The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Action Update May 14-20

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 220px-holbein-erasmus1.jpg
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 again call your attention to the coronavirus that is ravaging the world. If you wish to help victims of the virus, look up the appropriate agency in your country. We provide some recommendations for Israel and for the USA. For Israel, we provide here a detailed list of grantees of the New Israel Fund and their activities to ensure equality and compassion in the use of means provided by the government to all citizens of Israel, irrespective of their community, language or status. The covid-19 virus does not differentiate among its victims. During any public health crisis, equality and inclusion are not afterthoughts. During times like these, inequality becomes even more dire and dangerous. Because people on the margins of society are the most at-risk, their ability to access care and information is a matter of public safety — for everyone.

A most worthy recipient of your support is Doctors Without Borders who are making a special effort to work in countries with weak health systems. Here we show their belief that solidarity knows no borders.

It is most important to keep our cool and avoid panic.


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. In particular, the Covid19 virus is particularly dangerous for the tribes in the Brazilian jungles. Throughout the world there are many tribes who choose to avoid contact with the outside world. Today they are under a threat of extinction from Covid-19 and should be protected. It matters not whether death is brought by miners and loggers or by missionaries.

As you can see, the issue is not only Brazil, but worldwide. It goes far beyond the present crisis and has to do with the infringement of their basic rights in the name of so-called “progress.”

Tribes, such as the Penan of Malaysian Borneo, are pushed into alien settlements and told to practise ‘modern’ agriculture, despite having an encyclopaedic knowledge of their own environments, which have sustained them, and the biodiversity of their forests, for generations. They are moved to make way for giant dams. These moves are justified by the notion that a transition from hunting and gathering to farming is ‘progress’.

Penan protest at the destruction of their forest and way of life.

‘Outsiders who come here always claim they are bringing progress. But all they bring are empty promises. What we’re really struggling for is our land. Above all else this is what we need’ – Arau, Penan, Sarawak


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 child pornography and the exploitation of victims by PornHub and the use of international credit cards in its foul business.


Last week we published in this blog a major rant about the sanctity of human life and gun violence. This week we wish to call upon all our US citizen readers to write to their congresspersons and senators urging them to commit at least $150 million annually for 10 years to community gun violence prevention programs and establish a national strategy to address the disproportionate impact of this public health crisis on communities of color by passing the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (S. 2671 H.R. 4836) and other appropriations.

All of us should deplore the four shooting incidents of this week in Birmingham, Fargo and Oakland.

Take Action for Human Rights

Stop the Gun Violence Pandemic: Demand Congress Fund Community Gun Violence Prevention

Communities of color that are already disproportionately impacted by gun violence are also being hit the hardest by COVID-19, and the organizations designed to stop gun violence before it happens are critically endangered at a time when they are needed most.

Many of these programs rely on public spaces and transportation to reach at-risk youth in distant areas. Because of COVID-19, these community organizations have had to cut staff, programming, and outreach, drastically affecting their ability to curb gun violence. Outreach workers are also acting as first responders in their community — mitigating violence and the spread of COVID-19, as they continue to educate their communities on handwashing, social distancing and mask-wearing.

We know that these programs can achieve sustained reductions in firearm violence. Congress should be supporting such efforts as the urgent human rights and public health crisis it is, instead of caving to the gun lobby and doing nothing, especially at a time when hospitals and healthcare services are strained.

