The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Update October 15-21

Our featured image shows Miriam a great friends and human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)


Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

This week our chosen charity is Reporters Without Borders which promotes and defends the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world. Based in Paris, it has international offices (Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Madrid, Stockholm, Tripoli, Tunis, Vienna and Washington DC) and more than 150 correspondents in all five continents. The danger in this profession is apparent.

The figures in 2020

Archives

were killed in 2020

  • 22 journalists killed
  • 0 citizens journalists killed
  • 3 media assistants killed

are imprisoned at this time

  • 242 journalists imprisoned
  • 116 citizens journalists imprisoned
  • 14 media assistants imprisoned

This organization is most worthy of your support. It is highly rated by Charity Navigator.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected.

This week we call your attention to the abuses of tribal people in the tiger reserve regions of India.

The lives of hundreds of thousands of tribal people (Adivasis) in Indian tiger reserves are being destroyed in the name of conservation. The Indian government is illegally evicting them from the land where they have always lived and that they have always protected (Modi’s government is attacking Adivasi rights in other ways too).

They are accused of harming wildlife. But, far from killing tigers, many tribes worship them as gods and take care of their environment better than anyone else. Where tribal people’s right to stay in a tiger reserve was recognized, tiger numbers soared.

Listen to tribal conservationists

“How could we harm the forest? We’re the ones that save the forest. As long as we are here, the forest will be fine. We are the defenders of the forest. If we leave, who will protect the forest?”

Baiga, Achanakmar Tiger Reserve

Please open the link to join the protest.

Act Now

Act now ↓   Donate →

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

ou can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to Pledge to join the fight for Freedom For Girls.

We also call upon you to support a campaign against child labor in the cacao industry that is exploited by major chocolate companies. Please sign the petition

URGENT ACTION CASES

GREECE

Urgent Action: PIPKA Refugee Shelter Faces Imminent Closure

Greek authorities intend to close the open, self-organized refugee shelter PIKPA on 15 October. PIKPA has been operating in Lesvos since 2012, hosting and assisting thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers among the most vulnerable. Greek authorities must revoke the decision to close PIKPA, let the organization operate freely, protect its around 100 residents, and ensure and promote open and safe spaces for asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece.

TAKE ACTION

BANGLADESH

Urgent Action Update: Bangladesh Detains More Migrant Workers

Bangladeshi authorities detained 32 more returning migrant workers after they were deported from Syria, taking the total number of such arbitrary arrests to at least 370 since 4 July 2020. The 32 workers were arrested in Syria while trying to reach Italy and other European countries. They returned to Bangladesh on 13 September 2020 after Syrian government commuted their jail terms. In Bangladesh, the authorities detained them for “tarnishing the image of the country” by allegedly engaging in criminal activities, while no credible evidehttps://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-update-bangladesh-detains-more-migrant-workers-bangladesh-ua-131-20/nce concerning their alleged crimes has yet been provided in any case. Their arrest and detention violate Bangladesh’s obligations under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They must be freed immediately unless they are promptly charged with recognizable offense.

TAKE ACTION

AZERBAIJAN

Urgent Action Update: Opposition Leader Fighting Sentence

Azerbaijani opposition politician and journalist Tofig Yagublu was sentenced to four years and three months in prison on 3 September on trumped up charges. He started a hunger strike in protest and on 12 September he was transferred from a detention center to a hospital after his health deteriorated. On 18 September, the Baku court of appeals ruled to place him under house arrest pending the appeal hearing. Tofig Yagublu remains a prisoner of conscience and his conviction must be quashed.

TAKE ACTION

MYANMAR

Stop union-busting at sporting goods company

After the VIP 1 and 2 factory unions demanded Covid-19 safety measures inside the factory, the factory dismissed all union members in both factories and the VIP 2 factory union president was stabbed by company thugs. It is a clear, brutal case of union-busting. The factories make sporting goods for Mizuno, CCM, Evil Bikes, and Pivot Cycles. Despite months of direct outreach from the unions, the brands have refused to intervene or mediate whatsoever. Please join the protest

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Update October 8-14

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human rights defender.

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1
Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

Ebola, a race against time

This week our chosen charity is Books for Africa. This is a non profit organization devoted to promoting literacy in Africa by facilitating donations of books. They have up to now donated 50 million books.

The charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator and is worthy of your support.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

Decolonize Conservation
It’s time to decolonize conservation and put tribal peoples at the forefront of the environmental movement. It’s best for tribes, for nature, for all humanity.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected.

This week we call your attention to the conservation racket that is destroying the lives of tribal people.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You cnn download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join <a href="http://Freedom United and raise your voice to call call for justice for Adelina

Ade;lins

Adelina Lisao’s case has captured the attention of many across the world. Adelina was a young Indonesian domestic worker who passed away on February 11, 2018 due to organ failure as a result of allegedly suffering physical and emotional abuse and forced labor at the hands of her employers in a private home for two years.

Adelina was found with a swollen face, bruises all over her body and pus-filled wounds, a result of the burns on her arms and legs. Due to the extent of her injuries which were left untreated, her employers forced her to sleep outside in the compound with the dog to prevent “dirtying the home” from her weeping wounds.

By the time Adelina was admitted to hospital, it was evident that she was on borrowed time and she passed away only a day after she was rescued.

The High Court, evoking Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, acquitted Adelina’s employer, Ambika MA Shan, on grounds of health concerns and lack of evidence despite the deputy Public Prosecutor’s request for a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

A year later, the bench in the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision put forth by the High Court, claiming that the decision was not erroneous. This decision was a regressive step for the Malaysian justice system – it conveyed a severely harmful message condoning heinous acts of abuse and exploitation. The climate of impunity afforded to those undeserving of it must be put to an end.

This petition demands for Adelina’s employer, Ambika MA Shan, to be charged separately under Section 304 of the Penal Code which provides for deaths caused by culpable homicide not amounting to murder or those caused by negligence. The prosecution is looking to correct this grave miscarriage of justice.

A person is dead and her blood is on all our hands. Allowing for perpetrators such as Ambika to walk free makes us all complicit in the death of Adelina and many others who shared the same fate.

Adelina’s life is the sad reality of thousands more domestic workers who are susceptible to all forms of exploitation, and it is high time that we make an effort to increase protection for all domestic workers.

We hope that you will join us in seeking justice as we believe that we owe it to Adelina and her family to protect her dignity in her absence.

Signing this petition is a step forward in preserving the integrity of our justice system and ensuring that it provides protection due to all and especially the marginalized and vulnerable.

URGENT ACTION CASES

BELARUS

Urgent Action: Release Human Rights Defender Marfa Rabkova

Women’s human rights defender Marfa Rabkova was detained as a criminal suspect under false pretext on the evening of 17 September, by officers of the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBAZIK). Her husband, Vadzim Zharomski, was also detained but released shortly thereafter. Marfa Rabkova may face criminal charges. She is a prisoner of conscience, targeted solely for her peaceful human rights work and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

KENYA

Urgent Action: Forced Eviction Leaves 3,000 People Homeless

On 1 October, residents from Dagoretti Corner settlement, in Nairobi, Kenya, were forcibly evicted from their homes by government agencies, ‘Kenya Railways Corporation’ and ‘Kenya Power & Lighting Company’ leaving more than 3,000 people homeless. This unlawful act was done in utter disregard of the Presidential moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, issued on 11 May 2020. We call upon all stakeholders to act in cognizance of the need to safeguard the good health and life of all those forcibly evicted in this unlawful eviction.

TAKE ACTION

USA

Urgent Action Update: Free Families Kept in Immigration Detention

As COVID-19 runs rampant in USA family detention centers, immigration authorities continue to lock up nearly ninety families who travelled to the US seeking safety from violence and persecution in their home countries. As of 6 August, at least 130 detained family members and facility staff tested positive for COVID-19. In July, a judge ordered authorities to release children because of COVID-19, but she did not have jurisdiction over parents. Authorities refused to release them together. Releasing children but continuing to detain parents constitutes family separation. We demand authorities release all families together immediately to protect them from the pandemic.

