The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update August 22-29

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 Smile Operation, a charity that provides surgery to help children born with cleft palates. Their vision:

At Operation Smile we believe every child suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate deserves exceptional surgical care. A child’s cleft lip or cleft palate can be repaired for as little as $240 and in as few as 45 minutes, but your gift is more than a surgery. All of our supporters give renewed hope to children and families around the world.”

Fifteen-month Ashraf poses with his mother, Shamiem, on patient announcement day during the 2018 Operation Smile medical mission to Blantyre, Malawi. Photo: Jasmin Shah.


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.

This week we ask you to sign a petition to the President of Brazil calling for an end to the genocidal policies towards the indigenous people.

Acampamento Terra Livre 2019 (Survival International)
© Sarah Shenker


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 raise your voice against the marketing of slave produced products.

Cotton slavery in Uzbekistan



Urgent Action Victory! Charges Against Mauritanian Bloggers Dropped

All the charges against bloggers Cheikh Jiddou and Abderrahmane Weddady were dropped by a judge, who also dismissed the case against them, on 29 July. Their travel and identification documents were also returned to them. Both had been conditionally released on bail on 3 June.


Bloggers Cheikh Jiddou and Abderrahmane Weddady had their case dismissed after a judge dropped all charges against them on 29 July. Three days later on 1 August, their travel and identification documents were returned to them.

The two bloggers were arbitrarily arrested on 22 March by the economic crimes police in Nouakchott. This is after they posted comments on Facebook condemning corruption. Their comments came after media articles were published alleging that some Mauritanian officials had acquired wealth illegally and stashed it abroad. They were detained by the economic crimes police until 27 March, when they were taken to the prosecutor of West Nouakchott for questioning. Afterwards, they were transferred to the Central prison of Nouakchott.

The two were released on bail on 3 June.

‘I would like to thank sincerely all the Amnesty International members who have been mobilized since the beginning. I would like to assure them that I will not give up, my fight will continue to defend human rights in particular freedom of expression’’ said Cheikh Jiddou to Amnesty International.


Urgent Action: Investigate Whereabouts of Two Missing Men

Gökhan Türkmen and Mustafa Yılmaz have been missing since 7 and 19 February 2019 respectively and are suspected to have been abducted and forcibly disappeared. The authorities have so far been denying that they are being held in official custody. On 29 July four men who had been missing since around the same time resurfaced in detention at the Anti-Terrorism Branch of the Ankara Police Headquarters. The authorities must promptly investigate to determine the whereabouts of Gökhan Türkmen and Mustafa Yılmaz and urgently inform their families.



Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Defender’s Life in Danger

On 6 July unknown men broke into Danelly Estupiñan’s house while she was not at home. Various human right organizations reported that unknown people made a payment to kill her. The Black Community Process and other organizations alerted the Prosecutor’s Office about the attack and the information about Danelly’s life being in danger, requesting immediate action. We are urging national authorities to swiftly and fully investigate all of these security incidents to identify the attackers and stop them from further threatening Danelly’s physical and psychological integrity.




Urgent Action: Activist Arbitrarily Detained for Facebook Posts

Senegalese activist Guy Marius Sagna was charged with ‘false alert of terrorism’ on 5 August. He was arbitrarily arrested on 16 July in Dakar. He was first questioned over his two Facebook posts about the lack of adequate medical facilities in Senegal, 59 years after independence and then for a publication on a Facebook Page about the presence of French army in Africa. He is detained at the Central prison of Rebeuss in Dakar.



Urgent Action Update: Release Youth Prisoners of Conscience

The trial of Yan Sidorov, Vladislav Mordasov and Viacheslav Shashmin is ongoing at the Rostov-on-Don regional court, in southwestern Russia. They are being prosecuted for trying to organize a peaceful protest in November 2017 in support of dozens of Rostov-on-Don residents who had lost their houses in mass fires earlier that year. At the trial, Yan Sidorov and Vladislav Mordasov reaffirmed that they had been tortured to extract “confessions,” but the court disregarded the statements. The three men are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally and their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be effectively investigated.


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