The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Update December 31– 6 January

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human 31 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”.


Although there has been little easing of the pandemic we nonetheless turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

This week we refer you to Direct Relief, recommended by Charity Navigator. The mission statement:

Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.

Nongovernmental, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit, Direct Relief provides assistance to people and communities without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities or ability to pay.

Direct Relief’s assistance programs – which focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease – are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.

Direct Relief honors the generosity of its donors by following a firm policy of full transparency in all of its operations.

This tradition of transparent, direct and targeted assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since its founding in 1948 by refugee war immigrant William Zimdin.


I ndigenous 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.

Bushman child Botswana

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected.

This week we focus on the Bushmen.

The Bushmen are the indigenous peoples of southern Africa. Largely hunter-gatherers, their territory spans several nations and they have called the region home for tens of thousands of years.

The tribes are well-known for the profound connection they have with their land, for their intimate knowledge of the natural world, and the delicate balance they have maintained for millennia with the environment.

n the middle of Botswana lies the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a reserve created to protect the traditional territory of the 5,000 Gana, Gwi and Tsila Bushmen (and their neighbours the Bakgalagadi), and the game they depend on.

In the early 1980s, diamonds were discovered in the reserve. Soon after, government ministers went into the reserve to tell the Bushmen living there that they would have to leave because of the diamond finds.

In three big clearances, in 1997, 2002 and 2005, virtually all the Bushmen were forced out. Their homes were dismantled, their school and health post were closed, their water supply was destroyed and the people were threatened and trucked away. Their situation is terrible. Please try to help them.


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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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 to call for the release of Uyghers from forced labor in China.



Urgent Action Victory! Indigenous Land Defender Receives Protection

In November, Paraguayan authorities opened an investigation and
provided protection to Bernarda Pesoa, leader of an indigenous Qom
community, after she was attacked in late October. We continue to
monitor the situation closely as the land conflict related to wood
exploitation on Qom lands persist. Share


After our Urgent Action on 29 October, authorities responded
rapidly on the case and concrete outcomes occurred for Bernarda
Pesoa, who had been physically attacked on her community lands on
27 October. The case received significant attention from
authorities and the situation of Bernarda improved. In the early
November, public prosecutors opened an investigation, and during
the rest of the month a judge ordered protection measures for
Bernarda, after a formal mediation process established with the
community, the public defender’s office assigned Bernarda a defense
lawyer, and the Senate opened dialogue process sessions on her
case, to which Amnesty International was invited to.

The issue of free, prior, informed consent continues to be an issue
in the community, and Bernarda and other community members are
concerned that the eucalyptus plantation on their lands has not
been properly consulted with all community members. The situation
on the ground continues to be delicate for Bernarda, and we
continue to monitor the context closely.

Bernarda Pessoa said “Thanks to Amnesty International for
supporting me by issuing this Urgent Action that had an important
impact in our struggle around this difficult time. We received a
lot of solidarity actions and increased media presence. We will
continue our fight in resistance to the company looking to own our


Urgent Action Update: Peaceful Protesters Face Years in Prison

Hundreds of peaceful pro-democracy protesters, including children,
may face decades of or even life imprisonment for taking part in
mass, pro-democracy demonstrations, as the crackdown on the
freedoms of peaceful assembly and of expression further escalates
in the country. At least 220 persons, including six children, face
criminal proceedings. Thailand must amend or repeal the repressive
laws it is using to suppress peaceful assembly and the expression
of dissenting opinions.



Urgent Action Update: 10 Hongkongers Charged, No Access to Own

Ten of the 12 Hongkongers arrested by the Chinese coast
guard in August 2020 were formally charged on 16 December. Two have
been charged with allegedly organizing people to cross the border
between Hong Kong and China and the other eight for allegedly
crossing the border, charges that hold a maximum of seven years and
one year imprisonment, respectively. The procuratorate will hold a
closed-door hearing to decide whether to prosecute the other two
who were children at the time of their detention. Detained since 23
August 2020 without access to their families and family-appointed
lawyers, the 12 individuals remain at imminent risk of torture and
other ill-trea



Urgent Action: Investigate Torture Claims in Diyarbakir Prison On 1

Mehmet Sıddık Meşe was allegedly subjected to a severe
beating by guards in a prison in the Turkish city of Dıyarbakır. He
was denied access to urgent medical care and to examination by
medical forensic staff. On 9 December, the prosecutor decided not
to prosecute the suspected perpetrators based on the prison
doctor’s report. Mehmet Sıddık Meşe requires access to adequate
medical care and a prompt, independent and impartial investigation
into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be


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