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100+ highlights of Avaazy people power
The Paris Climate Accord was the greatest victory yet in efforts to fight climate change, a beautiful achievement of human unity, and our movement was the leading global public mobilisation engine to deliver it. Here's the story...Read more
Just 18 months before Paris, expectations were depressingly rock bottom -- leaders actually told us there was no public and political will to act! We decided we had to show them they were wrong, and spearheaded the People's Climate Marches in 2014 and 2015. And wow did it work. They were the largest mobilisations on climate change in history (over 1.5 million marched!), a wake-up call for politicians, and are widely credited with kickstarting political momentum. "When we saw those massive marches, that's when we knew the people were with us" said Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN climate talks. "The marches brought more people than ever to the streets, thanks in part to the mobilisation networks of Avaaz" said the BBC.
Many contributed to these marches, but Avaaz set the goal of a massive mobilisation, raised the large majority of funds to support it, and took responsibility with our close partner, 350, for the core logistics. Our membership and field efforts mobilised hundreds of thousands to hit the streets. Our team designed the 'open source' framework of the marches that successfully encouraged hundreds of other groups to bring their brilliance to them. And our media team, also partnered with 350, ensured it was the best-covered march in decades.
Avaaz also worked with governments to bring over 30 cabinet ministers and world leaders into the marches, including the UN Secretary General and the French ministers that would chair the Paris talks. They marched alongside Avaaz members, many describing it as a powerful and radicalising experience.
Over the months that followed we fiercely lobbied governments to raise their ambition and embrace the inspiring goal of a world powered by 100% clean energy. We won a historic victory when we played a key role in persuading the G7 summit of the world's largest polluters to declare their intention to move the world off fossil fuels. The press was shocked and it made headlines around the world. And in the final Paris negotiations, our movement worked round the clock, in dozens of campaigns, to ensure that blockers were stopped and champions supported to make the deal.
Paris was a beautiful example of how humanity can unite to meet our common challenges. There were many, many heroes in Paris, from small Island states like the Marshall Islands, to the UN, and governments like France and Germany, to organisations like the World Resources Institute, that made a huge difference. It was a festival of hope and humanity. But 18 months before it, almost no one thought it would be. Our movement played a central role in making it all possible, and that makes it our proudest achievement yet.
Paris was just the most recent chapter in 10 years of all-out Avaaz campaigning on climate change. For the longer story, with more pictures, click here.
“Avaaz has been fundamental to mobilising broad support for climate action. Thank you Avaaz, you are music!”
The fight to keep the internet free from corporate control and government censorship is one of the great battles of our time -- one that we have fought and helped win for five years across four continents.Read more
In 2012, an almost 3-million strong Avaaz petition supercharged national efforts to defeat two scandalous bills in the US Congress that would have allowed the government to shut down any website, including ours!
Just weeks later the European Parliament was quietly about to rubber stamp ACTA, a treaty that would have allowed corporate interests to censor the Web. Again, nearly 3 million Avaazers signed a petition, sent messages, made phone calls, joined rallies, and forced the EU Parliament to recognise ACTA as an attack on democracy.
The law was almost unanimously abandoned, and the Parliament's press release acknowledged the key role the Avaaz movement played!
Since then we’ve taken the fight country to country to protect "net neutrality", the idea that the internet should be the same speed for all websites, not super fast for rich corporations and slower for small businesses, bloggers and charities.
In Brazil, hundreds of thousands of Brazilian Avaazers, MPs, and net neutrality groups fought hard for the Marco Civil to be passed into law. It is now considered the world’s most advanced code to protect the internet. Then we moved to India, the EU and back to the US, and after powerful Avaaz campaigns with our partners, strong net neutrality rules were adopted in all these places.
Finally in 2016 telecom giants in Europe tried a final assault on net neutrality, but we met them head-on. First delivering our massive petition calling for an internet for all, then flooding a public consultation with hundreds of thousands of citizen comments, and lastly engaging directly with key regulators, who said they were emotionally affected by the appeals of Avaaz members. And we won again!
While many others joined these fights, particularly in key countries, Avaaz has helped ensure an emerging global standard for the internet that protects its promise. And that makes it our second proudest achievement.
Read more here.
“I was very impressed by Avaaz’s massive 2.8-million person petition. Citizens' concerns have been taken seriously by the European Parliament.”
“Avaaz is inspiring, and has already made a difference.”
“Avaaz has driven forward the idealism of the world… Do not underestimate your impact on leaders.”
“I would like to thank the millions of people who have joined Avaaz in the effort to increase pressure on World Leaders to act now, not tomorrow.”
“Avaaz represents a hope for humanity, against injustice. And a pain in the butt for unaccountable leaders and institutions.”
“Putting power in the hands of the people has long been a dream for many idealists. What is amazing about Avaaz is that they are actually doing it, and doing it globally. In a world that is getting increasingly divided, Avaaz speaks for compassion, tolerance and justice in one voice.”
“In its first 10 years Avaaz has empowered people and brought citizens' concerns at the top of the policy agenda. It's a birthday worth celebrating.”
“I believe Avaaz is just about the best organisation around.”
“Avaaz is an ally, and rallying point, for the disadvantaged everywhere.”
Our movement has played a significant role in the biggest ocean conservation victories in history, and we’re just getting started…Read more
Our oceans give us life -- they provide every second breath we take. And they’re home to incredible creatures, from whales to turtles, sharks to squid. But today we’re choking that life: there'll be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050; acidification is destroying precious coral reefs; overfishing is so bad it could take ocean ecosystems millions of years to recover.
What's the answer? Experts say it's huge marine protected areas -- without human interference, they let life regenerate. The challenge is that industrial fishing lobbies and other shortsighted interests are trying to stop them. So we have met these interests over and over -- and together helped create three of the biggest protected areas on Earth.
In 2010, hundreds of thousands of Avaazers pushed the UK to set aside an area the size of Germany and Italy combined in the pristine South Pacific waters around the Chagos islands, the largest marine reserve to date -- and it did! It's a huge victory, and the Foreign Ministry cited "over 221,000 responses coordinated by Avaaz... from 223 countries" as a key contribution to their decision.
Just a few years later, a million Avaazers called on the US to take its turn, flooding an official consultation with messages to approve the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, a marine reserve so big it would double the amount of ocean protected worldwide. Our voices overwhelmed the powerful corporate blockers and we won -- again!
Then, in June 2016, we heard US President Obama could create the largest protected area on the planet in stunning waters off Hawaii. So we rallied again, and our one million global voices were delivered straight into the key public meetings, helping give the project the mandate it needed. In just days, Obama announced that the Papahanaumokuakea reserve was approved.
Each of these areas is critical, but the big prize was to get all our governments to agree to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030. It was crazy ambitious, but scientists told us it was a must. So, in August 2016 a million of us backed the ocean champion Palau, we lobbied swing countries day and night at the world’s largest conservation body, out manoeuvred blockers like Japan, and won the media onto the plan -- and WE WON big... 89% of the world voted YES!
Now we have to turn that target into real protected areas, but with this history of wins, there’s no stopping us...
“The voice of people around the world is critical to showing our leaders that the time to protect our oceans is now. The 1.3 million people who signed... were a big part of getting this done.”
Chemical giant Monsanto is one of the most powerful corporations in the world, and its model of chemical agriculture is transforming the surface of our planet into vast monocultures of single crops that damage vital ecological diversity. But our movement has stood up to them from Europe to South America, working alongside brave community leaders to shut down their factories and pesticides.Read more
When Monsanto started to build a mega genetically modified seed factory in Argentina, courageous local leaders physically blocked the construction. Then Avaazers stepped in to amplify their fight with a million voices worldwide. Together we went door-to-door, ran opinion polls showing massive local opposition, helped elect a city council opposed to the factory, and ran targeted campaigns to local and national politicians until Monsanto was forced to abandon the plant!
"We celebrate the victory of our long battle we shared with the global movement Avaaz…. Monsanto has only one option: to go back home," said Celina Molina, a local organiser in Malvinas.
But we didn’t stop there -- when we realised how Monsanto was patenting seed across the world, our community stepped up with $1 million in crowdsourced fundraising to create the first ever global seed bank to protect seed diversity!
A year later, the World Health Organisation ruled that glyphosate, Monsanto's main herbicide and cornerstone of its empire, was 'probably carcinogenic'. Our community moved into action, with millions of people across the world calling for it to be banned.
Everyone thought glyphosate would get the green light when it came up for relicensing in Europe. But after our massive petition, polls, multiple meetings with government officials, and a huge media push, Avaaz and our partners pushed the licensing from a formality into a heated political debate. First, glyphosate was given an emergency extension instead of a license. Then EU countries rejected the extension, and finally the EU Commission was forced to go out alone, and renew the license only until a new scientific review is complete. This campaign has put the future of the Monsanto model of chemical agriculture in question like never before!
While the battle to move to a more sustainable agricultural model is far from over, our movement has played a key role in challenging the business model of this mega-corporation, and pushing politicians to look for alternatives. Read more here about all the twists and turns of this years-long campaign.
“Avaaz is indisputably the driving force of the fight for glyphosate discontinuance.”
Rupert Murdoch is the world’s most powerful and dangerous media baron, abusing his vast empire to put politicians in his pocket and push a hateful and divisive political agenda. Avaaz played a central role in killing the largest deal of Murdoch’s lifetime, one that would have expanded his empire dramatically...Read more
Murdoch has had so many UK politicians in his pocket, he’s become known as an unelected member of the cabinet. No British Prime Minister has been elected in 25 years without his support. And he's a global menace, owning huge percentages of the media in many countries.
