The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update February 28-March 4

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 call your attention to Doctors without Borders who stand ready to supply support wherever needed against the coronavirus. In countries with weak health services, they are available to strengthen the struggle against the virus. We call for donations to them to get them moving as they did against SARS in 2003 which was caused by a similar coronavirus.


We are adding a call to support Krembo Wings, an Israeli non-profit organization which brings children with and without disabilities together for weekly social activities in its branches across Israel. Krembo Wings serves children and youth of all backgrounds and reflects the diverse make-up of Israeli society. Krembo Wings motto is Together Creating a Meaningful Place for Everyone. The society provides a warm and friendly environment for children and adults who have special needs. This call will be a permanent feature of this blog. Please donate to this worthy cause,


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 forced contact with outsiders. Please raise your voice for them and their right to live as they choose.


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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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 child marriage



Coronavirus: Stop censorship in China

Censorship, harassment and punishment for speaking out are hindering the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Take action now to demand an end to censorship in China.


Speak out for women’s rights defender Azza Soliman

Every day, Azza Soliman risks her own safety and freedom to defend survivors of abuse in Egypt.

Azza Soliman founded the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance. Photograph: Twitter


Urgent Action Victory! Human Rights Defender Released

On 14 February 2020, Joaquín Elo Ayeto was released from Black Beach Prison in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where he had been imprisoned for almost a year following his arbitrary arrest on 25 February 2019. He was released without any explanation or any papers confirming his situation.


On 14 February 2020 Joaquín Elo Ayeto, was released from Black Beach Prison in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where he had been imprisoned for almost a year. Without any explanation or information, Joaquín was taken out of the prison and left on the street without a phone or any money.

The release took place following a meeting on the same day of the Secretary General of the Convergence for Social Democracy Party, and other members of the opposition party of which Joaquín is a member, with Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea. In that meeting the President gave the order to release Joaquín.

Joaquín Elo Ayeto was arrested at his home on 25 February 2019, accused of having information on a plot to kill the president. Joaquín was tried for defamation and threats against the President on 21 November 2019. His sentence was never read.

Despite his imprisonment Joaquín Elo Ayeto is determined to carry on with his human right work: “Now that I am free I’m going to carry on doing the work that I used to do before. I can see that the country is in a much worst situation than a year ago when I was detained. The economic crisis is worst, the government continues without giving information to its citizens…”

Following his release, Joaquín Elo Ayeto shared the following message with Amnesty International: “I have been told of the work that you have done for me and I want to thank the titanic effort by Amnesty International that has resulted in my release. I want to thank all the work that has been done to achieve my release”. 2019. His daughter only learned about his conviction in recent months through word of mouth. Missing since May 2017, he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. No evidence against him has been made public.


Urgent Action: Indigenous Land Rights at Risk

More than 930 hectares of ancestral land customarily claimed land by the largely Temuan Indigenous community in western Malaysia is at risk of having its status as a ‘forest reserve’ removed, resulting in some 1,000 Indigenous people being dispossessed of their land for development projects. The Selangor Forestry Department’s failure to consult the relevant Indigenous communities demonstrates a blatant disregard for the principle of free, prior and informed consent, as well as their willingness to put corporate development ahead of the welfare of citizens.



Urgent Action: Grocer Imprisoned for Speech

Omar Ben Boudouh, known as Moul El Hanout (the grocery store owner), has been hospitalized since 14 February 2020 after spending 45 days on hunger strike. On 5 December 2019, police arrested Ben Boudouh and accused him of “offending” public officials and institutions and “incitement to hatred”. Ben Boudouh had previously posted a live video on his Facebook page where he peacefully expresses critical opinions about the king of Morocco saying that he allowed for impunity to prevail. On 7 January 2020, a court sentenced Ben Boudouh to three years in prison and he subsequently began a hunger strike. His lawyers appealed the sentence on 12 February 2020 and are awaiting a final verdict to be pronounced on 26 February 2020.



Urgent Action: Ombudsman’s Life at Risk After Death Threats

The life and personal integrity of Ombudsman Freddy Carrión and his family are at risk. He recently received repeated death threats, including a bomb threat at his family’s home on 13 February. Even though he publicly denounced this situation, the Ecuadorian government has failed to protect him and his family. The Ombudsman stated that this is a retaliation for his human rights work during the crisis in October 2019. We call the Attorney General to grant immediate protection to him and his family and to investigate these threats in an immediate, impartial and independent manner.



Trade unionist Erlan Baltabay imprisoned – again!

In July this year, Erlan Baltabay, a leader of the Independent Oil and Energy Workers’ Union in Kazakhstan, was sentenced to seven years in prison on politically motivated charges. A huge international union mobilization followed, including a LabourStart campaign signed by thousands calling for his release. He was released from prison in August after being pardoned by the President and was able to return home to his family.

He has now been imprisoned again. Please act on his behalf.

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