Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The World Reacts - Part 1

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (left) and Iranian
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend the announcement of an
agreement on Iran nuclear talks on April 2, 2015 at the Swiss Federal
Institutes of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.
(Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Political Spin versus Straight Talk
on the Nuclear Framework with Iran

Where Does the United Nations Stand on the Agreement?

The announcement on April 2nd of a framework nuclear agreement with Iran was big news, by any measure.

Naturally, there have been a range of reactions to the news. Many governments and civil society organizations have expressed their support. Public opinion surveys have measured the sentiment of American voters. Politicians have also offered their own thoughts on the deal, often with a heavy dose of political spin. It's hard to escape politics, isn't it?

The ministers of foreign affairs of France, Germany,
the European Union, Iran, the United Kingdom and
the United States as well as Chinese and Russian
diplomats announcing the framework of a comprehensive
agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
(Lausanne, 2 April 2015).
Most international leaders have spoken in favor of the agreement, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and China.

Those five nations, often called the "P5" nations, are recognized leaders of the United Nations Security Council. One of their mandates is to control the spread of nuclear weapons. They have been focused on suspicious Iranian nuclear research and development activities since 2002, when the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) received information about a previously unknown uranium enrichment facility in Iran.

After years of attention to Iran's uranium enrichment capability, with the unwavering goal of assuring that Iran does not develop the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, the P5 nations support the framework agreement. In fact, they were at the negotiating table with Iran when the framework deal was worked out.

A political cartoon attempts to characterize
the nuclear framework agreement with Iran
as a 2-sided deal between President
Obama and the Iranian leader.
In fact, the framework is a multi-
lateral agreement. The United Nations
Security Council took its first steps toward
reaching an agreement with
Iran in 2006 -- two years before
President Obama was elected.
Here's the first element of Political Spin that is often heard in conversations about the framework: Some political commentators routinely describe the agreement as a deal between "Obama" and the Iranians. Or, they refer to it as a deal between "the Obama Administration" and Iran. In fact, it was the P5 nations plus Germany that took the lead on negotiations with Iran. It was an international coalition that hammered out the framework deal on Iranian nuclear activities.

(We give credit to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their individual leadership on re-opening diplomacy with Iran, but the strength of the international coalition has been a key factor in the success of the negotiations).

On multiple occasions in the last 30 days, Senator James Lankford -- our junior senator from Oklahoma -- has made the comment that, "The Administration agreement is weaker than the United Nations demands on Iran."

Is this comment more Political Spin or is it Straight Talk?

Well, Senator Lankford is correct in a way. But, his statement leaves out recent developments
with respect to the negotiations in Switzerland (where the P5 negotiators continue to meet
with delegates from Iran).

Here are five facts to consider:

The uranium fuel enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran.
BBC News reports that, "Analysis of environmental samples
taken from the plant and other tests carried out by the IAEA
in November 2014 confirmed that the facility was being
used to produce low-enriched uranium." It is not possible
to build a nuclear weapon with low-enriched uranium.
(1)  In 2006, the UN Security Council issued its first resolution demanding that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Additional action followed. Increasingly strict levels of economic sanctions were imposed beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2012. In all, seven sanctions resolutions were implemented. An arms embargo was put in place. The assets of key individuals and companies were frozen. Travel bans were invoked. Iran was barred from participating in any activities related to ballistic missiles.

(2)  The goal of the sanctions was not to punish Iran. Rather, it was to force Iran to comply with the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a 47-year-old international agreement that is enforced by the IAEA in cooperation with the UN Security Council. Iran signed the treaty in 1968, and it insists that its nuclear-related activities have always been for peaceful purposes (which are allowed under the terms of the treaty). Even so, a 2003 report by the IAEA Board of Governors found that, "Iran has failed to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where the material was stored and processed."

(3) By 2013, the steady and broad application of sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table. A round of the talks between Iran and the P5+1 was held in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Further talks were held later that year in Geneva.

(4) On 24 November 2013, an interim agreement was reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran in Geneva, Switzerland. Iran agreed to a freeze and partial rollback of portions of its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions. Meanwhile, the negotiators worked towards a long-term agreement. 