TAKE ACTION

COLOMBIA

Support miners striking against the ‘death shift’ at Cerrejón

The National Union of Coal Industry Workers (Sintracarbón) is involved in a bitter strike at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, jointly owned by three multinational mining companies, Anglo American, BHP and Glencore. In February 2020, Sintracarbón, in good faith, withdrew its list of demands and suspended collective bargaining negotiations due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the current round of collective bargaining negotiations in July, the company has not responded to the union’s bargaining proposals and has instead demanded concessions in acquired rights and benefits. On the second day of negotiations Cerrejón unilaterally announced a radical shift change roster, without consulting the union and in violation of Colombian law. The new shift roster, which workers call the ‘death shift’ will lead to the loss of 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, will require workers to work an additional 72 days a year for the same wage, will cause turmoil in workers’ family lives – particularly those with family responsibilities – and will lead to an increase in fatigue and thus an increase in accidents. Cerrejón has boycotted the government labor ministry’s facilitation to end the strike, now in its fourth week.

Please join the protest.

Prometheus and Pandora XXVI

Our featured image shows Nero fiddling while Rome burns, the analogy to Israel of today is obvious

IN MEMORIAM

John Robert Lewis, February 21, 1940-July 17, 2020

John R. Lewis was an American civil rights leader and politician best known for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and for leading the march that was halted by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

He was born to sharecroppers in Alabama who did not encourage his involvement in the civil rights struggle as he grew up. Nonetheless, already in his twenties he took a leading role alongside Martin Luther King in the struggle. He soon became one of the civil rights movement’s “Big Six” leaders, along with King, James Farmer, A. Phillip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young. In 1964 Lewis headed the SNCC’s efforts to register African American voters and organize communities in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer project. In 1963, on the day of the March on Washington, he participated in a meeting with President Kennedy at the White House.

John Lewis among black leaders with JFK

In 1987 he began to serve in the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district until his recent death from pancreatic cancer. He was known as the “Conscience of Congress.” As one of his eulogists wrote: “A man of integrity, John Lewis was a bridge to our better selves. He examined his spirit for what mattered most and then found the courage, energy, and moral fortitude to stand for that.” He himself encouraged people to get into “good trouble” for a worthy cause.

Detailed obituaries can be found in major newspapers including the NYTimes.

RABBI ADIN STEINSALZ July 11, 1937-August 7, 2020

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, a prolific Jewish scholar who spent 45 years
compiling a monumental and ground-breaking translation of the
Talmud, has died. He was 83. Steinsaltz, an educator who
established a network of schools in Israel and the former Soviet
Union, wrote more than 60 books on subjects ranging from zoology to
theology. But the Talmud, the central text in mainstream Judaism,
was his greatest passion.

The masterwork for which he is best-known is his massive
translation of and commentary on the entire Babylonian Talmud which
he worked on for this huge project for45 years – completing the
44-volume Hebrew edition in 2010.

He was devoted to the accessibility of Jewish texts to the broad
population–he coined the slogan “let my people know.” Four years
ago Steinsaltz finished his commentary on the entire Bible, in
English and in Hebrew, and was working in his last days on a
commentary on the Mishna, which will be published posthumously.

President Reuven Rivlin eulogized him on Twitter: “Our hearts mourn
the passing of Rabbi Adin Even Israel Steinsaltz … He was a man of
great spiritual courage, deep knowledge and profound thought who
brought the Talmud to the people of Israel in clear and accessible
Hebrew and English. May his memory be a blessing.
” A detailed
obituary is available in the NYTimes.

PROFESSOR RUTH GAVISON March 28, 1945, Jerusalem – August 15, 2020

Israel Prize laureate and one of the country’s greatest legal
thinkers, Prof. Ruth Gavi
son, died on August 15 at the age of 75.
She was a highly influent
ial and important figure in the field of
law and dedicated most of her life to civil rights and democracy.
Gavison worked tirelessly to bridge the divide between secular and
observant Jews and to retain Israel’s character as both a
democratic and Jewish state.

She was a leader and co-founder of the Association for Civil
Rights Israel (ACRI) which among other actions successfully
appealed to the Supreme Court on behalf of the right to due process
of 415 Hamas activists who were expelled from Israel. (1992) She
regarded human rights as a essential component of societal
structure. The achievements of the organization reflect her commitment.

On the other hand she strongly opposed judicial activism and thus
clashed vehemently with then Chief Justice Aharon Barak who went so
far as to block her appointment to the Supreme Court. In her later
years, she moved significantly to the right of the political
spectrum which caused dismay among many of her followers.

Detailed obituaries and appreciations may be found in the Jerusalem Post and
Forward.

JULIAN BREAM 15 July 1933 – 14 August 2020

Classical guitarist and lute player Julian Bream has died at home aged 87.

Julian Bream helped turn the guitar into a serious recital instrument and broadened its repertory through numerous commissions.Credit…Michael Ochs Archives, via Getty Images

The musician’s representatives, James Brown Management, confirmed the news in a statement on their website.

It said: ‘We are very sad to report that Julian Bream CBE (b. 1933), English classical guitarist and lutenist, died peacefully at home today, 14 August 2020.’

Bream was among the most distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century and worked with some of the period’s best-known musicians and composers.

His recordings, many for RCA Victor and EMI Classics, won him four Grammy Awards.

Bream was born in Battersea, London, but raised in Hampton, and his father was a commercial artist who enjoyed playing the piano and guitar.

The work of Romani-French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt impressed him as a child and he would later name his dog Django.

Bream made his professional debut playing the guitar at the age of 13 and entered the Royal College of Music in 1948, aged 15, as a pianist and composer.

He is credited with restoring the lute to prominence in the modern world. In 1961 he organized the Julian Bream Consort, one of the first groups to specialize in early ensemble music. The Consort is composed of violin, alto flute, bass viol, pandora, cittern, and lute. Composers who wrote music for Bream include Benjamin Britten, William Walton, and Malcolm Arnold.

awards and honors

Detailed obituaries can be found in the Guardian and the NYTimes inter alia.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG March 15, 1933-September 18, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American jurist who served as an
associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from
1993 until her death in 2020. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980 and to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the U.S.Supreme Court, after Sandra Day O’Connor. During her tenure Ginsburg wrote notable majority opinions, including United States
v. Virginia (1996), Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. (2000). Between O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 and appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents.

She graduated from Columbia Law School, going on to become a
staunch courtroom advocate for the fair treatment of women and
working with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

Detailed obituaries can be found in the NYTimes and elsewhere.

RANT ABOUT ANTI MASKERS/VAXXERS

There exist types of people who focus solely on themselves, who
care nothing for the safety and well being of others, i.e. they
exclude themselves from the fundamental social compact that makes
it possible for us to live together. Anti maskers and anti vaxxers
share a callous attitude towards others that has levied a cost in
human lives in countless situations.

Let us consider the city of Melbourne, the second largest city in
Australia with a population of over five million residents. It is the the capital of the state of Victoria and is in the throes of a lockdown that began July 8 at 2359.

Victoria was placed back into lockdown on 8 July after the coronavirus escaped from hotel quarantine in late May and spread rapidly. Some 700 cases were recorded in one day on 5 August and more than 700 people have died, mostly in aged care.

Under Premier Andrews’ road map out of restrictions, Melbourne will remain locked down until weekly average cases drop below five, which is not expected until October 26.

That would mean Melbourne’s lockdown will have lasted 15 weeks, a month longer than the shutdown of Wuhan.

The restrictions have reduced the rate of infection significantly, but there are lunatic anti-masker people who are making idiotic arguments against masks, some on “civil rights “grounds and others based on pseudo science claims. We show you a
few examples:

The antivaxxer movement was pushed by fake science. In 1998,
the British journal The Lancet published research by Dr. Andrew
Wakefield that purported to show that the measles, mumps, and
rubella (MMR) vaccines caused autism in some children. The study
was widely reported and the information spread like wildfire among
parents, especially those with autistic children.

The problem with Wakefield’s study, however, was that it relied on
faulty data. Later investigations have shown that Wakefield was set
to benefit from lawsuits based on his research. The study was
retracted after numerous other scientists could not replicate his
findings.

One of the loudest broadcasters of this supposed link between
vaccines and autism is actress Jenny McCarthy, who has campaigned
in support of Wakefield’s findings as recently as 2011.

