Author Archives: arkee2013

About arkee2013

Retired professor of planetary science, mostly plasma physics of outer planet magnetospheres, widower, three children, six grandchildren, human rights and peace activist(not sources of popularity in Israel)

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update April 19-25 2018

Our featured image above shows Miriam (1947-2012) a great human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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”.

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the Helen Keller International Foundation-mission statement:

“Our mission is to save and improve the sight and lives of the world’s vulnerable.”

This charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator and by GiveWell..

GirlTryingonFrames_0

Girl trying on frames

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

 

The photos reveal a thriving, healthy community with baskets full of manioc and papaya fresh from their gardens.

When left alone they thrive

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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 watch some videos with the stories of victims and survivors. They will tell you what they want you to do.

URGENT ACTION CASES

ISRAEL/OPT

Urgent Action Victory! – Gazan’s Second Leg Saved From Being Amputated

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On 16 April, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that 20-year-old journalist Yousef al-Kronz, who was seriously wounded by Israeli forces on 30 March during Land Day protests in the Gaza Strip, must be permitted to leave Gaza for urgent medical care in Ramallah to save his remaining leg.

On 16 April, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that 20-year-old journalist Yousef al-Kronz, who was seriously wounded by Israeli forces on 30 March during Land Day protests in the Gaza Strip and has already lost one leg to amputation, must be permitted to leave Gaza for urgent medical care in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank to save his remaining leg. Three Israeli judges ruled unanimously in his favor, accepting a petition filed by human rights groups Adalah and Al Mezan Center For Human Rights on 8 April 2018. Yousef al-Kronz was transferred to the Arab Istishari Hospital in Ramallah on 16 April and will undergo surgery on Sunday 22 April.

On 1 April, Adalah and Al Mezan had submitted a request to exit Gaza on behalf of Yousef al-Kronz to the Israeli military Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit of the Israeli ministry of defence. After three days without response, the two human rights organizations sent a follow-up letter to COGAT on 4 April. COGAT responded on 5 April, with a rejection of the request, apparently because it believed that Yousef al-Kronz had participated in mass protests on 30 March. On 8 April, the two organizations filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court demanding that Israel allow Yousef al-Kronz to leave the Gaza Strip to travel to Ramallah, where his legs could possibly be saved. Despite the urgency of the request, the court decided not to hold an immediate session and gave the government three days to respond. Due to the delay, the condition of one of Yousef al-Kronz’s legs deteriorated to the extent that it had to be amputated at a hospital in Gaza, while his other leg has remained at risk of needing to be amputated without immediate medical treatment.

Yousef al-Kronz is a media and journalism student at al-Azhar University in Gaza City and works with the Palestinian Media Association. He told Amnesty International that he was covering the Land Day protests, east of al-Borej refugee camp, when he was shot in both his legs on 30 March near the Israel-Gaza fence.

Yousef al-Kronz spoke to Amnesty International on 17 April to thank all those who took action on his behalf: “I thank you all so much for your support that helped save my second leg from being amputated. I almost lost hope that I would be transferred to a hospital in Ramallah and my leg would be saved, but thank God there are people out there who care about me and did everything necessary to make sure that I received the adequate medical treatment outside of Gaza.”

He said, “I only represent one case of an injured person from Gaza. There are still many injured and sick people in Gaza who are in need of urgent medical care. I was lucky to leave, but others are still struggling to get to hospitals that would save their lives. I call on all people of conscience to not stay silent to what’s happening in Gaza.’’ He added, ‘’This is not my suffering, my suffering is the sufferance of all Gazans who lack basic human rights to live in dignity.’’

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

MYANMAR

Urgent Action Victory! – Kachin Pastors Released in Prisoner Amnesty

Image result for Nawng Lat

Kachin pastors Dumdaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng have been released from prison following a Presidential amnesty on 17 April 2018. The two men had been detained since December 2016 in connection with their role organizing a visit by journalists to Monekoe town, northern Shan State, to show the destruction allegedly caused by Myanmar Army airstrikes.

Kachin pastors Dumdaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng were released from Lashio prison in Myanmar’s Shan State on 17 April 2018. They were unconditionally released as part of a Presidential amnesty of 8,490 prisoners, including prisoners of conscience and arbitrarily detained individuals.

The two men were detained in December 2016 and held for a month in military custody without any charge and no access to their lawyers and family. They were detained shortly after they helped organize a visit by journalists to the site of an alleged military airstrike in late November 2016. They were charged under Article 17(1) of Myanmar’s 1908 Unlawful Association Act and 2012 Import and Export Law. Amnesty International believes that these charges were politically motivated and linked to their role in reporting alleged human rights abuses by the Myanmar military.

On 27 October 2017, they were each found guilty and sentenced to two years and three months in prison. Dumdaw Nawng Lat was sentenced to an additional two years in prison for “defamation” under Section 500 of Myanmar’s Penal Code in connection with a newspaper interview where he discussed the alleged airstrikes.

