Category Archives: Human Rights

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update July 30-August 5

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

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

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”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

We call your attention to Catapult an organization committed to the advancement of women and girls. Their mission:

Catapult is a new way to take action for girls and women’s equality and rights. The problem we’re trying to solve is simple. The people and organizations fighting for the rights of girls and women need our support.

That’s why we built Catapult – to transform individual generosity into the power of shared, collective action. Through the open democracy of the web, we support girls and women working on the front lines for their equal and human rights.

“The only thing that changes this world is taking action.”
– Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams.

Please open the site and choose one or more of their over 400 projects for achieving rights and equality to enhance the quality of life for girls and women. The organization is supported by many world famous philanthropic organizations including the Gates, MacArthur and Kellogg Foundations.

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 is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

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

Congolese officials hand the top official (and WWF employee) of Salonga National Park an assault rifle. Some of the park’s guards have been accused of gang rape, torture and murder.© Sinziana-Maria Demian / WWF

This is colonialism pure and simple: powerful global interests are shamelessly taking land and resources from vulnerable people while claiming they are doing it for the good of humanity.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each 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 raise your voice to call for an end to forced child marriages , which have become more endemic during the current pandemic.

URGENT ACTION CASES

CUBA

Urgent Action Victory! Opposition Leader Released from Prison

After being in detention since October 2019, José Daniel Ferrer García was sent to house arrest in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on April 2020, after a trial where he was convicted and sentenced to four and a half years. Although no independent monitoring or international press was allowed during his trial, in a country where irregularities in due process of law in cases related to freedom of expression have been documented for decades, he is now back with his family. We will continue to monitor his case.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 1 October 2019, Cuban authorities detained José Daniel Ferrer García, leader of the unofficial political opposition group “Patriotic Union of Cuba” (Unión Patriótica de Cuba – UNPACU) in Santiago de Cuba. He was held incommunicado for 72 hours and remained in detention without charges for at least 30 days, according to information available to Amnesty International.

In late November 2019, Amnesty International received a document, apparently issued by the Provincial Prosecutor of Santiago de Cuba, dated 7 October 2019, stating that José Daniel Ferrer García had been charged with the offence of “injuries” (lesiones) and placed in preventive detention as a precautionary measure. This document was given to his family more than 30 days after his detention, according to their reports. Amnesty International sent an open letter to the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, reiterating our request to visit Cuba and monitor in situ his forthcoming trial. The Cuban government never replied to our request.

On 20 February 2020, his family declared receiving information that José Daniel Ferrer García had been scheduled for trial for February 26, 2020. His family also reported that two defense witnesses were allegedly harassed by security agents, days before the trial. Amnesty International has documented for decades government control over the judiciary.

After a trial tainted by irregularities, Ferrer García was sentenced to 4 and a half years of house arrest on April 2020. The Cuban authorities prevented the press, the European Union and Amnesty International from monitoring his trial on 26 February. On the day of his trial, Cuba’s Ministry of Justice tweeted that José Daniel Ferrer would get a fair trial, but in the same tweet called him “a common criminal”, in violation of his right to the presumption of innocence.

Although it was good news that José Daniel Ferrer García was finally able to go home, instead of remaining in prison, where he would be at greater risk of COVID-19, his conviction and sentencing is still shameful. We will continue to monitor his case.

After his release, José Daniel Ferrer García deeply thanked Amnesty International for all the support and hard work on his behalf and reconfirmed his commitment to continue his efforts despite the sentencing.

MEXICO

Urgent Action Victory! Government Confirms Funding for Women’s Rights

On 23 April, the Mexican government suspended funding for different programs to attend the COVID-19 pandemic, including that of the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Women Shelters (CAMIs). The government had not been transparent about how these cuts could affect other programs that support and care for women victims of violence. On 14 July 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced publicly that the austerity measures would not affect the budget of the programs addressing women’s rights and violence against women.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 23 April 2020, the President announced shortages to the federal budget for 2020 to mitigate the socio-economic consequences created by COVID-19. The put at risk several social programs, including those addressing gender-based violence in the country.

Resources for the program to strengthen Indigenous peoples, which includes resources for the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Women Shelters (CAMIs), were temporarily suspended. Because of this suspension, nearly a third of them stopped providing the comprehensive care they were providing up until May, which undermines the right of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican women to live without violence and their access to justice.

Since April’s announcement, the government had failed to clarify if and how these budget cuts could affect other programs aimed at care and support women that have been victims of violence and other women’s rights programs.

On 14 July 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced publicly that the austerity measures would not affect the budget initially allocated to the various deconcentrated bodies dealing with women’s rights and violence against women therefore, action is no longer required.

Despite not having received a formal response yet to the Urgent Action and the Open Letter sent by Amnesty International, the announcement made by the Ministry of the Interior indicates that the objective has been met. We will continue to monitor that in reality the different institutions supporting women’s rights are fully funded and can develop their essential work.

HONDURAS

Urgent Action: Indigenous Human Rights Activists Missing

Unknown individuals, wearing police-type clothing took four Garifuna activists, Alberth Snider Centeno Tomas, President of the Board of Triunfo de la Cruz on behalf of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Gerardo Mizael Rochez Cálix and Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, members of the OFRANEH, and a fifth person, Junior Rafael Juárez Mejía, from their homes on 18 July 2020. They have been missing since then. The Secretary of Security ordered a search operation, but their whereabouts remain unknown. We demand authorities determine their whereabouts, ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation into the case, and bring those responsible for their disappearance to justice.

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ARGENTINA

Urgent Action: Disappeared During Covid-19 Quarantine

22-year old Facundo Astudillo Castro went missing on 30 April 2020. Police arrested him in Mayor Buratovich in the Province of Buenos Aires for violating the COVID-19 quarantine imposed by the State at the national level. Contradicting police accounts and other testimonies lead to a presumption of responsibility by the police officers involved. On 2 July his family filed a federal complaint to start investigations into Facundo’s disappearance. Facundo is still missing. We demand authorities determine Facundo’s whereabouts, ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation into the case, and bring those responsible for his disappearance to justice.

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GERMANY

NGG (THE FOOD, BEVERAGES AND CATERING UNION (GERMAN: GEWERKSCHAFT NAHRUNG-GENUSS-GASTSTÄTTEN, NGG is a trade union in Germany) SAYS VOLUNTARISM HAS FAILED, DEMANDS STRICT REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT TO TACKLE ABUSIVE CONDITIONS BEHIND CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAKS IN MEAT PROCESSING!