So everyone told us there was no way to stop the government approving Murdoch's takeover of Britain's BSkyB, a broadcasting giant that would have massively increased the mogul's power.
But with some important allies and a little luck, we did it! Our intense nine-month campaign involved 1 million online actions, 30,000 phone calls to MPs, hiring lawyers to challenge the deal legally, and a steady drumbeat of creative protests outside government buildings.
We knew from insiders that a scandal with Murdoch news organisations (having illegally hacked many people’s voicemails) was going to get much, much worse. So our task was to slow the deal down until the scandal killed it entirely.
Government Minister Jeremy Hunt, a Murdoch ally, was empowered to approve the deal. So first, we demonstrated massive public opposition to the deal, both through online campaigns and through public opinion polling funded by our members.
Hunt was likely to go ahead anyway, so then our community made over 40,000 legal submissions to the government’s technical consultation process. Hunt told us directly that it massively slowed him down -- he was forced to hire a whole team just to go through all our submissions!
Why did he pay such close attention? Because we had simultaneously hired lawyers who promised him a "judicial review" if he didn’t read all our submissions -- in other words saying we would take him to court on his decision. Even other news organisations in the UK weren’t willing to spend up to the $1 million necessary for such a case, but our movement, with our powerful crowdsourced fundraising model, was.
At the same time we organised actions among BSkyB shareholders, and kept up a constant drumbeat of creative protests that blanketed the UK press for months -- these ranged from 'Murdoch' in bed with Prime Minister Cameron, dangling a puppet of Cameron, a crowd of Avaaz members with painted red hands, and a picket outside Hunt’s constituency meeting in Surrey.
Combined with efforts from politicians like MP Tom Watson, victims of phone hacking, and other activist groups, we were able to delay the decision for months, until the scandal we knew was coming broke: a terrible story about Murdoch’s papers having hacked the mobile phone of Milly Dowler, a murdered 13-year-old girl. The public outcry, fanned by an Avaaz petition signed by 150,000 Brits in less than 2 days, persuaded MPs to vote down Murdoch’s deal in the House of Commons, then launch a major inquiry into Britain’s media ethics, where we again staged a series of public actions to dramatise the issues.
Internal emails released to that inquiry showed that the Avaaz campaign was seen as a major hurdle to the deal. Murdoch’s top lobbyist wrote to James Murdoch about Hunt: "key for him is to find a way to weaken Avaaz campaign's arguments".
Murdoch is still a global menace who uses and abuses media power to put politicians in his pocket for profit. But our movement played a central role in killing the biggest deal of his lifetime, and that makes this win our 5th proudest accomplishment.
“Avaaz members in the UK and throughout the world led the campaign to make politicians listen to the victims of phone hacking. You spoke out. You made a difference. Thank you.”
Our movement has donated tens of millions of dollars/euros/yen to worthy causes, with over half going to save and rebuild lives in the aftermath of humanitarian disasters. Our global reach, coupled with our unique agility, means we can send aid to where it's needed most in no time at all.Read more
After the brutal Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, killing over 100,000 people and threatening many more, suspicious ruling generals banned almost every aid NGO from the country. What aid they did let in, they channeled away from the hardest hit areas towards regime strongholds.
But within 48 hours, Avaaz bypassed the brutal government and worked with networks of monks, whose monasteries were often the only structures left standing, to dispatch aid into the hardest hit area of the river delta. We sent more money than most governments, doing so through fast-acting local networks. It’s our proudest moment in terms of lives saved.
In 2010 when Pakistan was covered by historic floods, we got $1 million on the ground through local groups in less than 3 days.
When a huge earthquake left Haiti in ruins, thousands of us contributed more than $1.3 million for relief and recovery -- directing the funds to outstanding local groups for life-saving food kits, shelter and medicine.
Following the terrible earthquake in Nepal in 2015, Avaaz partnered with over a dozen of the best local relief efforts. The shelter, food, and medical supplies that our community funded were often the first to reach devastated villages.
“We are extremely grateful to Avaaz for providing support within just 72 hours of the earthquake taking place. As a result, 80,000 people were able to live with enhanced protection from the monsoon rains. You saved lives at an incredibly difficult time for this country.”
Millions of Brazilian Avaazers have been a powerful and inspirational force in the fight against rampant corruption in their country. Le Monde has called the results "a political revolution".Read more
It began in 2010 with "Ficha Limpa", the Clean Record Law -- a bold proposal to bar politicians convicted of crimes from running for office. One top politician told the Avaaz team it would never pass, because so many congressmen were themselves under investigation for corruption!
But our community threw everything at it, taking a huge petition organised by civil society offline and supercharging it online, adding over half a million signatures, making thousands of phone calls, and doing in-the-room advocacy. Politicians fought hard to kill the bill, but every time they tried to delay or dilute the bill, Avaaz had their offices flooded with calls from their home districts within hours! This kind of accountability had never been seen before.
After many months of constant political combat, and the enthusiastic support of Brazil’s major media networks, the Clean Record law passed almost unanimously! Thousands of candidates were barred from office, in what was called a revolution. Avaaz’s role was acknowledged by MPs, civil society leaders, and academic studies of the amazing win.
Another crucial breakthrough came in 2015 -- after 18 months of steady Avaaz campaigning, including social media avalanches and street protests that made headlines, corporate funding for election candidates was declared unconstitutional!
And in 2016, our community responded to the unfolding political crisis by taking on the poster-child of corruption, Eduardo Cunha. Insiders and journalists warned us that the Lower House speaker was too powerful to oust. But we refused to be cowed -- over 1.3 million of us demanded a national Ethics Committee vote to fire Cunha. And when his allies rallied to block the vote, we hit back -- shaming officials who were shielding Cunha, flooding key swing voters on the ethics committee with phone calls and direct messages. And we did it!!! Eduardo Cunha was forced to resign, barred from running for office for eight years. And shortly after, he was arrested!!
The battle against corruption in Brazil is far from over, but the tenacity and light of this amazing movement has helped ensure that corruption is now top of the policy agenda, and that no corrupt politician is untouchable.
“If it hadn't been for public pressure, we wouldn’t have won. I want to thank and congratulate you [Avaaz] and say: keep it up, keep mobilizing.”
The amazing bee pollinates one third of all our food -- so when scientists noticed that they were silently dying at a terrifying rate, Avaaz swung into action, and we kept on swinging until we won.Read more
One group of pesticides, called neonicotinoids, was increasingly linked to the massive decline of bees worldwide. So we focused on driving the European Union to ban these toxic pesticides.
The corporate lobby was in full swing -- these chemicals were highly lucrative for them. Together, we flooded European ministers with thousands messages, launched a massive petition with over 2.6 million signatures, intervened at the shareholder meeting of pesticide giant Bayer, funded opinion polls, and ran campaigns targeting key blockers like Germany and Spain -- both of whom flipped from opposing to supporting a ban!! Oh, and we organised marches across the continent with beekeepers and Bernie, our 5-metre long inflatable bee!
After two years of relentless campaigning, the EU decided to ban the most dangerous neonicotinoid pesticides, pending a full independent scientific review!! We've kept the fight up to take this victory beyond Europe, and to get the independent science we need. But the EU decision has been a massive lifeline of hope for the world's bees, and the rest of us.
“Avaaz's massive petition and creative campaigning helped push this over the edge.”
The biggest refugee crisis since World War II has exposed humanity at its best and worst. As most governments and political leaders turned their backs on the millions of children, men and women fleeing war and misery, Avaazers worldwide took up the challenge, donating millions to fund life-saving missions at sea and protection programmes during the harsh winter, tirelessly lobbying governments to ensure the adoption of humane policies... Thousands of us even directly assisted and welcomed refugees in our own homes and communities!Read more
Our first efforts in 2014 were to make life more bearable for refugee families in Lebanon. Our community raised $1 million in a challenge grant to donor governments to save Syria from a lost generation of children without education. Governments matched us over 100:1!! UN Education Envoy Gordon Brown called our effort "magnificent" and "important in getting governments to give."
When the number of desperate refugees embarking on deadly sea journeys to Europe rocketed in 2015, our community raised $500,000 to support the most effective private rescue operation in the Mediterranean, the Migrants Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).
An Avaaz aid mission took urgently needed supplies to the Greek islands where refugees were arriving with nothing, and thousands of us helped fund a UN winter programme to assist the most vulnerable and an innovative legal project to reunite refugee children with their families in the UK.
When Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi tragically drowned and shook the world's conscience, our team worked with his aunt Tima, bringing her to Brussels to deliver our 1.2 million signature petition to European ministers and parliamentarians. Avaaz and Tima’s call for a humane 21st century refugee policy, in memory of her nephew, made headlines worldwide.
From Australia to the US, from European capitals to UN conferences, our voices have been heard, and new commitments to host refugees have been made, some of them unprecedented. But it is far from enough -- and our deep sense of shared humanity calls on all of us to keep fighting for a united and urgent response to this tragedy.