While Amnesty International welcomes the release of Dundaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng, the fact remains that they should never have been arrested and imprisoned in the first place.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

MYANMAR

Urgent Action Victory! – Kachin Prisoner of Conscience Freed

Lahpai-Gam-Resized

Kachin prisoner of conscience Lahpai Gam has been released from prison following a Presidential amnesty on 17 April 2018. Detained since June 2012, he was tortured during interrogation and falsely accused of being a member of an “unlawful” association. Lahpai Gam suffers from ill-health, which further deteriorated while he was in detention.

Lahpai Gam was unconditionally released from Myitkyina prison in Myanmar’s Kachin State on 17 April 2018 as part of a Presidential amnesty which saw the release of 8,490 prisoners, including prisoners of conscience and arbitrarily detained individuals.

Lahpai Gam was arrested in June 2012 in Kachin State in northern Myanmar. He was held incommunicado for almost a month before being transferred to Myitkyina prison, and was tortured by the military during interrogation. Falsely accused of being a member of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an ethnic armed group in Myanmar, and of involvement in the bombing of a bridge in Kachin State, he was sentenced to a total of twenty years’ imprisonment. However, due to insufficient evidence, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions under the Unlawful Association Act and two of the four counts under the Explosive Substances Act. The two remaining charges were upheld based on a confession letter dated from the time he was tortured and held incommunicado.

Throughout his incarceration, Lahpai Gam maintained his innocence, and Amnesty International believes the case against him was politically motivated. In November 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declared Lahpai Gam’s arrest and detention to be arbitrary on the grounds that it restricted his rights to freedom of movement and residence, to freedom of thought and conscience, to freedom of expression and opinion, and violated the principle of non-discrimination.

While Amnesty International welcomes the release of Lahpai Gam, the fact remains that he should never have been arrested and imprisoned in the first place.

Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

INDIA

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defender Threatened at Her Home

adivasi-india-banner-1600x867

Pavitri Manjhi has faced continued threats, harassment and intimidation in relation to her peaceful activism. Visited at her home by two men every evening from 3 to 5 April 2018, she has been told to withdraw all formal complaints filed by Adivasi villagers against two private companies who allegedly defrauded members of the community of their land.

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CHILE

Urgent Action: Indigenous Leader on Hunger Strike Hospitalized

CORDOVA

The health and life of Mapuche Indigenous spiritual leader Machi Celestino Córdova, imprisoned since 2014 in Temuco, central Chile, is at risk after having spent more than 90 days on hunger strike, which he started in protest after the authorities denied him access to his ceremonial altar or rewe.

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KAZAKHSTAN

Urgent Action Update: Prisoner of Conscience Released on Bail

akmaral

On 13 April, prisoner of conscience, Akmaral Tobylova was released on bail. She had been under house arrest since 13 March, and is charged with financing an extremist organization merely for browsing an opposition party website.

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Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update April 12-18

The featured image above shows Miriam (1947-2012) a great human rights defender

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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”.

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

 

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the Mercy Corps. Their mission:

“Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. We are a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action – helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.”

This charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator.

nigeria_famine_qf

Abubakar, 12 (right), says he gets dizzy with hunger. “I see in a hazy way, because of the hunger. Nothing appears clear, anytime I am hungry.” Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps The image is from Nigeria.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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.  They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we look at the Congo Basin tribes.  

Please open the link and choose an issue for action on behalf of these beleaguered people.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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 lend your voice to the call for freedom for girls.

MASTER’S DEGREE IN HUMAN RIGHTS

The University of Minnesota is inviting applicants for its  Master’s degree program in human rights. We are pleased to call it to your attention.

xiaoyun_shen_mhr_cropped

“Human rights for everyone is not just a dream. It’s possible through relentless struggles and perseverance. A Master in Human Rights degree provides the tools and knowledge necessary to bring about the change you want to see in the world.”

Xiaoyun Shen, MHR ’15

URGENT ACTION CASES

ETHIOPIA

Urgent Action Victory! Eleven People Freed After More than a Week in Jail

Eleven people including a lawyer, journalists, bloggers, opposition members and academics were released on 5 April without being charged. The 11 had been arrested by Ethiopian security forces while attending a private ceremony in Addis Ababa on 25 March.

Ethiopian journalist and former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, Eskinder Nega was released on 5 April without being charged. He was released together with journalist Temesgen Dessalegn; bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Befiqadu Hailu, Zelalem Workagegnhu and Sintayehu Chekol; opposition members Andualem Arage, Addisu Getaneh, Yidnekachewu Addis, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla.

The 11 had been arrested Sunday, 25 March while at a private ceremony held at the home of journalist Temesgen Dessalegn in the Lebu area, Addis Ababa to celebrate their release from prison. Security officers accused them of participating in an illegal gathering without authorization of the Command Post, in violation of the State of Emergency Proclamation.

The 11 were first taken to a police station in Lebu area, but were transferred to Nifas Silk Lafto Sub-City Community Policing Service Department during the night where they were held until their release.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

SWAZILAND

Urgent Action: Dozens Left Homeless After Forced Eviction

Dozens of people, including 33 children, were left homeless after their homes were demolished using bulldozers in the presence of 20 armed police. The families belong to the farming area of Embetseni in Malkerns town.

