Category Archives: Arkeeblog

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 24-30

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012) a dear friend and 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 Fistula Foundation. Fistula is a childbirth injury largely eradicated in the developed world, but still devastating women in the poorest countries. It leaves the woman incontinent with catastrophic results for her family and social life.
It’s treatable with life-transforming surgery.

This charity is highly rated by Charity Watch.

 

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 Kawahiva

In the Brazilian Amazon, a tiny group of uncontacted Indians teeters on the brink of extinction. Survival’s global campaign is pushing Brazil’s government to protect their land – the only way they can survive. Please open the link to see the video about them.

The tribe is forced to live on the run, fleeing violence from outsiders. Attacks and disease have killed their relatives.

The loggers are getting closer.

These are the Last of the Kawahiva. And their genocide will be complete unless their land is protected.

You can help us secure it for them: Together, we can give the Kawahiva a future.

 

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 ensure freedom and safety for girls.

Pledge to join the fight for Freedom For Girls

This is a video for girls day, which comes in October. Relevant every day.

 

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

COLOMBIA

Urgent Action Update: Attack Causes Forced Displacement

https://www.aljazeera.com/mritems/Images/2018/3/10/904e0efb64d64dbaa3639f35a2b8b137_18.jpg

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

The binational Indigenous Yukpa people living in Cúcuta, in the east of Colombia, suffered an armed attack on 17 May followed by their forced displacement.

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MEXICO

Urgent Action: Indigenous Defender Killed, Others at Risk

Manuel-Gaspar-puebla-activista1
Indigenous environmental rights defender Manuel Gaspar Rodríguez was found dead on 14 May in Cuetzalan, Puebla state. He was one of a number of defenders facing criminal investigation for their opposition to the construction of a high-voltage power line. These defenders are at grave risk and have recently been subject to attacks and intimidation.

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NIGERIA

Urgent Action: Displaced Women, Children Denied Right to Food

Displaced-North-east-Women-Protest

A group of approximately 230 internally displaced women (known as the Knifar movement) and their children risk starvation as authorities have stopped supplying food to the IDP camp they have been living in since 2017. Food was last delivered to the camp on 18 April and it did not even last one week. There has been no communication from camp authorities on why the supply stopped. Women and their children have been left with no alternative means of getting food.

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ECUADOR

Oil giant Chevron dumped billions of gallons of deadly chemicals in the Ecuadorian Amazon, leaving behind rivers full of toxic waste, decimating wildlife and spreading cancer and death in indigenous communities.

They’ve never cleaned it up! But Chevron’s impunity could finally end if we persuade just one man to do the right thing.

Chevron’s top stockholder is a US retirement fund whose chair has challenged corporate abuse before, and his customers are part of this community! If we flood him with support in the next 24 hours he could tip a historic vote — at Chevron’s shareholder meeting tomorrow. Add your name now!

RUSSIA/SYRIA

Sign the petition to all World Cup 2018 leaders and teams:

“As citizens from around the world, we urge you not to attend Russia’s World Cup unless it stops dropping bombs on children in Syria. No country, team or player should condone these crimes against humanity by lauding the Russian regime at the games. We call on you to make sure sport is used for peace, not to sponsor war.”

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 4-16

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

Holiday greetings and good wishes for

  • Shavuot Jews
  • Ramadan Muslims
  • Pentecost Christians
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)

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the work of the Mercy Corps who are active worldwide. We focus on their work in Venezuela which is rapidly becoming a failed state. The humanitarian crisis there is such that a newborn in Syria has a better chance of survival than a newborn in Venezuela. Please click and donate.

Once people had good jobs, now they struggle to survive from day to day

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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is racism. This week we focus our attention on the so-called Pygmies of Central Africa and their abuse.

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 over 2,000,000 people who’ve taken action to fight against modern slavery. You can make a difference under 30 seconds.

