Support Kenyan Slum School

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Right to education is one of the most fundamental human rights. Education promotes individual freedom and empowerment. It has a life changing power which transforms us to be a productive part of the society. It is true to say that education is the mother of all rights. However, sadly enough, millions of children and adults are still deprived of this foundational right even in the 21st century. Global Minorities Alliance believes in the advancement of education as part of our fundamental purpose to fight persecution, injustices and inequalities, which we continue to promote at all levels.

In 2014, Global Minorities Alliance launched its #GMAGiftBox4Kids for Kenyan slum children in Kibera, Kenya, one of the largest urban slums in the world. We launched the campaign and with the help of our local partners in Glasgow we were able to send classroom materials (papers, pens, pencils, notepads, toys etc.) to primary school children in Kibera slum in Nairobi. We received the pictures of a thrilled children with wide smiles on their faces after they received our small donation.

Last year, GMA’s representative in Nairobi, Anne Misiko informed us with the need to build a primary library. It is hard to imagine a school without a library, or students without access to the books. We started a campaign and looked for local partners who could help us raise support. We collected close to 500 primary books to date with the Scotstoun Community Centre and Glasgow Cathedral. We are also thankful to Netherlee Primary School, Renfrewshire, Glasgow for their on-going support who even invited us to present the campaign to their school children. We are thankful to children and parents for their readiness and willingness to bring some hope and smile on these slum children in Kenya. We are also thankful for all those who are helping us spread the message on social media.

This month we launched our online donation page to raise funds to build a library. Once our target of £5000 is achieved GMA will provide books, tables, chairs, shelves and computer so children can access to the books when they need it.

You can help us promote the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Also, you can be part of our fundraising team. Whether you are a student or businessman, please join hands with GMA and help empower these children with no books. If you can raise the individual gift of just £25 towards our Kenya library Project as an acknowledgement to your contribution, Global Minorities Alliance will send you the GMA Certificate for your participation in the project. Please drop us an email on info@globalminorities.co.uk before/after the donor sends the gift so we can identify the gift with your name. We can then post the certificate to your address. Thank you!

You can also invite a friend or a family member and can simply donate on this page:

#Books4Future – Help building a library in Kenya:  https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/f15lm9/ab/54brp6

GMA’s Charity Appeal Video: https://www.facebook.com/411533358921035/videos/963299467077752/

Providing a book to a child today can help change his/her life. It changed mine. It changed yours. Why not these slum children in Kibera?

Shahid Khan is the vice-chairperson of Global Minorities Alliance (www.globalminorities.co.uk) He tweets @shahidshabaz

The Challenge of being a French in today’s France

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Photo Credit: DB Young

France had already experienced terrorism: in the 1950s or 1980s, more recently in 2012 when military men and Jewish schoolchildren and their headmaster were killed or wounded in the South of France. But on January 7th, France discovered a new level of terrorism. There were still precise targets: a satirical magazine, police officers and a kosher supermarket. There were more victims, 17 killed and 16 wounded. Some victims were known to a lot of French people. Charb for example, drew characters to illustrate articles about the Vikings or submarine life in the magazine I read as a teenager. Cabu was the father of the “Grand Duduche” and “Beauf” my Dad’s generation grew up with. Symbols and values were attacked – freedom of the press, secularism, fraternity, freedom in general. The aim was to divide the society, to make everyone feel the fear of being a potential target, anywhere at anytime, to make us think again about our way of life and abandon some of our principles because it could harm us, to make us believe that our neighbour was different and so dangerous because they lived another life, believed in another God, came from somewhere else. It succeeded in the way that people are still arguing about Charlie Hebdo and their caricatures: Should they draw what they draw? To what extent can we mock other people (in any cartoon, from politicians to the average Joe). However, we all came to the conclusion that murder is not and will never be the solution; these people were just doing their job: they were cleaning agents, police officers, journalists, proof-readers and economists and they were doing the grocery or were working in that supermarket. They were all humans and harmless.

It also confirmed that our Republic was able to breed terrorists, lone wolfs who would turn against the country they were born into. The terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket, the Bataclan, cafés which killed people in the streets were French. This is the realisation that was hard to make for France. It was not new, but it was a sort of reaffirmation. We are not protected from terrorism because there is no war on our territory, because we live in Europe and because we have stable institutions. Our society failed in some way, we knew it before but on this morning in January we saw the extent the lack of barriers and support for some kids can lead to. Did “l’École de la République” (the Republic’s school) fail? Did the Justice system fail in preventing delinquents to become terrorists? Why did they feel abandon? Why did they turn against their own country? Why did they suddenly think that extremist ideas were better? How could we have help them before they changed? What can we do to avoid that in the future? How can we reduce the gap in society already created? These were some of the questions asked. We came to the realisation that something was wrong because we did not see it coming. Our intelligence was not ready to deal with lone wolfs, we cannot watch every single citizen to see who is a potential terrorist and who is ready to attack. More importantly for other Europeans, France cannot deal with it alone, we are not the only target. It was more obvious in November as the investigations is leading towards the idea that the Paris attacks were planned in Brussels.