Nonetheless, the pernicious effect of this fake study
continue to reverberate and far too many people refrain from
vaccinating their children with often catastrophic results for
others. Many US states exempt children from vaccination on
religious or philosophical grounds and an entire classroom can be
infected. In Europe, the rate of vaccination is lower than in the
US and vaccination skepticism is widespread, with France the main
focus.. Prometheus and Pandora are beginning to agree with
Talleyrand, Napoleon’s finance minister, who declared that stupid is
worse than criminal.

HOW DID THE VIRUS WIN IN SO MANY COUNTRIES?

Around the world there are countries that have used quick, clever
strategies to beat the virus and hav
e been able to go back to
living relatively normal lives. Their success stories are worth
reading and conclusions can be drawn. Their methods varied, some
enforcing mask use, others not, some tested extensively, others
not, some had science-minded leaders, others had leaders who called
on scientists and kept their fingers out of the pie. All had
intelligent leaders who truly cared about their people and had an
health infrastructure in place that could be enhanced to confront
the foe.

THE COLOSSAL FAILURE

Ed Yong published an article in the August Atlantic which is
available for free to all. He describes how a virus brought the
strongest nation on the planet to its knees. America has failed to
protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin.
It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between
inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors
are difficult, at the moment, to fathom truly.The details of the
failure as given by Yong show that behind the facade of a great
nation there is major rot and corruption. The lack of a true
national health insurance system, the link of health insurance to
employment and the systematic defunding of the public health system
and its institutions led to a complete collapse of the protection
of the people from the virus.To all these one must add the egotism
and lack of caring for the other
that characterizes American
society.

“The U.S. fundamentally failed in ways that were worse than I ever
could have imagined,”
Julia Marcus, an infectious-disease
epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, told Yong.

SARS-CoV-2 is neither as lethal as some other coronaviruses, such
as SARS and MERS, nor as contagious as measles. Deadlier pathogens
almost certainly exist. Wild animals harbor an estimated 40,000
unknown viruses, a quarter of which could potentially jump into
humans. How will the U.S. fare when “we can’t even deal with a
starter pandemic?,”
Zeynep Tufekci,a sociologist at the University
of North Carolina and an Atlantic contributing writer, asked Yong.

Yong strongly indicts Trump as being central to the American
debacle, but there is plenty of blame to go around. The role of
racism, endemic in American society is also of great significance.
African-Americans and Native Americans suffer a highly
disproportionate rate of infection and death and have far less
access to health care resources. The article is long, but everyone
and not only Americans should read it. The lesson is practically
universal.

WHY ISRAEL FAILED

One might have expected that Israel with a universal health system,
vast sources of expertise in the fields relevant to confronting the
warnings that a coronavirus attack was looming and a
sophisticated public would have mobilized its medical, scientific
and high tech resources to create an independent task force that
would take the correct and necessary steps to minimize the impact
of the virus. In fact, nothing of the kind happened.

Anshel Pfeffer writing in Haaretz describes how Israel was brought
down by hubris, complacency, a mythological story of the start up
nation and the egomaniac struggle of an indicted prime minister to
stay out of court and jail. He is tearing at the fabric of society,
attacking the law enforcement community and turning the nation into
warring camps. In the lack of social cohesiveness there is no
chance to overcome the virus.

A demonstration against Netanyahu’s corruption and mishandling of the Covid 19 crisis

With the fall Jewish holiday season . the country has been plunged into a long lockdown which is unlikely to lead to a major reduction of infection. In general, one
might say that as of now on a worldwide scale, the smart money is on the virus.

A PROPHETIC WORD

As they view the erosion of democracy and human rights across the world, Prometheus and Pandora have little to add to the analysis and prediction of Frank Snowden in his book, Epidemics and Society, published shortly before the advent of the Corona virus and reviewed in the previous blog. He was writing about the medieval black plague,but it describes our world today:

BOOK REVIEW

Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency

by Mark Lynas London: 4th Estate, 372 pp., $27.99T

This frightening book lays down in detail our steps to doom as the
temperature of our planet rises. Bill McKibbin, himself a noted
climate expert
, reviews the book in the August 20 NYRB. While it
describes warming, it is a chilling read and should be read,
especially by political leaders and heads of the economy whose
collective failure has brought us to where we are. We should also
note the Swedish teenager, Greta Thurburg who has crisscrossed the
world delivering her message of warming and destruction.

Let us quote McKibbin:

Consider what we’ve seen so far as a baseline: we’re definitely not
going to get any cooler. But now consider the real problem, the
news that scientists have been trying to get across for many years
but that has not really sunk in with the public or with political
leaders. As Lynas puts it: If we stay on the current
business-as-usual trajectory, we could see two degrees as soon as
the early 2030s, three degrees around mid-century, and four degrees
by 2075 or so. If we’re unlucky with positive feedbacks…from
thawing permafrost in the Arctic or collapsing tropical
rainforests, then we could be in for five or even six degrees by
century’s end”

Greta is featured on the cover of Rolling Stone:

NEWS FROM SCIENCE

A STRANGE GAS ON VENUS

Recent observations indicate that our neighbor planet Venus, a hell hole in the Solar System is harboring in its atmosphere the gas Phosphine PH3, which on Earth is made only by biological mechanisms. This has given rise to speculations that the planet my contain some form of life. The finding is still unproven since more signatures of Phosphine need to be found at other frequencies and the observers are being properly conservative. Covid 19 has stalled the research, but it will be most interesting to see how this pans out. Some of the press releases indulge in wild speculation and should be viewed suspiciously.

Phosphine signature in Venus’s spectrum

SILLY TIME

WHAT IF?

A discussion of scientific semantics in a tough situation.

`Too much like politicians

Our times indeed…

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Update September 10-16

Our featured image shows Miriam (1947-2012), a great friend and human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

esiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

An MSF staff member watches as fire tears through Moria refugee camp, which was virtually destroyed. Lesbos, Greec
e, 8 September 2020.

This week our chosen charity is Direct Relief.

Coronavirus Outbreak Response
Delivering protective gear to safeguard health workers and supplying medical items for critical patient care.

The mission:

Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.

Nongovernmental, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit, Direct Relief provides assistance to people and communities without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities or ability to pay.

Direct Relief’s assistance programs – which focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease – are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.

Direct Relief honors the generosity of its donors by following a firm policy of full transparency in all of its operationhttps://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3626s.

This tradition of transparent, direct and targeted assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since its founding in 1948 by refugee war immigrant William Zimdin. It has a four star rating with Charity Navigator. Please donate

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the ongoing genocide of the Kawahiva people. Please act.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.


You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to call for survivor and migrant access to healthcare.

NIGERIA

Urgent Action: Nigerian Singer at Risk of Imminent Execution


Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a 22-year old singer detained in Kano prison, Kano State, in northern Nigeria, is at risk of imminent execution after an Upper Shari’a Court sentenced him to death by hanging for circulating a song via WhatsApp considered blasphemous. Influential individuals and religious leaders are mounting pressure on the authorities to carry out the judgement as soon as possible. Yahaya Sharif-Aminu is now appealing the sentence. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

VENEZUELA

Urgent Action Victory! Incommunicado Detainee Released

Maury Carrero, detained arbitrarily in April 2020 by officers of the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) in Caracas, was unconditionally released on 2 September as part of a group of 110 individuals recently pardoned by Nicolás Maduro. Maury Carrero spent five months in prison, indicted for crimes under counterterrorism legislation.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 2 April 2020, approximately 15 DGCIM officials raided the home of Maury Carrero, taking many of the family’s valuables and electronics. The officials advised Maury Carrero’s parents that they were taking her temporarily and would bring her back home, as the search warrant did not include her name on it. Maury Carrero did not return home that night and spent five months arbitrarily detained. During her detention, her family and lawyers were repeatedly denied communication or access to her, only allowing extremely short phone calls approximately once a week during the first month of detention in which officials were present the entire time and she was unable to speak freely nor safely about the conditions of her detention. She was transferred to National Institute for Women’s Guidance (INOF by its acronym in Spanish) facilities on 14 May, where officials denied her access to her family and lawyers under the excuse of the state of alarm that was in place as response to the COVID-19 pandemic since 13 March 2020. On 19 May, she was indicted by the prosecution with ‘concealment of firearms’ and ‘association to commit crimes’, both under the Venezuelan Organic Law Against Organised Crime and Financing of terrorism.

