Archive | February 2014

Save our sharks!

Sharks have had a bad reputation for a very long time; people don’t like to be bitten. But their reputation has become worse with multiple shark films and now YouTube adding to the bad press. Type ‘shark attack’ into YouTube and you’ll find plenty of unreliable evidence of their killer instincts, with a lot of fictional footage interspersed with any real actual attacks. Now after an increase in tragic attacks in Western Australia the Premier is planning to introduce a shark culling policy beginning within days.

Why we need sharks

Sharks are important species that maintain the health of whole ocean ecosystems. Sharks are often the apex predator in the oceanic ecosystem, meaning that they keep the ecosystem balanced and allow populations of other creatures to maintain healthy levels. Sharks regulate the quantity and health of other marine life, helping to keep fish stocks in the ocean healthy. They tend to feed on weak, old and unhealthy fish, which stops the spread of disease among fish populations.

Although for some time it has been thought that removing sharks from the oceans would result in a huge increase in fish population – some scientists now think the opposite would happen; and the existing populations would be wiped out by disease. Being at the top of the food chain, their role is vital to ensure that all parts of the food chain lower down are controlled. For example, algae produces around half of the oxygen that we breathe. Without sharks controlling the food chain balance, the oceans could become overrun with algae, drastically oxygen quantities in our atmosphere. The knock on effects of this could be devastating for all life on Earth.

How culling sharks will affect us

With an increase of shark attacks in Western Australia, the WA Premier has decided to introduce a controversial shark culling program. This would allow the currently protected Great White shark to be caught and killed within certain areas of the Western Australia coastline.

Misconceptions

When it comes to dangers of the sea, the chance of drowning is over 1000 times greater than dying from a shark attack. Another much more common source of injury or death is the sting of a jellyfish. Jellyfish kill eight times as many people every year compared to sharks. Even falling coconuts kill 150 people each year, 15 times the number of deaths attributable to sharks.

Supporting Greenpeace

Phoenix Rising For Children (PRFC) is an accredited out-of-home or foster care provider based in the Sydney greater metropolitan area and Hunter Central Coast of N.S.W, Australia. PRFC was founded in 2001 to provide quality foster care to children and young people in N.S.W, including contemporary, quality, family-based foster care and effective and specialist support services to children and young people and their families. PRFC operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Greenpeace as they encompass similar ideals.

Have you considered fostering a young one? PRFC undertakes regular planning and evaluation and has a focus on personal development and training. If you would like to become a foster carer and join our team providing effective and meaningful care to children and young people, please contact us!

We also provide family contact services, and these specialize in contact supervision for children in out of home care with their parents and other significant family members.

We can be reached at mail@phoenixrising.org.au

Learn more about our foster care agency in NSW at www.phoenixrising.org.au

How you can help

Join with Greenpeace in their action to halt the senseless shark culling in Western Australia by writing to WA Premier Colin Barnett:

https://www.greenpeace.org.au/action/?cid=60

Help Avaaz stop Uganda’s anti-gay law

The ninth Parliament of Uganda recently passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, which punishes Ugandans charged with “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment. Though the bill has yet to be signed into law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, its implications have grave consequences for the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender]  community.

Consequences of the law

Not only does the legislation imprison individuals accused of homosexuality, individuals can also be charged who ‘knew’ or ‘advocated’ on behalf of homosexual conduct and did not report it to authorities, which creates a new risk of fear of punishment by association.

Uganda already has so-called sodomy laws, inherited from the British colonial era, that criminalise same-sex acts.

“People get arrested but no one has ever been convicted. It’s difficult to enforce.” -Frank Mugisha, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)

The new anti-homosexuality bill extends the punishments available to life imprisonment and creates additional crimes, with up to seven years in jail, for those convicted of advocating or supporting gay rights.

“I’m openly gay. I could be arrested. This bill criminalises all gay groups and any debate about the issue. Already ordinary Ugandans are acting as though the law has been passed. People are calling the police [with names of suspects] and harassing others in the streets. If this bill is passed we are going to see many other African countries coming up with similar laws.” – Frank Mugisha

Jonathan Cooper, chief executive of the London-based Human Dignity Trust, which campaigns to decriminalise homosexuality around the world and has supported Mugisha, said: “The next few days are absolutely crucial. The international community now has a very narrow window within which to stand in solidarity with Frank and the Ugandan LGBT community and call for Museveni to put a stop to this cruel piece of legislation. Not only will the proposed anti-homosexuality law persecute many ordinary Ugandans, leading to violence, it breaches the country’s own constitution and international human rights law.”

Avaaz in action

In December 2012 Avaaz ran full-page “Christmas card” advertisements in Uganda’s largest newspapers, showing faith leaders’ opposition to the legislation. The Ugandan Parliament closed 2012 without tabling the bill, but political unrest is mounting in Uganda, and religious extremists in Parliament are hoping confusion and violence in the streets will distract the international community from a second push to pass this hate-filled law.

Supporting Avaaz

Phoenix Rising For Children (PRFC) is an accredited out-of-home or foster care provider based in the Sydney greater metropolitan area and Hunter Central Coast of N.S.W, Australia. PRFC was founded in 2001 to provide quality foster care to children and young people in N.S.W, including contemporary, quality, family-based foster care and effective and specialist support services to children and young people and their families. PRFC operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Avaaz as they encompass similar ideals.

Have you considered fostering a young one? PRFC undertakes regular planning and evaluation and has a focus on personal development and training. If you would like to become a foster carer and join our team providing effective and meaningful care to children and young people, please contact us!