Please read this and send it to all your networks. As in many places, this kind of work is done by underpaid and unprotected migrant workers. The German government must take positive steps to protect these workers.

New coronavirus hotspots have erupted in Germany’s meat processing plants, spotlighting again the massive abuse of subcontracted migrant labour on which the industry depends. More than 1,500 workers have been infected with COVID-19 at the giant Tönnies plant (over 6,500 workers) in Rheda-Wiedenbrück alone, where local authorities have re-imposed strict lockdowns just as economic activity was reviving.

In May, the federal cabinet introduced proposed legislation, effective January 1 2021, to ban the system of subcontracting slaughter and processing operations through which the companies rely on migrant workers from Eastern Europe for the bulk of their production. Subcontracting employment shields companies like Tönnies, Germany’s largest pork processor, from responsibility for the abusive and exploitative living and working conditions which blight the industry. The draft legislation would require the meat companies to directly employ their workforce, impose new oversight of working hours and payment and enforce strict liability for violations.

Companies initially responded by threatening to leave Germany. Following the latest outbreaks, on June 23, Tönnies joined with two other leading companies in a pledge to voluntarily renounce subcontracting. The NGG, which has been fighting for years to raise standards in the meat industry, denounced the companies’ declaration as a smokescreen to avoid strict legal regulation, emphasizing that ‘Voluntary solutions in the meat industry have never worked and will not work. Working and living conditions in the meat industry will only be improved through strong laws.’

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update July 23-29

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

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

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”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

This week we call your attention to Reporters without Borders, the world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defense of media freedom, which we regard as the basic human right to be informed and to inform others.

The most horrible story we have from RSF is that of the following four Yemini journalists.

It’s hard to imagine four journalists being subjected to the most barbaric and archaic form of punishment in 2020. However, capital punishment is still common in some parts of the world, and journalists can be executed for daring to speak out. This is the case in Yemen, where four journalists were sentenced to death by Houthi rebels in April for allegedly spying for Saudi Arabia. Since their abduction in 2015, they have been secretly moved from prison to prison in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and subjected to violent interrogations. These four journalists could now be executed at any moment. 

Abdul Khaleq Amran edited the Al-Islah Online website and ran Yemen Revolution Press. His staff covered the Yemeni civil war, documented crimes committed by the Houthis and interviewed the Houthis’ opponents.

Akram Al-Walidi supervised the staff of the Alrabie-ye.net news website and the government news agency SABA. He gathered information about developments in the fighting from the Al-Islah party’s side, using reliable sources.

Hareth Humaid was head of news at Yemen Revolution Press, covering Houthi human rights violations, including abductions and bombardments of civilians.

Tawfiq Al-Mansouri worked for the daily newspaper Al-Masdar until it stopped publishing when the Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015. He then joined Yemen Revolution Press doing layout and graphic design.

All are suffering from the severe physical and psychological after effects of repeated torture and beatings as they wonder if and when the Houthi authorities will execute their death sentences. Neither their lawyers nor their families were told in advance that they were going to be sentenced. Support our campaign against this archaic punishment, which is the worst possible way to restrict freedom of the press. If you want, you can make a donation now to help our activities in the field.

Thank you for your support.

The RSF team
 

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 is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the Jawara people of the Andaman Islands. Please read this somewhat long description of the Jawara people and the problems that they face.

The Jarawa thatch their shelters with leaves from the forest.
© Survival

Act now to help the Jarawa

Survival’s Andamans campaign focuses on the Jarawa, because their situation is the most precarious of the four tribes. Your support is vital for the Jarawa’s survival. There are lots of ways you can help.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each 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 raise your voice to call for survivor and migrant access to healthcare.

https://cdns.freedomunited.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/26041639/face-mask-970x500-1.jpg

URGENT ACTION CASES

IRAQ

Urgent Action Victory! Teacher and Protest Organizer Released on Bail

On 30 May 2020, teacher and activist Badal Abdulbaqi Aba Bakr Barwari was released on bail. On 16 May 2020 armed members of local police as well as security forces arrested him in Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, without a warrant. He was charged with “the misuse of electronic devices” for his role in organizing peaceful protests through social media platforms. While the charges related to Badal Barwari’s freedom of speech and peaceful assembly have not been dropped, no court date has been set.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

On 31 May 2020, teacher and activist Badal Abdulbaqi Aba Bakr Barwari was released on bail from a detention center in Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I). While the charges related to Badal Barwari’s freedom of speech and peaceful assembly have not been dropped, no court date has been set and is unlikely to be set soon given lockdown measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the KR-I. According to his family and lawyer, based on previous patterns, it is likely that the charges will be dropped or that Badal Barwari will be sentenced to pay a fine as no damages or violence occurred during the protests that he took part in organizing.

On May 16 2020, armed members of the local police in Duhok as well as Asayish [General Security Forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)] officers arrested 55-year-old teacher Badal Abdulbaqi Aba Bakr Barwari from his home in Duhok, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) without a warrant and without informing him of the reason for his arrest or where he was being taken to.

On 18 May 2020, a court in Duhok ordered his release on bail pending a court hearing being set after being formally charged with protesting without permission under the KRI Protest Law No. 17 of 2010. However, Badal was not released and was instead charged in a new case with inciting a riot under Article 2 of KR-I Law No. 6 of 2008 for the “the misuse of electronic devices” and he was kept in detention.

Badal Barwari, and other protest organizers, had on 12 May 2020 applied to the local authorities in Duhok for a permit to protest. However, this request had gone unanswered. The law stipulates however that prior notice of 48 hours grants permission automatically even if unanswered.

Amnesty International will be closely monitoring any developments regarding the case of Badal Barwari and, where necessary, take the appropriate action on his behalf.

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Covid-19 Activist Held Incommunicado for Months

No contact has been made with human rights defender Chen Mei since he was taken away by police in Beijing on 19 April 2020. Not knowing anything about his condition or whereabouts for nearly two months, Chen’s family were finally told on 12 June that he is being detained at Chaoyang Detention Center in Beijing on criminal charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Chen remains detained incommunicado and, without access to a lawyer of his choice, is at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Urgent Action Prominent Legal Scholar Held Incommunicado

Prominent legal scholar and activist Xu Zhiyong, who has been held incommunicado for five months, has been formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power”. Along with more than 10 human rights defenders, Xu was detained by police after joining a social gathering in Xiamen. Held in secret detention, Xu has had no access to his family and lawyers of his choice and is at imminent risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

INDIA

Stop the attack on workers’ rights in India!