URGENT ACTION CASES

SOUTH KOREA

Urgent Action Victory! – Activist’s Not-Guilty Verdict Upheld on Appeal

Lee Jin-young, operator of the online library ‘Labour Books’, was found not guilty of charges under the National Security Law at the Seoul High Court on 11 April 2018. This verdict was made following an appeal by the prosecution to a ruling on 20 July 2017 which found Lee Jin-young not guilty.

Lee Jin-young, labour activist and owner of the online library ‘Labour Books’, was arrested and detained on 5 January 2017, and officially charged on 3 February, for violating Article 7 of the National Security Law (NSL) after distributing materials that allegedly benefit “anti-government organizations”. Held in detention since his arrest, including periods of solitary confinement, he was finally released on 20 July 2017 after the Seoul Southern District Court ruled that he was not guilty.

Following an appeal to the verdict by the prosecution, a second trial was held at the Seoul High Court and the ruling of not-guilty was upheld on 11 April 2018. While the prosecution can appeal one more time, the risk of the ruling being overturned is considered to be small, and the likelihood that Lee Jin-young may again be detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression is rather low.

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

Israel/OPT

Urgent Action Victory! – Israeli Government Stops Forced Deportations

The Israeli government has declared that it will not pursue forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to third countries under the Israeli ‘Procedure for Deportation to Third Countries’. This follows the release of 280 asylum-seekers who had been detained as a result of the policy, after an order by the High Court of Justice.

Israeli authorities have now declared that they will not forcibly deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers from Israel to an African “third country”. They will no longer be issuing deportation notices and conducting deportation hearings. However, the government has declared that Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers, considered by Israel to be “infiltrators”, will still be encouraged to “voluntarily” leave Israel.

The Israeli authorities should ensure that Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers are provided with documentation allowing them to live and work regularly in Israel and protecting them from unlawful detention and deportation. The authorities should under no circumstance pressure African asylum-seekers to “voluntarily” leave Israel when the time comes to renew their visas, in accordance with their international obligations not to transfer anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, or where they would not be protected against such transfer.

From 4 February 2018, 280 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers who were already held in Holot detention centre, located in the Negev/Naqab desert, were issued deportation notices under Israel’s new ‘Procedure for Deportation to Third Countries’. Having refused to leave Israel, they were then detained in the Saharonim prison while awaiting deportation. All the 280 asylum-seekers were released between 2 and 15 April 2018, as ordered by the High Court of Justice, in the context of a case on the legality of Israel’s deportations to unspecified “third countries” in Africa, widely believed to be Uganda and Rwanda. The High Court ordered the government to stop the deportations after it failed to provide additional information on the deportation agreements. However, the 280 asylum-seekers were only granted one-month visas, which forbid them from working and living in the seven largest cities in Israel.

Those released included “Tesfai” (not his real name), a 29-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker who had his asylum claim rejected without explanation. He was arrested in November 2017 for not having a valid visa. After 100 days in detention, he was told to leave Israel to go to Rwanda. When he refused, he was detained under the new policy introduced by the Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) for not cooperating with his removal.

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

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Poet Under Illegal House Arrest ‘Prepared to Die’

Liu Xia, widow of late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, kept crying during a recent recorded telephone conversation and said that she is prepared to die. Diagnosed as clinically depressed, Liu Xia’s well-being is the subject of serious concern after repeated empty promises by the Chinese authorities to allow her to leave China.

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RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action: Peaceful Protester in Pre-Trial Detention

Image result for Mikhail Tsakunov

On 7 May, Dzerzhinsky District Court in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, remanded Mikhail Tsakunov in pre-trial detention until 4 July for alleged use of violence against a police officer. If found guilty, Mikhail Tsakunov could face 10 years in prison. However, the charges against him contravene publicly available video footage.

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COLOMBIA

Urgent Action Update: Yet Another Environmental Defender Killed

Image result for Hugo Albeiro George Pérez and Luis Alberto Torres Montoya

In less than a week, two members of the Ríos Vivos (Living Rivers) Movement have been killed in Antioquia, Colombia. The lives of other Ríos Vivos members are at risk as they continue demonstrating against the Hidroituango hydroelectric project.