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INDIA

Urgent Action: Dalit Rights Activist Still Detained Without Charge

Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, a prominent Dalit rights activist, has been held in administrative detention since 3 November 2017. His current term of detention expires in May 2018. However, under the National Security Act, he is at risk of being detained for up to 12 months without charge or trial.

Image result for chandrashekhar azad image

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NIGER

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defenders Arrested and Detained

Four human rights defenders (HRDs), Moussa Tchangari, Ali Idrissa, Nouhou Arzika and Lirwana Abdourahmane were among a group of people arrested and detained on 25 March by security forces in Niamey, Niger. They have been charged with ‘organization and participation in a prohibited demonstration’, ‘complicity in violence’, ‘assault’ and ‘destruction’ in connection with a peaceful protest organized by their organizations, but which they did not attend.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update April 5-11

Our featured image shows Miriam (1947-2012) a human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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”.

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA). Their mission statement: ”

Core Values we deliver:

Efficient and sustainable programs that promote self-reliance, with measurable results
Comprehensive services for children and their families/caregivers
Support in regions that are under served and marginalized

Mission:

zimbabwe-goat-distribution

We deliver goats to provide livelihoods

The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) is a non-profit organization providing critical support to infected and affected HIV+ children and their caregivers. Since 2005, in collaboration with our in-country partners, we have served tens of thousands of families in under served and marginalized communities in Africa. Our areas of impact include: medical support, livelihoods, nutrition, educational support and emergency relief.

Currently, AFCA is transforming lives in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hope is a spark that changes lives. AFCA provides hope to thousands of children in Africa.”

This charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator-4 stars.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we ask your help for the aboriginal people of Australia.

aus-abor-jmi-11_article_column

An Aboriginal child is being painted for a dance festival in Northern Queensland, Australia.
© John Miles/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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 lend your voice to the call to end domestic slavery in India.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

ECUADOR

Urgent Action Victory! – Indigenous Defender No Longer Under Threat

Image result for Patricia Gualinga

Patricia Gualinga,

Indigenous defender Patricia Gualinga is no longer considered under imminent threat. No new security incidents or threats against her have occurred since the 5 January attack at her home. She has since reported receiving protection measures.

Indigenous defender Patricia Gualinga told Amnesty International that she received protection measures after the organization launched an Urgent Action calling for her safety in January. The Urgent Action was in response to a 5 January attack where an unknown man threw stones at the windows of her home in Puya, Pastaza province, while yelling death threats at her. She has not reported any other security incidents or threats against her since.

Although her security situation is currently stable, Patricia Gualinga is concerned that, three months later, there has been no progress in the investigation into the attack at her home. She also told Amnesty International that the Attorney General’s Office of Pastaza province has hampered her access to the evidence gathered so far, including footage from all the public surveillance cameras close to her home, which would allow for the identification of the perpetrator.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation and call on the Attorney General to promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack and to grant Patricia Gualinga access to the evidence gathered so far, including footage from all the public surveillance cameras close to her home.

Patricia Gualinga is a Kichwa Indigenous leader of Sarayaku, whose ancestral lands are located in eastern Ecuador. She works to defend rights related to land, territory and the environment in the context of extractive projects in the Ecuadorian Amazon, including oil concessions in the ancestral lands of Indigenous Peoples such as of the Kichwa of Sarayaku, the Sápara, Achuar Shuar, Shiwiar, the communities of Santa Clara, San Jacinto and the cities of Puyo and Shell-Mera. Many Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from these communities have expressed their concerns regarding the effects that oil exploration and extraction could have on their lands, and have previously reported threats and harassment because of their human rights work.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

ETHIOPIA

Urgent Action: Eleven People Detained Without Charge

Ethiopian security forces arrested and detained 11 people including a lawyer, journalists, bloggers, opposition members and academics on 25 March. The 11 were arrested while attending a private ceremony in Addis Ababa. They have not been charged with any offense or brought to court.

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Activist Formally Arrested After 6 Months

Anti-censorship activist Zhen Jianghua is shown in an undated photo.

Anti-censorship activist Zhen Jianghua is shown in an undated photo.

Human rights defender Zhen Jianghua was formally arrested on 29 March 2018 on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power”. Denied access to his lawyers, Zhen Jianghua continues to be at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

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UZBEKISTAN

Urgent Action Update: Report Finds No Torture Despite Visible Bruises

bobo

The trial of journalist, Bobomurod Abdullayev began on 7 March. During the hearing, he removed his shirt to show bruises on his body that he alleges were sustained under torture. On 15 March, the judge announced that the forensic medical examination he had ordered into the journalist’s torture allegations found no evidence of torture.

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INDIA

Urgent Action Update: Activist with Disabilities Health Deteriorates

Activist and teacher, G N Saibaba, who is paralyzed, continues to be denied access to adequate medical treatment in Nagpur Central Jail despite pleas of intervention from his family. Convicted under a draconian anti-terror law on 7 March 2017, his life remains under threat if he is not provided immediate and adequate access to medical care.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update March 29-April 4

Our featured image above shows Miriam (1947-2012), who introduced us to the defense of human rights everywhere.