In May, the IUF sounded the alarm on the legislative attack on fundamental workers’ rights in India. The attack continues, and we’ve joined with our sister international federations and the ITUC in an online Labor Start campaign to stop the attack on rights. Join this campaign to send a message to the Indian authorities demanding these measures be withdrawn – now is the time to strengthen, not demolish worker rights and social protection!

Under cover of the COVID-19 emergency the state governments of Uttar Pradesh (India’s most populous state), Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, have suspended minimum wages, extended the legal working day from 8 to 12 hours and introduced legal changes to facilitate the wholesale replacement of permanent workers by precarious contract workers and weaken labor inspection, social security and pension protection, among other measures. Other states are following suit.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update July 16-22

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

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

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”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

An MSF doctor examines a young patient, Central African Republic

Now we call your attention to the Fistula Foundation. This is an obstetric condition caused by long and intense labor. In the industrialized surgical remedy is readily available and it can also be prevented by a Caesarean section. In the Third World it is a catastrophe that can ruin a woman’s life. An obstetric fistula occurs when a mother has a prolonged, obstructed labor, but does not have access to emergency medical care, such as a C-section. She often labors in excruciating pain for days. Tragically, her baby usually dies.

During her prolonged labor, the mother’s contractions continually push the baby’s head against her pelvis. Soft tissues caught between the baby’s head and her pelvic bone become compressed, restricting the normal flow of blood.

Without adequate blood supply, sections of tissue soon die, leaving holes—known as “fistulae” —between the mother’s vagina and her bladder or rectum. It is these holes that cause incontinence. If untreated, the woman will uncontrollably leak urine, stool, or sometimes both, for the rest of her life. Obstetric fistula ranks as one of humanity’s most disabling injuries—but it can be cured by a surgery that costs $586. The mission of the Fistula Foundation–“With each surgery we provide, we know that we can help change one woman’s world forever. And we know that the ripple effect of her restored health—on both her family and community—is profound.” Please support this worthy cause.

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 is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

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

A Baka child

We call upon you to take steps to halt the abuse of the people who are being displaced and abused by the WWF.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each 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 raise your voice to call for an end to trafficking for organ harvesting.

URGENT ACTION CASES

AZERBAIJAN

Urgent Action Victory! Activist Released from Psychiatric Hospital

Opposition activist Agil Humbatov was released from a psychiatric hospital in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, on 1 July. He was forcibly placed there on 2 April after he criticized the authorities’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

Agil Humbatov, a member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), was released on 1 July from the Psychiatric Hospital №1 in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. He was forcibly placed there on 2 April, in retaliation for his criticism of the authorities, and was administered medication without his free and informed consent or a justified necessity.

On 30 March, police arrested Agil Humbatov after he posted a video on social media criticizing the government’s failure to help families who struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic. The next day, police officers took him to the Psychiatric Hospital №1, where he was confined as a patient purportedly suffering from paranoia. On 1 April, the Sabunchu District Court rejected the hospital’s application for his forced hospitalization and ordered his release.

On 2 April, police re-arrested Agil Humbatov and took him back to the hospital after he posted another video on social media saying that he was forcibly hospitalized in deplorable conditions because of his political views. On 3 April, the Baku Court of Appeals overturned the previous court decision and approved his forced hospitalization without any substantial evidence that would justify his internment in a psychiatric hospital.

Agil Humbatov was released on 1 July without any explanation or medical documents. Prior to his release Amnesty International members received letters from the head of the hospital, promising Agil Humbatov’s prompt release.

EGYPT

Zyad el-Elaimy

Urgent Action Update: Detained Lawyer Denied Adequate Health Care

Human rights lawyer and former parliamentarian, Zyad el-Elaimy, is being denied adequate health care by the Tora prison authorities, amid concerns that his underlying medical conditions put him at particular risk if exposed to COVID-19. Zyad has been arbitrarily detained for over a year, along with journalists and politicians, Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad, and 12 others over charges that relate to their peaceful political activities.

TAKE ACTION

ZIMBABWE

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is joana-mamombe-netsai-marova-and-cecilia-chimbiri.jpg

Urgent Action Update: Tortured Activists Released on Bail

Three activists, Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova who were abducted, sexually violated and tortured in May 2020, were released on bail following their appeal to the High Court. The activists were arrested on 10 June, a few days after being discharged from hospital. Adding to previous charges of breach of peace and violating lockdown regulations, the authorities accused them of lying about their torture and charged them with communicating or publishing false statement prejudicial to the state according Section 31 (a)(1)(iii) and defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(f) of the Criminal Law Act.

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RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action Update: Journalist Convicted But Given Lenient Sentence

Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva was found guilty of “justification of terrorism” and fined 500,000 roubles (about $7,000) on 6 July. The court rejected the prosecutor’s request to imprison her for six years and ban her from any journalistic work for further four years. Svetlana Prokopyeva has committed no crime and is penalized for criticizing the government.

We have received updated information regarding this case and require no further action from the Urgent Action Network. Thank you to all those who sent appeals. For more information about this case, please see the Word/PDF attachments below or email uan@aiusa.org.

USA

Urgent Action: Free Families From Immigration Detention

On 26 June 2020, a federal judge in the USA ordered immigration authorities to release all children from family immigration detention facilities, which the judge declared were “on fire” with COVID-19. Authorities must comply but release all families together to protect them from the pandemic while maintaining their family unity. The alternative – releasing the children but continuing to detain their parents – would constitute family separation, a practice that in some cases can constitute torture under US and international law. We demand authorities release all families together.

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AFGHANISTAN

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defenders Under Attack


Afghanistan’s human rights community is under intensifying attack from both the authorities and armed groups as human rights defenders and activists face intimidation, harassment, threats and violence. Against the backdrop of escalating violence in Afghanistan, human rights defenders and activists have been largely ignored by the Afghan government and the international community. The government of Afghanistan needs to immediately adopt an independent, effective and implementable protection mechanism for HRDs in the country, to ensure their safety and support.