We also provide family contact services, and these specialize in contact supervision for children in out of home care with their parents and other significant family members.

We can be reached at mail@phoenixrising.org.au

Learn more about our foster care agency in NSW at www.phoenixrising.org.au

How you can help

Join with Avaaz and sign the petition to stop Uganda’s anti-gay law:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_gay_death_law/?vc

Oxfam combats the crisis in Sudan

The conflict in South Sudan began on the evening of 14 December 2013, when a faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army began an alleged mutiny in South Sudan. Fighting spread beyond the capital, Juba, to the region around Jonglei which is prone to ethnic instability, largely along ethnic lines. At least 1,000 people were reported to have been killed and over 800 other people were injured.

The current situation

Since fighting between government troops and rebel forces erupted in South Sudan on 15 December:

  • Nearly 500,000 people have fled their homes
  • 67,000 people have sought refuge at various UN compounds across the country. In Juba, 80% of displaced people are women and children.
  • More than 86,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, many of whom had to cross the Nile River on their way to Uganda, leaving everything they had behind and risking their lives.
  • 212,000 people have been reached with humanitarian aid from international aid agencies.

Progress

The recent ceasefire in South Sudan is a sign of political progress, but the parties now must honor their commitments and put an end to hostilities. Oxfam’s priority is to redouble efforts to help refugees, while at the same time ensuring the communities hosting them have full access to water, health facilities, schools and food.

 “We now hope this agreement will hold fast and will allow us to rapidly scale up our work to reach the poorest and most vulnerable.” – José Barahona, Oxfam’s Country Director for South Sudan

Oxfam’s efforts

Oxfam is coordinating with others in the humanitarian community to provide life saving assistance – including food supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, to approximately 20,000 people displaced by violence in Juba, and are closely monitoring the situation in other parts of the country. They have reached more than 110,000 people in three locations in South Sudan with water, health and sanitation equipment and also started responding to urgent needs of refugees and hosting communities in Uganda.

Oxfam has been present in Southern Sudan since 1983, providing humanitarian aid to victims of conflict, drought and floods, as well as long-term development assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities. Over this time, they have helped more than 500,000 people and are committed to sustained assistance during this current crisis.

Supporting Oxfam

Phoenix Rising For Children (PRFC) is an accredited out-of-home or foster care provider based in Sydney, N.S.W, Australia. PRFC was founded in 2001 to provide quality foster care to children and young people across Sydney, including contemporary, quality, family-based foster care and effective and specialist support services to children and young people and their families. PRFC operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Oxfam as they encompass similar ideals.

Have you considered fostering a young one? PRFC undertakes regular planning and evaluation and has a focus on personal development and training. If you would like to become a foster carer and join our team providing effective and meaningful care to children and young people, please contact us!

We also provide family contact services, and these specialize in contact supervision for children in out of home care with their parents and other significant family members.

We can be reached at mail@phoenixrising.org.au

Learn more about our foster care agency in NSW at www.phoenixrising.org.au

How you can help

You can help Oxfam in their efforts in Sudan by donating to their appeal:

https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/africa-crisis-appeal/

Let’s call on Putin to protect freedom of expression

The situation in Russia

 In January this year a group of people gathered in St Petersburg to have a snowball fight. The police responded by banning it and dispersing the crowd – calling it an “unauthorised gathering”. This may seem ridiculous one off event but it isn’t. The space for freedom of assembly, association and expression is rapidly shrinking in Russia.

 The systematic undermining and violation of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association have been the hallmark of Vladimir Putin’s human rights record during the first year of his third mandate as Russian president, Amnesty International said in a report published recently.

The new laws

Since Vladimir Putin returned to office as Russia’s President he has introduced laws that:

  • severely limit freedom of assembly
  • stigmatise the LGBTI community
  • criminalise insulting the feelings of believers
  • broaden the definitions of treason and espionage so that human rights activism could potentially be criminalised

Putin also brought in provisions that force NGOs who engage in “political activity” and receive foreign funding to register as “foreign agents” – highly derogative term in Russia contributing to the smear campaign against NGOs and human rights activists.

All of these laws have been introduced to crack-down on political opposition and civil society activists.

“These recent legal initiatives have the declared aim of ensuring public order and the protection of the rights of citizens. Their effect has been the opposite: prominent government critics, opposition voices, watchdogs and ordinary individuals demonstrating on a wide range of issues have all seen their rights restricted over the course of the last year” – John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International

Supporting Amnesty International

Phoenix Rising For Children (PRFC) is an accredited out-of-home or foster care provider based in Sydney, N.S.W, Australia. PRFC was founded in 2001 to provide quality foster care to children and young people across Sydney, including contemporary, quality, family-based foster care and effective and specialist support services to children and young people and their families. PRFC operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Amnesty International as they encompass similar ideals.

Have you considered fostering a young one? PRFC undertakes regular planning and evaluation and has a focus on personal development and training. If you would like to become a foster carer and join our team providing effective and meaningful care to children and young people, please contact us!

We also provide family contact services, and these specialize in contact supervision for children in out of home care with their parents and other significant family members.

We can be reached at mail@phoenixrising.org.au

Learn more about our foster care agency in NSW at www.phoenixrising.org.au

How you can help

 “Civic engagement is precious social capital and it is in Russia’s interest to invest in it. The current government is stifling it, however, through a wide range of violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.  These need, urgently, to be reversed.” – John Dalhuisen

Sign the petition below and call on President Putin to end the attack on civil society.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/sochi

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