 

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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”.

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.   This body stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights–the right to health in particular–in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Founded in 1988 by a group of Israeli physicians led by Dr. Ruchama Marton, PHRI works to promote a just society where the right to health is granted equally to all people under Israel’s responsibility. Please donate to this most worthy cause.

phri-who-we-are-pamphlet

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

The Uncontacted Indians of Brazil

At risk of extinction from disease and land loss

In the depths of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil live tribes who have no contact with the outside world.

Illegal loggers and cattle ranchers are invading their land and bringing disease. They won’t survive unless this stops.

Act now ↓ Donate →

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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 lend your voice to the call to put a stop to exploitation of forced labor in U.S. detention.

us-detention-page-header

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

USA Urgent Action Victory! – Alabama Ends Pursuit of 2nd Execution Attempt

An agreement signed on 27 March means that Alabama will not pursue another death warrant for Doyle Hamm, whose execution on 22 February was called off after the lethal injection team could not find an accessible vein over the course of two-and-a-half hours.

Doyle Hamm was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of Patrick Cunningham. Twenty-nine years old at the time of the crime, Doyle Hamm turned 61 on 14 February 2018 after 30 years on death row. His veins are compromised because of his lymphatic cancer and treatment for it, and his prior intravenous drug use.

A habeas corpus petition filed in federal court on 5 March opened with a description of what happened to Doyle Hamm during the attempted execution on 22 February: “On Thursday night, February 22, 2018, the state of Alabama strapped Doyle Lee Hamm to the lethal injection gurney in the execution chamber at Holman Correctional Facility and began to execute him. From about the time that the United States Supreme Court denied his application for a stay, at about 8.45 CST [Central Standard Time], to approximately 11.30pm CST when the execution was called off, the execution team inserted needles and catheters in his legs, ankles, and groin in an attempt to achieve venous access and end his life via lethal injection. For seven months preceding the execution, counsel for Doyle Hamm had vehemently, repeatedly, diligently, and properly warned the state of Alabama, the Governor of Alabama, the Alabama Attorney General, the Commissioner of Corrections, the Wardens of both Donaldson and Holman Correctional Facilities, the Alabama Supreme Court, the federal District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, and the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC, that any attempt to access his veins would cause unnecessary pain and suffering in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution because of his medical condition.” The petition argued that a second execution attempt “by any means or methods” would violate the Constitution. A preliminary medical report by the doctor who examined Doyle Hamm after the first execution attempt was filed with the petition, and included photographs of the puncture wounds caused during this attempt on 22 February.

On 26 March attorneys for Doyle Hamm and for the State of Alabama entered into a private settlement agreement to resolve all pending litigation in federal and state court over the planned execution of Doyle Hamm. The terms of the agreement are confidential, but Doyle Hamm’s lawyer has said that Doyle Hamm, his family, and his legal team “are extremely relieved”. After signing a confidential settlement agreement, the lawyer jointly moved with the State of Alabama to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit and the federal habeas corpus petition in the Northern District of Alabama, as well as his state petition in Cullman County, Alabama. This will end the state’s efforts to set another execution date.

On 26 February, the District Court judge had issued an order setting 6 March for a “scheduling conference”. She added that “Before the conference, the parties SHALL discuss the possibility of an early settlement” [emphasis in original]. Doyle Hamm’s lawyer has said that he had been in settlement discussions with the state of Alabama since shortly after the attempted execution of Doyle Hamm on 22 February 2018.

No further action by the UA Network is requested. Doyle Hamm’s lawyer has expressed his gratitude to Amnesty International for its “help and support” on this case. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

INDIA

Urgent Action Victory! Indigenous Peoples Advocate Released on Bail

Upendra Nayak, a 65-year-old lawyer, was granted bail and released from custody on 23 March 2018. Charged with several offences, including ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the government of India’, in relation to cases registered by the police over eight years ago, he could face life imprisonment if found guilty.

Upendra Nayak was granted bail after the local court cited old age and ill health on 22 March 2018 and was released from custody the following day.

Arrested on charges including “waging war against the government of India”, conspiracy, and committing a “terrorist act”, Upendra Nayak was remanded in judicial custody to a jail in Gajapati in Odisha state, eastern India on 21 February 2018. The charges relate to cases that were filed in 2009 and 2010 against several people, some of whom were represented by Upendra Nayak and subsequently acquitted.

The Odisha state police have accused Upendra Nayak of providing Maoist armed groups with logistical support from 2009 to 2010. During that time, several Adivasis were arrested for supporting Maoists, and Upendra Nayak defended them in at least 10 court cases, leading to the acquittal of many of those arrested. For over three decades, Upendra Nayak has defended Adivasi accused facing fabricated charges.