On 31 August, authorities announced a ‘pardon’ for 110 individuals in prison, conditionally released, who have sought protection in foreign embassies in Caracas or fled the country. These 110 people include several cases for whom Amnesty has campaigned, including Maury Carrero, prisoner of conscience and union leader Rubén González, political activist Nicmer Evans, and parliamentarians Gilber Caro, and Renzo Prieto. After a two-day delay since the announcement, Maury was unconditionally released on 2 September.

Whilst we strongly reject any pretence that this measure implies recognition of criminal responsibility of Maury or others, we welcome this measure insofar as it grants unconditional freedom to many who never should have been jailed, prosecuted, or whose freedom has been curtailed by unjust restrictions and conditions.

Amnesty received messages directly from Maury’s mother and friends thanking supporters for their actions and solidarity. We sincerely thank all people who took action on behalf of Maury.

EGYPT

Urgent Action: Human Rights Activist Detained for a Third Time

On 23 June 2020, the Egyptian security forces arrested human rights activist Sanaa Seif from outside the Public Prosecutor’s office in New Cairo, where she was waiting to file a complaint after suffering a violent assault a day earlier. Sanaa Seif, her sister and mother were beaten by several women in front of the Tora Prison Complex in full view of security forces.

TAKE ACTION

ARGENTINA

Urgent Action Update: Disappeared During Quarantine & Found Dead

An independent forensic team positively identified the body of Facundo Astudillo Castro on 2 September 2020. His unidentified body was found on 16 August after going missing on 30 April in the Province of Buenos Aires. Police arrested Facundo that day for violating the national quarantine imposed by the national government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 2 July, Facundo’s family filed a federal complaint to investigate his disappearance. We demand authorities carry out an independent, effective and impartial investigation into those responsible of his disappearance and death, offering truth and justice to Facundo’s family.

TAKE ACTION

Coca-Cola workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, and the USA still need your support

Coca-Cola continues to violate the fundamental rights of workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland and the USA. Read more…

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Blog September 3-9

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great friend and human rights defender.

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

Mirjam Markwalder with children outside the intensive therapeutic feeding center in Batouri. Since December 2013 more than 130 000 Central African refugees have crossed the border into Cameroon. MSF supports Cameroon’s Ministry of Health by providing medical activities focused on primary healthcare and malnutrition treatment for refugees in Garoua-Boulaï, Batouri, and Gbiti.

This week we call your attention to the International Rescue Committee. The mission statement:

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities.

Dr. Rasha Rashed, a doctor and reproductive health manager for the IRC in Yemen. “

The IRC is highly rated by Charity Navigator and is worthy of your support.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call for help for the Baka people.

The Baka

Messok Dja is an area of Congo rainforest which is especially rich in biodiversity. It’s the ancestral land of Baka people who have managed the forest since time immemorial. They are its best guardians.

WWF is trying to establish a conservation zone there without the consent of the local communities. They’ve funded park rangers who have committed violent atrocities against the Baka. Act Now to get the project scrapped.

Act Now

Act now ↓   Donate →

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and Join #FREEDOMFORGIRLS and commit to helping end human trafficking and modern slavery.

URGENT ACTION CASES

NIGER

Urgent Action Update: Prominent Activists Still Languishing in Jail

Activists Maikoul Zodi, Halidou Mounkaila and Moudi Moussa have been languishing in jail for over five months for planning a protest on 15 March demanding an investigation into the alleged misuse of public funds. On 6 August, the three were granted release on bail of XOF 5 million each (about USD $9021) but the prosecutor successfully appealed the decision on the same day. They continue to be held in prison. They are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately released.

TAKE ACTION

EGYPT

Urgent Action Update: Detained Rights Lawyer Denied Prison Visits

Officials at the al-Qanater Women’s Prison have denied Hoda Abdelmoniem, a 61-year-old human rights lawyer, a single prison visit or other contact with her family since her detention on 1 November 2018. Her relatives last saw her briefly at a court hearing on 18 July 2020.

TAKE ACTION

ZIMBABWE

Urgent Action Update: Opposition Activists Rearrested; One Charged

Cecilia Chimbiri

Opposition activists Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri, together with their lawyer, were rearrested by the police on 31 July while on their way to Harare Central Police Station where they were scheduled to report as part of bail conditions. Joana Mamombe and Netsai Marova were later released without charge. Cecilia Chimbiri was only released after being charged with insulting a police officer after a soldier falsely accused her of insulting him and assaulted her with a whip.

TAKE ACTION

Belarus

Stop the violence – defend democracy and human rights

Presidential elections were held in Belarus on August 9. They were once again blatantly falsified in favour of the long-serving ruler Lukashenko. This caused a storm of popular protest. The security forces responded with an unprecedented terror: mass arrests, beatings and torture of protesters. A wave of spontaneous work stoppages swept across the country. Workers started to form strike committees to prepare for a nationwide general strike in support of democratic change. The strikers demands include: recognise the results of the presidential elections as invalid, release all political prisoners and demonstrators, prevent the persecution of the strike participants and cancel the system of short term contracts. The administration and security services are putting tremendous pressure on the strikers, members of the strike committee and their families. Many are threatened with dismissal. Activists are being detained by security services. We must help stop the wave of violence.

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Update Blog August 27-September 2

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great friend and human rights defender.

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

COVID-19: MSF responds in Amazonas, Brazil

This week our chosen charity is the Lustgarten Foundation, a charity that supports research and clinical advancement against pancreatic cancer. The

The mission is to cure pancreatic cancer by:

  • Funding scientific and clinical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pancreatic cancer
  • Providing research information and clinical support services to patients, caregivers and individuals at high risk
  • Increasing public awareness and hope for those dealing with this disease

Their Vision

The Lustgarten Foundation envisions a world in which pancreatic cancer is curable and patients will be treated effectively and enjoy a good quality of life.
Our operating principles to achieve this vision include:

  • Continuing to be the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research in the world
  • Striving for excellence
  • Emphasizing compassion
  • Having a commitment to serve
  • Having integrity to our mission, to those we serve, and to ourselves

The foundation has a perfect record with Charity Navigator and is worthy of your support.

WINGS FOR SPECIAL KIDS.

We are issuing a call to support Krembo Wings, an Israeli non-profit organization which brings children with and without disabilities together for weekly social activities in its branches across Israel. Krembo Wings serves children and youth of all backgrounds and reflects the diverse make-up of Israeli society. Krembo Wings motto is Together Creating a Meaningful Place for Everyone. The society provides a warm and friendly environment for children and adults who have special needs. This call will be a permanent feature of this blog. Please donate to this worthy cause,

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected.

This week we call your attention to the Ayoreo people of Paraguay.

The forest belonging to Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians has the fastest rate of deforestation in the world

Much of their land has been sold to cattle ranchers, forcing the uncontacted Ayoreo to live on the run, escaping the bulldozers that are destroying their forest.

Since the 1970s, Survival has been working with contacted Ayoreo communities to help them successfully gain title to 550,000 hectares of their ancestral homeland.

But it’s not enough, foreign ranching companies continue to destroy the Ayoreo’s forest home to make way for cattle, and uncontacted Ayoreo may soon have nowhere left to hide. Read more and consider a donation or an action as indicated in the site.

Act now ↓   Donate →

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

You can download this book

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and raise your voice to call for an end to slavery in hotels.

Hotel worker under hard conditions

URGENT ACTION CASES

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action Victory! Jehovah’s Witness’ Sentence Commuted

On 3 August, the Pskov Regional Court, in western Russia, commuted Gennadiy Shpakovsky’s six-and-a-half-years’ prison sentence to a suspended sentence of the same duration including two years on probation. The 61-year-old Jehovah’s Witness was released from detention on the same day. Gennadiy Shpakovsky was prosecuted solely for exercising his right to freedom of religion. He and other Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, where practicing their faith is a crime, remain at risk of imprisonment.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 3 August, the Pskov Regional Court, in western Russia, commuted Gennadiy Shpakovsky’s six-and-a-half-years’ prison sentence to a suspended sentence of the same duration and placed him under probation for the two first years. On the same day, the 61-year-old Jehovah’s Witness was released from detention and greeted by his wife and daughter.