“Nothing I could say could convey how grateful I truly am to all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Our magnificent rainforests are home to more than half of the planet's plant and animal species, including many at risk of extinction. Our very survival depends on them. This is why the protection of these treasures is one of the greatest struggles of our times, and our movement has already won some important victories, from Brazil to Bolivia to the island of Borneo.Read more
In 2009, Avaazers in Brazil surged and delivered 14,000 phone calls and 30,000 messages to then-President Lula da Silva's office in just 48 hours, opposing a bill that would have handed over a large portion of the Brazilian Amazon to agribusiness. Lula vetoed the worst parts of the bill! Officials in his office told us they’d never seen that kind of pressure before. Three years later, powerful lobbies pushed again for a bill with the potential to decimate huge swathes of the country's forest -- nearly 2 million Avaaz voices helped build a powerful alliance with Greenpeace, WWF, and others to pressure Dilma Rousseff -- and forced Dilma to ditch some of the most controversial parts of the Forest law!!
Again and again, our community has joined hands with the native stewards of threatened forests across the Americas and Africa. In 2009, half a million of us joined a thousand Bolivian indigenous protesters who bravely marched for days to stop construction of a highway through the heart of the Amazon. President Evo Morales, whose cabinet ministers met with the Avaaz team, halted the project! In 2015, we called for the creation of the largest environmental corridor in the world and tens of thousands of us funded a historic gathering of 25 indigenous leaders to dream together about the future of the Amazon.
But we didn’t just win political victories: in one of our most innovative campaigns, over 90,000 Avaazers donated to buy a huge tract of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo, a project that can protect 700 of the world's last remaining Bornean Orangutans and 1000 Pygmy Elephants.
Only now we are beginning to understand the magnitude of the looming threat of biodiversity loss. Preserving the last few unspoiled parts of our Earth is vital to sustain our delicate ecosystems and save our future -- and our wonderful community is uniquely placed to defend them tooth and nail.
“Thank you Avaaz for giving us the unconditional support in organising the first ever meeting with all indigenous leaders of the Amazon to discuss our future. We found in Avaaz a true friend and partner that treat us as equal, with honesty, and with a genuine interest in listening to us and making sure our voice is heard.”
Monsanto's glyphosate weedkiller is everywhere, providing much of the mega-corporation's revenue. So when UN experts said it likely causes cancer, 1.5 million of us called to ban it!
With Europe set to re-approve its licence for 15 years, Avaaz delivered our petition and thousands of us sent urgent messages to our governments. In the final hour, the countries' support collapsed, and the EU commission was forced to adopt a temporary extension until a new scientific opinion is in. We’ll keep the pressure up until we get the ban our planet needs.
“The Avaaz campaign helped to raise awareness and concern of the general public about glyphosate. This helped me as a parliamentarian to work on this issue… Stay with us in this fight.”
In the face of an incredibly dark moment for Syria’s refugees, Avaazers delivered a beautifully simple, but powerful message right into the heart of a UN refugee conference: The World ♥ Refugees.
First, we delivered our mega petition to the UN Secretary General and the head of the UN refugee agency and then, our messages and photos were greeting every negotiator on a big screen right at the entrance to the talks -- messages of love and compassion from all over the world, a global chorus of "refugees welcome here".
“I am impressed that 1.2 million people worldwide signed the Avaaz petition for a humane and fair response to refugee flows. My hope is that their leaders will listen and commit to significant resettlement places and other legal pathways for these families.”
For years, Icelandic millionaire badboy Kristjan Loftsson has massacred hundreds of endangered giant fin whales. But no more!!
Working with allies, a million of us pressed the Dutch government to close their ports to him, then German Avaazers helped to block ports there too. Then we caused a media and political storm in the Caribbean where Loftsson’s ship was registered. After years of pressure, he’s called off the hunt!
“The global pressure brought by the Avaaz community has no doubt played a big role in Loftsson’s welcome decision.”
Saudi Arabia is a human rights nightmare, but after they bombed schools and hospitals in Yemen, calls rose in Europe for an arms embargo.
When EU politicians started to waver under the pressure of powerful Saudi lobbyists, 740,000 Avaazers weighed in, flooding members of parliament with messages and calls. And we won -- for the first time, a Western parliament voted to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia! Now the pressure is on for governments across Europe to follow this lead.
“We’ve received calls from Scotland to France to Yemen calling for action, Avaaz played a major role to bring this message to the European Parliament.”
Inspired by Greek fishermen and pensioners who’ve saved and cared for thousands of desperate refugee families, Avaaz member Alkmini started a petition to nominate these unsung heroes for the Nobel Peace Prize.
More than 600,000 of us backed the idea, and Desmond Tutu endorsed the official request by 23 academics to the Nobel committee. This touching story in which humanity triumphs over fear got the attention of media worldwide, from CNN to the BBC.
“In times when fear and racism are threatening our societies and Europe is raising fences, the big mobilisation of Avaaz members made the voice of humanity echo loudly around the world”
When Somali women’s rights experts told us that global pressure could help them outlaw female genital mutilation, over a million of us signed a petition supporting the ban.
We never imagined that the Somali Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister for Women and Human Rights would sign the petition, too! Working with these leaders, UNICEF and survivors, it’s now likely that FGM, done to 98% of Somali women, will become illegal!
“I am committed to outlaw FGM in Somalia through legislation, advocacy, education and community engagement. ”
After decades of silence, 14 brave women went to court to confront the Guatemalan generals who kept them as sex slaves.
As they entered the courtroom we surrounded them with love, delivering messages from over 40,000 Avaaz members across Latin America. The women’s courage prevailed, and for the first time ever these generals were convicted of crimes against humanity!
“I was happy to hear the messages of support. I know I'm not alone, and I wanted to uncover my face when I heard that there are people all around the world that support me. ”
Thousands of Syrian children seeking refuge are lost in Europe, without their parents and preyed upon by child traffickers. That’s why 40,000 of us donated to fund lawyers to find them, provide legal support, and get them to safety.
Dozens of children are already being helped and some of them arrived in London to be reunited with their families for the first time in months!
“Nothing I could say could convey how grateful I truly am to all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ”
After women were attacked on New Year's Eve, a flood of racism and xenophobia spread across Germany. Refugee men responded by handing out flowers to women on the streets as a show of respect.
To return the gesture and show solidarity and welcome, a hundred female Avaaz members went out to hand flowers back to refugees in Cologne, the site of the attacks. Their video went viral!
“Refugee men handed out flowers to women as a sign of peace. As Avaaz members we wanted to reciprocate this courageous gesture to show that we counter hate with humanity. ”
Year after year, thousands of dogs have been brutally butchered, boiled and served as part of a dog meat festival in Yulin, China. This year, our global community said "Enough!"
Three million Avaazers teamed up with animal rights groups inside and outside China to create one of the biggest online calls ever. We delivered our voices straight to Beijing and embassies around the world. When we ran an opinion poll, we uncovered that Chinese citizens are massively opposed to the festival. Officials in Yulin heard the call -- and vowed to shut the festival down for good.
“The Yulin authorities and relevant government agencies will take immediate actions to prevent it from happening again.”
During 2016, our human family was repeatedly and bloodily attacked by terrorists of all sorts. And each time we responded with one beautiful cry: "We are Undivided".
Thousands of messages of solidarity poured from every corner of the planet; the team printed these messages on giant posters and plastered them across the towns of Nice, Munich, Kabul, Baghdad, Mogadishu, and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Among candles, flowers, and messages of love, the residents of these towns had the chance to gather in unity and feel in those dark times our vibrant interconnectedness.
“It's a dark time we live in but if we let fear win, the terrorists win. If we stand united, refuse to be divided, refuse to give up our way of life they can never win.”
When newly elected Greek PM Tsipras visited German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin, our petition to mend relations and ensure support for Greece's economic crisis was delivered with a kiss. A kiss marathon in fact -- right in front of the building where the leaders met.
Our event was all over European and international news -- and even got a tweet from PM Tsipras himself, who acknowledged that the demo gave him strength. We then invited renowned economists Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis to call for Greek debt relief in an open letter. The letter made international headlines and was mentioned in over 5,000 media articles, helping change the debate in Germany.
“In Berlin, we met with Ms Merkel. The Greek and German people who gathered to show solidarity gave us strength.”
When a massive wave of desperate refugees started risking their lives at sea to reach safety in Europe, our community sprang into action.
We raised funds to grant $500,000 to the most effective private rescue mission in the Mediterranean, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), which has saved over 7,000 lives this year. Then we ran an Avaaz aid mission to take urgently needed supplies to the Greek islands where refugees arrive with nothing, from sleeping bag to health kits and diapers. Click here to read more.
“As part of the Avaaz community we’re pushing back. When governments respond with "No", we go around them, short-circuiting their xenophobia and racism. Together we’re showing how the world can be a better place, where instead of shutting them out, we lift them up, look them in the eyes -- and we’re all happier for it.”
When the EU did not show enough ambition on the refugee crisis, Avaazers rallied 1,2 million voices from around the world and brought them straight to decision-makers, from high level countries representatives, to the EU commission and Parliament. 65,000 of us sent personal messages to Ministers.
When after weeks of stalling, we found out Poland, Austria and Spain were blocking a deal, we flooded their Ministries with phone calls, and Avaaz volunteers made a video of Syrians appealing directly to the Spanish Minister for refugees, which exploded all over the media. When Alan Kurdi tragically drowned, we brought his aunt to Brussels to deliver her message and our petition. Her emotion struck everyone's heart, including the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, who urged everyone to "really pay attention" to her words.
“I hope that all of us … really pay attention today to the words we have listened to, these ones, that for me are the most important ones of the whole morning…”
After horrendous civilian deaths in Gaza in 2014, almost 2 million of us called on 6 major companies to stop profiting from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.
Our movement sent messages to CEOs, held rallies from London to Ramallah, met with government and corporate officials, and lobbied other countries to cut ties with those companies. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, actor Russell Brand, and other groups joined our call. And as of now, 3 of the 6 have pulled out!! It’s a tactic that's having impact in the struggle for freedom and peace.