A spokesperson for the Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakhya Sangathan (GASS), a local organisation in Odisha that challenges fabricated cases filed by the police against Adivasis in the state, told Amnesty International India that Upendra Nayak was arrested because he had represented Adivasis in the courts, and that the state had fabricated charges against the advocate.

Upendra Nayak will still face trial for the criminal offences laid against him. Amnesty International will continue to monitor his trial and issue updates, as appropriate.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

JAPAN

Urgent Action Update: Risk of Executions After Final Sentence Confirmed

Image result for aum shinrikyo

The execution of 13 members of Aum Shinrikyo could be carried out any moment following the completion of the trial for the final two other cult members who turned themselves in after 17 years on the run.

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IRAN

Urgent Action: 11 Women Ill-Treated and Arbitrarily Detained

At least 11 women from Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish religious minority have been arbitrarily detained in inhumane conditions, without access to their lawyers, since 20 February following the violent dispersal of a protest held by Gonabadi Derivshes in Tehran. Some urgently need medical care for injuries sustained from beatings at the time of their arrest.

Related image

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TURKEY

Urgent Action: Students Detained for Anti-War Protest

11 students from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, who had attended a small peaceful campus protest on 19 March against Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, Syria, have been arrested and remain in police custody following statements by government officials labelling them ‘terrorists’. They risk prosecution under anti-terrorism laws and expulsion from university.

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EGYPT

Urgent Action Update: Court Upholds Death Sentences of Two Men

On 26 March, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals upheld the death sentences of two men, Ahmed Amin Ghazali

Image result for Ahmed Amin Ghazali

and Abdul Basir Abdul Rauf. The two men are at imminent risk of execution unless President Abdelfatah al-Sisi decides within 14 days of the sentence date to pardon or mitigate the sentence.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action update March 22-28

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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”.

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to Concern Worldwide, which is a global humanitarian organization focused on the world’s most vulnerable. Their mission statement:

Concern Worldwide USA is a non-governmental, international, humanitarian organization dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. Since its foundation in 1968, Concern Worldwide – through its work in emergencies and long-term development – has saved countless lives, relieved suffering and provided opportunities for a better standard of living for millions of people. We work primarily in the countries ranked in the bottom 40 of the United Nations Human Development Report. Concern implements emergency response programs as well as long-term development programs in the areas of livelihoods, health, HIV & AIDS, and education.

They have a particular interest in gender inequality.  

The charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we point you at the uncontacted frontier.

Straddling the borders of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia is the Uncontacted Frontier – home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on the planet.

Where their land is intact, they are thriving.

But elsewhere, oil exploration, loggers, drug-traffickers and roads are putting their lives on the line.

Survival is calling on the three governments to uphold the law and prevent their destruction.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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 join the campaign to have all Commonwealth nations abolish slavery.

URGENT ACTION CASES

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action Victory! Activist Released and Given Deportation Reprieve

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On 15 February, Ali Feruz was released and arrived in Germany a few hours later. The release came after the Supreme Court’s decision on 25 January to uphold the activist’s appeal and overturn the 2017 decision to deport him to Uzbekistan. Ali Feruz had been detained since August 2017 for supposedly violating the terms of his stay in Russia.
On the morning of 15 February, Novaya Gazeta journalist and Amnesty International activist, Ali Feruz (born Khudoberdi Nurmatov) was taken to Sheremetyevo airport, in Moscow, under police escort, where he boarded a plane at 11:20am to Frankfurt, Germany. On 20 February, it was reported that he received a refugee status.

On 22 January, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation rescinded an earlier decision to extradite Ali Feruz to Uzbekistan and two days later, upheld the activist’s appeal, overturning the 2017 decision by a lower court to deport him to Uzbekistan. In its decision, the Supreme Court noted that the detention of a foreign national pending expulsion from Russia “should not be understood as grounds for detaining them for an indefinite period”. The Court sent the case back for consideration to the Moscow City Court. On 2 February, the Moscow City Court granted Ali Feruz permission to leave Russia for a third country, taking into consideration the fact that he had had a travel document from the International Committee of the Red Cross and a German visa allowing travel to Germany.

Ali Feruz told Amnesty International on 6 March that he is still adapting to life in Germany. His plans are to continue his work of activism and journalism. He says he does not plan to take a long break, as he hopes to be useful in a rapidly changing world. He holds that Amnesty International’s campaign, with others, played a crucial role in his release and is grateful for the support.

Ali Feruz was arrested and detained in Moscow in August 2017, for supposedly violating the terms of stay on the territory of the Russian Federation. On 21 November 2017, the Basmannyi Court of Moscow found him guilty, and ruled that he should be deported back to his home country. Ali Feruz fled Uzbekistan in 2009 after allegedly being detained and tortured by the Uzbek security services, who attempted to make him their secret informant.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

 

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Lawyer Detained Incommunicado

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Beijing lawyer Yu Wensheng has been detained for more than two months without access to a lawyer of his choice. While the Public Security Bureau in Jiangsu province have admitted that they are holding him, his exact whereabouts are unknown. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

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USA

Urgent Action: US Must Not Deport Gay Asylum Seeker to Ghana

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Sadat I. fled homophobic attacks from a criminal group in Ghana and has been held in US immigration detention since requesting asylum there in January 2016. US authorities are seeking to forcibly return Sadat to Ghana, where he faces human rights violations by police and the groups he fled. Sadat must immediately be released on parole pending the resolution of his asylum claim, and under no circumstances be deported to Ghana.

