Issue 9 - Mar 2010


UN International Days for community activities

The United Nations was built on spiritual principles and universal values such as peace, human rights, human dignity and worth, justice, respect, good neighbourliness, freedom, respect for nature and shared responsibility.
In our last newsletter we featured two International Days that could provide opportunities for partnership activities within our communities:
Earth Day
on April 22 and International Day of Families on May 15, 2010.
We feature three more International Days in this issue.


June 5   World Environment Day

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and World Environment Day picks up this theme of: Many Species. One Planet. One Future.
We humans are one in 15 million species that  inhabit our planet, according to scientists. Yet humans are among only a handful of species whose populations are growing, while most animals and plants are becoming rarer and fewer.

A total of 17,291 species are known to be threatened with extinction – from little-known plants and insects to birds and mammals.

Why is this happening at such a pace? Scientists tell us that it is the result of human activities. With our present approach to development, we have caused the clearing of much of the original forest, drained half of the world’s wetlands, depleted three-quarters of all fish stocks, and emitted enough heat-trapping gases to keep our planet warming for centuries to come. Our activities are making species extinctions occur at up to 1000 times the natural rate.
Find out more about the risks of losing our planet’s biodiversity on the World Environment Day website

Join your fellow TOS members, friends and neighbours to review your environmental footprint. (That’s all the things you use from the environment for food, energy, shelter, clothing, transport, etc.)
We can take four important steps right now to reduce our personal impact on the environment. We can:

  • reduce consumption
  • reduce or eliminate the meat in our diets
  • reduce energy use
  • reduce water use.


...and plant a tree


June 20   UN World Refugee Day

Did you know that according to UN figures, some 50 million people around the world might be described as victims of forced displacement? Nearly two-thirds of the world's refugees are in the Middle East and Africa.

Some refugees have left their own country to escape from persecution, armed conflict or violence. Others have been uprooted from their local area but remain within the borders of their own country. While refugees who cross borders are usually recognised and assisted by international humanitarian aid, those large numbers of people who stay within their country often do not receive any form of international protection or assistance.

The United Nations refugee organisation, UNHCR, is mandated by the UN to lead and coordinate international action for the world-wide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems.

Check out the UN news page for the latest stories at:

Celebrating World Refugee Day can inspire us to become better informed about areas of need and the issues involved in effective humanitarian response. For instance, women, men, girls and boys experience war and displacement differently: they have different priorities, responsibilities and protection needs.

Our involvement in World Refugee Day can take many forms. For example, we can partner with other groups to raise awareness of the needs of refugees; we can conduct events to raise funds for refugee programs; and if refugees have been relocated into our communities, we can offer our help and friendship.



July 17       World Day for International Justice

This day commemorates the adoption of the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, the Rome Statute, on July 17, 1998. This Court provides an accountability process for the most serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

World Day for International Justice calls upon all countries to fully support the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to honour their international obligations to prosecute alleged perpetrators of torture and other human rights violations.

As well as investigating and prosecuting alleged acts of violence against the most basic human rights, the ICC plays a strong advocacy and communications role. Its recent activities include creating provisions for the protection of women’s rights, promoting the rights of victims of torture and advocacy for the plight of child soldiers. As a result of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, an Optional Protocol came into force prohibiting the recruitment of children under 18 into armed groups and government armies and their direct participation in hostilities.

Find out more by visiting the ICC website:
You’ll find information in English, French and Spanish.
World Day for International Justice provides TOS members with an opportunity to partner with groups such as Amnesty International. We can also promote awareness of human rights issues particularly those related to civil war, genocide and religious conflicts. We can organise candlelight vigils and meditation circles for peace.

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