The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update July 18-24

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great friend and human rights defender


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 Fistula Foundation.

Fistula Foundation believes that no woman should have to suffer a life of shame and isolation simply for trying to bring a child into the world. We are dedicated to raising awareness of and funding for obstetric fistula, a wrenching childbirth injury, in Africa and Asia. An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both.

For women with obstructed labor, labor that goes unattended, the labor can last up to six or seven days. The labor produces contractions that push the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvic bone. The soft tissues between the baby’s head and the pelvic bone are compressed and do not receive adequate blood flow. The lack of blood flow causes this delicate tissue to die, and where it dies holes are created between the laboring mother’s bladder and vagina and/or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient.

We are the global leader in the battle against obstetric fistula. Last year, we celebrated over 25,000 women transformed by fistula surgery, and to date, we have awarded fistula treatment project grants working at more than 150 sites in 31 countries throughout Africa and Asia.

Fistula Foundation adheres to the highest standards in our financial management. We only invite grant request from proven partners, and our board and staff review biannual reports from the programs we fund. We are also dedicated to keeping our operating expenses low. The Foundation has a high rating with Charity Navigator.


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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is so-called progress. Interference in the life style of a tribe can be deadly.


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 raise your voice to call for the closure of the slave markets in Libya.



Urgent Action Update Victory! Detainee Release

Gilber Caro, who was disappeared, arbitrary detained and held incommunicado for almost two months, was released on 17 June 2019, prior to a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Venezuela.


Venezuelan opposition member of parliament Gilber Caro was arbitrary detained since 26 April 2019, and since then being in incommunicado detention, putting his personal integrity at risk. Authorities denied having information on his fate and whereabouts since his detention by intelligence officers until 31 May. He was released on 17 June 2019 prior to the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. Until this date there is no official information on the reasons of his detentions neither the basis of his release.

Gilber Caro was also arbitrarily detained from January 2017 until June 2018 under unfounded accusations of treason and stealing military equipment. His disappearance and incommunicado detention is arbitrary since it reverses the freedom he was granted in June. We call on the Director of the intelligence service (SEBIN) to swiftly allow access to Gilber Caro and to release him immediately.

Amnesty International helped keeping Caro’s profile high and visible, but we know there were some other efforts to secure his release in the framework of Bachelet’s official visit to Venezuela, such as one called “the Boston Group” which had accomplished the release of another person who was subjected to arbitrary detentions in 2018.


Urgent Action: Indigenous Community at Risk of Eviction

The Tekoha Sauce Indigenous community in Paraguay are, once again, at risk of eviction from their ancestral territory due to legal action being taken against them by the Itaipú Binational (Paraguay-Brazil) Hydroelectric Plant. Both international human rights standards and the Paraguayan Constitution protect Indigenous peoples from eviction from their ancestral territories without their free, prior and informed consent. Amnesty calls on the President of Paraguay to ensure that this Indigenous community is protected from forced eviction.



Urgent Action: National Guard Harasses Migrant Shelter

Since the National Guard was deployed in Mexico with a new role addressing migration-related issues, Amnesty International has seen concerning behaviors that could put at risk the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and human rights defenders. On 23 June, 6 officers attempted to raid, without warrant or legal cause, the migrant shelter CAME, in the northern state of Sonora, and harassed human rights defenders working there. It is urgent to put a stop to a situation that threatens the rights of people working at and being protected by migrant shelters across the country.



Urgent Action: Human Rights Defender at Risk

Danelly Estupiñan defends the rights of the afro-descendent population in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca as part of the organization Black Community Process (Proceso Comunitario Negro). For the last seven months, Danelly has been facing surveillance from unknown men, which increased last week from once a day and only at her home to twice per day and at all locations she visits. The unknown men surveil not only Danelly but also her family members; they take pictures and video of what they are doing. The Public Prosecutor’s Office should launch an immediate investigation into these incidents in order to ensure that Danelly is protected.



Solidarity with workers at the West Mebun temple

126 skilled workers restoring the West Mebun temple in Cambodia have been out of work for a year . Their working conditions have been worsened and they are subject to union busting. Please click and join the protest.

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