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ETHIOPIA

Urgent Action: Two Men Held for Criticizing the Government

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Seyoum Teshome and Taye Dendea were both arrested from their homes in March for publicly criticizing the Ethiopian government during the State of Emergency.

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KAZAKHSTAN

Urgent Action: Woman Detained for Reading Opposition Website

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Since 13 March, the police have threatened bloggers, activists and members of the public across Kazakhstan with prosecution for supporting the opposition political party, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, on social media. Akmaral Tobylova, is currently under house arrest, accused of financing an extremist organization charges, merely for browsing the party’s website. She is a prisoner of conscience.

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Prometheus and Pandora XIII

This month we (the Jews among us)  are preparing for the Pesach holiday which commemorates the liberation of the ancient Hebrews from bondage in Egypt during Pharaonic times. The featured image above shows us the Seder plate with the items used during the Seder.

Pesach is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meal that includeד four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus.

“Matzah is one of those wonderful transcendent ritual items in Judaism, a symbol embodying a duality to teach a moral lesson. At the beginning of the seder, we break one of the sheets of matzah and call it the bread (lekhem) of affliction (oni). It is the meager sustenance of slaves, the meanest fare of the poor, the quickly produced food of those who make a hurried, under-cover-of-dark getaway. Yet later, it represents freedom, the bread we ate when we were liberated from Egyptian bondage.”–quote from Leslie K. Rossץ

We are told that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptian people, culminating in the killing of the first born, which broke Pharaoh’s spirit and caused him to drive the Israelites from his land.

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Later, Pharaoh regretted his decision, chased them into the Red Sea where God caused our people to  cross on dry land and then brought the waters back to drown the Egyptians.  The Talmud tells us that when the angels joined in the hymn of rejoicing (Exodus XV,1-22), God reprimanded them saying “beings I created are drowning in the sea and you sing?” The angels pointed out that humans were singing and He responded that humans are capable of mixed feelings of joy and sadness whereas angels have only pure feelings. We mark the mourning for the drowned Egyptians by shortening our hymn of praise on the seventh day of the holiday.

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In Hebrew the festival is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because God passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve. This year the holiday runs from March 31 to April 7. It is constrained by the Torah to always fall on the first full moon after the vernal equinox. We have discussed the equinox in previous blogs, now we just show a picture of what it means.

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Photo from space

 

Prometheus and Pandora together with their imaginary friends YandA wish all their Jewish readers a very Happy Pesach.  They also wish their Christian friends a Happy Easter, which  takes place from Good Friday on March 30 until Easter Monday on April 2.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site. Prometheus and Pandora hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.

IN MEMORIAM Steven Hawking 1942-2018

Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, died on March 14 at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.

He was crippled by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) but was able to overcome the difficulties of such a life. He was diagnosed at age 21 and lived with the disease for 55 years. He made great contributions to cosmology and the understanding of black holes and their role in the universe. Hawking’s popular book A Brief History of Time was a long time best seller.

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For scientists, we recommend the biography by a former collaborator Roger Penrose, himself an outstanding scientist. More accessible obituaries can be found in the NYTimes and in the Guardian. His ashes will be interred in Westminster Abbey near the graves of  Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

RANTING ABOUT THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

It is both saddening and maddening to see democracy being wiped out in so many countries. Prometheus and Pandora find it frustrating that in far too many instances it is done with the compliance of the people or their total ignorance of the implications of what is happening around them. This is nothing new–over 2000 years ago the Roman philosopher Cicero is supposed to have reacted to Julius Caesar’s destruction of the republic “Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful good society’ which shall now be Rome, interpreted to mean ‘more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.”  (The attribution is historically doubtful but he might have said it and it is indeed true.)

Back to our time–Donald Trump poses a dangerous threat to American democracy — but many people do not know how extraordinary this  threat is, in concert with troubling trends in the USA and the world. In just his first year in office, Trump has undermined election results,  cozied up to dictators, threatened to jail his political opponents, maliciously lied to manipulate the media and the masses, and attacked judges and even his own Justice Department for refusing to stop investigations into his actions. and that is just scratching the surface. In their award-winning and New York Times best-selling book, “How Democracies Die”, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt provide illuminating and alarming context for the current predicament of people who care about democracy. In this riveting new book, Levitsky and Ziblatt conduct an insightful investigation into how other democracies have failed and broken down and what the average person can do to fight back. The Washington Post summed up the book perfectly:

“Cool and persuasive… ‘How Democracies Die’ comes at exactly the right moment.”

True manipulation a la Lukovich

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OUR BOOK REVIEWS

NEVER LET ME GO

By Kazuo Ishiguro. 288 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $24.

