The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 3-9

Our Featured Image above shows Miriam, 1947-2012, a great human rights defender

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

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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”.

 

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CHARITY CORNER

This week we feature the International Rescue Committee aka IRC.

The mission, in part:
The IRC will put in place high-impact, cost-effective solutions that help people affected by crisis. We’ll also use our learning and experience to shape humanitarian policy and practice in ways that improve the lives of more people worldwide. And in all of our work we will focus on breaking down each of the barriers faced by women and girls.

The world’s more than 60 million displaced people, the highest number ever recorded, require more than “aid as usual.” Their growing and increasingly complex needs mandate a transformation—a creative rethinking—in the global humanitarian response. The International Rescue Committee has taken on this challenge.

The charity is highly rated by Charity Watch and worthy of your donation.

Education: ultimate empowerment tool

 

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

A major calamity for indigenous people is abuse by so-called conservation organizations that team up with industries to drive out tribal people. Please join the call for a new approach to conservation.

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.

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You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

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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 take steps to end slavery now.

URGENT ACTION CASES

AZERBAIJAN

Urgent Action Victory! Supreme Court Orders Journalist’s Release

 

On 5 April, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court ordered the release of independent journalist and prisoner of conscience, Aziz Orujov on a suspended three-year sentence with three-year probation. On 15 December 2017, Aziz Orujov was found guilty of abusing official powers and illegal entrepreneurship, under Articles 308.2 and 192.2.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan respectively, and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. The latter charge was quashed while the ‘abuse of official power’ charge was re-qualified for a lesser charge, which carries a maximum three year imprisonment penalty.

Aziz Orujov was arrested on 2 May 2017 while on his way to work and remanded in pre-trial detention under a 30 day administrative detention order for purportedly disobeying a police officer’s legitimate orders. On 2 June 2017, when his administrative detention order was due to expire, new fabricated charges of illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of official powers were brought against him. The charges relate to him being the co-founder of the Caucasus Media Investigations Centre Public Union, an organisation he founded in 2006 with his brother and sister-in-law. The prosecution claims that from 2006 to 2014 the organisation received around AZN 193,000 (US$ 113,000) in grants from various donors, and failed to register the grants and pay AZN 8,000 in tax. Registration and taxing of grants only became mandatory in February 2014 when legislative amendments entered into force, but the authorities have applied these retroactively to intimidate, harass, arrest and prosecute a number of government critics from independent media outlets and NGOs. Amnesty International believes Aziz Orujov’s conviction stems solely from his peaceful work as a journalist.

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

UKRAINE

Urgent Action Victory! – Women’s Rights Activists No Longer at Imminent Risk

Following the attacks that marred International Women’s Day in Ukraine on 8 March, Vitaliana Koval and other women’s and LGBTI rights defenders in Ukraine are no longer considered to be facing an imminent threat of violence. Vitalina Koval has since received adequate protection measures during a public action she staged on 31 March, calling against the impunity of far-right groups in Ukraine.

On 31 March, Uzhgorod police successfully ensured the protection of those who attended a public action calling “For European Uzhgorod! Against impunity of the far-right”, organized by women’s and LGBTI rights defender, Vitalina Koval. The action was held in response to a series of attacks and threats by far-right groups in Uzhgorod, Ukraine, which marred International Women’s Rights Day on 8 March. Many Uzhgorod march participants, including event organiser Vitalina Koval, Ivan Danatsko and Ivan Dyulay, were attacked, while others like Aleksandr Peresolyak were later targeted and threatened with violence. In Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine, attackers threw bricks at a tram car carrying activists who were leaving the march, but despite available video evidence of the attack no one was arrested. Later in the day, another participant in the demonstration suffered from a fractured skull after reportedly being beaten by far-right activists near his home.

In Uzhgorod, the police detained the group of attackers who doused march participants in red paint, only to release them a few hours later. Meanwhile in Kyiv, not only did the police not apprehend the attackers, who also threw paint, they took one of the event organisers to the police station, Olena Shevchenko to submit an administrative protocol for alleged “violation of order to conduct public demonstrations.” On 15 March, Shevchenkivskyi Disctrict Court in Kyiv ruled she had committed no offence and closed the case.