TAKE ACTION

ZIMBABWE

Drop charges and reinstate dismissed nurses now!

The Zimbabwean government has arrested 13 nurses who were protesting their deteriorating pay and working conditions. They have since been released on bail but have been dismissed. With the inflation rate hovering around 1000 the cost of living has risen so rapidly and steeply as to render public sector salaries almost worthless. Please support the demand for salary increases, PPE for protection, release of the detained nurses and their immediate reinstatement.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update, July 9-16

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

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

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”.

Despite the apparent easing of the pandemic we turn our attention to other burning needs. We strongly encourage you to continue to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

We call your attention to Labour Start, a web site and more that fights for the rights of working people around the world. They are a major source to this blog for labor actions. You may donate to support them here.

WINGS FOR SPECIAL KIDS.

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

INDIGENOUS 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 is an essential feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the Bushmen of Southern Africa. They were evicted from their homes because of the discovery of diamonds there and since then have been living a precarious life in refugee camps.

Bushman woman Xoroxloo Duxee from the Metsiamenong community, died of dehydration and starvation in 2005 after the government blockaded the reserve and armed guards prevented her people from hunting, gathering or obtaining water, Botswana.
© Survival International

Please try to help them.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

The purpose of this section of the blog is to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. Each 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 raise your voice to call for the end of forced labor in Eritrea.

URGENT ACTION CASES

CHINA

Urgent Action Victory! Female Activist Released After Incommunicado Detention


Li Qiaochu, an active defender of the rights of women and workers, has been released on bail and returned home in good health on 19 June 2020. Detained incommunicado since 16 February 2020, her arrest is suspected to be related to her activism against gender violence and the fact that her partner, Xu Zhiyong, attended an informal gathering of lawyers and activists in Xiamen in December 2019.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

Li was taken away by police in Beijing on 16 February 2020, but the authorities only confirmed two months later that she was being held under “residential surveillance in a designated location” in April 2020.

Li Qiaochu is a well-regarded researcher on labor rights and has been a peaceful advocate against gender-based violence for many years. It is believed that Li’s peaceful activism, and close association with other activists, was the primary reason for her detention.

It is rare for a Chinese human rights defender to be released in such a short time frame, and it is believed that this is a result of global mobilization around her case. Expressing their appreciation for those who took action and contributed to Li Qiaochu’s release, Li and her family said:

“Thank you to all friends who care about Li Qiaochu”

(“谢谢所有朋友的关心”- 李翘楚和家人”)

Li Qiaochu’s status means that the authorities have not yet dropped the charges against her. As it is common for human rights defenders in China to continue to face surveillance after being released from detention, Amnesty International will continue to monitor Li Qiaochu’s situation and respond to any negative developments if required.

MEXICO

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse2.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.EsL3Xr6tHeiYpUp1QeB1BgHaD4%26pid%3DApi&f=1

Urgent Action: Women’s Rights Protection at Risk

On 23 April, the Mexican government suspended funding for different programs to attend the COVID-19 pandemic, including that of the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Women Shelters (CAMIs). These shelters provide direct support to victims of violence and undertake prevention work. The government has not been transparent about how these cuts could affect other programs that support and care for women victims of violence. We call on the government to ensure all programs protecting women against violence have access to resources to continue their vital work.

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VENEZUELA

Urgent Action Update: Incommunicado Detainee Now Indicted

Maury Carrero, detained arbitrarily in April 2020 by officers of the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) in Caracas, was indicted on 19 May by the prosecution. She is accused of ‘concealing firearms’ and ‘association to commit crimes’, both under counterterrorism laws. With almost no contact with her attorneys and family since 1 May, she remains at risk of torture. We demand Maury’s release, protection for her integrity while in custody and respect for all due process guarantees during her trial.

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PHILIPPINES

Urgent Action Update: Protesters Seeking Relief to Be Arraigned

Peaceful protesters, who had gathered to demand government aid during the COVID-19 community quarantine, were violently dispersed by the police on 1 April 2020, resulting in 21 protesters being arrested & detained. The protesters, who have since been released on bail, will be informed of the charges against them and expected to enter their plea on 28 August. We continue to call on the police to drop all charges against them as these are either contrary to international human rights law or carry penalties that will disproportionately affect the group and that the authorities investigate the police’s use of force at the protest.

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USA

Urgent Action: Free Asylum Seeker at Risk of Deportation (: UA 112.20)

Steven Tendo is a 35-year-old pastor and asylum-seeker who fled from torture and other severe human rights violations in Uganda and requested asylum in the USA. Since December 2018 he has been detained at an immigration detention facility in Los Fresnos, Texas. He is at risk of being imminently returned to danger in Uganda while his health is deteriorating from inadequate medical care for diabetes amidst a COVID-19 outbreak in the detention facility. We demand authorities stop Pastor Steven’s deportation and release him immediately on parole while he continues to fight for the right to seek asylum.

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WORLDWIDE

Facebook and Its Big Tech Cronies Are Upgrading Their Anti-Union Tools

Recently, Facebook unveiled its new Facebook Workplace, a Slack Connect-like intranet-style chat and office collaboration tool that allows administrators to censor certain words, company spokespeople explained, such as “UNIONIZE.” The Workplace program with built-in labor suppression is simply the most recent example that suggests, contrary to stereotypes of open and egalitarian corporate cultures, big tech is not that different from Walmart when it comes to its attitudes towards unions. In a detailed analysis in Truthout, the antiunion and repressive strategies of several tech giantsl are discussed in detail.

We ask you to spread the article around and make your protest be heard on all your social media, including and especially Facebook. You might consider alternate browsers such as duckduckgo to avoid patronizing Google. Spread the word everywhere!!!

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Action Update July 2-8

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

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”

“Racial oppression is a traumatic form of interpersonal violence which can lacerate the spirit, scar the soul, and puncture the psyche.” — Kenneth V. Hardy

Before we get into our usual human rights business, we would like to share with you a letter to white people written by Carol Wall who is a long-time union educator, social-justice and community activist in Canada. It applies, alas, everywhere.

Black Lives Matter rally on June 5 in Iqaluit, Nunavut organized by the Nunavut Black History Society. PHOTOGRAPH: SIMA SAHAR ZEREHI

CHARITY CORNER

With the apparent easing of the pandemic we turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

MSF in action

Now we call your attention to the additional plague that has struck East Africa.