“The nearly 2 million Avaazers joining the fight for companies to divest from the occupation shows Israel the public push to end this oppression is going mainstream. ”
After years of flat-out refusal, we finally got Benetton to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh! We combined a million-strong petition with a social media blitz, billboards outside Benetton’s HQ, and deep negotiations with company executives.
Benetton responded by thanking Avaaz and pledging $1.1 million to the new compensation scheme! After that, others contributed to the fund thereby changing the lives of workers and their families.
“I am glad to announce that we have contributed to close the gap of the Rana Plaza Trust Fund with 1.1 million USD... We acknowledge your important and positive role in the process that has led to this.”
Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, Avaaz members sent thousands of messages to show those living in these cities that the world was with them.
These heartfelt expressions of unity and hope then appeared on thousands of posters across the cities. They provided an antidote to the poisonous hate, fear and division spread by politicians like Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen.
At moments of terrible tragedy, we face two choices -- division or unity -- and the Avaaz community stood tall and together to fight back against violence and intolerance with the power of love.
“Let's not fall into the trap of hate. We will stay united. We will stay human. That will be our biggest victory. ”
After 20 years of local groups and indigenous communities campaigning to protect this unique rainforest, our community was called to action at the final tipping point to shine a massive global light onto the solution.
Just days after we delivered our massive petition to the Peruvian Prime Minister to sign a bill to protect the area, and thousands tweeted and covered his Facebook wall with messages, the PM designated #SierraDelDivisor a national park!
The Peruvian Environment Minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, underlined the importance of "the voice of over one million citizens in Peru and throughout the world who have supported the government". Now this rainforest and the extraordinary endangered species that live in it will be protected.
“The participation of civil society in Peru and around the world has finally produced results. In particular I would like to thank Avaaz. Today civil society, government, businesses and communities will be working together to lay down the master plan for Sierra del Divisor. ”
When a horrific gang rape was committed in a school, 24,000 South African Avaazers demanded wide-scale school reforms and, with other groups, opened up talks with South Africa’s Department of Education to bring about change.
The Minister agreed to implement all our campaign asks, including training all teachers in values, citizenship and human rights.
“There has been widespread public support for action, as evidenced by the online campaign signed by over 24,000 citizens. A major priority for the Department is providing school environments that protect learners at all times, and these new commitments build on the work already being done in this area. ”
They said it couldn’t be done. Getting Italy's regional politicians to stand up and challenge President Renzi to halt drilling plans along the coast. And yet, in collaboration with the brilliant 'No Triv' movement, Avaazers came together and brought over 90,000 voices right into the key meeting, pushing 10 regional councils to call for a national referendum -- the first of its kind in Italian history!
Pressured by the referendum and public opinion, the government back-pedalled, giving in to most of our demands and effectively stopped all new drilling. The request to also stop existing platforms, was put to referendum and although it did not reach voter thresholds, more than 15 million citizens overwhelmingly voted 85% against oil rigs!
“Thanks to all the international organizations here today, we know that the fight against offshore drilling is not a local, isolated struggle, but a much broader one which will continue in all our seas and coasts.”
In Morocco, two women were attacked and taken to court because they were wearing dresses. An outraged Avaaz member launched a petition and within weeks, her call to protect women’s right to make their own choices gained almost 30,000 signatures.
The media team at Avaaz galvanised public attention and soon pictures of Moroccan men wearing dresses in support of the campaign flooded social media. On the day of the judgement in a local court, peaceful demonstrations were organized outside the courtroom. Eventually, both women were found innocent and their attackers taken to court instead!
“The women accused of wearing a dress won their freedom today only because of the massive mobilisation of public opinion.”
When top FIFA executives were arrested, Avaaz swung into action, launched a global petition, and sent a team to Zurich the next day to put up a giant, symbolic prison cell for Chairman Sepp Blatter in front of the waiting media, calling for him to quit.
Our images helped define the story for millions, appearing on TV news in 41 countries and hundreds of print and online publications. After Blatter announced his departure, Avaaz staff were invited to meet authorities in Qatar to discuss their use of slave labour in preparing for the World Cup.
The Indian Army had quietly been killing its old, unfit horses and dogs despite their years of loyal service in dangerous combat situations. When we found out, thousands of Avaaz members joined The Animal Welfare Board of India to pressure the Defence Ministry to rehabilitate these loyal creatures instead.
Many wrote directly to the Defence Ministry, even offering to take in retired Army dogs. Within weeks of the campaign, the Indian Army asked the Animal Welfare Board of India to develop a proper rehabilitation plan, the Defence Ministry allocated funding for it and officially announced an end to the brutal policy of "humane euthanasia"!
“To those who took the trouble to write these emails to the government, besides signing the petition we are truly, truly grateful. Thank you. ”
Developers and cruise companies wanted to build a new devastating channel to allow huge cruise ships to be able to enter the centre of Venice. But the government had the final decision on the project, and when Prime Minister Renzi decided to attend a local political rally, Avaaz organisers rushed to the event and delivered almost 100,000 member signatures against the development.
Later thousands of citizens took to the streets of the city, and the Contorta channel project was finally dropped!
“Our intention is to safeguard Venice and its lagoon.”
When a terrible earthquake hit Nepal, Avaazers came together and donated an incredible $2.5 million and funds have rapidly been dispatched to over a dozen fantastic groups working on the ground to provide shelter, medical support and emergency supplies to some of the hardest hit areas.
The aid our community provided was the first to reach devastated villages; where no other assistance could previously reach.
“We are extremely grateful to Avaaz for providing support within just 72 hours of the earthquake taking place. As a result, 80,000 people were able to live with enhanced protection from the monsoon rains. You saved lives at an incredibly difficult time for this country.”
When media reports suggested UK’s disastrous politician Andrew Lansley could be appointed as the next UN Humanitarian Chief, we launched a campaign demanding transparency and the principle of merit.
We ran ads on the front page of Financial Times, met with the UN chief of staff, polled existing UN employees and ran a full bore campaign to get Ban Ki-moon to not appoint Lansley. Thankfully, the Secretary-General rejected Lansley's candidacy for this role.
“Then the campaign group Avaaz got involved. 70,000 British people signed a petition calling on Mr Cameron to withdraw Mr Lansley’s nomination and 16,000 wrote to the UN secretary general asking him to reject Mr Lansley’s candidacy. It seems that the pressure may have worked.”
When police in London refused to send officers to close roads for a climate march, telling organisers that they would have to hire a private company at a cost of thousands of pounds instead, the Avaaz community swung into action.
More than 60,000 people joined our call to reject the privatisation of protest, which was delivered to police by march organisers. After a media firestorm, London Mayor Boris Johnson publicly questioned the police’s position, piling pressure on them to do the right thing. Days before the march, the force backed down, agreeing to send officers to march and ensuring our right to democratic expression was upheld.
“Thanks to Avaaz for ensuring that the right to free protest remains a fundamental democratic right available for all. As a result of the petition we will no longer have to hire a private traffic management company to close the roads for our protest. It helped us draw the public support we needed to challenge the authorities at this pivotal time. ”
Mexico’s Congress was quietly fast-tracking an outrageous law to give corporations the right to pollute the nation’s entire water supply and make academic investigation of contamination illegal.
When we heard about it, we launched a massive public campaign with key partners, building a giant petition, taking to the streets and creating a media wave the politicians couldn’t ignore. In a subsequent vote in Congress, the law was voted down and Mexico’s water supply kept safe.
“The Avaaz campaign really helped, informing people and mobilizing them to pressure our representatives. We never imagined we could actually stop the law!!!”
When a wave of xenophobic marches were organised by the right-wing group Pegida in Germany, Avaaz members came together to fight back against this ugly display of fear with love.
We built a wall of friendship where Germans of all faiths and backgrounds posted images of friendship, and we took it to rallies in Dresden and Berlin which saw the hashtag #mitdir explode. The campaign was very effective in challenging Pegida’s message of division and peaked with a day-long festival of diversity at the Brandenburg Gate, with poets, musicians, and singers coming together to celebrate our common humanity.
“#MirDir has a clear message: We stand for a different Germany. A country that allows more than one perspective. A country that debates and discusses. A country that is built together, not against each other.”
Avaaz members in Paris had the brilliant idea to campaign for a car-free day in the capital as a symbolic gesture in the run-up to the international climate summit at the end of 2015.
With the support of the Avaaz team, they launched their campaign, and within hours of the petition going live, City Hall called and promised this “car-free day” would happen in September! Not only did the car-free day indeed happen, but it also happened again the following year!
“The petition and all the messages have been instrumental in convincing the mayor of Paris! There will be a car-free day in Paris in 2015, and we want this day to be historic, masterly, exemplary.”
In the hours following the horrific attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in the centre of Paris, Avaaz launched a call for a France that is united and responds to terrorism with love and hope.
The campaign was our biggest ever in France, gathering more than 800,000 signatures within a few hours, and we delivered them at the giant Paris solidarity March. #JeSuisCharlie
“The Charlie Hebdo attacks had 2 effects on me: the shock of a senseless and incomprehensible act, and - above all - the urge to defend our values. Thanks to Avaaz and to the protest, I realized that millions of people share a common core, and that the collective response that Avaaz offers is essential to ward off our fears. ”
After 18 months of campaigning in Brazil against rampant corruption -- we had a major breakthrough: corporate donations for elections were declared unconstitutional!
