More RAN antics in Tokyo

Written by Stan

Topics: Pulp and Paper

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An update from our Tasmanian Campaigner, David Lee:

This past week, RAN Senior Campaigner Bill Barclay and I were in Tokyo, Japan, to help our Japanese staff host three forums focused upon the serious problems with old growth logging in Tasmania. Japanese paper companies purchase over 80 percent of the woodchips produced by Gunns Limited, the Australian timber company that is rapidly clearing Tasmania’s ancient forests; in fact, just three companies—Nippon Paper, Oji Paper and Chu-estu Pulp—comprise 70 percent of Gunns’ woodchip market. The goal of the forums was to provide Japanese companies, NGOs, citizens and the media with greater information on the tragedy that is occurring in Tasmania and to discuss potential solutions. In other words, why it might be a bad idea to source timber from a company that clear-cuts old growth forests, napalms the cleared land, kills hundreds of thousands of native wildlife, and attacks anyone who opposes it, as well as how to avoid such practices and still have adequate supplies of woodchips. RAN staff were lucky enough to be joined by several experts from Tasmania, including an ecological scientist, NGO leaders, and Peg Putt, Leader of the Tasmanian Green Party.

By most accounts, it was a very successful week: the Japanese activists were really enthusiastic; the response from the companies was fairly good; and I was encouraged by how much media interest in our campaign has grown. We had a full house for our public forum and were able to make important connections with NGOs interested in working to save Tasmania’s forests and endangered animals. Many of the Japanese companies that buy products from Nippon, Oji or Chu-estu finally seemed to understand just how egregious Gunns’ practices are and that a solution needs to be found.

That solution is simple: all Nippon, Oji and Chu-estu need to do is request that Gunns does not include any old growth or high conservation value forests in their supply, and these forests will take a huge step towards being saved. Gunns can’t sell them elsewhere because no one else will buy them – not even other bad logging companies like APP in Malaysia. There are detailed maps of critical forest areas readily available, and adequate supplies of woodchips from other sources, such as plantations, ready to go.

Unfortunately, Nippon, Oji and Chu-estu were noticeably absent from the company forum. RAN had arranged to meet with Nippon and Oji last week, but they pulled out at the last minute. Why? Because forestry officials from the Australian government wouldn’t attend. Why? Because they hadn’t printed their latest information booklet. Give me a break! These paper companies just want to continue making as much profit as possible by buying woodchips from old growth forests that no other company will.

The good news is that now that their customers and the Japanese public have learned the truth about what is going on in Tasmania, questions are starting to be asked and momentum towards change is building. Companies are improving their purchasing policies, asking not to have old growth woodchips from Gunns included in their supply, and pressuring their suppliers to improve their own practices. Japanese activists are talking about Tasmania, informing their networks, and asking companies to make progress. Having grown up around activists in Okinawa, Japan, it was awesome to see the strong interest and enthusiasm that our trip generated in Japan’s greatest city. My hope for the future protection of Tasmania’s ancient forests is improving every day (as is my recovery from jet-lag).

4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Danuta Glendenning says:

    Kia Ora, Congratulations to you all who have gone to Japan trying to discourage the buying of old growth forest trees. I am from New Zealand, but previously Western Australia, and have just toured some of the old growth forests in the North Island of N.Z. The feeling that I got when visiting ‘Tane Mahuta’, the 2,000 year old Kauri tree was awesome. And there were young people who stayed like us for 15 minutes just in awe and praying to Tane Mahuta, who’s said to be the father of the earthlings (a Maori belief). Please continue to do your utmost on behalf of the world’s earthlings, who need their old growth forests. By the way, what is BoB Brown, the first champion of the Tasmanian forests, doing? Kind regards, Danuta.

  2. Sylvia Fitzpatrick says:

    Please, I urge you, to consider carefully before logging old forest trees foe human use. Consider using recycled material. Thank you

  3. Lilia says:

    Bob Brown is still a Senator for Tasmania! More popular than ever. He is still extremely active, and a total hero of Tassie’s forests. Check out his website at: http://www.bobbrown.org.au

  4. SYED SALMAN MEHDI says:

    Respected Sir,

    A Blessing for the Day,

    Sub;-“Application for meeting with your organization relationship”our study tower for your country.

    First take my regards all of you. I look forward to working with you on many issues of concern to us, particularly the issue that brings us here today, stop violence against women We provide extension, awareness raising, and support activities stop violence against women. They are main headline in our coming aajanda.they are the topics we shall have to discuss on them. You and we will talk in your country in a good invirment and make some good routs and the participation of the good people cen be given to us I hope you are going to read this With all you considerations.. we are a responsible NGO and we have very cordial and long lasting friendship with your organization.. You may arrange our invitation for our Delegation.

    According to estimates – as many as 70 percent of women in Pakistan experience domestic violence. This violence can range from beatings, to sexual violence or torture, to broken bones and very serious injury caused by pouring of acid or burning the victim alive. The victims of these abuses are trapped in a society where beatings from a male family member are acceptable and where independence and divorce are taboo. Often, these victims are trapped in a vicious cycle whereby they are abused twice over – once by their spouses and then by the very people they turn to for help – including policemen, judges and even mullahs (religious persons).

    According to our investigations, in the vast majority of cases where women lost their lives as a result of violence at home, it was their husbands and in-laws who were to blame; while at other times it was the victims’ brothers and fathers.Some women who seek divorce or separation suffered mutilation – their nose, ears and hair were cut off by angry revengeful husbands and lovers. Another form of violence commonly faced by women in Pakistan is sexual violence. It is estimated that as many as eight women – half of them minors – are raped in Pakistan everyday, partly due to the general disbelief in women’s rights in Pakistan.

