The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update October 26-November 1


Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012





This week we call your attention to AVAAZ. Avaaz—meaning “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.

Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Our model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force. (Read about results on the Highlights page.)

The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers. We take action — signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing “offline” protests and events — to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform the decisions that affect us all.

We strongly recommend donating to AVAAZ.

An AVAAZ demonstration for the Paris accord on climate change responsibility is  our featured image for this week.


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 land theft.


Without their ancestral land, the Guarani cannot survive.


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

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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 learn more about the subject at our freedom university.



Family at risk of imminent deportation must not be sent back to danger in Afghanistan

Taibeh Abbasi, Norway 2017

Eighteen-year-old Taibeh Abbasi, who has never even visited Afghanistan, is in danger of being returned at any moment along with her mother and two brothers. Amnesty International is backing a grassroots campaign to stop their return, led by classmates at Taibeh’s school in Trondheim. Please sign the petition on Taibeh’s behalf. Please sign the petition.


Urgent Action: Execution Set After 26 Years On Death Row

Patrick Hannon is scheduled to be executed in Florida at 6pm on 8 November. He was convicted in July 1991 of two murders committed six months earlier. Twenty-six years old at the time of the crime, he is now 53, having spent half of his life on death row.


Urgent Action: Death Threats For Human Rights Lawyer


Dalit lawyer and human rights defender, Rajat Kalsan, faces fabricated charges and death threats due to his work defending Dalit communities in Haryana state. Forced to suspend his legal practice and leave his home town, he faces life imprisonment if convicted of the charges.



Urgent Action Update: Law Leading To Military Impunity Sanctioned

The Brazilian President sanctioned the law that transfers to the Military Court the ability to try human rights violations and crimes against life, such as killings and extrajudicial executions, carried out by military personnel against civilians. This contradicts the fundamental principles of fair trial, judicial independence and impartiality of the decisions. It is now up to the Attorney General to appeal to the Supreme Court to stop law from entering into force.



Urgent Action Update: Risk Of Forced Displacement In Chocó

Aulio Isarama Forastero, Indigenous governor of the Catru Dubaza Ancoso reservation in Alto Baudó, Chocó department, was killed by armed men, allegedly members of the National Liberation Army (Ejército De Liberación Nacional, ELN). The community is at risk of forced displacement following this violence.



Independent unions challenge the zero rights regime at Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia


Nearly twenty years after Indonesia freed itself from an oppressive military dictatorship, workers at the Indonesian operations of The Coca-Cola Company’s Australian-based bottler Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) are still waiting for democratic rights at the workplace. Workers at Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia are organizing to form independent democratic unions. The company has responded by systematically attacking their members and elected leaders. Please click to join the protest.


Eric Lee of Labour Start has sent us some good news. We shall quote his email verbatim:

LabourStart campaigns helped workers in three countries win.

I’d like to share some good news with you.

Earlier this week, I wrote to ask you to support trade union leaders and school cleaners who had gone on hunger strike in the island republic of Mauritius. Over 5,500 of you sent off messages of protest to the Mauritian government. The hunger strike has now ended and Joel Odigie of ITUC Africa wrote to say that “this campaign has been a huge success … many thanks for your help, passion and commitment.”


Just a few days earlier we also stopped our campaign, launched a month ago, in support of jailed trade union leaders in Egypt. Over 7,400 of you sent messages of protest to the Egyptian government. Ten days ago, they were all released from jail. Kamal Abbas of the CTUWS in Cairo wrote to say “Many thanks for your support and solidarity in the LabourStart campaign to release the nine Egyptian trade union leaders.”


For those of you who live in Canada, you’ll know that LabourStart recently ran an online campaign in support of striking workers at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. That campaign too has ended in victory. Steven Tufts from the Toronto Airport Workers Council wrote this to us:

“On behalf of Toronto Pearson Airport’s (YYZ) 50,000 workers and our six solidarity unions, including Teamsters419, we would like to thank LabourStart and LabourStart Canada for the amazing support we received in our campaign against the use of temp agency workers during the Swissport strike. Within two days of launching this solidarity action, we are pleased to advise that the parties reached an agreement thus ending the strike. A key component of this strike’s settlement was the removal of all temp agency workers and the non-renewal of their ‘permit’ to operate; a critical demand of the LabourStart action. It is often said that solidarity is our union movement’s greatest strength. As we gear up for our bigger battle against the privatization of our airport, victories like this reaffirm this basic truth. Long may this solidarity grow between us!”


It’s been an amazing week. Not all our campaigns end in victory. And we know that such victories are primarily the result of determination and courage on the ground, by the workers in Mauritius, in Egypt and in Canada. Those workers deserve the credit for these victories.

But we also know that our campaigns helped, not least because we showed those workers that they are not alone.

I want to thank all of you for signing up and spreading the word.

Solidarity forever!

Eric Lee

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