Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update February 1-7


Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012



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”.




This week we turn our attention to the International Medical Corps. Their mission statement:

“We provide training and deliver emergency health care and related services to those affected by conflict, natural disaster and disease no matter where they are, no matter what the conditions. We train people in their communities, providing them the skills needed to recover, chart their own path to self-reliance and become effective First Responders themselves.”


Fighting hunger and famine

 This charity is highly rated by Charity Watch.



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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity is facing the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe in 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. Act now to help them.


Members of the Paraguayan Ayoreo-Totobiegosode group on the day they were contacted for the first time, in 2004.
© GAT/Survival


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 take a step to help a young victim of trafficking who is in danger of being deported to Viet Nam where he has no family.



Urgent Action Victory! Two Memorial Activists Released on Bail

Independent writers Li Xuewen and Zhan Huidong (aka “Xiaozhang” or “Headmaster”), detained due to their participation in the July 2017 seaside memorial for late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, have been released on bail.

Li Xuewen was released on bail and sent back to his hometown in Xiaogan Prefecture, Wuhan City in Central China on 15th January 2018. After his release, Li Xuewen posted on his Twitter account a thank you message to all his friends who had supported him while in detention. He also mentioned that he did not plead guilty nor sign any statement of repentance in custody.

Zhan Huidong was released on bail just over a week later on 23 January. A day after his release, he tweeted that while he had also suffered some mental pain, he had learnt a lot in detention. In his words, ‘The detention has left an indelible mark in my life and brought glory to my soul’. He thanked all his friends who have cared about him, writing that “they made me stay optimistic and live up to my ideals during my detention”. He is currently taking rest at home.

Both men had been criminally detained at Xinhui District Detention Centre on of suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” since December 2017. Under Chinese law, defendants released on “bail” can see the charges against them dropped if they do not commit further violations of the law in a 12 month period, and often remain under close police surveillance. Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation.

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


Urgent Action: Lawyer Detained for “Inciting Subversion”

yu weng

Beijing human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng is currently being held under “residential surveillance in a designated location” on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. Held incommunicado and denied all access to a lawyer and his family, he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



Urgent Action: Health Fears for Detained Hong Kong Bookseller


Gui Minhai (who holds dual Swedish-Chinese citizenship) was on a train headed to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats to seek formal diagnosis for a neurological condition when he was suddenly seized by approximately ten plainclothes officers. His current whereabouts are unknown, further increasing the risk of torture and other ill-treatment and concerns for his health.



Urgent Action: Bombing Near Indigenous Territory in Chocó

While carrying out operations against the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Colombian Security Forces bombed near the Wounaan Indigenous reservation of Chagpien Tordó, in the municipality of Litoral de San Juán in Chocó, injuring a minor. Nearby communities are currently forcibly displaced as fear of new operations threaten the population. Various criminal organizations are for the territory which is valuable for drug traffic routs and cultivation of illegal crops





Urgent Action Update: Serious Health Concerns for Detained Politician


Kem Sokha, president of the dissolved main opposition party, was denied bail on appeal on 1 February, despite his seriously deteriorating health. Held in isolated pre-trial detention since his arrest on 3 September 2017, he faces up to 30 years imprisonment if convicted of politically motivated charges of treason.


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