President Lyndon Johnson looking on as Secretary
of State Dean Rusk prepares to sign the NPT,
1 July 1968.
(5) The framework agreement announced on April 2nd is not the end of the road. The negotiators have given themselves until June 30th to produce a final, written agreement. The "framework" of the agreement is described in a Joint Statement issued by the negotiators. The
Joint Statement includes the following points on which all sides concur:

<> Iran's enrichment capacity, enrichment level and stockpile will be limited for specified durations.

<> Iran is allowed to conduct non-weapons research and development activities on centrifuges with an agreed scope and schedule.

<> Iran's underground enrichment center will be converted to a "nuclear, physics and technology centre."

<> Iran's Heavy Water facility in Arak will be redesigned and modernized to a "Heavy Water Research Reactor" with no weapon grade plutonium byproducts. The spent fuel will be exported; there will be no reprocessing.

<> Iran agrees to monitoring by the IAEA, including enhanced access by modern technologies to
clarify past and present issues.

<> After the IAEA verifies Iran's implementation of its key nuclear commitments:

The EU will terminate all nuclear-related economic sanctions.
The United States will cease the application of all nuclear-related
secondary economic and financial sanctions.
The UN Security Council will endorse this agreement with a resolution
which terminates all previous nuclear-related resolutions and incorporates
certain restrictive measures for a mutually agreed period of time.

Senator James Lankford -- (R) Oklahoma
With respect to Senator Lankford's assertion ("The Administration agreement is weaker than the United Nations demands on Iran"), the final point of the Joint Statement is particularly relevant. It is clear that the framework agreement is completely consistent with the goals and aspirations of the permanent members of the Security Council. Assuming that a final agreement is finished on schedule, we can expect a new resolution from the UN Security Council later this year. It will put the UN Security Council on the record as favoring the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations.

Our Oklahoma members and friends of the United Nations Association deserve to know all the facts about the framework agreement with Iran -- not a cartoon version of the facts. As the negotiations continue, we will continue to provide analysis and commentary.

Thank you for your support!

What Do Americans Think about the Framework Agreement with Iran?

We queried The Google, and we found these 3 articles which we recommend:

More Approve Than Disapprove of Iran Talks, But Most Think Iranians Are ‘Not Serious’
"Ahead of a March 31 deadline for nuclear talks with Iran, more Americans approve (49%) than
disapprove (40%) of the United States negotiating directly with Iran over its nuclear program."
--The Pew Research Center

Poll Finds Most Americans Don't Trust Iran on Nuclear Deal
"Most Americans don't trust that Iran will abide by an eventual agreement to curtail its
nuclear program and not develop an atomic weapon, according to an NBC News poll released on
--NBC News

Poll: Majority of Americans Support Iran Nuclear Deal
"A new public opinion survey in the United States shows that Americans broadly support
efforts to negotiate an agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear program.... The Washington
Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday found that 59 percent of Americans polled favored
completion of a deal, with 31 percent opposed."
--Voice of America

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shane Jett in Geneva

The UN Human Rights Council
Hears from an Oklahoma Cherokee

Remarks delivered to the UN Human Rights Council on March 5, 2015
by Shane David Jett

Distinguished Delegates

It is an honor for me to address the High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council and speak
out for the Native American indigenous tribes of the United States.

Shane Jett lives in Tecumseh. He served in
the Oklahoma House of Representatives
from 2004 to 2010.
I bring greetings from my beloved country, the United States of America, my State of Oklahoma, home of 39 Native American tribes, and my own tribe, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. OSIYO

I am grateful to the FAWCO for this opportunity.

As a former legislator in Oklahoma, I worked closely with each of our 39 Tribes. I have advocated for all Tribes on the State and National level. Today, I am truly grateful for this international forum to advocate for the rights of our future generations.

Like many tribes, the Cherokee Nation's was forced from our homelands to travel great distances by threat of military violence. We called this our "Trail of Tears." We were forbidden to worship in our traditional religions. We were denied citizenship. Our land was taken and redistributed... The list is long and sad.

There are many human rights issues that plague the Native American populations:

The UN Human Rights Council
meets three times each year in
Geneva, Switzerland.
  • violence against Native women
  • extreme poverty
  • lending practices
  • discrimination
  • lawsuits over taxation

These are well documented. I wish to tell you today about the destructive practice of blood quantification to determine the degree of "Indian Blood." This was implemented in 1885, and was often done in an arbitrary and non-scientific fashion by simply looking at skin color or other physical appearance to determine if you were "a full blood" or a "half breed."

Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council are
held in the Palace of Nations in Geneva.
The real purpose for the "blood quantification" was to mathematically reduce the number of tribal members by attrition. Though the United States has since dropped this requirement, the damage was done. Today many tribes continue to use blood quantum to justify expelling native children whose blood quantum drops below the minimum threshold.

The truth is that blood quantum was never part of true and authentic Cherokee culture or tradition. It was never a part of any American Indian tribal tradition. The irony is that it was never a European or American tradition. It was invented solely for the purpose of dividing us until we were no more. No need for violence. With the right mathematics there will be no more American Indians.

The ultimate tragedy would be for our ancestors to have endured so much to survive, only for my generation to squander our existence for all time. If we lack the wisdom to reject this mathematical formula, many tribes will cease to exist.

My appeal to the Human Rights Council is to consider recognizing the practice of expelling children from their tribe based upon an antiquated blood quantum system is both traumatic and a violation of their basic human rights. Blood quantum should be relegated to the pages of history as the archaic practice that it is. Blood quantification may be a useful practice for breeding and tracking livestock, but it should never be used as a means to expel Indian youth from their tribe, their culture, their heritage and their birthright.

Thank you.


About the Author:
Shane Jett lives in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. He was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010. Born in Shawnee, Jett graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with his B.B.A. with a major in international business and a minor in Spanish. Fluent in three languages, Jett spent two years in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, working for Global Options International. Jett and his wife Ana Carolina Gomes have three daughters -- Raquel, Esther, and Sarah Grace.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Strengthening the Momentum

Middle School Students at the Model UN Conference in 2014

Middle School Students Tackle
Nuclear Disarmament at
Model UN Conference


Can You Volunteer to Help Lead
a Team of Middle School Delegates?

"Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapons on earth.  One can destroy a whole city, potentially killing millions, and jeopardizing the natural environment and lives of future generations through its long-term catastrophic effects.... The United Nations has sought to eliminate such weapons ever since its establishment."
--From the website of the United Nations Office of Nuclear Disarmament

On Monday, March 2nd, the University of Oklahoma will host the Middle School Model United Nations Conference of the Southwest. In a 1-day conference (9am to 4pm), middle school students will practice skills that will help them through a lifetime -- knowledge and skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communications, and an appreciation for the good work of the United Nations.

Attendees will learn how to:

Write a position paper;
Formulate a resolution; 
Master parliamentary procedure; and
Caucus successfully

Vivian Armitage
The conference is being organized by Vivian Armitage, a member of the OKC chapter of the United Nations Association. She will pre-assign each student participant to one of several country teams. Each team will receive a country question sheet and an iPad. With help from team leaders, the students will familiarize themselves with their country's involvement in the quest for nuclear disarmament.

The presence of nuclear weapons in our world is one of those thorny problems that the global community has struggled with for decades. We don't expect our Middle School delegates to resolve the challenge of nuclear weapons in their 1-day simulation. Even so, the student delegates will have a chance to review some of the incremental strategies that have been advanced by the UN to achieve the ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament.

The United Nations "commends... the constructive
role played by civil society in promoting nuclear
non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament."
For example, the delegates will review the 2011 United Nation General Assembly Resolution, “United Action Towards the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.” The resolution (pdf) advocates a multi-prong approach to the control and elimination of nuclear weapons, including multi-lateral steps to:

<> Reduce the risk of an accidental or unauthorized launch of nuclear weapons;

<> Establish additional nuclear-weapon-free zones;

<> Achieve the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by all "states" (nations) at the earliest opportunity;

<> Cut off -- throughout the world -- the production of fissile (bomb making) material; and

<> Other actions to disarm the world of nuclear weapons under strict and effective international control -- which is considered to be "essential to international peace and security."

To the point of the Model UN conference, the resolution "Commends... the constructive role played by civil society in promoting nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, and encourages all States to promote, in cooperation with civil society, disarmament and non-proliferation education which, inter alia, contributes to raising public awareness... and strengthens the momentum of international efforts to promote nuclear disarmament...."