Jehovah’s Witnesses face persecution in Russia after their organization was arbitrarily banned as “extremist” in April 2017. Gennady Shpakovsky became the eleventh Jehovah’s Witness sentenced to a jail term by Russian courts (including two persons in occupied Crimea). A criminal case against him was initiated on 31 May 2018. Prior to this, according to information from the international Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, he had been under surveillance by the security services.

Gennady Shpakovsky was detained on 3 June 2018 when he was discussing the Bible with friends. Armed security services and riot police officers broke into the flat and conducted a six-hour search of the premises. Gennady Shpakovsky and his friends were then subjected to questioning about their activities for several hours. They reported being threatened and harassed during the questioning. Gennady Shpakovsky was charged with “organization of the activities of an extremist organization” (Article 282.2 (1) of the Russian Criminal Code) and “financing of extremist activity” (Article 282.3 (1) of the Russian Criminal Code). He was convicted on 9 June 2020, his sentence being the harshest issued to date against a Jehovah’s Witness in modern Russia.

Amnesty International regards the criminalization of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization in Russia as an arbitrary and discriminatory measure, and a violation of the right to freedom of religion. Amnesty International has called on the Russian authorities to quash the respective judicial decisions.

INDONESIA

Urgent Action Victory! Seven Papuan Activists Released from Prison


On 17 June 2020, seven Papuan activists were convicted of treason (makar) and sentenced to between ten and 11 months in prison for their role in an anti-racism demonstration in August 2019. They have all since been released and been able to return to their homes in Papua.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

Papuan activists, and former prisoners of conscience Ferry Kombo, Alexander Gobai, Agus Kossay, Stevanus Itlay, Hengki Hilapok, Buchtar Tabuni and Irwanus Uropmabin have all been released from prison and have all been able to return to their homes in Papua.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions within Indonesia, air travel is currently very complicated. As a result, Amnesty International provided logistical support to aid their safe return home and ensure that their lawyers and families were able to accompany them on their flights.

Mr. Gustaf Kawer, one of the lawyers involved in the case, expressed his appreciation for the help from Amnesty International and thanked all members who took action and supported the seven former prisoners of conscience.

Ferry Kombo, Alexander Gobai, Agus Kossay, Stevanus Itlay, Hengki Hilapok, Buchtar Tabuni and Irwanus Uropmabin were convicted of treason (makar) and sentenced in June 2020 to between ten and 11 months in prison for their role in an anti-racism demonstration in August 2019. They were a part of a group of 56 political activists and human rights defenders from Papua who were imprisoned in relation to the 2019 anti-racism protest in Surabaya. Out of the total 56 prisoners of conscience, 34 remain imprisoned.

The Indonesian authorities have used these criminal code provisions to prosecute dozens of peaceful pro-independence political activists in Papua and Maluku over the last decade.

Amnesty International continues to monitor the situation in Papua, but for now no further action is requested from the UA network.

CHILE

Urgent Action Victory! Mapuche Spiritual Leader Ends Hunger Strike

On 18 August 2020, the spiritual leader of the Mapuche people in Chile, machi Celestino Córdova Tránsito, decided to end his hunger strike after reaching an agreement with the government, which includes several of his original requests.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 4 May 2020, machi Celestino Córdova Tránsito and 8 other Mapuche prisoners began a hunger strike in Temuco, a city in the southern region of Araucanía in Chile. In the following weeks, other 17 Mapuche prisoners joined the hunger strike.

The 26 prisoners on hunger strike, including the Machi, demanded the application of ILO Convention 169, allowing prisoners to serve their sentence or pre-trial detention in their lands and not a prison. Machi Celestino Córdova specifically demanded respect for his rights as a spiritual leader of the Mapuche people, which requires him to have a physical proximity to his land and a specific sacred place, which represents the connection between the earthly and spiritual world.

Last week, machi Celestino Córdova and his spokespeople restarted a dialogue with representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. This dialogue was supported as observers by the Chilean Human Rights Institution, the Medical Association of Chile (Colegio Médico) and representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

On 18 August, machi Celestino Córdova reached an agreement with the government. As per the agreement, he will receive culturally pertinent treatment until his full recovery, permission to go to his land for up to 30 hours to perform ceremonies, and the possibility of serving his sentence at a “Center for Education and Work”, which means he could be close to the countryside instead of a city prison. It also includes items which benefit all hunger strikers, such an agreement that all those who are convicted can apply to serve their sentence in similar centers, the review of the pre-trial detentions of those who are not yet convicted, and the agreement that no prisoners on hunger strike will be subject to disciplinary measures because of the strike. After the agreement was signed, machi Celestino Córdova has began gradually feeding again.

Media reporting on the issue mentioned Amnesty’s call for dialogue as one of the relevant elements that served to pressure the government into a meaningful dialogue and reach an agreement.

The other Mapuche prisoners continue their hunger strike, and we continue to monitor the situation in case further action is needed in those cases.

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Lawyer Allegedly Tortured in Detention


Held incommunicado for over 18 months, human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was finally allowed to meet his lawyer on 14 August. According to his lawyer, Yu was tortured in detention and his health has drastically deteriorated. Charged with “inciting subversion of state power”, Yu was sentenced on 17 June 2020 to four years’ imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for three years. He is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

MOZAMBIQUE

Urgent Action: Justice for Gender-Based Violence Survivor

On 12 June, the 2nd Criminal Appeal Section of the Judicial Court of Maputo’s City overturned the decision that found the aggressor of Women Human Rights Defender, Josina Machel, guilty for the crimes of physical and psychological violence. On 5 August, Josina Machel’s appeal against the decision was filed. The Supreme Court is now due to rule on the appeal.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Urgent Action: Uyghur Model Held Incommunicado for Months

Merdan Ghappar has not been seen or heard from since March 2020, after his messages and photos describing his poor detention conditions were shared on social media. Detained since January 2020, the authorities only recently disclosed that Merdan Ghappar is under “compulsory measures” on suspicion of assaulting health care workers. There are serious concerns for Merdan Ghappar’s wellbeing, as it is feared he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

EUROPE EU

New EU guidelines on seasonal workers a step in the right direction but binding measures are urgently needed


The IUF’s European regional organization IUF-EFFAT has consistently demanded greater legal protection for seasonal migrant workers, whose precarious situation has been ruthlessly exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 16, in response to urgent calls for action by unions and the European Parliament, the European Commission issued ‘Guidelines on Seasonal Workers in the EU in the Context of the COVID-19 Outbreak’.

The Guidelines aim to promote equal treatment and non-discrimination with respect to nationals by encouraging member states to take appropriate action to ensure that seasonal workers are covered by relevant national laws and collective agreement with regards to pay, dismissal, health and safety and tax and social security arrangements. Seasonal workers who lose their jobs retain their legal status as workers for 6 months, provided they register with the employment services. The Guidelines also call for strengthening occupational health and safety inspection and supervision of accommodation and transport.

IUF-EFFAT general secretary Kristjan Bragason welcomed the initiative, but regretted it came late, particularly in tourism and agriculture, key IUF sectors already in peak season, saying “Guidelines are a first step, but the Commission must act urgently now with binding legislative measures… including decent housing conditions and chain subcontracting liability.” He also stressed the importance of the ongoing review of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy as an important opportunity to improve the situation of all workers in European agriculture by conditioning financial support for the sector on respect for collective agreements and concrete improvements in agricultural workers’ living and working conditions. Please circulate on your social media.

R

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Blog for Human Rights Action August 20-26

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great friend and human rights defender.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

Doctors Without Borders Changed The Way We Heal The World

This week we call your attention to Mercy Ships, a fleet of five ships that sail the world to bring medical help to the poorest and most deprived people on the planet. The mission:

Mercy Ships is a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since its founding in 1978. Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the forgotten poor by mobilizing people and resources worldwide, and serving all people without regard for race, gender, or religion. Mercy Ships programs promote health and well-being by serving the urgent surgical needs of the forgotten poor and empowering developing communities. Since its founding, Mercy Ships has performed more than delivered services valued at over $1.43 billion and impacting more than 16.3 million people as direct beneficiaries.”