    Reasons for these rapes vary, many times being committed to extract revenge on the victims family as women are commonly believed to be the keepers of family honor. At other times, the rape of a woman is ordered as punishment through the centuries old “Punchait” and “Jirga” systems consisting of local elders, for the crimes committed by other members of her family.Many sexual assaults on women occur in custody by the police, an act that has reduced in frequency due to the efforts of Ansar Burney Trust monitoring the treatment of women in police stations, prisons and mental asylums.

    Women who seem independent or those who work are consistently sexually harassed, many times by male members of staff as independence and working away from home are seen as signs of indecency. This harassment is not only inflicted on lower and middle class women, but even female members of parliament have reported consistent harassment from men in their constituencies. Acid throwing is another abuse inflicted on women to “teach them a lesson”. In many instances, men who had proposed for a woman’s hand in marriage only to be declined have resulted in throwing acid on the girls face and body to insure pain and suffering on the victim because she dishonoured him by refusing his proposal. At other times, religious fundamentalists have been known to throw acid at women who are complete strangers to them – because they felt the women were too modern and westernised; even if all the women had done is wear jeans instead of the traditional Pakistani dress.

    The AJT Trust estimates that on average, a woman suffers an acid attack every week in Pakistan; an act the Trust has been working against for many years. In our battle against violence inflicted on women, the AJT Trust has raised its voice to improve awareness for the better treatment of women in Pakistani society and bring attention to their suffering and plight. The Trust provides the victims with free medical services and reconstructive surgery for their injuries, full protection and legal support to prosecute those responsible and a shelter home for these women to reside in without fear of persecution.epidemic of crimes of violence against women, including domestic violence rates as high as 90 percent, at least eight reported rapes every 24 hours nationwide, and an alarming rise in so-called honor killings.Violence against women has risen to staggering levels. Women’s low social status and a long established pattern of active suppression of women’s rights by successive governments has contributed to the escalation in violence. No government has acknowledged the scale and severity of the problem—much less taken action to end the violence against women. When a Commission of Inquiry for women convened by the Pakistan Senate described domestic violence as one of the country’s most pervasive violations of human rights, its findings were brushed aside by the Sharif government. As a result of such dismissive official attitudes, crimes of violence against women continue to be perpetrated with near total impunity.

    In many instances, violence against a woman is used as a tool by the abuser to drive the victim to commit suicide. In other instances, accidents are engineered – typically by the tampering of a kitchen stove and its resulting explosion when used – to cause a victims death. In some cases, petrol is pored over the victim and she is set ablaze, claimed to be yet another accident or suicide with plenty of family members ready to vouch as witnesses. These murders are committed usually when differences occur between the victim and her husband or his family – typically when the husband and his family feel that the dowry and gifts given with the girl during marriage were insufficient, if the husband wished to marry again and even if he and his family expected an inheritance from the death of his wife.

    Millions of women throughout the world live in conditions of abject deprivation of, and attacks against, their fundamental human rights for no other reason than that they are women.Abuses against women are relentless, systematic, and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned. Violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics, notwithstanding the very real progress of the international women’s human rights movement in identifying, raising awareness about, and challenging impunity for women’s human rights violations.

    We live in a world in which women do not have basic control over what happens to their bodies. Millions of women and girls are forced to marry and have sex with men they do not desire. Women are unable to depend on the government to protect them from physical violence in the home, with sometimes fatal consequences, including increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Women in state custody face sexual assault by their jailers. Women are punished for having sex outside of marriage or with a person of their choosing (rather than of their family’s choosing). Husbands and other male family members obstruct or dictate women’s access to reproductive health care. Doctors and government officials disproportionately target women from disadvantaged or marginalized communities for coercive family planning policies.

    Our duty as activists is to expose and denounce as human rights violations those practices and policies that silence and subordinate women. We reject specific legal, cultural, or religious practices by which women are systematically discriminated against, excluded from political participation and public life, segregated in their daily lives, raped in armed conflict, beaten in their homes, denied equal divorce or inheritance rights, killed for having sex, forced to marry, assaulted for not conforming to gender norms, and sold into forced labor. Arguments that sustain and excuse these human rights abuses – those of cultural norms, “appropriate” rights for women, or western imperialism – barely disguise their true meaning: that women’s lives matter less than men’s. Cultural relativism, which argues that there are no universal human rights and that rights are culture-specific and culturally determined, is still a formidable and corrosive challenge to women’s rights to equality and dignity in all facets of their lives.

    The realization of women’s rights is a global struggle based on universal human rights and the rule of law. It requires all of us to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices, and laws that harm women. It is a fight for freedom to be fully and completely human and equal without apology or permission. Ultimately, the struggle for women’s human rights must be about making women’s lives matter everywhere all the time. In practice, this means taking action to stop discrimination and violence against women.

    Our NGO Struggle Stop violence against women in Pakistan

    We are very hopeful that you would consider our request in a positive manner.

    With profound regards,

    Best regards,

    SECRETARY GENERAL
    (Dr.SYED SALMAN MEHDI )

    You may write to us at the following address:

    SECRETARIAT:
    AFZAL JAHAN MEMORIAL SOCIAL WELFARE TRUST INTERNATIONAL
    B-11/374 Indus Mehran Housing Society Malir Town Karachi No.37 Postal Code 75080 Pakistan.

    Fax No 009221-2418954 C/O SYED ZEESHAN MEHDI RIZVI
    Phone No.009221-8470079
    Email: WWWPEACEWORLD@yahoo.com , WWWPEACEWORLD@hotmail.com
    WWWAJT@hotmail.com

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