Locusts in their uncounted millions are destroying the food supply for people all ready hit by Covid-19.

This map shows the geography and timeline of the current desert locust infestation, starting in the Arabian Peninsula in 2018. ©FAO/Desert Locust Information Service

We call on you to support the efforts of Mercy Corps to both help covid victims and to create locust information networks and to cooperate with governments to help the people survive the infestation and build back for the future.

WINGS FOR SPECIAL KIDS.

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

INDIGENOUS 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 is an essentail feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.

A major calamity for indigenous people is the lack of respect for their basic human rights.Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. We fight for tribal peoples’ survival. We stop loggers, miners, and oil companies from destroying tribal lands, lives and livelihoods across the globe. We lobby governments to recognize indigenous land rights. We document and expose the atrocities committed against tribal people and take direct action to stop them. Our vision is a world where tribal peoples are respected as contemporary societies and their human rights protected. This week we call your attention to the Uncontacted Frontier, a region that straddles the borders of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia – home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on the planet. Take action now to protect these tribes.

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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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 raise your voice to call for freedom for the enslaved Uyghurs in China.

URGENT ACTION CASES

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Defender and Doctor on Trial

The trial of Yana Antonova, a human rights defender and pediatrician from Krasnodar, southern Russia, resumed on 23 June. She faces up to six years in prison for commemorating a slain activist and other peaceful activities as a member of the “undesirable organization” Open Russia.

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MOZAMBIQUE

Urgent Action Update: Refugees and Asylum Seekers Must Be Released

Fifteen people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one person from Ethiopia have been arbitrarily detained in Pemba, northeast Mozambique, for more than a year and six months in appalling conditions. Their prolonged arbitrary detention in the context of COVID-19 pandemic puts them at heightened health risk.

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USA

Urgent Action: Man Faces Execution For Crime When Aged 18

Billy Wardlow’s execution is scheduled for 8 July 2020. He is on death row in Texas, USA in connection with the 1993 murder of an 82-year-old man when he was just 18 years old. The jury that sentenced Billy Wardlow was never presented mitigating evidence. Since 2005, it’s unconstitutional to impose a death sentence on anyone younger than 18 when the crime occurred. Scientific research shows that development of the brain and psychological and emotional maturation continues into a person’s 20s. Two jurors now believe that he should serve a life sentence instead. We urge Governor Abbott to grant clemency.

TAKE ACTION

CZECH REPUBLIC

Stop union busting at Ryanair

Cabin crew union B.United was recently registered in the Czech Republic, representing direct Ryanair employees and agency workers. The workers notified Ryanair on 28 May that the union exists and requested an emergency meeting on 1 June. A day later, on 29 May, three union leaders — Matteo Pizzolato, Andrea Schiraldi, Izhar Arcos Poveda — were fired by Ryanair. This is a clear attack on the right to organise of all Ryanair workers and an extreme intimidation tactic. The workers are determined to oppose these actions with the help of the Czech union Odborový svaz dopravy (OSD). Please support their struggle.

he Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Action Update June 11-17

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human rights defender

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER


With the apparent easing of the pandemic we turn our attention to other burning needs. We still encourage you to support Doctors without Borders who are fighting the virus in the places with the greatest need of support.

Infection disease plague the world cholera, malaria, measles, meningitis and a group of often-overlooked diseases spread by viruses and parasites, in particular the current scourge Corona virus.

Now we call your attention to the Malala Fund. This is a an international, non-profit organization that fights for girls’ education. It was co-founded by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and her father, Ziauddin.

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Malala Yousafzai human rights fighter
Malala a human rights fighter

The Malala Fund breaks down the barriers preventing more than 130 million girls around the world from going to school. Malala nearly paid for her advocacy with her life and is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The fund is very worthy of your support.

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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is forced contact with outsiders. Please raise your voice for them and their right to live as they choose. In particular, the Covid19 virus is particularly dangerous for the tribes in the Brazilian jungles. Throughout the world there are many tribes who choose to avoid contact with the outside world. Today they are under a threat of extinction from Covid-19 and should be protected. It matters not whether death is brought by miners and loggers or by missionaries.

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

Aboriginal cave art, Australia.
© John Miles/Survivalnal art

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 raise your voice against the the modern enslavement of prisoners, in particular black people in the United States.

The link contains an opinion piece for TRT World, in which journalist and analyst CJ Werleman argued that those who condemn the looting that has taken place the U.S. in the wake of George Floyd’s death are shamefully silent when corporations, such as Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, and Target, among many others, effectively loot black communities.

URGENT ACTION CASES

MALTA

Urgent Action Victory! Asylum-Seekers Allowed to Disembark

Maltese authorities finally allowed the disembarkment of all asylum-seekers held on four ferry boats off Malta’s territorial waters in the night of 6-7 June. The approximately 425 asylum-seekers had been transferred to the ferry boats after their rescue in the central Mediterranean. The disembarkment puts an end to their arbitrary and indefinite detention on the ferries, which for some of them, lasted over a month.

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

In the night between 6 and 7June Maltese authorities finally allowed the disembarkment of approximately 425 asylum-seekers who were being held on four ferry boats off Malta’s territorial waters. These asylum-seekers had been transferred to ferry boats chartered by Malta – private vessels used for coastal tourism – after being rescued in the central Mediterranean and were held in arbitrary and indefinite detention in conditions that were inadequate, in some cases for over a month. The disembarkment puts an end to the ordeal of the asylum-seekers on the ferry boats.

Since April 2020, Malta used Covid-19 to justify a decision not to authorize the disembarkment of people rescued in the central Mediterranean. Following several incidents involving failure to attend to boats in distress, Maltese authorities decided to transfer asylum-seekers rescued at sea to ferry boats, with the aim of forcing European Member States to relocate asylum-seekers and share the responsibility for their assistance.

After their rescue in different operations between the end of April and May, approximately 425 asylum-seekers were held on four ferry boats belonging to two private companies, Captain Morgan and Supreme Cruises, off Malta’s territorial waters. Despite the ferry boats being unsuited to cater for the needs of those rescued at sea and unequipped for long stays, Maltese authorities arbitrarily detained asylum-seekers offshore, without indicating the expected length of their detention. Maltese authorities did not provide any justification for the detention either. Deprived of any contacts with the outside world, including UNHRC and any access to lawyers and information, asylum-seekers were de facto denied access to asylum and any effective remedy to challenge their arbitrary detention.