First surgery in Senegal for a hare-lipped 2 year old

WINGS FOR SPECIAL KIDS.

We are issuing a call to support Krembo Wings, an Israeli non-profit organization which brings children with and without disabilities together for weekly social activities in its branches across Israel. Krembo Wings serves children and youth of all backgrounds and reflects the diverse make-up of Israeli society. Krembo Wings motto is Together Creating a Meaningful Place for Everyone. The society provides a warm and friendly environment for children and adults who have special needs. This call will be a permanent feature of this blog. Please donate to this worthy cause.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected.

This week we call your attention to the myth of the “brutal savage.” Read this post carefully for it debunks the myth propagate by certain anthropologists.

Portrayals of Indians as violent savages remain common. Perhaps the worst recent example of this characterization comes from the controversial U.S. anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, who carried out fieldwork with the Venezuelan Yanomami from the 1960s.

In his book, Yanomamö: The Fierce People, Chagnon constructed a sensationalist image of the tribe, describing them as “sly, aggressive, and intimidating,” “fierce,” “continuously making war on each other,” and living in a “state of chronic warfare.”

The Fierce People was a best-seller in the USA and is still a standard text for anthropology students today. It is also a key source in many recent popular science books by writers such as Jared Diamond and Steven Pinker, which also promote the myth of the “Brutal Savage.”

Despite the popularity of The Fierce People, Chagnon’s findings have been severely criticized by others who have extensive experience of the Yanomami. Many anthropologists, doctors and missionaries that have worked over many decades with the Yanomami simply do not recognize Chagnon’s characterizations, and profoundly disagree with his depiction of the tribe.

The Yanomami speak out

Hear what Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami spokesman and President of Hutukara, had to say about The Fierce People and Noble Savages in interviews with Survival.

In an excerpt taken from La chute du ciel, Paroles d’un chaman Yanomami, by Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert, he discusses the violence of Western societies.

Whilst a few Yanomami may die in conflicts, far more have been killed by outsiders in violent attacks or by the diseases they have brought in.

Between 1989 and 1993 it is estimated that nearly 20% of the Yanomami in Brazil died from diseases introduced by the gold miners. These invasions still pose huge threats to their health and security. Davi Kopenawa warns:

Today our real enemies are the gold miners, the cattle farmers and all those who want to seize our land. Our anger must be directed at them. That’s what I think.

Davi Kopenawa at Hutukara Yanomami Association’s 3rd general assembly November 2008. In 2004, Yanomami from 11 regions in Brazil met to form their own organisation, Hutukara (meaning ‘the part of the sky from which the earth was born’), to defend their rights and run their own projects.
© Luciano Padrão/CAFOD
Consequences

The greatest tragedy in this story is that the real Yanomami have largely been written out of it, as the media have chosen to focus only on the salacious details of the debate that rages between anthropologists, or on Chagnon’s disputed characterizations. Rarely mentioned is the fact that The Fierce People had disastrous repercussions for the Yanomami, and tribal peoples in general.

Read how Brazil’s military dictatorship was influenced by the characterization of the Yanomami as hostile to each other.

See why UK government refused to fund an education project with the Yanomami.

More recently Chagnon’s research has been used by Jared Diamond in his controversial new book, The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? to back his erroneous claim that “most” “traditional” societies like the Yanomami exist in a state of “constant warfare”; that they are far more violent than industrialized societies; and that they welcome “pacification” by the state.

Diamond’s book has been condemned by Survival director Stephen Corry, indigenous organizations and academics, and his arguments compared to those of European colonists, who sought justification for the brutalities of imperialism.

Please read this long post and share it on all your social media and among your friends to help the maligned tribes in their struggle to survive in a hostile world.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and raise your voice to end prison slavery in the United States.

URGENT ACTION CASES

NIGER

Urgent Action Victory! Niger Journalist Samira Sabou Has Been Freed

Samira Sabou, a journalist and President of the Niger bloggers association, was freed from Niamey prison on 28 July after the judge dismissed all charges of defamation against her. She had been arbitrarily detained for 48 days, in pre-trial detention, after a defamation complaint, filed by the son of the President, was made against her following a Facebook user’s mention of the President’s son’s name in a comment on a post made on Samira Sabou’s Facebook page. The 26 May post related to allegations of corruption in the procurement of military equipment on.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

Samira Sabou was arrested on 10 June after a defamation complaint against her was filed by Sani Mahamadou Issoufou, the son and deputy chief of staff of the Nigerien President, Mahamadou Issoufou. On 26 May, Samira Sabou commented on her Facebook profile, about the embezzlement and overcharging of defense contracts revealed in an audit of the Ministry of Defense. Although she never referred to an individual in her post, she was charged with “defamation by a means of electronic communication” for both her post, and for a comment made on the post by another Facebook user, who singled Sani Mahamadou Issoufou as one of the culprits. She was subsequently remanded in pre-trial detention and her request for bail was denied. Her trial began on 14 July and the Prosecutor requested a sentence of one month and one week and a 1,000,000 XOF fee against her. Two weeks later, the court ordered her release, dismissing all charges against her. The complainant has appealed against this verdict.

Samira Sabou’s detention generated important media focus on the situation of human rights defenders and journalists in Niger, and on the abusive use of the Cybercrime Law to stifle dissenting voices. There was a lot of engagement on her case. In the span of two weeks, more than 5000 people signed a petition and over 2000 e-mails were sent to the President of Niger, calling for her release.

Following her release, Samira Sabou thanked all the organizations that have contributed to her release, including Amnesty International and its members who took action: ‘‘I don’t forget about Amnesty International, especially the team in Dakar who since the first moment they have highlighted the incoherence related to my arrest.(..) I have been particularly touched by the solidarity and the support that I have received from all corners in the globe”. She also highlighted the abusive use of the Cybercriminality Law to harass civil society members and human rights defenders; “I will continue the fight for justice in Niger [by] challenging before the courts, the constitutionality of the Cybercriminality Law, with all free and just men and women”.

CHILE

Urgent Action: Imprisoned Mapuche’s Life at Risk

Machi (spiritual Mapuche leader) Celestino Córdova Tránsito completed over 100 days on hunger strike demanding to join his community for the period of a mandatory spiritual retreat. He was convicted and in prison in the city of Temuco for homicide induced by arson in 2014. Authorities failed to dialogue with him, and a local Court authorized the possibility of force feeding him. On 10 August, he expressed his intention to enter a dry strike. We demand authorities urgently initiate a dialogue with Celestino Córdova and abstain from feeding him against his will.

TAKE ACTION

VENEZUELA

Urgent Action: Charges Against Detainee Must be Dropped

Unidentified officers arbitrarily detained Nicmar Evans, a Venezuelan political scientist and communicator, on 13 July 2020 in Caracas, Venezuela. They reportedly belonged to the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) and the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Corps (CICPC). He is in custody of the DGCIM and is charged with ‘advocacy of hatred’ for posting social media messages that allegedly challenge the policies of Nicolas Maduro. The Attorney General has until 31 August to either formally accuse him or drop the case. We call on him to drop the charges against Nicmer Evans and release him.

TAKE ACTION

NORTHERN IRELAND

Women and girls must be allowed home abortions during the coronavirus pandemic

13,397 taken. Help us reach 15,000

Women and girls*n Northern Ireland are being put at risk due to not not being able to self-manage abortions at home.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on travel, women in the rest of the UK are now allowed to self-manage abortions at home using approved medication.

Email the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland demanding women in Northern Ireland are given the same access to this basic healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic.

WORLDWIDE

Universal ratification of ILO Convention on child labour: now it’s time to implement!

 “Universal ratification of Convention 182 is an historic first that means that all children now have legal protection against the worst forms of child labour. It reflects a global commitment that the worst forms of child labour, such as slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work that compromises children’s health, morals or psychological wellbeing, have no place in our society”, commented  ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

With the ratification this month by Tonga of ILO Convention 182 on eliminating the worst forms of child labour, an ILO Convention has for the first time been ratified by all 187 member states.

IUF General Secretary Sue Longley welcomed the achievement of universal ratification, but called for renewed efforts to implement the Convention especially in agriculture which employs 71% of all child labour and is ranked as one of the three most dangerous industries to work in alongside mining and construction.  

Please post this call on all your social media and make the demand for the end of child labor go viral.!!