We have just read this 2005 novel by the Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro. It is heavily dystopian. As Sarah Kerr says in her review in the NYTimes “There is no way around revealing the premise of Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel. It is brutal, especially for a writer celebrated as a poet of the unspoken. But it takes a while for us to get a handle on it. Since it’s the nature of Ishiguro narrators to postpone a full reckoning of their place in the world, all we know in the early going is that we don’t quite know what’s going on.”
It is a strange read, but worth the effort. In general, Ishiguro is stingy of early detail (vid. Remains of the Day) and we have to live with that as we read. Kazuo Ishiguro fascinates M. John Harrison, who reviews in the Guardian, with his  subtle take on mortality and hopelessness, in Never Let Me Go. Revealing more would be spoiling–in fact, Pandora and Prometheus think that the reviewers reveal too much and it is best to go along with Kathy the narrator, who knows what is going on, but mostly tells us of  her innocent childhood and adolescence.

In honor of Women’s Day on March 20, the NYTimes has compiled a set of reviews of books about women and  their struggles. Three, of particular interest to Pandora and Prometheus, are about the invisible women of science,

A LAB OF ONE’S OWN
Science and Suffrage in the First World War
By Patricia Fara
334 pp. Oxford University Press. $24.95.

BROAD BAND
The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet
By Claire L. Evans
278 pp. Portfolio/Penguin. $27.

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars
Sobel, Dava, reviewed in the Guardian by Nicola Davis.

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British women in the 1920s using chemical processes to test batches of milk from cows. Credit Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

The first two are reviewed in the NYTimes by Dava Sobel. The “Lab” is a title salute to A Room of One’s Own, a 1929 feminist polemic essay by Virginia Woolf. To some  of us it brought up a memory  of A League of Their Own, a 1992 film about the professional all-female baseball league that played during WWII. The league was real, the film about it is fiction, but good. Since Patricia Fara is English, her reference must be to the Woolf essay. Dava Sobol herself, the author of Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter, has published her own history of female astronomers, The Glass Universe, that explores these women’s lives and work, revealing their grit, tenacity and brilliance in classifying the stars. “Even before they won the right to vote, several of them made contributions of such significance that their names gained honored places in the history of astronomy,” writes Sobel.

NEWS FROM SCIENCE

ARCHAEOLOGY UNDER THE JAIL

Excavations under the Megiddo prison, which is now being vacated, have come up with some remarkable findings, described in Haaretz by Ruth Schuster.  The prison will be replaced by an archaeological park featuring one of the earliest-known houses of Christian worship, which was found in the ancient Jewish village of Kefar Othnay (a.k.a. Kfar Otnai), as well as the remains of a vast Roman army base across the Qeni river, Megiddo Regional Council announced this week. The new park will also encompass seven Ottoman-era flour mills built along a stream, the council says.

One of the structures was a pre-church, from before Christians began to build churches. It contains a dedication inscription in Greek:

 

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Inscription found in Roman-era prayer house in Othnay, inside Megiddo Prison compound: “The god-loving Akeptous has offered the table to God Jesus Christ as a memorial”  credit Dr. Yotam Tepper

The article is fascinating and provides fresh insights into the role of Christianity in the Roman army in the era before the conversion of Constantine.When the site becomes open to the public, it will be a worthwhile visit.

Elsewhere on our planet, in Chile, DNA analysis of a small mummy has provided insight into evolution. The researchers identified in her DNA a group of mutations in genes related to bone development. Some of these mutations might be responsible for the skeleton’s bizarre form, causing a hereditary disorder never before documented in humans.

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A mummified skeleton from the Atacama Desert in Chile has been described as “alien.” But genetic analysis shows that she was human and may have had a previously unknown bone disorder. Credit Bhattacharya S et al. 2018

SILLY TIME

What If?

If you suddenly began rising steadily at one foot per second, how exactly would you die? Would you freeze or suffocate first? Or something else?

Rebecca B. The answer tells us a bit about our atmosphere.

 

 

Believe Big Pharma?

This is how it works….

In the past I have given sweatshirts with the logo “Eschew Obfuscation” and “Procrastinate Now” to people and they were indeed appreciated, albeit in long obscure words much later. I have stumbled on a good take on procrastination:

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update, March 15-21

Our featured image above shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a devoted human rights defender

 

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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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”.

 

 

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the an Israeli charity:

“Ofek Liyladenu” – Our Children’s Horizon, was established in Israel in 1997, as the national non-profit association of parents of children with blindness and visual impairment.  Ofek Liyladenu is a big community for more than 1200 families from all parts of Israeli society: Jewish, Muslims and Christians, and provides support and services to the children and their families. There are 4,000 children with blindness and visual impairment in Israel (2,500 legally blind). We believe that the children not only can be integrated into society, but grow and become active citizens and leaders. They should be able to exercise their right for equality and become capable members of Israeli society and so making it a better stronger society. With our trust and support the sky is the limit.

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The director of the organization is our dear friend Yael Weiss-Rind. Please make a generous donation to help these children.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we focus on the aboriginal people of Australia.  Read the post and try to help them, if only by a letter to your local Australian ambassador.