CHINA

Uyghur Businessman Imprisoned in Secret Trial

Abuduaini Kadier, a Uyghur businessman who was secretly tried and sentenced to seven years in prison, is believed to have been detained in connection with a 2016 holiday he took to Egypt in which he paid for several other Uyghurs’ airfare. No information about his condition or even the charges against him have been shared with his family to date, and without regular access to family and legal representation, there are grave concerns for Abuduaini Kadier’s condition and wellbeing.

TAKE ACTION

ZIMBABWE

Urgent Action: Hospitalized Activists Risk Being Jailed


On 13 May, three opposition activists, member of parliament Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, were arrested at a police roadblock in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, for leading an anti-government protest over the authorities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread hunger in the country. On the same day, they were forcibly disappeared from police custody. During their abduction, they were sexually assaulted and tortured. On 15 May, they were found abandoned in Bindura, 87km from Harare, and have since been in hospital. No investigation has been initiated into their disappearance and their credible allegations of torture, including sexual assault. On 26 May, police charged the activists with gathering with intent to promote public violence and breach of peace.

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RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action: Shaman in Psychiatric Detention for Criticizing Putin

On 2 June, the Yakutsk City Court approved the indefinite forcible psychiatric hospitalization of Aleksandr Gabyshev, a shaman who in 2019 announced he would march on foot from Yakutsk, in east Siberia, to Moscow “to purge” President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin. Aleksandr Gabyshev is being targeted for his open criticism of the authorities and should not be arbitrarily deprived from his freedom or administered any medical treatment without his free and informed consent. Please support the workers.

TAKE ACTION

MALAYSIA

Stop union busting at Edgenta UEMS

UEM Group Berhad, a Malaysian government linked company (GLC), through its subsidiary, Edgenta UEMS, is currently engaged in a vicious union busting campaign, aggressively victimizing frontline hospital cleaners and their worksite union officials. Please suppot the workers.

PERU

Reinstate workers sacked for demanding protection from Covid-19

UNI Commerce calls upon trade unions and workers worldwide to urge Falabella (a Chilean multinational home retailer) to reinstate 22 workers who have been dismissed for asking for better protection against Covid-19 in Peru. Following a temporary closure, the distribution centre of Falabella has been recently reopened in Peru. However, the company did not take necessary measures to protect workers from Covid-19. 22 workers used their legal right to refrain from work until precautions are properly placed. This action pushed the company to take better measures. The 22 workers returned to work; but the company dismissed all 22 workers without any compensation. While there are already at least 30 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the distribution centre, Falabella management prefers to fight against the workers and union instead of working with them to fight against Covid-19.

You can support the 22 Peruvian workers by sending a message to the CEO of the company and the local management.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Blog June 4-10

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human rights defender.

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

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

MSF at work in Nepal
MSF resumes work in South Sudan after a hiatus caused by attacks on staff

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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is forced contact with outsiders. Please raise your voice for them and their right to live as they choose. In particular, the Covid19 virus is particularly dangerous for the tribes in the Brazilian jungles. Throughout the world there are many tribes who choose to avoid contact with the outside world. Today they are under a threat of extinction from Covid-19 and should be protected. It matters not whether death is brought by miners and loggers or by missionaries.

As you can see, the issue is not only Brazil, but worldwide. It goes far beyond the present crisis and has to do with the infringement of their basic rights in the name of so-called “progress.” For example we call your attention to the Baka people of Central Africa.

The Baka

The creation of a new protected area in northwest Congo threatens the survival of the Baka. And it is illegal.

The Baka are being driven from their land for fear of violence at the hands of park rangers, and excluded from the forests they rely on for food and for medicine. The Baka have not given their consent to the park.

Act now before this WWF-funded conservation project brings about the irreversible destruction of the Baka’s way of life.

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 raise your voice against the slave markets that are still running in Libya.

https://www.freedomunited.org/cel/101293

URGENT ACTION CASES

CAMBODIA

Victory for Labor Start Campaign

Union win! Sister Soy Sros release from prison in Cambodia after LabourStart campaign [IndustriALL] 2020-05-30.

You will recall that just two weeks ago we protested here against her detention.

USA

Urgent Action Update: Man with Claims of Innocence Executed in Missouri


Walter Barton was executed on 19 May 2020. He was on death row in Missouri, USA since 2006 for the 1991 murder of a woman and always maintained his innocence. He faced five trials before being convicted and sentenced to death. Expert opinion and evidence, never heard by a trial jury, counter key elements of the prosecution’s theory which led to Barton’s conviction. The 19 May execution was the first in the USA since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. We will continue to urge authorities to end the use of the death penalty and stop any future executions. We have received updated information regarding this case and require no further action from the Urgent Action Network. Thank you to all those who sent appeals.

HUNGARY

Cross dresser

Urgent Action: Protect Transgender and Intersex People’s Rights

On 28 May Hungary’s President signed a new law adopted by parliament on 19 May and whose Article 33 bans legal gender recognition for transgender and intersex people in violation of their human rights. Hungary’s Commissioner for Fundamental Rights must now urgently stop this law by requesting a review by the Constitutional Court. If the Commissioner fails to act quickly, the ban will be a flagrant attack on transgender and intersex people’s rights and will legitimize an increase of attacks and hate crimes against them.

TAKE ACTION

MALTA

Urgent Action Update: Disembark Asylum-Seekers Held on Ferry Boats


Since April, Maltese authorities have transferred asylum-seekers rescued in the central Mediterranean to private vessels used for coastal tourism and, under the pretext of COVID-19, have been holding them for days on those ferry boats off Malta’s territorial waters. The situation on board is becoming unbearable as the boats are not suited for long stays. Maltese authorities should end their arbitrary detention and immediately disembark them in Malta, ensuring they can apply for asylum and access adequate reception.

TAKE ACTION

PERU

Urgent Action: Evictions of Vulnerable People

On 22 May 2020, Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra extended strict measures to tackle COVID-19, including lockdowns and curfews until 30 June. Impacted by these measures, many vulnerable people, such as Venezuelan refugees, were left unprotected, are not able to pay their rent and are being evicted from their homes. A lack of protection of people’s right to housing in the government’s COVID-19 response puts Peruvians and Venezuelans at heightened risk of violations of their rights to housing and health. We call for urgent protection measures for refugees and people living in poverty.