IUF Safe Return to Work during COVID-19 Demands: HRCT 18-08-2020

Millions of workers in the HRCT sector are suffering from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crucial to the rebuilding of the sector will be strong trade union voices guiding the policy development and implementation in order to ensure robust health and safety measures, income security, job security, gender equality including health care and sick leave, and above all trade union rights.

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Blog for Human Rights Action August 13-19

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

esiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

This week our chosen charity must be aid to the stricken city of Beirut where poorly warehoused explosive ammonia nitrate exploded in a blast that left parts of the city in ruins.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention dangers inherent in so-called progress, which if forced, can kill. Forcing “development” or “progress” on tribal people does not make them happier or healthier. In fact, the effects are disastrous. The most important factor by far for tribal peoples’ well-being is whether their land rights are respected.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

You can download this book

Look for these logos:


Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to call for an end to the enslavement of the Uyghur people of China.

URGENT ACTION CASES

MALDIVES

Urgent Action: Serious Health Concerns for Maldivian Politician

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.LAkv6beZHY6O38RP7OtQxwHaE8%26pid%3DApi&f=1

Ahmed Adeeb, former Maldivian Vice President, suffers from several ongoing health conditions. Arrested in 2015 for what were believed to be politically motivated charges, his convictions were overturned last year and other charges against him were dropped in July 2020. Local media outlets have reported that the Prosecutor General submitted the case for appeal and accordingly, Adeeb was taken into custody again on 24 July following an order by High Court, raising further concerns about his well being.

TAKE ACTION

COLOMBIA

On 2 July, the Inter-Ecclesiastic Commission of Justice and Peace received confidential information about an ongoing plan to kill the Human Rights Defender Jani Silva. The plan is allegedly run by an armed group called “La mafia” because of the voluntary crops substitution program that Jani Silva is promoting in the Putumayo region (South West), Colombia. According to NGOs, “La Mafia” is behind the killings of 14 persons in the Putumayo region since the COVID-19 lockdown started. We are urging the National Protection Unit to increase the protection measures for Jani Silva.

TAKE ACTION

USA

On 14 July, the US authorities carried out the first federal execution in 17 years, with two others following closely on 16 and 17 July. Two of them were executed hours after their original death warrants had expired, following the lifting by the US Supreme Court of temporary injunctions put in place by lower courts. As a fourth man remains at risk of execution on 28 August and new executions have been set for August and September, we urge the US Attorney General to call off the death warrants and abandon any plans to pursue further executions.

TAKE ACTION

JORDAN

Release leaders of the Jordanian Teacher Association

Education International (EI) calls on workers and unionists to urge the Jordanian authorities to immediately release the education union leaders and revoke the unlawful suspension of all union work by the Jordanian Teacher Association. Read more and join the protest.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update August 6-12

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

We call your attention to the Rainforest Trust, nonprofit engaged in world wide conservation. Their mission statement:

“Established in 1988, Rainforest Trust works around the tropics to strategically purchase and protect lands vital for endangered species and indigenous communities. We specifically target the most threatened tropical habitats that are critical for preventing species extinctions and that are exceptionally rich in biological diversity. Celebrating 30 years of lasting conservation action, we are proud to have saved more than 2 million acres of tropical habitat across 53 countries in 150 protected areas and wildlife reserves.”

An illustration of the importance of the rainforest

This charity has a perfect rating with Charity Navigator and in these times is certainly worthy of support.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the burning need to decolonize conservation.

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the burning need to decolonize conservation.ndigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the humans rights violations committed by the government of Indonesia against the indigenous population of Papua.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book.

Look for these logos:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ac349-index.jpg

F

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places.We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to call for major credit card companies to stop providing services to pornography purveyors.

URGENT ACTION CASES

USA

Urgent Action Victory! Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar is Free

Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar, a 23-year-old transgender woman, fled Honduras when she was 12 years old because of violence against her based on her transgender identity. US immigration authorities detained her in August 2017 and she has been locked up since while she awaits the results of her asylum claim.

Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar, a 24-year-old transgender woman, fled Honduras when she was 12 years old because of violence against her based on her transgender identity. In August 2017, she traveled to the USA where US immigration authorities detained her while her asylum request was in process. She feared becoming infected by COVID-19 because of the inadequate measures taken by authorities to protect detainees and staff from the virus. On 14 July 2020, immigration authorities released Kelly from detention.
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NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

During her almost three years in immigration detention in the USA, Kelly spent months in solitary confinement solely because of her gender identity. Her multiple requests for humanitarian parole were denied. Her physical and mental well-being suffered deeply.

Amnesty International worked with a coalition of organizations dedicated to immigration justice and LGBTI rights to leverage global pressure on authorities to release her. Kelly’s lawyer said that the campaign is responsible for her freedom; there was no other reason for authorities to release her.

A few words from Kelly after her release: “I’m so happy this July 14, 2020. Thank you for all the support you have given me, all the strength, all your fight against ICE. They finally accepted my freedom. Thanks to the huge efforts from each of you. For this, I’m completely grateful to all the people who have helped me since day one, since day zero that I’ve been fighting for my liberty. I’m infinitely grateful because without your support, this never would have happened. I’m happy, thankful to God, and to everyone that put me on this path. To Alma Rosa [with TransLatin@ Coalition] and to each of you: May God bless you. Thank you.”

There are many more transgender individuals like Kelly who are unjustly locked up in immigration jail while they apply for asylum and are experiencing inhumane treatment because of their gender identity. The United States of America has the largest immigration detention system in the world, with an average daily population of nearly 40,000 immigrants and asylum seekers in over 200 immigration detention facilities as of early 2020. Those detainees stuck in US immigration detention facilities are at serious risk of a deadly outbreak of COVID-19, as confirmed cases skyrocket exponentially in the US.

USA

Urgent Action Update: Free Families From Immigration Detention

On 26 June 2020, a federal judge in the USA ordered immigration authorities to release all children from family immigration detention facilities, which the judge declared were “on fire” with COVID-19. Authorities must comply but release all families together to protect them from the pandemic while maintaining their family unity. The alternative – releasing the children but continuing to detain their parents – would constitute family separation, a practice that in some cases can constitute torture under US and international law. We demand authorities release all families together. The judge-imposed deadline for authorities to act is 7 August 2020.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Defenders Face

Secret Trial

Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze and Wu Gejianxiong

Anti-discrimination NGO workers Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze and Wu Gejianxiong remain incommunicado since being detained on 22 July 2019. Cheng Yuan’s wife learned from prosecutors on 10 July 2020 that an indictment was issued in the case on 24 June and that the three now await trial on charges of “inciting subversion of state power”. As the authorities have provided no additional information about the indictment to members of the three men’s families or family-appointed lawyers, there are fears that these human rights defenders could be tried in secret. Without access to families or lawyers of their choice, they remain at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

IRAN

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 38 years and 148 lashes for her work defending women’s rights.

She is in more danger than ever with cases of COVID-19 confirmed in prisons across Iran.

Together we can free Nasrin. Join thousands calling on the Supreme Leader of Iran to release her immediately.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION

CAMBODIA

Free Prominent Trade Union Leader

Rong Chhun leads a demonstration by laid-off workers in Phnom Penh, July 24, 2020. © 2020 Radio Free Asia

Drop Fabricated Charges Against Rong Chhun

Rong Chhun leads a demonstration by laid-off workers in Phnom Penh, July 24, 2020. © 2020 Radio Free Asia

(Bangkok) – The Cambodian authorities should immediately drop incitement charges and release an outspoken trade union leader and rights activist, Human Rights Watch said today.

On the evening of July 31, 2020, the authorities arrested Rong Chhun, president of the independent Cambodian Confederation of Unions, without an arrest warrant at his home in Phnom Penh, alleging he was committing an in flagrante delicto (caught in the act) offense. On August 1, the Phnom Penh municipal court charged him with “incitement to commit a felony” under articles 494 and 495 of Cambodia’s penal code and sent him to pretrial detention at Phnom Penh’s Correctional Center 1. The charges against Rong Chhun appear to be linked to his recent advocacy for the land rights of villagers living near Cambodia’s border with Vietnam.