Avaazers rallied to keep the campaign alive in the social media and the streets -- the campaign included threatening the Supreme Court Justice with a lawsuit and deluging the justice ministries to stop elections being bought -- and we won!
Nearly one million Avaazers joined the call to create the largest environmental corridor in the world, protecting 135 million hectares of Amazon forest -- the size of France!
Then 78,000 of us chipped in to power a massive campaign to get the Brazilian, Venezuelan and Colombian governments to back it. The first step was to fund 25 indigenous leaders from all three countries to meet for the first time ever and agree on a regional and international strategy to promote the Amazon corridor. Now we will work hand in glove with them to push through this tri-national reserve. Experts say if we win it would be a total game-changer for stopping rampant deforestation.
“Thank you Avaaz for giving us the unconditional support in organising the first ever meeting with all indigenous leaders of the Amazon to discuss our future. We found in Avaaz a true friend and partner that treat us as equal, with honesty, and with a genuine interest in listening to us and making sure our voice is heard.”
When Tony Abbot bluntly denied his help to Syrian refugees, our community in Australia refused to take their Prime Minister's word for granted. They signed a mega petition which set the aspirational goal of welcoming 20,000 new refugees.
After a massive media wave and thousands of members personally telephoning their leaders' offices, Australia took an extra 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees and contributed $44 million to the UNHCR. The first Syrian family has already arrived and started their new life.
When refugees reaching Europe were meeting nothing but closed doors, Avaazers responded by launching a pan-European volunteer network.
More than 6,600 of us volunteered to assist in programmes across the continent. In Greece, Malta, and Italy, we helped families coming off the boats with integration. In Germany and France, Avaaz members opened their hearts and homes to refugees, and in the UK they supported Syrians to resettle.
“I choose to volunteer because I refuse to see Europe closing up its border, leading a war on migrants. I believe that solidarity is vital for all human beings, and I believe that true solidarity happens between people, human beings.”
In early 2014, our community decided on one crazy goal -- to deliver the largest climate mobilisation in history, with thousands marching through New York calling for leaders to act on climate. On September 21, it actually happened.
On that day, over 400,000 people marched through Manhattan and hundreds of thousands more rallied in over 2,000 communities around the world. We were all over the world media. Over 18 ministers marched and Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel presented a 2 million strong petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the march in New York, calling for 100% clean energy worldwide.
The marches led to many leaders at the following UN summit acknowledging the pressure coming from the streets, with Barack Obama saying "our people keep marching, we have to answer their call." Over the months that followed we fiercely lobbied governments to raise their ambition and embrace the inspiring goal of a world powered by 100% clean energy — Read more here.
“The marches brought more people on to the streets than ever before, partly thanks to the organisational power of the e-campaign group Avaaz.”
When the Brazilian Parliament started to debate the adoption of a new Internet law, the former Minister of Culture and singer Gilberto Gil started an Avaaz petition pushing for the preservation of net neutrality.
More than 330,000 Brazilian members rallied behind him and relentlessly targeted the senators and MPs in charge, sending thousands of emails and Facebook messages, calling offices directly and threatening to change their next legislative vote depending on the result of those discussions.
When the petition was delivered to 10 key senators, the Brazilian Senate unanimously adopted the "Marco Civil da Internet" - the most advanced law in the world to protect equal access to the internet.
“This movement emerged from the strength of the civil society and the Avaaz community was one of the many visible expressions that helped make this bill into law today.”
Chemical Giant Monsanto had locked in a high-level deal to build a mega factory in Argentina - but local communities decided to fight it, so we joined forces.
Together we went door-to-door, ran polls showing massive local opposition, helped elect a city council opposed to the deal, met Monsanto in court, and amplified the local movement with a million voices worldwide. Monsanto was forced to abandon the project.
“Today we celebrate the victory of our long battle we shared with the global movement Avaaz.... Monsanto has only one option: to go back home.”
After countless delays and prevarication, EU leaders finally agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by "at least" 40% by 2030. Those two little words are vital in the race to save the planet as they set a baseline minimum commitment for how ambitious cuts will be when leaders meet for the Climate Summit in Paris in 2015.
In partnership with other groups, Avaazers helped seal the deal with tens of thousands of messages to leaders, public opinion polls on climate across the continent, a hard-hitting ad in a leading Polish newspaper and a call for action by economists including Thomas Piketty in the Financial Times -- all having real impact.
After years of European climate action falling at the final hurdle, cutting climate emissions is right back at the top of our leaders' agendas.
“I would like to thank the millions of people who have joined Avaaz in the effort to increase pressure on world leaders to act now, not tomorrow. Without public support it will be impossible to stop climate change. So please carry on and stay on the alert!”
When 16 year-old Amina killed herself after being forced to marry her rapist, 1.2 million of us called on Morocco to repeal Article 475 in the penal code which allowed rapists to marry their underage victims to avoid prosecution.
On the eve of a crucial bill vote we delivered the petition directly to the head of Parliament and the Moroccan Parliament voted to repeal the provision!
“It is a great victory and an important gain thanks to you. Let me congratulate and pay tribute to the Avaaz team and all its members for their major solidarity action.”
For 20 years, the Tanzanian government has been trying to evict the Maasai from its lands to make room for rich kings and princes from the Middle East to shoot prized wildlife.
Avaazers funded hard-hitting adverts in local papers, got CNN and Al Jazeera reporting on the ground, and supported traditional leaders to camp outside the Prime Minister’s office for three weeks. When reports surfaced that the government was set to renege on its pledge, we sprung back into action with 2.3 million signing the petition and taking to social media forcing the Tanzanian President to promise on Twitter that the government would never "evict the Maasai people from their ancestral land".
Later, we funded the first year of operations to create a conservancy that would allow the Maasai to join their land together and protect the surrounding environment. Now the community is transformed by new opportunities - from employment to increased health, clean energy systems and wildlife. Even elephants and giraffes have returned to the area!
“On behalf of CSOs in Ngorongoro and the Maasai community, we are very grateful for the support Avaaz has given us in different ways in the struggle to retain the community land... I am lost for words as to the impact this campaign has had.”
Just days before the EU election, the Greek government tried to sneakily draft a bill that would allow private companies to build on and exploit the country’s beautiful coastlines. Within a matter of hours, Avaaz members mobilised in their thousands to shut the bill down.
In collaboration with WWF, Avaaz delivered the 150,000 strong petition directly to the Ministry of Finance. Our actions created a massive wave in the media that pushed the issue into the centre of the pre-election debate. Amid the outcry and media attention, the Greek government was forced to make a U-turn on the issue by withdrawing the bill completely.
“The incredible mobilisation by Avaaz went beyond the usual populist cries and deserves to be congratulated.”
At a time of record unemployment in Italy, Avaaz members were outraged to hear that the government planned to spend €14 billion on F35 fighter jets. In what was to become the biggest campaign yet in Italy for Avaaz, nearly half a million Italians mobilised against elected officials spending limited taxpayers’ money on new fighter jets.
Hundreds of Avaazers attended a sit-in, in opposition to the proposed spending. Over 472,000 signatures were delivered directly to MPs in the Defence Committee with widespread national media coverage. The pressure secured a government fact-finding investigation on weapon systems and military expenditure, resulting in the Lower Chamber approving a resolution binding the Government to half the project’s budget - saving 7 billion Euros!
“I agree with the dissent of citizens who have signed this petition. In such a difficult time for our country, it is also necessary to rationalize expenditure in the defense sector.”
Avaaz members joined a massive battle to end the shady practice of “secret voting” in Italy.
Avaazers participated in a stunning naked action to expose the need for open voting. Thousands of members sent direct messages to a key senator in the vote - changing his final position! We defeated the secret ballot and helped expel Berlusconi from parliament.
“My role requires me to be impartial, but it is essential for people like me in the institutions to receive and listen to the voice of the people.”
This is a big deal. This monster could have killed millions -- it threatened the whole world. But the world came together to stop it. What did we do?
First, our community donated $2.5 million to the best aid operations working on the front line. It was the speed and nimbleness of our funds that made them life-saving. Then, over 4,000 of us offered to go to West Africa to use our skills to assist in the fight. Avaaz volunteers played critical roles on the ground — from combating patient-doctor transmission in Ebola Treatment Centers, to building the facilities themselves with over a dozen members being hired to go and work on the ground.
The fact that Ebola is defeated is a huge victory for humanity. But more than that, the commitment of our community to show that people everywhere are willing to risk everything to help others on the other side of the planet in times of crisis is what makes this community truly special. What’s now clearer than ever is that investment in public health in this region is crucial.
When the UN Security Council was considering a landmark resolution that would allow UN aid trucks sitting on the Turkish border to cross into Syria, 20,000 Russian Avaazers urged their government to support it.
Avaaz delivered the petition to Russian diplomats, and less than two weeks later the resolution was unanimously passed! The resolution ensured aid could reach hundreds of thousands of Syrians unhindered.
“Having Russia back this resolution saved thousands of lives. Syrians are still facing tremendous hardship and decisive action from the UN is essential. I'm especially grateful for the Avaaz community in Russia for standing in solidarity with the Syrian people.”
One of our most ambitious fundraising ideas was when over 90,000 Avaaz members chipped in $1 million... to buy a 389-acre chunk of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo, in an extremely diverse area that connects various patches of protected areas and is crucial for seasonal migration.