TAKE ACTION

MSF working in South Sudan

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 21-27

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, a great friend and human rights defender

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

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

A woman stops outside the COVID-19 pre-screening tent MSF teams have set up at the entrance of Bamenda’s St Mary Soledad hospital in the country’s northwest region. MSF is supporting regional hospitals here and in the southwest with pre-screening points at hospital entrances, helping implement COVID-19 isolation and treatment wards, and training medical and nonmedical staff. Cameroon 2020 © Freida Nemkul

The MSF team conducting a health education session with refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong, answering many questions to help demystify the disease and address some of their fears and concerns. © Shuk Lim Cheung/MSF
In France, MSF teams are running medical projects for vulnerable groups, including homeless people and migrants, in Paris and surrounding areas. We are working in emergency shelters set up to accommodate people living on the streets during lockdown, providing medical support, evaluating health status, and identifying potential COVID-19 cases. France 2020 © Agnes Varraine-Leca/MSF

We may ask here why the French government is not looking after the people living in the streets of Paris. I commented on this re USA.

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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is forced contact with outsiders. Please raise your voice for them and their right to live as they choose. In particular, the Covid19 virus is particularly dangerous for the tribes in the Brazilian jungles. Throughout the world there are many tribes who choose to avoid contact with the outside world. Today they are under a threat of extinction from Covid-19 and should be protected. It matters not whether death is brought by miners and loggers or by missionaries.

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

We are pleased to announce a victory on behalf of uncontacted tribes in Brazil.

In a landmark ruling, a Brazilian judge has blocked evangelical missionaries from making contact with uncontacted tribes in the Javari Valley, home to the greatest concentration of such peoples anywhere on Earth.

The lawsuit was brought by UNIVAJA, the indigenous organization of the Javari Valley, to counter concerted efforts by the missionaries to reach uncontacted communities.

Kenampa Marubo, leader of UNIVAJA, the indigenous organization of the Javari Valley.© Silia Moan/UNIVAJA.

Contact with outsiders can be lethal for an entire tribe.

The illegal mining and logging going on while the Brazilian government turns a blind eye is having a devastating effect on indigenous uncontacted peoples.

Tupá, a Matis woman, near the Itui river in the Javari Valley, Brazil. The Matis were devastated by western diseases after they were first contacted in the 1970s. Over half of the Matis died in the year following contact. Their numbers have risen from a low of 87 to around 500 today, but the Brazilian government is not doing enough to protect their health.© Fiona Watson/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 raise your voice against the importation of slave produced palm oil. In response to the spread of the virus, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been loosening their regulations. We are concerned this might lead to more exploitation and forced labor on palm oil farms and other exports.

URGENT ACTION CASES

VIET NAM

‘Cam Nang Nuoi Tu’ (A Handbook for Families of Prisoners) is among the titles banned by Vietnam’s government. (Photo courtesy of Liberal Publishing House)

Urgent Action: Independent Booksellers Tortured by Police

Two members of the Liberal Publishing House – a local independent publisher that sells books considered sensitive by the government – have been detained and tortured by police in Ho Chi Minh City. Since early October 2019, police have harassed and intimidated dozens of people connected to the Liberal Publishing House in what appears to be a targeted campaign. The individuals who have been targeted are believed to have either bought or read books printed by the publisher, or to have worked for the publishing house.

TAKE ACTION

ANGOLA

Urgent Action: Activists Facing Harassment and Intimidation

Members of the non-governmental organization Mission of Beneficence Agriculture of Kubando, Inclusive Technologies and Environment (MBAKITA) are facing harassment and intimidation, including death threats and attacks, in Cuando Cubango province, Southern Angola, because of their work for the defense and promotion of the rights of people from ethnic minorities in Southern Angola.

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VENEZUELA

Urgent Action: Arbitrary Detainee Held Incommunicado

On 2 April 2020, officers of the Venezuelan Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) raided the home of Maury Carrero in Caracas (Capital) and detained her arbitrarily for reportedly being linked to an advisor to Juan Guaidó, President of the National Assembly. She has had almost no contact with her attorneys and family and has been held incommunicado since 1 May. Maury Carrero is at risk of torture and enforced disappearance, which are common in the country. We demand Maury’s release as her judicial case is processed, with all due process guarantees, protection of her integrity, and immediate access to her family and lawyers.

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CANADA

Help Protect Food Processing Workers! ACT NOW!

Food processing workers at meat plants across Canada are working hard on the front lines to make protein products for families and neighborhoods across the country.

There have been more than 1,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases of food processing workers, so far. Some of these workers battling COVID-19 are in critical condition and some have died.

The federal government recently announced $77 million for food processing companies – in response to the pandemic – but the details of how the money will be distributed are still uncertain.

Food workers must have a central role in determining the conditions and criteria for the “Emergency Processing Fund.”

CAMBODIA

Release jailed trade union leader

Mrs. Soy Sros, president of the CUMW local union at Superl Cambodia, has been arrested and imprisoned for a Facebook post criticizing the suspension of union members, including a pregnant woman, during the corona virus crisis. On 2 April, she was arrested for ‘provocation’ under the criminal code. She remains in detention and her health is deteriorating. If the site comes up with my details, erase them and put in your own. Sometimes sites are over friendly…

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

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 220px-holbein-erasmus1.jpg
Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

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

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

INDIGENOUS 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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is forced contact with outsiders. Please raise your voice for them and their right to live as they choose. In particular, the Covid19 virus is particularly dangerous for the tribes in the Brazilian jungles. Throughout the world there are many tribes who choose to avoid contact with the outside world. Today they are under a threat of extinction from Covid-19 and should be protected. It matters not whether death is brought by miners and loggers or by missionaries.

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

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

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

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

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

MORE ON GUN VIOLENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breonna Taylor

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

URGENT ACTION CASES

Myanmar

Urgent Action Update: Rakhine Journalist Remains in Hiding

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

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Russian Federation

Urgent Action: Whistleblower Doctor Facing Reprisals

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

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Niger

Urgent Action Update: Three Activists Still Detained

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

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Kenya

Urgent Action: Evicted Residents Vulnerable to Covid-19

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

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INDIA

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

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

Demand Better Protection, Rights

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

INDIA

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

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

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Action Update May 7-13

Our featured image for this week shows the great challenge to humanity. Let us hope that it will vanish soon.