Volunteers are Needed on March 2nd

Some of our Team Leaders in 2014
Team leaders are needed to help lead discussions within the simulated country delegations. Can you help?

Here's how Vivian describes the job of the team leader:

"You will be a team leader from 9:30- 11:30. The topic the students will be researching is Nuclear Disarmament. Your group will be required to research your assigned country and its involvement in Nuclear Disarmament. Each group will then be given a country question sheet... and an iPad. Your job is to answer questions and assist them as they familiarize themselves with your country's involvement."

At the end of the day students will experience an abbreviated Model UN session and will practice the concepts they learned.

If you can help on Monday, March 2nd, please contact Vivian at


A Tremendously Difficult Challenge

from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs

Virginia Gamba. Director of the
UN Office for Disarmament Affairs
"The United Nations has sought to eliminate such weapons ever since its establishment. The first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946 established a Commission to deal with problems related to the discovery of atomic energy among others. The Commission was to make proposals for, inter alia, the control of atomic energy to the extent necessary to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes. The resolution also decided that the Commission should make proposals for 'the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.'

"A number of multilateral treaties have since been established with the aim of preventing nuclear proliferation and testing, while promoting progress in nuclear disarmament. These include the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests In The Atmosphere, In Outer Space And Under Water, also known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was signed in 1996 but has yet to enter into force."

"Global norms for disarmament are vital to the sustainable development, quality of life, and ultimately the survival of this planet."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Carrying Dr. King's Courage

"...Just before 1pm, they step off toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge,
which is named for a Confederate general and Grand Dragon
of the KKK. At the head of the line are two American flags
and the flag of the United Nations."
From "The Selma Voting Rights Struggle & March to Montgomery"
By Bruce Hartford

by Ban Ki-Moon

Secretary-General of the United Nations

From a speech delivered in Atlanta, Georgia
May 8, 2008

Ambassador Young, Members of the Atlanta Chapter of UNA-USA, faculty, students and friends, I feel deeply privileged to be here today. Let me thank the Robert W. Woodruff Library for this opportunity to see the priceless treasures in its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. collection.

Allow me to pay tribute to you, Madam Mayor, for leading the efforts to safeguard these invaluable papers here in Atlanta -- the city that Dr. King called home, and the heart of the civil rights movement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
I am especially moved to have an opportunity to pay tribute to Martin Luther King here in Atlanta for the second time. The first was on a visit fifteen years ago, as a far more junior diplomat, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Korean Embassy in Washington, DC.

It was a unique experience for someone like me -- from a land halfway around the globe, yet deeply influenced by this country, by its principles and ideals, and by Dr. King's courage in striving to ensure they hold true for everyone.

Over the years, my admiration for Dr. King has grown even more profound, as I have grown older, the world more complex, and the rights he so valiantly fought for more acutely important than ever around the world.

Today, my admiration grew even further, as I saw the papers lodged in this library. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is a profoundly awe-inspiring document. Just reading a printed copy, it is easy to get swept up by Dr. King's shining vision, and forget that his powerful words were written under conditions of utter disempowerment. He couldn't even send the letter; it had to be smuggled out. Seeing the original, with paragraphs that Dr. King wrote on scraps of paper, I could only imagine what intellectual courage and conviction went into the effort.

I was also struck by the deep bond that exists between the United Nations and this great man. The Library staff was kind enough to show me many artefacts that underline the connection. Take Dr. King's acceptance speech on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. He was only the second African-American to be Nobel Peace Laureate. The first was his steadfast supporter, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ralph Bunche.

What I saw today helped me form a picture of their close relationship. A letter from Ralph Bunche, on UN stationary, asking Dr. King and his wife to visit him on the way to the Nobel ceremony in Oslo; an engraved invitation to the Kings to dine with the Bunche family at their home in Queens.

Dr. King and Mr. Bunche struggled together for the ideals they shared. Ralph Bunche was there at the Great March on Washington. He was at Dr. King's side leading the procession from Selma to Montgomery. It was 1965, and Mr. Bunche told the crowd that the United Nations was with them. He said, and I quote: “In the UN, we have known from the beginning that secure foundations for peace in the world can be built only upon the principle and practice of equal rights and status for all peoples, respect and dignity for all.”