Private companies looking to destroy Borneo’s forests to plant lucrative oil palm plantations had this same piece of land in their sights. By purchasing it, we helped protect 700 of the world's last remaining endangered Bornean Orangutans and 300 Bornean Pygmy Elephants. Our partner organization, Rainforest Trust, established a fund to protect additional crucial pieces of land just like it.
“With support from Avaaz members, our project in Malaysian Borneo protects the last forest remnants along a crucial riparian corridor that is teeming with wildlife including Pygmy Elephants, Proboscis Monkeys, and Bornean Ground-cuckoos. Experiencing either site is like going back in time and a way to see what Borneo looked like before the explosion of African oil palm plantations. Thank you.”
After more than two years of tireless campaigning, Avaazers played a key role in getting Europe to ban bee-killing pesticides - flooding ministers with messages, launching a massive petition with over 2.6 million signatures, organising media-grabbing protests with beekeepers and a 5-metre high inflatable bee, funding opinion polls, and much, much more.
And we are starting to win! Europe decided to ban some of the worst pesticides, at least temporarily. But the fight didn't stop there. In 2015, Avaaz members raised $800,000 to fund independent research in the US and Europe on the impact of the poisons in our fields. We will be there when the next decision is made.
“Avaaz's massive petition and creative campaigning helped push this over the edge.”
When a 15 year-old rape survivor in the Maldives was sentenced to be flogged for also allegedly having consensual sex with another man, over 2 million Avaaz members signed a petition asking President Mohammed Waheed to intervene in the girl’s case and end the practice of flogging.
Avaaz lobbied at the highest levels of government, comissioned a poll that showed 92% of Maldivians wanted reform of laws and systems to protect women, and launched an advertising campaign targeting the powerful tourism industry. The High Court finally dropped the outrageous flogging sentence.
“The Avaaz contribution was the spearhead of the campaign to overturn the flogging sentence; a petition signed by millions, a country visit, a public opinion survey... all proved irresistible. I hope Avaaz will continue to seek reform in Maldives.”
Across Africa, elephants are being slaughtered by poachers in record numbers -- their tusks hacked off with chainsaws -- to make luxury items and trinkets in Asia. In response to that horrifying reality, nearly 1.4 million Avaazers and WWF supporters joined Leonardo DiCaprio in a call to the Thai prime minister to end her country’s unregulated ivory market -- the largest in the world.
Thousands sent her emails and left so many comments on her Facebook page that it was temporarily shut down. The combined pressure forced her to listen -- pledging to end the unregulated trade. A source in the Thai government said the announcement was a direct result of our campaigns.
Ahead of the G8 summit we came together to challenge the tricky schemes that greedy companies and individuals use to evade taxes. We built a massive petition signed by over 800,000 Avaazers and joined forces with famous singer Baaba Maal, Save the Children, ActionAid, and other campaign groups to deliver our voices to G8 summit chair David Cameron.
Our letter signed by 21,000 business representatives helped position this as a pro-business, pro-citizen issue, and to shift the positions of Germany and Canada, resulting in an agreement that can get governments to work together to stop tax evasion. The 'Lough Erne Declaration' was short on specifics, but gives us huge leverage in chasing governments to block shady tax schemes.
“Avaaz and Canadians for Tax Fairness suggest that Canada is "resisting" efforts to combat tax havens and tax evasion at the upcoming G-8 Summit. This is false. The facts are clear: Canada supports Prime Minister Cameron's efforts to achieve a G8 consensus on tax havens and tax evasion.”
During the 11-year conflict in Afghanistan, local Afghan interpreters have helped troops and aid workers communicate with local people. Many have died or been injured on duty and now the Taliban is hunting down the survivors to kill them. One interpreter, Abdul, started a campaign to get the British government to offer him and all of his colleagues asylum.
It was soon backed by 80,000 Brits, and Avaaz worked with former generals and current MPs to make this massive in the media. The government has now offered the lifeline of asylum to approximately half of the interpreters and the fight continues for the rest.
“We risked everything to do this job. We are glad that the British government has recognised our service and the sacrifices we made for them.”
When a Bangladeshi garment factory collapsed, killing over a thousand people, Avaaz joined forces with labour organisations and targeted two massive retail giants. The aim: to get them to sign an enforceable worker safety plan that could be a model for the world.
Avaazers blanketed the H&M and GAP Facebook pages. And when our ad targeting H&M’s boss was turned down by a leading Swedish newspaper a huge debate kicked off and senior H&M executives got right on the phone with Avaaz. 3 days later, they agreed to sign a binding worker safety plan, prompting more than 75 other brands to follow in their footsteps.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Avaaz played a pivotal role in persuading H&M to embrace the accord.”
The crisis in Syria has had a devastating effect not only on civilians in the country, but also on students studying abroad. In Britain, over 600 Syrian students were struggling to pay their fees and Universities were kicking many out of their courses. A campaign on behalf of the desperate students provided new hope.
Backed by 48,000 Avaaz members, and coupled with huge media coverage and advocacy with government officials and universities, the campaign forced universities to waive fees and open access funds. It got private donors to support individual students and led the government to consider a new safety net for students from foreign universities. Now many of those Syrian students are completing their studies.
“This campaign has been incredible -- I have now had my fees deferred and been able to access much-needed hardship finance so I can finally focus on completing my studies so that in time, I can go back and help rebuild Syria. Thank you Avaaz!”
Sevil Sevimli, a French -Turkish Erasmus student, was arrested while studying abroad in Istanbul for attending a left-wing concert celebrating the 1st of May. For nearly ten months she endured a judicial nightmare and couldn't return home to Lyon.
Enraged by this cruel and arbitrary detention, Sevil's supporters set up an Avaaz petition, and more than 136,000 members backed it. Then Sevil's family then had the opportunity to connect with France's Human Rights Ambassador, and together they helped pressure Turkey. Sevil was released, with an emotional return to France!
“The petition helped me keep hope alive when I was jail.”
When the homophobic president of the Human Rights Commission in Costa Rica’s Congress invited a doctor to speak to Congress about how to "cure" homosexuality, Costa Rican Avaaz members confronted him.
A petition started on the Avaaz community petitions site calling for his resignation went viral online and quickly reached more than 25,000 signers. When the congressman refused to resign, Avaaz delivered the signatures in big, colourful boxes to the president of Congress in front of the media. The president of Congress made the commitment that his party would not reappoint the homophobic congressman to his post!
On 29 November the UN voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as the world's 194th state. It was a huge victory for the Palestinian people and for peace -- and our community played a crucial role in making it happen. Nearly 1.8 million of us signed the petition calling for statehood. Many then donated to fund polls showing that 79% of people backed statehood in key European states.
On the streets, a massive 4-story flag was raised outside the EU Commission in Brussels. In the corridors of power, Avaaz staff and members made the case to government ministers and MPs and thousands sent messages via email, Facebook and Twitter.
In the final hours before the vote, the switchboards of foreign ministries and heads of state were deluged with calls from Avaaz members. The final UN count: 138 Yes, 41 Abstentions and just 9 Nos. Our voices were heard and history was made, such that now the flag of Palestine is flying outside of the UN in New York.
“Avaaz and its members across the world have played a crucial role in persuading governments to support the Palestinian people's bid for a state and for freedom and peace... their solidarity and support will be remembered and cherished across Palestine.”
When 15-year old Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban, the world was outraged. In response, nearly 1 million of us called on the Pakistani government to fulfill her dream of education for all by supporting a national stipend programme to put all of Pakistan’s poor children in school.
The UN Education Envoy Gordon Brown delivered our petition directly to Pakistani President Zardari, who signed it himself! On that very day, a month after Malala was shot, the Pakistani government officially launched a stipend programme for 3 million children.
“I believe that if we act together in speaking out, as Avaaz's members have done, we can begin to deliver on our promise of education for Malala.”
When the Brazilian Congress passed a catastrophic forestry bill that would have given loggers and farmers free rein to chop down huge swaths of the Amazon, over 2 million Avaazers signed a petition to pressure Brazil’s President Dilma to reject the bill and save the Amazon.
In a powerful partnership with Greenpeace, WWF, key Brazilian organisations, and leading public figures, our message was driven home during a dramatic day of high-level meetings with key ministers and creative demonstrations in Brasília. Dilma responded by vetoing some of the most controversial parts of the law.
Drafted in private by a small number of rich countries and corporations, ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) would have given powerful multinational actors the ability to control and censor the Internet. When details of the backroom treaty spread, more than 2 million Avaaz members signed a petition to the European Parliament demanding that lawmakers stand up for a free and open Internet and reject the ratification of ACTA.
The petition, which grew to nearly 3 million signers, was delivered directly to decision-makers in Brussels. When the law was abandoned during the final vote, the European Parliament's press release announcing ACTA's defeat cited the Avaaz petition as a key factor!
“I was very impressed by Avaaz’s massive 2.8 million person petition. Citizens concerns have been taken seriously by the European Parliament.”
In Australia, thousands of us helped create the largest network of marine protected areas in the world. When public consultation on a proposed national marine park opened earlier this year, commercial fishing and mining companies went after it with all they had.
But hundreds of thousands of Avaaz members signed a letter to the Environment Minister, and almost 30,000 flooded the public record with comments in favour of the proposal. The government was left with little doubt about where the people stood. The Australian public, with the support of citizens from everywhere, gave the government the needed mandate to protect this important stretch of the Coral Sea from mining, oil and gas development.
When a construction company lured Indian labourers to Bahrain under false pretenses and then refused to let them leave, the Avaaz community swung into action.
