments around the world, urging non-recognition of Mugabe's regime; funded ad campaigns globally and throughout Southern Africa; and even flown a 280-sq-meter banner over the United Nations to press South Africa's Mbeki to push harder in his role as mediator between Mugabe and the opposition MDC. The summit is over, but our campaign for the end of the Mugabe era is not.|
Israel and Palestine
|215,000 Avaaz members, including citizens of both Israel and Palestine, have driven Avaaz campaigning for real peace talks, a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, and an end to the blockade of Gaza. A major print-and-online advertising campaign for the ceasefire reached more than 1 million Israelis this June, thanks to donations from Avaaz members. Within a week, a truce was signed -- encouraging the Avaaz community to play an ongoing role, large and small, in helping to resolve this conflict.|
G8 and climate change
|More than 250,000 Avaaz members urged the G8 leaders to adopt firm targets to cut climate emissions by the year 2020, signing a petition that was hand-delivered to G8 chair Japan's prime minister. During the summit negotiations, however, the US, Canada, and Japan refused 2020 targets -- so Avaaz called them out in a satirical full-page, full-color ad in the global Financial Times drawing on the Japanese "Hello Kitty" cartoon. The ad, funded with small donations from 2,000 Avaaz members, sparked coverage in media outlets from the New York Times to the Nikkei Business Daily. Coverage of reactions from Avaaz and other groups ensured that Canada's Stephen Harper and other leaders couldn't spin their way out of accountability for blocking progress on this urgent issue -- and with climate change a key issue in coming elections, hopes for change (and our campaigning plans) are growing.|
|Responding to a video appeal for international support from the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, 342,197 Avaaz members signed petitions urging governments to take action on the food crisis. In May, Avaaz staff hand-delivered their message to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon at an emergency food summit in Rome. Moon, in turn, used the petition with the press and global leaders to build his urgent case for action on food prices and practices. As the food crisis deepens, we are redoubling our efforts to meet this huge threat to the livelihoods of millions.|
|To counter Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir's claim that the International Criminal Court is a "Western Crusade," Avaaz launched a major Arabic-media ad campaign. More than 4500 Avaaz members from 80 countries donated to run the ads throughout the region, which challenged the "crusade" charge by showing that Bush and Bashir are both strong opponents of the court. Arabic media reports that Bashir personally invited one newspaper editor who refused to run the ad to visit Sudan and accept his thanks. Our campaigning will continue until the Sudanese people can achieve a long sought peace with justice.|
- When a 120-country summit to ban cluster bombs was at risk of failure, more than 160,000 Avaaz members emailed world leaders to urge a strong treaty free of loopholes and delays. The campaign made waves with negotiators inside the conference and headlines in Finland and the International Herald Tribune -- and a firm treaty was agreed in the final days.
- Avaaz members raised over $2 million in aid after the Burma cyclone, channeled directly to those at greatest need through monks and aid workers inside the country. A full report back on this campaign is available on the Avaaz website.
- When the UN launched a closed process to choose its new top Human Rights official, human rights experts worried that a weak candidate would be chosen. In response, Avaaz placed a mock job advertisement in The Economist that generated a full story in the New York Times, Reuters and several other press outlets, and a strong response from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The ad, and a companion blog, helped bring a highly unusual level of democratic scrutiny to a top UN appointment.
Avaaz is based on a simple idea: that global public opinion should shape global decision-making. When we take action, we may not win every battle -- but together, over time, we can change the field on which the battles are fought. We are already making a difference, and our voices are growing stronger. This is only the beginning.
With much respect and gratitude for this wonderful community of people,
Ricken, Ben, Graziela, Brett, Paul, Pascal, Veronique, Iain, Milena -- and the whole Avaaz team
PS: For more information, or to leave a comment, you can always to go this page: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2
Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.
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