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Aboriginal cave art, Australia.
© John Miles/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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 lend your voice to the call to close the Libyan slave markets.

URGENT ACTION CASES

INDIA

Urgent Action Victory! – Kashmiri Photojournalist Released on Bail

Kamran Yousuf was granted bail and released from prison on 14   March 2018, following six months of pre-trial detention. He has been charged with several criminal offenses including ‘waging war against the government of India’, and faces life imprisonment if convicted. Kamran Yousuf, a  free lance journalist, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in September 2017 in relation to a case of alleged funding of terror-related acts as well as accusations that he had thrown stones at security forces.
On 14 March 2018, after six months of pre-trial detention,  he was  released from prison after a special court in Delhi granted his bail application the previous day. In January 2018, the NIA formally charged Kamran Yousuf, along with 11 others, with offenses
under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act (UAPA), including ‘criminal conspiracy’,waging war against the government of India’, committing ‘unlawful activities’ and being a ‘member of a terrorist organization’. The
primary evidence put forward for these charges were that  his mobile number was “persistently located at places where counter-terrorist operations were in progress” and that he was not a “real journalist” as he had not covered developmental activities carried out by the government. If convicted of the charges, Kamran Yousuf,who is 20 years of age, faces life imprisonment. Amnesty International believes the charges against Kamran Yousuf to be fabricated and politically motivated, and part of an attempt to stifle journalism in Kashmir. The special court, in its order granting bail for Kamran Yousuf, observed that the NIA failed to provide any evidence to show the accused indulged in stone pelting activities at any site, establish any direct links between him and the other accused in the case or prove he was member of any specific banned organization or that he was involved in “terrorist activities”. In response to the claims made by the NIA, the court further  observed that “mere presence of the accused at the site of incident is not sufficient to implicate such accused, who is a journalist, for the offenses that allegedly occurred during that period at that site” and that Kamran Yousuf covered “all kinds of incidents ranging from social, cultural, political and economical and other activities in the Kashmir Valley and as such…his presence on the sites of stone pelting incident etc is intrinsic”.
Kamran Yousuf will still face trial for the criminal offenses laid against him in January, however, the court stated that holding the NIA’s “accusation as prima facie true” would cause a “serious dent” to the personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Amnesty International will continue to monitor his trial and issue updates, as appropriate. Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

SYRIA

Urgent Action Victory! – 35 Ill and Injured Evacuated from Eastern Ghouta

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An air strike has reportedly killed 15 children and two women sheltering in an underground school in Syria’s besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region.

A further 35 patients awaiting medical evacuation in besieged Eastern Ghouta have been evacuated to Damascus city for medical treatment and care. 496 patients are still awaiting evacuation. They require urgent medical treatment.

On 12 March, the armed group Jaish al-Islam and Russia agreed to allow the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to evacuate injured and ill civilians from Douma, a town in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus city. On 13 March, 35 ill and injured were evacuated to Damascus city for medical treatment. Medics told Amnesty International that 33 of the evacuees were among the 529 patients awaiting evacuation since July 2017. A further two patients had recently been evacuated due to the severity of their injuries.

The previous medical evacuation took place on 27 December 2017 when the Syrian government approved the medical evacuation of 29 critical cases of the 558 patients from Eastern Ghouta. This evacuation was completed on 29 December 2017, with 17 children, six women, and six men transferred to hospitals in Damascus, where they are being treated for serious injuries or medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and kidney failure. Eastern Ghouta has been besieged by government forces for six years; the area is home to around 400,000 civilians.

We will continue monitoring the situation in Eastern Ghouta and will be sharing all relevant updates and actions on our story page, available here.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

UKRAINE

Urgent Action: Police Must Protect Women’s Rights Activists

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Across Ukraine, marches marking International Women’s Day, on 8 March, were marred by violence against peaceful demonstrators. Far-right groups physically attacked and have threatened with further violence women’s rights activists taking part in the event. The local police say that they are unable to offer protection from far-right groups.

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UZBEKISTAN

Urgent Action Update: Tortured Journalist Must Be Immediately Released

On 8 February, human rights activists reported that two SNB officers leading the investigation on the case against detained journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev had been suspended and that the General Prosecutor’s Office had initiated investigations into allegations of torture and fabrication of a criminal case. Bobomurod Abdullayev, however, remains in SNB detention.

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MÉXICO

Urgent Action: 48 Asylum Seekers at Risk of Refoulement

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48 people including families and children, who came to Mexico looking for protection, are at risk of being deported to possible persecution or grave human rights violations in their countries due to unusual failures in the procedures of Mexico´s refugee agency and migration authority.

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COLOMBIA

Urgent Action: Indigenous Yukpa People Face Eviction

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An elder Yukpa woman is braiding a basket that are sold to help support the community [Bram Ebus/Al Jazeera]

Yukpa indigenous people that crossed to Colombia are facing eviction and threat of being sent back to Venezuela violating their rights as a binational population. The Colombian State is denying their right to remain in the country and their rights as Indigenous Peoples.

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