Urge your members of Congress to commit at least $150 million annually for 10 years to community gun violence prevention programs and establish a national strategy to address the disproportionate impact of this public health crisis on communities of color by passing the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (S. 2671 H.R. 4836) and other appropriations. Your Message Dear Senator/Representative {contact_data~lastName}, As your constituent, I’m asking Congress to commit at least $150 million annually for 10 years to community gun violence prevention programs now, and establish a national strategy to address the disproportionate impact this public health crisis has had on communities of color by passing the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (S. 2671 H.R. 4836) and other appropriations. Community-level firearm violence in the USA disproportionately impacts communities of color. Firearm homicide was the leading cause of death for black men and boys aged 15-34 in 2018, and it was the third leading cause of death for Latino men and boys in the same age range. The flood of gun sales in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make the pandemic of gun violence even worse. Research indicates that long-term, adequately funded, evidence-based projects tailored towards specific social, economic and cultural contexts, and working in partnership with the affected communities, can achieve sustained reductions in firearm violence. Congress must support and prioritize programs working to address this urgent human rights and public health crisis. These programs save lives and make our communities safer and stronger. That is why I support the Break the Cycle of Violence Act as an important step toward addressing this urgent public health and human rights crisis. The Break the Cycle of Violence Act would fund these critical, evidence-driven programs led by community members that are proven to be effective at preventing gun violence. Persistent gun violence in the United States is denying people their civil and political rights including their right to live, the right to security of person, and the right to be free from discrimination. Gun violence also undermines the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health and the right to education. In addition to the unimaginable human toll of gun violence across the country, the economic cost is stunning. Estimates place the annual cost of gun violence at hundreds of billions of dollars every year, including medical and criminal justice expenses. Accordingly, it is not only in the interest of our fundamental human rights, but also your constituents as taxpayers, to robustly fund these programs. You can make a difference on the crisis of gun violence.

The racist violence by gun-happy cops goes on unimpeded by law enforcement. Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was in her home in Louisville, KY on March 13th when officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department barged in her home, exploded her door, fired off more than 20 bullets, and ultimately took Breonna’s life.

Breonna Taylor

What should have been an average morning was turned into a tragedy by murderous cops. In fact they were at the wrong house and the suspect they were seeking had been arrested hours before. Please sign the petition calling for action against the policemen involved in the shooting.



Urgent Action Update: Rakhine Journalist Remains in Hiding

Aung Marm Oo, an ethnic Rakhine Editor-in-chief of a news agency based in Rakhine State, has been in hiding for more than a year after charges were filed against him for violating the Unlawful Associations Act. His news agency, Development Media Group (DMG), has been reporting on violations during the ongoing armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, an ethnic Rakhine armed group. If convicted under this repressive law, often used to target ethnic minorities in Myanmar, he faces up to five years in prison.


Russian Federation

Urgent Action: Whistleblower Doctor Facing Reprisals

Tatyana Revva, a doctor from Volgograd, in southern Russia, is facing disciplinary proceedings that may result in dismissal, following her complaints of the shortage of personal protective equipment and other problems in her hospital in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She should be able to perform her professional duties, and exercise her right to freedom of expression, without fear of reprisals by the administration.



Urgent Action Update: Three Activists Still Detained

On 30 April, activists Moussa Tchangari and Habibou Soumaila were released on bail. Activists Maikoul Zodi, Halidou Mounkaila and Moundi Moussa were denied provisional release on 4 May and are still detained in prisons in Niger. They are charged with organizing an unauthorized gathering and complicity in damaging public property, arson, and manslaughter. Amnesty International believes that some of the charges against the activists have been fabricated to undermine the peaceful exercise of their human rights and demand for accountability.



Urgent Action: Evicted Residents Vulnerable to Covid-19

Despite obtaining interim orders from the Environment and Lands Court halting the evictions, more than 7,000 households of Kariobangi Sewerage Farmers Slum, Korogocho Market, Kisumu Ndogo and Nyayo Village, Nairobi, Kenya, were forcibly evicted by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) between 4 and 6 May. Residents have title deeds to their homes and have been paying levies to the county government for the land. The NCWSC has rendered residents homeless during the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing their likelihood of contracting the virus.



We Don’t Need Empty Praise: Nurses’ Unions Demand Better Protection, Rights

On International Nurses Day, nurses’ unions call for PPEs, more say in decision-making processes, safe working conditions, and protection from targeted attack and stigmatization Anish R 13 May 2020

Demand Better Protection, Rights

Nurses protest at a hospital in the north Indian city of Patiala, Punjab, over lack of PPEs (Photo: Tribune News Service)


Anti-union harassment and victimization escalate at AB InBev Sonepat India

Management at global brewer AB InBev’s plant in Sonepat, India is escalating its attacks on trade union rights. For the past three years local managers have refused to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the Haryana Breweries Limited Mazdoor Union (HBLMU) and opted for repression, suspending active union members and dismissing four elected union leaders including the president and the general secretary. Please support this just struggle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s