Of course we always show our namesake, our beloved friend and great human rights defender, Miriam (1947-2012)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is miriam1.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 220px-holbein-erasmus1.jpg
Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

CHARITY CORNER

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

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

WINGS FOR SPECIAL KIDS.

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

INDIGENOUS 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.

A major calamity for indigenous people is forced contact with outsiders. Please raise your voice for them and their right to live as they choose. In particular, the Covid19 virus is particularly dangerous for the tribes in the Brazilian jungles. Throughout the world there are many tribes who choose to avoid contact with the outside world. Today they are under a threat of extinction from Covid-19 and should be protected. It matters not whether death is brought by miners and logger or by missionaries.

Uncontacted tribes from Survival International on Vimeo.

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 raise your voice on behalf of hotel workers who are subject to exploitation, sexual harassment and effective modern slavery.

Hotel worker…

A RANT ABOUT THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: SOME THOUGHTS BEFORE THE URGENT ACTIONS

In every document proclaiming human rights, going back as far as the French Revolution and the American Declaration of Independebce and up to the UN Universal Proclamation of Human Rights, the first and most fundamental human right is to life. In our modern world this value seems to have evaporated. Today we would like to rant about killings of human rights activists in Colombia and Pakistan and the murder of a security guard at a department store in Flint, MI, USA by the relatives of a young woman who refused to don a mask. When she had been denied entry to the store and her mother got into a dispute with the guard, her husband and son shot and killed the guard.

Let us look at these events in detail.

COLOMBIA

Since the start of 2020 on average, one social leader in Colombia is killed every other day as Friday marked the 84th killed social leader in the Latin American nation. According to local reports, on Friday as COVID-19 lockdown continues, armed men entered the home of Uenseslao Guerrero, community leader, killing him in the violence-rent southwestern department of Cauca. Guerrero was a prominent human rights defender and the impunity of his killers indicates the callousness and/or the incompetence of the Colombian government.

PAKISTAN

Arif Wazir, a Pushtun rights activist and a central leader of the Pushtun Protection Movement (PTM), died on May 2 after he succumbed to bullet injuries he sustained in a gun attack a day before (May 1) in his native village, close to the border with Afghanistan. For its role in campaigning for the civil rights of Pushtuns, one of the country’s three largest ethnic groups, the PTM has been brutally repressed and vilified by the country’s all-powerful military establishment. The Pakistan government and military establishment have, since 9/11, played a double game of collaborating with the Americans, from whom huge sums were milked, in their struggle against the Taliban and supporting the Taliban simultaneously. Wazir had been in and out of jail on trumped up charges many times and we may be sure that no one will be held accountable for his life.

UNITED STATES

When Sharmel Teague arrived at the Family Dollar across 5th Avenue from the University of Michigan-Flint’s William S. White building on Friday afternoon, she was wearing a protective mask.

Her daughter was not.

After security guard Calvin Munerlyn denied her daughter entry, and then denied Teague service, an altercation erupted that left the 43-year-old father dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

This senseless murder can, without absolving the killers, be laid at the doorstep of Trump and his government. As Prof. Juan Cole writes in his blog, “the tone was set by VP Mike Pence, who broke Mayo Medical Center rules when he visited and was the only one not wearing a mask. Trump has also used his Twitter dog whistle to encourage white supremacists to defy governors on mitigation measures, so he set a tone for this angry, irrational mood.”

We could go on and on with lists of killings for no justification, as if there could be such a justification except to save life and self defense. These three examples suffice. We all need to look at our society in a mirror and ask ourselves where we went wrong. In the US we should hold accountable the majority who oppose gun violence, yet do not bother to vote whereas the NRA enlists its millions of gun-happy fools and no politician dares to cross them. Across the world, in so-called civilized countries, blood flows like water, for an insult to Mohammed (Hebdo Charlie or Danish cartoons) or out of political hatred (Brevik in Sweden), to mention just two. Nations and religious groups must look carefully at their ethos and education of their young people-another pipe dream by a progressive dreamer. Now let us get down to specifics.

URGENT ACTION CASES

COLOMBIA

Jani Silva is not easily scared and continues her struggle despite the threats she receive. Photos by: ANZORC

Urgent Action: Defender at Risk in COVID-19 Quarantine

On 17 April, at around 2:30pm, Jani Silva heard 6 gunshots at less than 30 meters from her residence in Puerto Asís in Putumayo (South West), Colombia. On 22 April, she again heard three gun shots at less than 50 meters from her residence. These two incidents occurred after a confidential source provided information to the Inter-Ecclesiastical Commission of Justice and Peace (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz) in late March about an ongoing plan to kill Jani Silva. We are urging the Ministry of Interior to provide appropriate protection to her.

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COLOMBIA

Urgent Action: Indigenous Community Attacked

On 24 April, at around 11 am, an unknown individual entered the indigenous community of ASEIMPOME, in the Meta Region (Central Colombia). When the indigenous guard was warned, the unknown person set fire to a house. For the past two weeks, two motorcycles have been riding around the community. These two incidents occurred after the Claretian Corporation Norman Perez Bello reported that two unknown and armed men were present near the community on 12 April. We urge authorities to investigate all these incidents, to identify the attackers and stop them from further threatening the indigenous community.

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Female Activist Held Incommunicado for Months

No contact has been made with human rights defender Li Qiaochu since she was taken away by Beijing police on 16 February 2020. Her arrest is suspected to be related to her activism against gender violence and the fact that her partner, Xu Zhiyong, attended an informal gathering of lawyers and activists in Xiamen in December 2019. Detained incommunicado under “residential surveillance in a designated location”, there are grave concerns that Li Qiaochu is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment as she is still without access to her family or a lawyer of her choice.

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Prisoner of Conscience Denied Access to Family

Huang Qi, founder and director of Sichuan-based human rights website “64 Tianwang”, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment following a secret trial in January 2019. His 87-year-old mother has not been able to see him since 2016 and, as her own health continues to deteriorate, she worries that she may never see him again. Huang Qi continues to suffer from serious health concerns of his own and, without access to a lawyer of his choice or his family, he is at real risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

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Belarus VIDEO Campaign for reinstatement of union activist Mikalaj Valadzko [ NEZALEZHNY] 04-05-2020

Please read the details of this unconscionable action of a major German corporation and make it go viral on your social networks.