Vitalina Koval told Amnesty International that she credits in large part the steps the police took to protect the 31 March action to the number of appeals the police told her they received. She went on to share her heartfelt thanks to all those who took action on the case. ‘It was very heart-warming to receive support’ she says. ‘When you see that so many people support you, it helps you to calm down, gain confidence in oneself and it gives you strength to move on.’

While Amnesty International welcomes the steps taken by Uzhgorod police to ensure the action on 31 March was held in a safe and enabling environment, and encourages it to provide the same protection measures for future actions and events, an effective investigation into the 8 March attacks has yet to be carried out.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation and calls on both Uzhgorod’s Head of the National Police in Uzhgorod and the Minister of Interior to ensure a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into all attacks perpetrated against activists on and around 8 March by right-wing individuals is carried out, and that those responsible are held to account.

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

BAHRAIN

Urgent Action Victory! – Prisoner of Conscience Released

On 26 March, political activist and prisoner of conscience, Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released from Jaw prison, in the Bahraini capital, Manama. He served three years in prison on charges of “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”.

Prisoner of conscience and political activist Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released on 26 March 2018, after having served his three-year prison sentence in Jaw prison, south-eastern Bahrain. He was the former Secretary General of the Unitary National Democratic Assemblage, an opposition party also known as al-Wahdawi party.

Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed, was arrested on 26 March 2015, the day his party issued a statement denouncing the airstrikes in Yemen. The same day, the Ministry of Interior announced Bahrain’s support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen and issued a statement warning that the government would take steps against any “attempt to exploit the situation through division or sedition, or issuance of statements against the approach Bahrain has taken”. His trial before the High Criminal Court in Manama started on 27 April 2015. On 28 June 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”. On 26 October 2016, the High Court of Appeals reduced the sentence to three years.

Amnesty International believes that Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was tried and convicted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and has not used or advocated violence.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed’s case. No further action is requested by the UA Network.

BAHRAIN

Urgent Action Victory! – Prisoner of Conscience Released

On 26 March, political activist and prisoner of conscience, Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released from Jaw prison, in the Bahraini capital, Manama. He served three years in prison on charges of “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”.

Prisoner of conscience and political activist Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released on 26 March 2018, after having served his three-year prison sentence in Jaw prison, south-eastern Bahrain. He was the former Secretary General of the Unitary National Democratic Assemblage, an opposition party also known as al-Wahdawi party.

Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed, was arrested on 26 March 2015, the day his party issued a statement denouncing the airstrikes in Yemen. The same day, the Ministry of Interior announced Bahrain’s support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen and issued a statement warning that the government would take steps against any “attempt to exploit the situation through division or sedition, or issuance of statements against the approach Bahrain has taken”. His trial before the High Criminal Court in Manama started on 27 April 2015. On 28 June 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”. On 26 October 2016, the High Court of Appeals reduced the sentence to three years.

Amnesty International believes that Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was tried and convicted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and has not used or advocated violence.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed’s case. No further action is requested by the UA Network.

USA

Urgent Action: Urge Governor Not to Veto Abolition Bill

A bill abolishing the death penalty in the US state of New Hampshire, passed by its legislature, is due go to the Governor. He has said that he will veto it. He should sign it or allow it to become law and make New Hampshire the 20th abolitionist state in the USA.

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Fears for Detained Human Rights Defender’s Life

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Huang Qi, founder and director of Sichuan-based human rights website “64 Tianwang” (64tianwang.com), is seriously ill with no apparent access to adequate medical care at the detention centre. Detained since November 2016, the human rights defender has reported several incidents of torture and other ill-treatment by police officers and beatings by other detainees.

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CHINA

[Extended Deadline] Urgent Action Update: Former POC Feared To Be In Detention Again

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The whereabouts of Human Rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng remains a mystery after he has been missing for over three months. Conflicting accounts have emerged as to his exact location and current condition. Given his previous treatment in detention, and without access to a lawyer, he is at high risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

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INDIA

Urgent Action Update: Administrative Detention Term Extended for Activist

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Human rights defender Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ has been held in administrative detention for over six months and, following a decision by the High Court on 26 April 2018, will continue to be detained without charge until August 2018. Under the National Security Act, he is at risk of being detained for up to 12 months without charge or trial.

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