The brother of a worker who had tragically killed himself started a campaign on our community petitions site to demand the company let the remaining 100 workers go. 20,000 of us joined the call and engaged the company's business partners to help lay on the pressure. In days, we did what the Indian government couldn't for 7 years: got the construction company to let the workers return home. We even got the company to commit to never imposing travel bans again.
“This wouldn't have happened without Avaaz.”
In 2008, Avaaz fought to ban cluster munitions -- toy-like explosives that kill curious children long after conflicts end. Cluster bomb survivor Branislav Kapetanovic sent a video appeal to Avaaz members prompting 164,272 email messages to government leaders urging a global ban free of loopholes and delays. More than 100 nations signed a strong treaty, and advocates at the talks told us that Avaaz members had made a real difference.
Three years later when cynical arms-producing nations tried to subvert the ban, we were ready. We partnered with our friends at the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) and more than half a million of us stood with the victims of cluster bombs and told governments to vote with their conscience. They did; the ban was upheld, and our contribution was decisive, according to our partners at the CMC.
“Cluster bombs were outlawed by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Petitions by Avaaz in 2008 and 2011 added crucial pressure on the international community to ban these indiscriminate weapons and save people’s lives.”
Our community has stood by the Syrian people from the very beginning. Before international media was able to get into the country, 60,000 of us donated, sending millions of dollars of aid and communications equipment to the non-violent protesters, developing a new model of citizen journalism to break Assad's blackout of information on his brutality that generated tens of thousands of news pieces and articles.
When the situation turned dire, our community helped deliver food, medicine and humanitarian relief to those so desperately in need. Today, we continue to pressure governments around the world to take the decisive steps needed to protect Syrian civilians and bring about a free and peaceful Syria.
“Their passion and contributions have enabled Avaaz to organize a steady stream of video footage from inside Syria that has helped form the Western picture of the brutality unfolding on the ground.”
At critical climate talks in Durban, more than 800,000 of us helped ensure victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat.
Our team on the ground in South Africa delivered our message day in and day out through hard-hitting actions like this ad in the Financial Times -- released on the final day of tense negotiations. Despite massive pressure by oil-friendly nations like the US and Canada, a deal was struck to save the vital Kyoto Protocol.
“Thanks to the over 800,000 people from around the world – your voices made a vital impact at the end of the talks.”
Partnering with the tireless Indignados, Spanish Avaazers won the world’s attention with theatrical stunts and a 100,000-strong petition calling for politicians with a history of corruption to be barred from elections.
Our hard work triggered a much-needed national debate on official graft and won Avaaz the title "Angel of the Day" from a Spanish paper.
“The citizen platform of Avaaz deserves the title of angel for its fight against political corruption, organizing a symbolic action in front of the Congress and delivering more than 100,000 signatures.”
Facing growing unpopularity and statutory rape charges, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi tried to silence his critics by jamming a ludicrous censorship law through parliament.
Italian Avaaz members fought back -- spearheading a 70,000-strong petition and placing thousands of phone calls to parliament just before the vote. Berlusconi lost. Italian democracy won.
In the darkest hours of their struggle for liberation from the Mubarak regime, Egyptians told the world they needed solidarity – and Avaaz members answered the call.
600,000 of us around the world signed messages of support carried by Al Jazeera broadcasts straight into Tahrir Square – helping to sustain a movement fueled by hope through some of its most violent and uncertain hours.
Corruption has gone viral in India, infecting all parts of the country’s democracy. But a massive movement has sprung up to tackle this sickness head on. In just 36 hours, 500,000 Indians signed Avaaz’s petition to support the anti-corruption movement.
Pushed by people power, the government agreed to all the movement’s demands, but has so far failed to implement this promise. The Times of India called Avaaz “a key player” in the anti-corruption movement.
“...Avaaz has been a key player in the Jan Lokpal initiative, sending online petitions, faxes to political parties along with a creative billboard campaign. Also, it was Avaaz's mediation that saw the DoPT inbox inundated with Save Jan Lokpal e-mails in the run-up to the deliberations of the joint drafting committee.”
The war on drugs has cost billions in tax money, funnelled trillions of dollars into organised crime, cost countless lives, and achieved zero results. When a group of former presidents formed The Global Commission on Drugs to boldly speak out for reform, over 600,000 Avaazers joined the fight calling for an end to the war on drugs.
The Global Commission and Avaaz met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In 30 minutes of discussion, the Avaaz petition was presented and repeatedly cited as evidence of public demand for an end to the war.
Ban took an important step and decided to create a task force to look at new solutions to the problem of drugs! Later, hundreds of thousands of Avaazers across the Americas called on leaders to embrace more humane drug policies. We delivered our voices directly to the Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina in front of the media. The result was a historic declaration by the Organisation of American States to move beyond prohibition and tackle drugs as a public health priority, not a military mission.
“We thank Avaaz for this petition because it gives us as leaders of the continent the strength to debate this issue without it being seen as taboo.”
Conservative officials and businessmen in Canada had been working to launch a Murdoch-style propaganda TV network -- but when they moved to strike national journalism standards against false or misleading broadcasts, they brought down a firestorm of opposition.
More than 100,000 Canadian Avaazers signed in opposition, and the outrageous proposal to undermine balanced reporting was withdrawn.
When Hosni Mubarak left power in Egypt, he tried to take his stolen billions with him. Within days, half a million Avaaz members petitioned G20 finance ministers to immediately freeze his assets.
As the ministers met in Paris, we delivered our message with an enormous “protest pyramid” opposite the Eiffel Tower. Weeks later the EU and others froze Mubarak and his aides’ assets.
In response to the Bahraini government’s brutal crackdown on democracy protesters, 500,000 Avaaz members demanded Bahrain not be allowed to host the prestigious Formula 1 Grand Prix. Avaaz members posted 20,000 Facebook and Twitter messages all over F1 team sites. We then reached out to legendary driver, Damon Hill, who agreed to stand with us.
Our campaign was cited in thousands of articles worldwide. F1 tried to cover up the brutality in Bahrain by producing a sham report, but Avaaz was leaked the real report and released it to the media. The story kept raging until eventually the F1 teams pulled out of the Bahrain race, leaving F1 chiefs with no other choice but to cancel. Unfortunately, the race returned to Bahrain the following year despite the controversy surrounding it.
When the Ugandan government considered a bill that would sentence gay Ugandans to death, Avaaz members worked with church leaders and human rights activists to deliver a 450,000-strong petition opposing this atrocious law to the Speaker of Uganda’s parliament. The delivery made global headlines and the bill disappeared.
When the Ugandan parliament brought it up again the following year, we were ready: our petition grew quickly from 450,000 to an astonishing 1.6 million in just a few days. Tens of thousands of us also called our governments and we hit major international news. The intense global pressure pushed the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament to block the bill in an emergency session. Then when homophobic lawmakers brought the bill back again in 2012, we launched an ad in a major Ugandan newspaper. Shockingly the bill came back to life in 2013 -- and passed -- only to be struck down by the country's Constitutional Court the following year.
When Muammar Gaddafi threatened to exterminate the entire city of Benghazi, Avaaz members banded together to stop him.
On the eve of a key UN Security Council vote, Avaazers sent one million messages calling for asset freezes and protective action. A massacre was prevented. The US ambassador to the UN, one of the last holdouts, publicly thanked us for our campaign.
“@Avaaz petitioners: Thank you. UN Security Council condemned violence in #Libya, called for protection of civilians”
Half a million of us joined more than 1,000 indigenous protesters to demand that Bolivian President Evo Morales halt construction of a highway set to slice through the heart of the Amazon.
Our solidarity strengthened the hand of indigenous protesters and Avaaz staff met with top Bolivian cabinet ministers in a long, stormy meeting. The pressure worked! Morales canceled construction, repealed the decision granting permission for the project, and pledged to protect the impacted TIPNIS national park and indigenous territory -- the crown jewel of the Bolivian Amazon -- forever!
“For me, this is called governing by obeying the people.”
At risk from poaching and habitat loss, elephants weren’t even on the endangered species list. But more than 500,000 of us worldwide took a stand alongside the African Elephant Coalition.
After a close, nail-biting vote and final push with partners on the ground, we won protection for elephants at a UN Endangered Species session.
“The petition, no doubt, made a difference and helped achieve the right result for elephants everywhere.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu derailed US-led peace talks when he announced plans to build more housing settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Avaaz responded by channeling the world’s stance against settlement construction and for a just two-state solution.
An Avaaz opinion poll and media actions helped President Obama advocate for a two-state solution ahead of a crucial meeting between Israel and Palestine. Here's a video.
The huge earthquake that struck Haiti left the country in ruins. Thousands of us contributed more than $1.3 million for relief and recovery -- directing the funds to outstanding local groups for life-saving food kits, shelter and medicine.
But the crisis demanded more action. In the weeks that followed, hundreds of thousands of Avaaz members signed a global petition that helped secure the cancellation of $1 billion in debt Haiti owed to rich countries. Watch the story of our response.
For years Hilton Hotels turned a blind eye to the international rape trade. They didn’t think that they had a responsibility to fully protect the women and children in their hotels. More than 317,000 Avaaz members thought otherwise and warned Hilton’s CEO that unless he changed course, we’d run hard-hitting ads in his hometown.
Four days later, Hilton agreed to train all of its 180,000 employees how to spot and prevent sex slavery. Hilton listened and acted -- now they’re leading the hotel industry in this field.
When audacious Brazilian MPs introduced the "Ficha Limpa" law - a bold proposal to ban anyone previously convicted of crimes of corruption from running for office - many said it would never pass.