These words capture the conviction underlying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 60th anniversary we celebrate this year. They are the tenets of the United Nations. And they are the tenets that Dr. King lived and died for. It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists -- and that it exists for them.

When Ralph Bunche learnt that Dr. King had been assassinated, he was devastated. He said going to Atlanta for the funeral was the saddest journey he ever made.

He understood that this colossal tragedy reverberated far beyond the borders of the United States. As Mr. Bunche put it, and I quote, “The world has lost one of its most earnest, respected and commanding voices in the allied causes of peace, freedom and the dignity of man.”

The treasures I have seen here today validate these words. Dr. King remains an unsurpassed advocate of all the UN stands for: peace, economic and social justice, and human rights. We can be inspired by him as we pursue our overriding mission today to reach the Millennium Development Goals, the vision agreed by all the world's Governments to build a better world in the 21st century.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will leave here forever impressed by Dr. King's courage. He could see the bridge between the terrible injustices in our world and the noble rightness that humanity can achieve. He spent his life building that bridge and marching across it, from despair to hope, from suffering to salvation, from war to peace and from hate to love.

As the United Nations strives to tackle the problems raging our world and to realize the principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we carry in our hearts Dr. King's unending courage and his unbending conviction.

So many people in this room have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy. And all of us, especially the students here today, are challenged to carry it forward into the future.

Thank you very much.

Join the United Nations Association of the USA

From Dr. King's Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the 'isness' of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal 'oughtness' that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"We Can Win"

WHO’s World Malaria Report 2014

Shows Malaria Cases Steadily Declining

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals -- which have been called "the most successful global anti-poverty push in history." The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) include halving extreme poverty rates, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, providing universal primary education, and more -- all by the target date of 2015.

Goal Number 6 included a series of measures related to combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases. Target 6.C was defined as an effort to halt, by 2015, and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

How has the world done on this measure?

According to the United Nations:
  • Between 2000 and 2013, the substantial expansion of malaria interventions led to a 47 per cent decline in malaria mortality rates globally. 

  • In the decade since 2000, 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted, and the lives of three million young children were saved. 

  • Thanks to increased funding, more children are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Treatment for tuberculosis has saved some 22 million lives between 1995 and 2012.

“We can win the fight against malaria,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “We have the right tools and our defences are working. But we still need to get those tools to a lot more people if we are to make these gains sustainable.”

According to WHO (a specialized agency of the United Nations), malaria cases are steadily declining around the world. In the African region, where about 90% of malaria deaths occur, the malaria mortality rate decreased by 54%. So, despite a 43% population increase in sub-Saharan Africa, fewer people are infected or carry asymptomatic malaria infections every year.

How has this progress been achieved?

Between 2000 and 2013, access to insecticide-treated bed nets increased substantially. In 2013, almost half of all people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa had access to an insecticide-treated net, a marked increase from just 3% in 2004. And this trend is set to continue, with a record 214 million bed nets scheduled for delivery to endemic countries in Africa by year-end.

Additionally, access to accurate malaria diagnostic testing and effective treatment has significantly improved worldwide.

There is now an optimistic public conversation about eradicating malaria entirely by the year 2030.

For example, the recent East Asia Summit recently concluded with a declaration calling for the elimination of malaria from the Asia-Pacific region within the next 15 years. And, a just-published report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommends that the world's new development goals should include efforts to:

"End preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths and malnutrition; ensure the availability of essential medicines; realize women’s reproductive health and rights; ensure immunization coverage; eradicate malaria and realize the vision of a future free of AIDS and tuberculosis...."

(See, "The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet")

Taken together, the MDG's have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The UN's new development goals, for the period 2015 through 2030, will undoubtedly call for a continuing commitment to the health and well-being of all of the world's people.

As members of the United Nations Association of the USA, we are proud to support these efforts.

In 2014, thanks to the generosity of our members and friends, we raised over $700 for Nothing But Nets -- a campaign of the United Nations Foundation. Nothing But Nets provides bed nets to people in sub-Saharan Africa who are at the greatest risk of contracting malaria.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria killed an estimated 482,000 children under five years of age in 2011. Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable mosquito-borne illness. In 2013, according to WHO, 97 countries had ongoing malaria transmission.