“The arrest of Rong Chhun is the latest example of unrelenting government repression against activists trying to protect ordinary Cambodians’ basic rights,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The European Union should add this outrage to the long list of rights abuses that need to be resolved in negotiations over ‘Everything But Arms’ trade preferences.” Read more and post this on all your social media.

Name and shame the Cambodian authorities!!

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update July 30-August 5

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012) a great friend and human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

We call your attention to Catapult an organization committed to the advancement of women and girls. Their mission:

Catapult is a new way to take action for girls and women’s equality and rights. The problem we’re trying to solve is simple. The people and organizations fighting for the rights of girls and women need our support.

That’s why we built Catapult – to transform individual generosity into the power of shared, collective action. Through the open democracy of the web, we support girls and women working on the front lines for their equal and human rights.

“The only thing that changes this world is taking action.”
– Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams.

Please open the site and choose one or more of their over 400 projects for achieving rights and equality to enhance the quality of life for girls and women. The organization is supported by many world famous philanthropic organizations including the Gates, MacArthur and Kellogg Foundations.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the burning need to decolonize conservation.

Congolese officials hand the top official (and WWF employee) of Salonga National Park an assault rifle. Some of the park’s guards have been accused of gang rape, torture and murder.© Sinziana-Maria Demian / WWF

This is colonialism pure and simple: powerful global interests are shamelessly taking land and resources from vulnerable people while claiming they are doing it for the good of humanity.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

logo_rfa
utz_certified

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places.We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to call for an end to forced child marriages , which have become more endemic during the current pandemic.

URGENT ACTION CASES

CUBA

Urgent Action Victory! Opposition Leader Released from Prison

After being in detention since October 2019, José Daniel Ferrer García was sent to house arrest in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on April 2020, after a trial where he was convicted and sentenced to four and a half years. Although no independent monitoring or international press was allowed during his trial, in a country where irregularities in due process of law in cases related to freedom of expression have been documented for decades, he is now back with his family. We will continue to monitor his case.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 1 October 2019, Cuban authorities detained José Daniel Ferrer García, leader of the unofficial political opposition group “Patriotic Union of Cuba” (Unión Patriótica de Cuba – UNPACU) in Santiago de Cuba. He was held incommunicado for 72 hours and remained in detention without charges for at least 30 days, according to information available to Amnesty International.

In late November 2019, Amnesty International received a document, apparently issued by the Provincial Prosecutor of Santiago de Cuba, dated 7 October 2019, stating that José Daniel Ferrer García had been charged with the offence of “injuries” (lesiones) and placed in preventive detention as a precautionary measure. This document was given to his family more than 30 days after his detention, according to their reports. Amnesty International sent an open letter to the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, reiterating our request to visit Cuba and monitor in situ his forthcoming trial. The Cuban government never replied to our request.

On 20 February 2020, his family declared receiving information that José Daniel Ferrer García had been scheduled for trial for February 26, 2020. His family also reported that two defense witnesses were allegedly harassed by security agents, days before the trial. Amnesty International has documented for decades government control over the judiciary.

After a trial tainted by irregularities, Ferrer García was sentenced to 4 and a half years of house arrest on April 2020. The Cuban authorities prevented the press, the European Union and Amnesty International from monitoring his trial on 26 February. On the day of his trial, Cuba’s Ministry of Justice tweeted that José Daniel Ferrer would get a fair trial, but in the same tweet called him “a common criminal”, in violation of his right to the presumption of innocence.

Although it was good news that José Daniel Ferrer García was finally able to go home, instead of remaining in prison, where he would be at greater risk of COVID-19, his conviction and sentencing is still shameful. We will continue to monitor his case.

After his release, José Daniel Ferrer García deeply thanked Amnesty International for all the support and hard work on his behalf and reconfirmed his commitment to continue his efforts despite the sentencing.

MEXICO

Urgent Action Victory! Government Confirms Funding for Women’s Rights

On 23 April, the Mexican government suspended funding for different programs to attend the COVID-19 pandemic, including that of the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Women Shelters (CAMIs). The government had not been transparent about how these cuts could affect other programs that support and care for women victims of violence. On 14 July 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced publicly that the austerity measures would not affect the budget of the programs addressing women’s rights and violence against women.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 23 April 2020, the President announced shortages to the federal budget for 2020 to mitigate the socio-economic consequences created by COVID-19. The put at risk several social programs, including those addressing gender-based violence in the country.

Resources for the program to strengthen Indigenous peoples, which includes resources for the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Women Shelters (CAMIs), were temporarily suspended. Because of this suspension, nearly a third of them stopped providing the comprehensive care they were providing up until May, which undermines the right of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican women to live without violence and their access to justice.

Since April’s announcement, the government had failed to clarify if and how these budget cuts could affect other programs aimed at care and support women that have been victims of violence and other women’s rights programs.

On 14 July 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced publicly that the austerity measures would not affect the budget initially allocated to the various deconcentrated bodies dealing with women’s rights and violence against women therefore, action is no longer required.

Despite not having received a formal response yet to the Urgent Action and the Open Letter sent by Amnesty International, the announcement made by the Ministry of the Interior indicates that the objective has been met. We will continue to monitor that in reality the different institutions supporting women’s rights are fully funded and can develop their essential work.

HONDURAS

Urgent Action: Indigenous Human Rights Activists Missing

Unknown individuals, wearing police-type clothing took four Garifuna activists, Alberth Snider Centeno Tomas, President of the Board of Triunfo de la Cruz on behalf of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Gerardo Mizael Rochez Cálix and Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, members of the OFRANEH, and a fifth person, Junior Rafael Juárez Mejía, from their homes on 18 July 2020. They have been missing since then. The Secretary of Security ordered a search operation, but their whereabouts remain unknown. We demand authorities determine their whereabouts, ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation into the case, and bring those responsible for their disappearance to justice.

TAKE ACTION

ARGENTINA

Urgent Action: Disappeared During Covid-19 Quarantine

22-year old Facundo Astudillo Castro went missing on 30 April 2020. Police arrested him in Mayor Buratovich in the Province of Buenos Aires for violating the COVID-19 quarantine imposed by the State at the national level. Contradicting police accounts and other testimonies lead to a presumption of responsibility by the police officers involved. On 2 July his family filed a federal complaint to start investigations into Facundo’s disappearance. Facundo is still missing. We demand authorities determine Facundo’s whereabouts, ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation into the case, and bring those responsible for his disappearance to justice.

TAKE ACTION

GERMANY

NGG (THE FOOD, BEVERAGES AND CATERING UNION (GERMAN: GEWERKSCHAFT NAHRUNG-GENUSS-GASTSTÄTTEN, NGG is a trade union in Germany) SAYS VOLUNTARISM HAS FAILED, DEMANDS STRICT REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT TO TACKLE ABUSIVE CONDITIONS BEHIND CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAKS IN MEAT PROCESSING!

Please read this and send it to all your networks. As in many places, this kind of work is done by underpaid and unprotected migrant workers. The German government must take positive steps to protect these workers.

New coronavirus hotspots have erupted in Germany’s meat processing plants, spotlighting again the massive abuse of subcontracted migrant labour on which the industry depends. More than 1,500 workers have been infected with COVID-19 at the giant Tönnies plant (over 6,500 workers) in Rheda-Wiedenbrück alone, where local authorities have re-imposed strict lockdowns just as economic activity was reviving.

In May, the federal cabinet introduced proposed legislation, effective January 1 2021, to ban the system of subcontracting slaughter and processing operations through which the companies rely on migrant workers from Eastern Europe for the bulk of their production. Subcontracting employment shields companies like Tönnies, Germany’s largest pork processor, from responsibility for the abusive and exploitative living and working conditions which blight the industry. The draft legislation would require the meat companies to directly employ their workforce, impose new oversight of working hours and payment and enforce strict liability for violations.

Companies initially responded by threatening to leave Germany. Following the latest outbreaks, on June 23, Tönnies joined with two other leading companies in a pledge to voluntarily renounce subcontracting. The NGG, which has been fighting for years to raise standards in the meat industry, denounced the companies’ declaration as a smokescreen to avoid strict legal regulation, emphasizing that ‘Voluntary solutions in the meat industry have never worked and will not work. Working and living conditions in the meat industry will only be improved through strong laws.’