But Avaazers rallied to build the largest online campaign in Brazilian history, culminating in 2 million signatures, over 500,000 online actions, and tens of thousands of phone calls. We fought each and every corrupt congressman's attempt to kill the bill, and we prevailed each and every time.
Not only did we see it pass Congress, we watched as over 330 candidates for office faced disqualification because of their amoral conduct! This is a major step forward in setting Brazil free from rampant corruption.
“I have never been as proud of the Brazilian people as I am today! Congratulations to all that have signed. Today I feel like an actual citizen with political power.”
When floods left a fifth of Pakistan under water and millions homeless in desperate need of help, Avaaz members raised $300,000 in just three days.
But we didn’t stop there: In total nearly $1 million was given directly to trusted local partners. And every single penny we raised went to Pakistanis in need of assistance.
In 2010, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) unveiled a proposal to legalise the slaughter and sale of whales, effectively overturning the decades-old ban on whaling. Together, Avaaz members built a massive campaign to stop the proposal -- signed by an extraordinary 1.3 million of us worldwide.
The petition was delivered to the IWC meeting in front of the world’s media. The proposal collapsed and the whaling ban was upheld.
It was a huge victory for whales, but Japan and others continue to exploit IWC loopholes. To win permanently, we’ll need to work together to strengthen and reform the Commission, and mobilise in countries with pro-whaling governments.
When the UK decided to open a public consultation on its plan to double the total area of protected ocean, we sprang into action!
Avaaz members sent more than 221,000 comments, from 223 countries, and accounted for more than 85% of the responses, urging a ban on commercial fishing and support for the island peoples' rights. The UK Foreign Ministry cited our submissions in its announcement! It was a major step forward in the fight to protect our oceans from overfishing.
Over 1 million people from every country in the EU took part in the first-ever European Citizens' Initiative -- a process allowing people to lodge official petitions that require a response.
Avaaz members called for an immediate freeze on genetically modified crops entering the EU until objective studies free from industry influence could show they were safe. The initiative sent a clear message to officials that Europe would not be force-fed unsafe food.
There’s a sickening practise in South Africa: the rape of lesbian women to ‘turn them straight’. When a local group first launched a petition demanding that their government address 'corrective rape', they were ignored.
But when their petition reached 170,000 signatures, our community -- along with other activist groups -- got involved. The government noticed, and now, with nearly a million of us signed on and massive media attention, the government has committed to take preventative action against these awful crimes.
The "Legge Bavaglio", or gag law, tried to strip the Italian legal system of the ability to tackle crime and corruption. It could have silenced editors and journalists, placing draconian penalties on those who dared to hold politicians accountable.
But the voices of 340,000 Italian Avaazers stopped this shameful law from passing, shifting the parliamentary agenda -- for the first time in history -- through people powered action.
“A channel has been opened between politics and people, a distance that seemed to be unbridgeable for a moment has been bridged.”
In 2009, Avaaz members and partners joined together to issue a deafening climate wake-up call to world leaders. At more than 2,600 events in 135 countries we called for changes to climate policy, demanding that leaders take the health of our planet seriously.
From signs and chants to creative demonstrations, we came together to make sure the world knew that time was ticking, the alarm was sounding, and action was necessary. The media couldn’t ignore our call, and neither could world leaders. Words can't describe it -- but this video gets close.
Our leaders didn't make history -- but the world's people did. In the build-up to the talks, our global climate wake-up call saw people come together at thousands of events around the world and urge world leaders to go to the Copenhagen summit, which they did. Then as the talks were drawing to a close, thousands of us attended vigils for a real deal, including one led by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu inside the conference centre.
Right until the end of the talks, we kept up pressure for a fair, ambitious and binding deal, which included young people doing a sit-in at the talks and reading out the names of the millions of us who'd signed Avaaz's global petition for a strong deal. In the end, we didn't win the fair, ambitious and binding treaty, but we did win $100bn in finance to help the world's poorest cope with climate impacts.
This was a crucial step forward, and while many were disappointed with the outcome of Copenhagen, one Avaaz member summed it up nicely: "the elephant is moving". And from Copenhagen we took valuable lessons that helped us increase momentum on climate change in the years that followed.
With food prices soaring, Sierra Leonean foreign minister Zainab Bangura recorded a video appeal to Avaaz’s global membership asking for help in pressing governments into action. More than 360,000 members responded, signing a petition that was delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at an emergency food summit in Rome.
Responding to global pressure, donor governments pledged billions in emergency food aid and joined a process to reconsider agricultural policy. In July 2010, the G8 pledged to "ensure the compatibility of policies for the sustainable production and use of biofuels with food security." It was an important step but more pressure is needed to make this pledge a reality.
“Avaaz is an ally, and rallying point, for the disadvantaged everywhere. ”
Outraged by the use of torture in the Guantanamo jail, Avaaz members worldwide funded a major billboard campaign in the Washington D.C. subway.
The ads and their unorthodox message -- reminding policymakers that torture is illegal and actually a key part of Al-Qaeda recruitment strategy -- echoed in major media like the Washington Post and Der Spiegel, and left the US capital buzzing about our call to close down Guantanamo.
When a WHO scientist told Avaaz that the industrial meat lobby was blocking all research on the possible role of factory farming in breeding the H1N1 virus, 225,000 Avaaz members signed a petition calling for adequate research, and Avaaz staff brought a herd of 225 cardboard pigs to the World Health Organisation, representing the signatures.
Initially skeptical, WHO Food Safety and Zoonoses director, Dr. Jørgen Schlundt, changed course – agreeing that global regulations were essential. Click here to see photos and read the story.
In 2009, Brazil was on the verge of passing a law that would have handed over a large portion of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness for exploitation.
In just two days, Avaaz members in Brazil made 14,000 phone calls and sent 30,000 online messages to President Lula's office. At the 11th hour, public pressure succeeded. We killed the bill and saved the forest.
Cyclone Nargis killed over 100,000 people in Burma. The ruling generals made matters worse: blocking all international aid workers from getting medicine, food, and other emergency supplies into the country.
People were dying because of the blockade, so we launched an appeal with our friends from Burmese monk networks and, in just ten days, over 25,000 Avaaz members from 125 countries donated $2 million to support their relief efforts -- distributing aid to those at the frontlines who needed it the most. We sent more money than most governments and we did so through fast-acting local networks.
“While the world was focused on the military junta's reluctance to allow foreign aid, Burmese citizens and monks were busy carrying out relief efforts that many now credit with preventing mass starvation.”
Over 2000 Avaazers in "Give Real Talks a Hand" t-shirts formed a 3 mile-long human hand chain from the Dalai Lama to the Chinese Embassy in central London.
The handshake, initiated by the Dalai Lama himself, was passed between the people to arrive simultaneously with a 1.67 million strong Avaaz petition for meaningful dialogue. It was a tangible gesture of goodwill that culminated in a rally with a moment of silence for victims of the Sichuan earthquake. Thousands of Avaaz members joined online by lighting virtual candles for earthquake survivors and donating funds to purchase tents and other emergency supplies. Words can’t describe it, but hopefully this video can.
When monks and pro-democracy protesters filled the streets of Rangoon, Avaaz members rose in support worldwide. More than 800,000 members from every country on earth signed a petition urging China and the UN Security Council to oppose the violent crackdown by the Burmese Junta to open peace talks.
Avaaz publicly delivered the message to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, pressed officials from China, Singapore and the EU for stronger positions, and formed a 50,000 person boycott against Chevron and Total Oil for doing business with the regime.
Sparked by China’s violent crackdown on the March 2008 protests and riots in Tibet, Avaaz members built one of the largest global online petitions to date.
More than 1.5 million members joined in the call for a meaningful dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama. The petition was delivered both privately to Chinese officials and publicly in a global Day of Action, coordinated together with Tibet advocacy groups worldwide.
Following the outcry, China restarted talks with the Dalai Lama -- reportedly in response to international pressure. Our community did not end the fight there, however, and continued to support Tibet. Avaazers raised $150,000 in our “Save the Olympics” campaign and fought anti-Tibetan propaganda ahead of the games.
Following sham elections in 2008, Avaaz launched a campaign to fight for real democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe. More than 150,000 Avaaz members pressured the South African president Thabo Mbeki, a key Mugabe ally, to step in and push for democratic reform. We flew a 3,000 square foot banner over the United Nations headquarters in New York with the message: "Mbeki Time to Act: Democracy for Zimbabwe."
Following months of violence and political turmoil, Mugabe signed a power-sharing deal with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe's troubles are far from over, but Avaaz hasn’t given up the fight for real democratic change.
A peaceful, just, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- and respect for human rights on both sides -- has the support of public opinion and Avaaz members around the world. In support of that goal, Avaaz made a video.
Viewed more than 2.5 million times across nine different language versions, Stop the Clash was voted YouTube's Political Video of the Year for 2007 and has been televised around the world. Click here to watch it.
The very first Avaaz campaign brought 87,000 "virtual marchers" against military escalation in Iraq to a peaceful protest in Washington, DC. Avaaz, in consultation with local members and international experts, developed a "NEW" plan to end the war: all-party negotiations, with empowered international mediators, and withdrawal of US troops on a timeline matching the Iraqi people's wishes.
The new plan was delivered in May 2007. We also worked with Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish parliamentarians to build an international campaign supporting Iraq's right to determine the future of its oil reserves -- rather than accept the dictates of outside governments and corporations.
Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our movement. Click below to start your own. (Who knows... it might end up on this page).