The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update October 5-11



Miriam,  human rights defender, 1947-2012

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This week we turn our attention to the refugee crisis in Myanmar. There are several excellent charities serving this cause. We recommend the International Rescue Committee, a long established charity with high ratings from Charity Navigator.



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. Tribal  people suffer from a variety of forms of discrimination, such as forced “development.”



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.

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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 to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. You can take a stand against forced child marriage around the world.




Urgent Action Victory! All LGBTI People Detained In Mass Raids Released
All LGBTI persons detained during the raids carried out across Baku on 23 September have been released. The authorities must ensure prompt, impartial, thorough and effective investigations are carried out into the mass raids and all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of persons while in custody.

On 2 October, all LGBTI people detained in the mass raids carried out across Baku were released. More than 100 LGBTI individuals were rounded up by the police in public spaces and detained on 22 September across the capital. While some were released, at least 48 people – whose identities are known to Amnesty International – were sentenced to administrative detention, ranging from 10 to 20 days. They were accused of resisting the police’s legitimate orders, and found guilty on the basis of the police’s allegations, without any further evidence. Many of the detainees allege they were beaten by the police and faced other ill-treatment while in custody.

Amnesty International believes the international attention the case received, as the world condemned Azerbaijan for its vicious crackdown on LGBTI people in the country, played a significant role in the authorities’ decision to release all those detained, many of whom still had a few days of their administrative detention left to serve.

In a statement shared on their official website, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed 83 persons were detained in what they claim was for the ‘purpose of checking whether they are carriers of skin and venereal diseases and taking other preventive measures.’ The Ministry of Affairs goes on to argue the arrests and subsequent detentions were carried out in compliance with Article 510 (hooliganism) and Article 535.1 (resistance to the lawful request of a police officer) of the Code of Administrative Offenses, despite there being no evidence, other than police claims, to support such allegations. Amnesty International believes the raid and subsequent detention of LGBTI people in Baku was arbitrary and unlawful, and was orchestrated by the authorities as a deliberate attempt to intimidate and humiliate LGBTI persons in Azerbaijan.

While Amnesty International welcomes news of the release of all those detained in the raids, it believes the authorities must ensure prompt, impartial, thorough and effective investigations are carried out into the mass raids carried out on 23 September, as well as some detainees’ allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and that the authorities ensure the rights of all people in Azerbaijan, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, are respected, protected and fulfilled.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation closely and request further action when necessary.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.


Urgent Action Victory! Poet Commemorating Liu Xiaobo Released

Poet Wu Mingliang, better known by his pen name “Langzi”, and Peng Heping were released on 22 September after being criminally detained since August. It is believed Wu Mingliang’s detention was with regard to an anthology of poems commemorating Liu Xiaobo that he had helped produce. Both men have expressed thanks to the international community for its support.

Wu Mingliang, a well-known poet in Guangzhou and a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, was released on bail on 22 September 2017 after having been criminally detained at Haizhu District Detention Centre in Guangzhou on suspicion of “illegal business operations” since 18 August 2017. According to his bail conditions, for the next 12 months, Wu Mingliang is not allowed to travel abroad and is required to report to the police if he leaves Guangzhou at any time.

Wu Mingliang’s lawyer and friends believe that he was detained due to his involvement in producing an anthology of poems in memory of Liu Xiaobo, who had passed away on 13 July 2017. Wu Mingliang was administratively detained for 10 days on 1 July 2017 after co-signing a letter of support of the detained Liu Xiaobo. During that time he was repeatedly asked by the police about an anthology of poems he took part in writing, editing and compiling to commemorate Liu Xiaobo, the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Peng Heping, who printed Wu Mingliang’s exhibition catalogue, was also released on bail on 22 September. He had been criminally detained since 29 August on suspicion of “illegal business operations”.

Wu Mingliang and Peng Heping expressed their appreciation for the concern shown by the international community and thanked Amnesty International supporters for their actions. Their hope is that nobody else will be detained for publications expressing their personal thoughts and more broadly, that nobody will be behind bars solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.


Urgent Action: Journalist At Risk In Notorious Detention Center

On 27 September, Uzbekistani journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev was detained by the National Security Services in Tashkent for allegedly attempting to overthrow the constitutional order of the Republic of Uzbekistan. He has since been held at one of the most notorious detention centres in the country, where torture is commonplace. He is at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Human rights defenders and colleagues believe he is being targeted for his journalistic work and critical political views.



Urgent Action Update: Sixth Death On Manus Amid Government Inaction

The most recent death at Lorengau Hospital, Manus Island, highlights the ongoing and grave risks from violent attacks and inadequate health care faced by refugees in Papua New Guinea. Australia’s offshore detention and processing policy on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG), amounts to the systematic abuse of hundreds of individuals.



Urgent Action Update: Torture Fears For Detained Human Rights Lawyer


Human rights lawyer Buzurgmekhr Yorov is serving a 28-year prison sentence on politically motivated grounds. He is allegedly being subjected to regular beatings – accompanied by threats, insults and harassment – by officials at the detention center. Buzurgmekhr Yorov continues to be at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



Every child must go to school – ICTSI must stop targeting union members

Right now in Indonesia children have been forced to drop out of school because ICTSI – one of the world’s most profitable stevedoring companies – is targeting their parents for joining their union’s fight for a living wage.
Please click and join the protest.

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