Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update November 16-22



Miriam, human rights defender, Our 1947-2012

We wish all our US readers a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Our featured image above shows a child of the Bushman tribe in Botswana who are being subjected to horrible racism and discrimination.





This week we call your attention to Breaking the Silence, an organization of former Israeli soldiers who are trying to bring out the truth of what happens in the occupied territories. They have come under attack this week by the justice minister and the police and we believe that they of worthy of support. The myth of the “world’s most moral army” is being shattered and the establishment is not happy about it. Nonetheless, Israelis as a people must look themselves in the face, as one officer did in print.


Breaking the Silence activists hold signs saying ‘this is what the occupation looks like’ at a rally against incitement, Tel Aviv, December 2015.  CreditMoti Milrod


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,and are best left alone.

These very isolated peoples have not built up immunity to diseases common elsewhere, which is why they are so vulnerable. It is not unusual for 50% of a tribe to be wiped out within a year of first contact, by diseases such as measles and influenza.

Over ten years ago, Botswana’s High Court ruled that the Central Kalahari Bushmen had been illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands, and upheld their right to return and live there in peace. But today the majority of Bushmen are still forced to apply for one-month permits to stay on their lands, or face 7 years in jail.

The court also ruled that banning the Bushmen from hunting violated their right to life, but the government has imposed a hunting ban and a shoot-to-kill policy.

These violations have been criticized around the world, including by the UN and the US State Department. If they don’t stop, there will be no Bushmen living in the reserve in a few generations’ time. The child in the featured image above needs your help.

Please Act


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. Please join the call for justice for the abolitionist activists in Mauritania,  Moussa Bilal Biram and Abdellahi Matalla Saleck , who are held in a desert prison.


Photo credit: IRA-Mauritania. View our partners in this campaign.



Urgent Action: Chechen Asylum-Seeker Feared Disappeared


Chechen asylum-seeker Imran Salamov, who was forcibly returned to Russia from Belarus on 5 September, may have been subjected to an enforced disappearance. Although his lawyer and wife met with him at the City Police Headquarters in Grozny on 11 September, all subsequent efforts to locate him have failed and the authorities have recently claimed that he is not in their custody. There are serious concerns for his welfare.



Urgent Action: 30 Relatives Of Uighur Activist Arbitrarily Detained


Son of Rebiya Kadeer

Chinese authorities have detained up to 30 relatives of Uighur human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, who currently lives in the United States. Among the detained are Kadeer’s sisters, brothers, sons, grandchildren and extended relatives. It is unclear when they were taken away, and they are presumed to be arbitrarily detained at an “education center”. They are at high risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



Urgent Action: Mother And Child At Risk Of Forcible Return


Lee Su-jung (name being used in China, aged 24) and her son (aged 4) are currently in detention in Shenyang, China, along with 8 other North Koreans. If forcibly returned, they are at risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations, such as arbitrary detention, torture or other ill-treatment and possibly execution.



Urgent Action: Rights Lawyer Abused And At Risk Of Torture


Li Yuhan, a sixty-year-old human rights lawyer, has been formally arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. She has suffered physical abuse while in detention and is at risk of further torture and other ill-treatment.



Indonesian food workers fighting for their rights following instant closure of their factory by GreatGiant Pineapple


In May 2016 management at the Umas Jaya Agrotama factory in Lampung, Indonesia announced the plant’s immediate closure, without prior notice or negotiations with the union. After more than one-and-a-half years, two hundred workers at the facility, the majority of them members of the IUF-affiliated SBMUJA, have still not received their final month’s pay, and the company refuses to negotiate. Please join the protest.

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