2015 did not only bring the January attacks for France but also smaller attacks, against military men, or police officers throughout the year. In April, ISIS proved they could attack the press through the Internet and that churches were targets, in June we saw that an employee could decapitate their employer in the name of the Islamic State, in August we realised that we were seriously at risks in trains, in July and October our Navy was targeted twice and then in November there was no target or no real target, it could have been anyone. However, even if anyone could be attacked with a knife in the street in the name of ISIS, massive terrorist attacks could happen but were rarer, hence more brutal. We came to the realisation that being French in France was a risk, that we were never really safe. After the Paris attacks in January, the military and the police patrolled even more in the streets, train stations, near tourist attractions. The annual fête organised in most of the schools in the summer was even cancelled for many and kids now have to see a bright red triangle on their school’s door every morning, something I never saw when I was at school and this was two years ago.

What the attacks changed in France was probably mentalities. People realised that their way of life was threatened, that although they were safer than in many parts of the world, there was still a risk. We have to get used to show our bags each time we enter a shopping mall or to think about it when we take a ticket to Paris for the holiday. It emphasised solidarity and a sense of reconnaissance towards the emergency services. The French are proud, and have demonstrated it, of their country, the values they hold, the institutions they have. They are ready to defend it, any way they can, by having four million people in the streets the same day not to shout after the government but to say that they are French. That sense of patriotism is never shown in France and 2015 awakened it. We suddenly realised that we are extremely lucky to live in our country and that we should still defend what we have because it would be taken away any moment. We are proud to live with people from all origins and all faiths, it is what makes France even better. The wish for 2016 is to learn from our mistakes and build a new society altogether, to reinforce fraternity and equality to preserve our liberty. Paris’ motto has never been truer for our generations: Fluctuat Nec Mergitur.

Julie is a second year French student in Politics and International Relations in Scotland.

GMA calls on UK Government for ‘Group Recognition Status’ for Pakistani Persecuted Christians

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

(Glasgow: UK) A Scotland-based minority rights group is calling for ‘Group Recognition Status’ for Christians fleeing persecution from Pakistan and seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom will ultimately be at ‘risk of persecution’ if sent back to Pakistan.

The call for ‘Group Recognition Status’ recommendation was made in light of the recent decision in AK and SK (Christians: risk) Pakistan CG [2014] UKUT 569 (IAC) with reference to UNHRC guidelines on international protection Religion-Based Refugee Claims under Article 1A (2) of the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights (ICESCR).

‘It is utterly ridiculous that UK Government believes Christians are not persecuted in Pakistan if Christians are burnt to ashes in the brick kiln, their houses are chemically bombed, they are shot and poisoned in the police custody. What else counts for persecution’ said GMA’s Chairperson Mannassi Bernard.

‘You cannot make a policy out of a single case you need to consider the plight of Christians in Pakistan holistically and case by case on its merit’ stressed Mr Bernard.

Last month GMA was invited to be part of hearing sessions convened by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Religious Freedom and Belief on the 10 and 11 of November, 2015 chaired by Lord David Alton, in the Houses of Parliament attended by some 20 representatives of various organisations working for minority rights across the UK. GMA’s delegates provided the evidence of persecution of all minorities and expressed GMA’s concern for the safety of minorities’ due to the fragile political, economic and judicial infrastructure which is often used to target the vulnerable minorities of Pakistan.

Following the hearing sessions in London, GMA has compiled the recommendations for the UK government to revisit its policy towards persecuted Christians from Pakistan to consider them under ‘Group Recognition Status’ whilst they seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom given the plight of minorities in Pakistan. Our recommendations will be part of the comprehensive report compiled by the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom and Belief (APPG).

Whilst GMA recognises that Pakistan as with all signatories, have a general reservation to interpret the ICESCR Covenant within the framework of their own constitution, (ICESCR Art 2 para.1 of the covenant) (UN.24 of the Reservations- CESCR General comment 3. 1990) GMA believes that any reservation held should not take precedence to the behest of human suffering or human life).

(AK & SK Christians: risk ) 2014  was an appeals case involving the appellants, a brother and sister (both of whom are Christian, and of Pakistani origin) they initially entered the UK on study visas but later applied for asylum on the basis of religious persecution.  The case highlighted the question as to whether or not Pakistani Christians in general were at serious risk of persecution and as such deserved international protection and group status for the purpose of claiming asylum.

The author of GMA’s recommendation report Chelsea Alexander a legal expert maintained:

In light of GMA’s Report in relation to AK & SK Christians at risk and the recent BBC Panorama Documentary on the “The Taliban Hunters” aired 14/12/15. I believe there is not only an urgent need for Governments in relation to their COI guidance to revisit the Pakistan Governments sufficiency of protection and ability to provide it but also to consider whether or not in the circumstances to adopt and incorporate these findings to the existing asylum procedure in favour of group recognition.

Click on the link below to read in full GMA’s recommendations on (AK&SK Christians: risk) 2014

http://www.globalminorities.co.uk/gma-reports/ak-sk-christian-risk-2014

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