The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 4-16

Our featured image shows Miriam, (1947-2012) our great human rights defender.

Holiday greetings and good wishes for

  • Shavuot Jews
  • Ramadan Muslims
  • Pentecost Christians
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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”.

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

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CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the work of the Mercy Corps who are active worldwide. We focus on their work in Venezuela which is rapidly becoming a failed state. The humanitarian crisis there is such that a newborn in Syria has a better chance of survival than a newborn in Venezuela. Please click and donate.

Once people had good jobs, now they struggle to survive from day to day

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 racism. This week we focus our attention on the so-called Pygmies of Central Africa and their abuse.

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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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 join over 2,000,000 people who’ve taken action to fight against modern slavery. You can make a difference under 30 seconds.

URGENT ACTION CASES

SOUTH KOREA

Urgent Action Victory! – Activist’s Not-Guilty Verdict Upheld on Appeal

Lee Jin-young, operator of the online library ‘Labour Books’, was found not guilty of charges under the National Security Law at the Seoul High Court on 11 April 2018. This verdict was made following an appeal by the prosecution to a ruling on 20 July 2017 which found Lee Jin-young not guilty.

Lee Jin-young, labour activist and owner of the online library ‘Labour Books’, was arrested and detained on 5 January 2017, and officially charged on 3 February, for violating Article 7 of the National Security Law (NSL) after distributing materials that allegedly benefit “anti-government organizations”. Held in detention since his arrest, including periods of solitary confinement, he was finally released on 20 July 2017 after the Seoul Southern District Court ruled that he was not guilty.

Following an appeal to the verdict by the prosecution, a second trial was held at the Seoul High Court and the ruling of not-guilty was upheld on 11 April 2018. While the prosecution can appeal one more time, the risk of the ruling being overturned is considered to be small, and the likelihood that Lee Jin-young may again be detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression is rather low.

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

Israel/OPT

Urgent Action Victory! – Israeli Government Stops Forced Deportations

The Israeli government has declared that it will not pursue forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to third countries under the Israeli ‘Procedure for Deportation to Third Countries’. This follows the release of 280 asylum-seekers who had been detained as a result of the policy, after an order by the High Court of Justice.

Israeli authorities have now declared that they will not forcibly deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers from Israel to an African “third country”. They will no longer be issuing deportation notices and conducting deportation hearings. However, the government has declared that Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers, considered by Israel to be “infiltrators”, will still be encouraged to “voluntarily” leave Israel.

The Israeli authorities should ensure that Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers are provided with documentation allowing them to live and work regularly in Israel and protecting them from unlawful detention and deportation. The authorities should under no circumstance pressure African asylum-seekers to “voluntarily” leave Israel when the time comes to renew their visas, in accordance with their international obligations not to transfer anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, or where they would not be protected against such transfer.

From 4 February 2018, 280 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers who were already held in Holot detention centre, located in the Negev/Naqab desert, were issued deportation notices under Israel’s new ‘Procedure for Deportation to Third Countries’. Having refused to leave Israel, they were then detained in the Saharonim prison while awaiting deportation. All the 280 asylum-seekers were released between 2 and 15 April 2018, as ordered by the High Court of Justice, in the context of a case on the legality of Israel’s deportations to unspecified “third countries” in Africa, widely believed to be Uganda and Rwanda. The High Court ordered the government to stop the deportations after it failed to provide additional information on the deportation agreements. However, the 280 asylum-seekers were only granted one-month visas, which forbid them from working and living in the seven largest cities in Israel.

Those released included “Tesfai” (not his real name), a 29-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker who had his asylum claim rejected without explanation. He was arrested in November 2017 for not having a valid visa. After 100 days in detention, he was told to leave Israel to go to Rwanda. When he refused, he was detained under the new policy introduced by the Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) for not cooperating with his removal.

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

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Poet Under Illegal House Arrest ‘Prepared to Die’

Liu Xia, widow of late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, kept crying during a recent recorded telephone conversation and said that she is prepared to die. Diagnosed as clinically depressed, Liu Xia’s well-being is the subject of serious concern after repeated empty promises by the Chinese authorities to allow her to leave China.

TAKE ACTION

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action: Peaceful Protester in Pre-Trial Detention

Image result for Mikhail Tsakunov

On 7 May, Dzerzhinsky District Court in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, remanded Mikhail Tsakunov in pre-trial detention until 4 July for alleged use of violence against a police officer. If found guilty, Mikhail Tsakunov could face 10 years in prison. However, the charges against him contravene publicly available video footage.

TAKE ACTION

COLOMBIA

Urgent Action Update: Yet Another Environmental Defender Killed

Image result for Hugo Albeiro George Pérez and Luis Alberto Torres Montoya

In less than a week, two members of the Ríos Vivos (Living Rivers) Movement have been killed in Antioquia, Colombia. The lives of other Ríos Vivos members are at risk as they continue demonstrating against the Hidroituango hydroelectric project.

TAKE ACTION

SUDAN

Urgent Action 19-year-old Noura sentenced to death for killing her rapist.

Demand justice for Noura >

Noura Hussein had already endured rape by the man she was forced to marry. Her husband and rapist, Hammad, got his two brothers and a male cousin to pin her down while he did it. When he tried to rape her again, she used a kitchen knife to protect herself. In the ensuing struggle, Hammad sustained fatal knife wounds. Now, at just 19 years old, Noura has been charged with murder and sentenced to death. We can’t allow this injustice to happen – please help and send an urgent email now to try and get justice for Noura.

TAKE ACTION

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Urgent Action: Human Rights Activist Unable to Leave Country

Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist and human rights activist who spent almost five months in prison after being falsely accused of counterfeiting money, remains unable to leave Equatorial Guinea due to authorities failing to provide him with a passport.

TAKE ACTION

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