Help Us to Support American Leadership in the United Nations


It's easy to become a member of the United Nations Association. Use the sign-up form on the UNA-USA website, here ...

The price of an introductory membership is $25. It feels good to be a member of the United Nations Association ... It is so worth it!

If you're a student, 25 years or younger, you can join our "GenUN" group for FREE.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Team Immunity OKC

Donate to our Team
to Help Prevent Child Deaths
from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

All members and friends of the United Nations Association are invited to donate to "Team Immunity OKC," a special initiative to support the "Shot at Life" campaign to save the lives of children in developing countries.

It's easy to donate with the Shot@Life online donation tool ...
Click HERE to activate the "Donate" button.

Our goal is to raise $405 from our friends in the '405' are code.
Even a small gift will help!

What's it about? It's as simple as this. Vaccines save lives. We know they do because respected UN agencies like UNICEF and the World Health Organization are tracking the results.

UNICEF reports:

"The dramatic decline in preventable child deaths over the past quarter of a century is one of the most significant achievements in human history. The global under-five mortality rate has declined by nearly half (49 per cent) since 1990, dropping from 90 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. The under-five mortality is falling faster than at any other time during the past two decades. Thanks to the accelerated progress in reducing child mortality, the world saved almost 100 million children– among them, 24 million newborns – who would have died had mortality remained at 1990 rates."

Watch a 90-second YouTube video about Shot@Life here
A major factor in this significant achievement has been the increasing availability of vaccines. Yet, according to UNICEF, "One child dies every 20 seconds from a disease preventable by vaccine."

Major challenges persist. More than 30 million children are unimmunized either because vaccines are unavailable, because health services are poorly provided or inaccessible, or because families are uninformed or misinformed about when and why to bring their children for immunization.

How Your Gift will Help. Vaccines currently help save 2.5 million children from preventable diseases every year. With your help, global vaccination programs can stop the 1.5 million unnecessary deaths that still happen every year, and ensure that all children, no matter where they live, have a shot at a healthy life.

Team Immunity OKC
is led by Priya Desai,
UNA-OKC President and
a "Shot at Life" Champion
Your donation to Team Immunity OKC will go directly to the "Shot@Life" campaign of the United Nations Foundation.

Shot@Life has developed partnerships with other public and private organizations to deliver vaccines where they are needed the most. Partners include the GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the American Red Cross, and others. See a complete list of Partners here ...

The campaign's Implementing Partners have a proven track record. Their work has already contributed to a 99% reduction in polio, a 74 percent reduction in measles-related deaths, and the introduction of vaccines for the two most deadly childhood diseases, pneumonia and diarrhea.

More About the Campaign. Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for a global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate to vaccines, Shot@Life aims to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life.

Read more about Shot@Life here ...

Shot@Life Champions are a network of over 300 moms, dads, students, and activists dedicating their voice, time, and support to stand up for childhood vaccines.

Find out how you can become a Shot@Life Champion here ...

Thank you for supporting Team Immunity OKC!

Click HERE ...
It will make you feel good.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

LGBT Rights are Human Rights

by Sharon Bishop-Baldwin

A 2014 Human Rights Award Winner
via Facebook

Friends, all of the accolades we receive are special, for different reasons, but today's award was meaningful because it acknowledges that LGBT rights are human rights.

When Mary and I got up to receive our award and make some comments, I noted that looking around the room, I saw black, white, Latino, Middle Eastern, Christian, Jew, Muslim, male, female, young and old. But after listening to all but one of the speeches (one more came after us), what really struck me were our similarities!

From the UN Free & Equal Campaign
A Muslim speaker talked about having lawmakers propose and pass bills meant to curb his community's freedoms. A Latino speaker talked about bias in society because of differences (in his case a foreign accent). To a person, every speaker who went before us said some phrase or discussed some issue or idea that we ourselves have said about our own LGBT community -- from "Keep the faith" and "Be a voice for the voiceless" to talk of death threats and the work that remains to be done.

It was so meaningful to be in a room full of people who are fighting the same fights right alongside us, revealing how we're really so much the same.

We thank the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance for the honor and especially Bill Bryant of the Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association for nominating us.

“Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

(Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)