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SUDAN

Urgent Action 19-year-old Noura sentenced to death for killing her rapist.

Demand justice for Noura >

Noura Hussein had already endured rape by the man she was forced to marry. Her husband and rapist, Hammad, got his two brothers and a male cousin to pin her down while he did it. When he tried to rape her again, she used a kitchen knife to protect herself. In the ensuing struggle, Hammad sustained fatal knife wounds. Now, at just 19 years old, Noura has been charged with murder and sentenced to death. We can’t allow this injustice to happen – please help and send an urgent email now to try and get justice for Noura.

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EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Urgent Action: Human Rights Activist Unable to Leave Country

Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist and human rights activist who spent almost five months in prison after being falsely accused of counterfeiting money, remains unable to leave Equatorial Guinea due to authorities failing to provide him with a passport.

TAKE ACTION

Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update April 26-May 2

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

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)

.

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the issue of domestic violence in Israel. We call your attention to the charity No2Violence, founded in 1977 by Ruth Resnick.

“No2Violence” was established in 1977 in Herzliya, in order to save women and children suffering from domestic violence, enabling them to leave and start a new life by providing them with shelter, professional help, vocational training, legal aid and by raising awareness about domestic violence.

“No2Violence”‘s main activity is the management and operation of 3 shelters for abused women and their children.

broken-heart

A drawing  by a child in  a shelter–the words are “broken heart.”

 

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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is forced “development”. Help stamp it out.

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 stop forced labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan!

URGENT ACTION CASES

TURKEY

In Turkey today, it’s dangerous to speak your mind.

Since the July 2016 failed coup attempt, more than 100,000 people have faced criminal investigations and possible prosecution, and more than 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial. Turkey is also the biggest jailer of journalists, with more than 120 finding themselves behind bars, simply for doing their job.

Those who continue to speak out and stand up for human rights in Turkey are paying a heavy price.

Being exposed to smear campaigns on social media and in pro-government media is often just the beginning. At any moment they might be arrested and find themselves in prison for months on baseless charges. This climate of fear leads to self-censorship. Activists start hesitating to raise their voices, knowing they could be thrown in jail for what they say.

As human rights lawyer Eren Keskin told Amnesty: “I try to express my views freely but I am also acutely aware of thinking twice before speaking or writing.”

turkey.jp

Eren Keskin has been repeatedly prosecuted over several decades. ©Amnesty International

Please click and join the campaign.

IRAN

Urgent Action Update: Iranian Trade Unionist on Hunger Strike

Iranian trade unionist Esmail Abdi started a hunger strike on 24 April,
to protest against the treatment of teachers and workers in Iran, on the
one hand, and the denial of his requests for prison leave, on the other.
Esmail Abdi is a prisoner of conscience serving a six-year sentence in
Tehran’s Evin prison for his peaceful trade union activities.

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PAKISTAN

Urgent Action: Disappeared Human Rights Defender at Risk of Torture

Deedar Ali Shabrani, a journalist from Pakistan’s Sindh province, is believed to have been forcibly disappeared and may be at high risk of torture and death. No information about his whereabouts are known since he was taken from his home by armed men in the early hours of 16 December 2017.

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NICARAGUA

Urgent Action: State Repressing Demonstrators

nica

Nicaraguan authorities have responded violently to demonstrations taking place throughout the country by repressing protesters, and violating their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. At least 28 people have been killed in this context since 18 April, including students.

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Chinese Activist’s 8 Year Sentence Upheld

wu-gan-resized
Prominent Chinese activist Wu Gan (better known by his pen name Tufu, ‘The Butcher’) continues to face grave risks of torture and other ill-treatment after the Tianjin Municipal High People’s Court rejected his appeal and upheld his sentence of eight years’ imprisonment for subverting state power.

TAKE ACTION

 

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

darw5j4x4aawaws

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.

TAKE ACTION

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.

TAKE ACTION

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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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action update March 22-28

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)

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:

 

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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”.

 

 

 

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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.

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You can download this book

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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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