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The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Human Rights Action Update October 8-14

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

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

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

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.

Ebola, a race against time

This week our chosen charity is Books for Africa. This is a non profit organization devoted to promoting literacy in Africa by facilitating donations of books. They have up to now donated 50 million books.

The charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator and is 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.

Decolonize Conservation
It’s time to decolonize conservation and put tribal peoples at the forefront of the environmental movement. It’s best for tribes, for nature, for all humanity.

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 conservation racket that is destroying the lives of tribal people.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

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

Look for these logos:

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join <a href="http://Freedom United and raise your voice to call call for justice for Adelina

Ade;lins

Adelina Lisao’s case has captured the attention of many across the world. Adelina was a young Indonesian domestic worker who passed away on February 11, 2018 due to organ failure as a result of allegedly suffering physical and emotional abuse and forced labor at the hands of her employers in a private home for two years.

Adelina was found with a swollen face, bruises all over her body and pus-filled wounds, a result of the burns on her arms and legs. Due to the extent of her injuries which were left untreated, her employers forced her to sleep outside in the compound with the dog to prevent “dirtying the home” from her weeping wounds.

By the time Adelina was admitted to hospital, it was evident that she was on borrowed time and she passed away only a day after she was rescued.

The High Court, evoking Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, acquitted Adelina’s employer, Ambika MA Shan, on grounds of health concerns and lack of evidence despite the deputy Public Prosecutor’s request for a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

A year later, the bench in the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision put forth by the High Court, claiming that the decision was not erroneous. This decision was a regressive step for the Malaysian justice system – it conveyed a severely harmful message condoning heinous acts of abuse and exploitation. The climate of impunity afforded to those undeserving of it must be put to an end.

This petition demands for Adelina’s employer, Ambika MA Shan, to be charged separately under Section 304 of the Penal Code which provides for deaths caused by culpable homicide not amounting to murder or those caused by negligence. The prosecution is looking to correct this grave miscarriage of justice.

A person is dead and her blood is on all our hands. Allowing for perpetrators such as Ambika to walk free makes us all complicit in the death of Adelina and many others who shared the same fate.

Adelina’s life is the sad reality of thousands more domestic workers who are susceptible to all forms of exploitation, and it is high time that we make an effort to increase protection for all domestic workers.

We hope that you will join us in seeking justice as we believe that we owe it to Adelina and her family to protect her dignity in her absence.

Signing this petition is a step forward in preserving the integrity of our justice system and ensuring that it provides protection due to all and especially the marginalized and vulnerable.

URGENT ACTION CASES

BELARUS

Urgent Action: Release Human Rights Defender Marfa Rabkova

Women’s human rights defender Marfa Rabkova was detained as a criminal suspect under false pretext on the evening of 17 September, by officers of the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBAZIK). Her husband, Vadzim Zharomski, was also detained but released shortly thereafter. Marfa Rabkova may face criminal charges. She is a prisoner of conscience, targeted solely for her peaceful human rights work and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

KENYA

Urgent Action: Forced Eviction Leaves 3,000 People Homeless

On 1 October, residents from Dagoretti Corner settlement, in Nairobi, Kenya, were forcibly evicted from their homes by government agencies, ‘Kenya Railways Corporation’ and ‘Kenya Power & Lighting Company’ leaving more than 3,000 people homeless. This unlawful act was done in utter disregard of the Presidential moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, issued on 11 May 2020. We call upon all stakeholders to act in cognizance of the need to safeguard the good health and life of all those forcibly evicted in this unlawful eviction.

TAKE ACTION

USA

Urgent Action Update: Free Families Kept in Immigration Detention

As COVID-19 runs rampant in USA family detention centers, immigration authorities continue to lock up nearly ninety families who travelled to the US seeking safety from violence and persecution in their home countries. As of 6 August, at least 130 detained family members and facility staff tested positive for COVID-19. In July, a judge ordered authorities to release children because of COVID-19, but she did not have jurisdiction over parents. Authorities refused to release them together. Releasing children but continuing to detain parents constitutes family separation. We demand authorities release all families together immediately to protect them from the pandemic.

TAKE ACTION

COLOMBIA

Support miners striking against the ‘death shift’ at Cerrejón

The National Union of Coal Industry Workers (Sintracarbón) is involved in a bitter strike at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, jointly owned by three multinational mining companies, Anglo American, BHP and Glencore. In February 2020, Sintracarbón, in good faith, withdrew its list of demands and suspended collective bargaining negotiations due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the current round of collective bargaining negotiations in July, the company has not responded to the union’s bargaining proposals and has instead demanded concessions in acquired rights and benefits. On the second day of negotiations Cerrejón unilaterally announced a radical shift change roster, without consulting the union and in violation of Colombian law. The new shift roster, which workers call the ‘death shift’ will lead to the loss of 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, will require workers to work an additional 72 days a year for the same wage, will cause turmoil in workers’ family lives – particularly those with family responsibilities – and will lead to an increase in fatigue and thus an increase in accidents. Cerrejón has boycotted the government labor ministry’s facilitation to end the strike, now in its fourth week.

Please join the protest.

The Miriam Shlesinger Memorial Blog for Human Rights Action August 13-19

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

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

esiderius 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

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 our chosen charity must be aid to the stricken city of Beirut where poorly warehoused explosive ammonia nitrate exploded in a blast that left parts of the city in ruins.

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 dangers inherent in so-called progress, which if forced, can kill. Forcing “development” or “progress” on tribal people does not make them happier or healthier. In fact, the effects are disastrous. The most important factor by far for tribal peoples’ well-being is whether their land rights are respected.

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.

You can download this book

Look for these logos:


Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to call for an end to the enslavement of the Uyghur people of China.

URGENT ACTION CASES

MALDIVES

Urgent Action: Serious Health Concerns for Maldivian Politician

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.LAkv6beZHY6O38RP7OtQxwHaE8%26pid%3DApi&f=1

Ahmed Adeeb, former Maldivian Vice President, suffers from several ongoing health conditions. Arrested in 2015 for what were believed to be politically motivated charges, his convictions were overturned last year and other charges against him were dropped in July 2020. Local media outlets have reported that the Prosecutor General submitted the case for appeal and accordingly, Adeeb was taken into custody again on 24 July following an order by High Court, raising further concerns about his well being.

TAKE ACTION

COLOMBIA

On 2 July, the Inter-Ecclesiastic Commission of Justice and Peace received confidential information about an ongoing plan to kill the Human Rights Defender Jani Silva. The plan is allegedly run by an armed group called “La mafia” because of the voluntary crops substitution program that Jani Silva is promoting in the Putumayo region (South West), Colombia. According to NGOs, “La Mafia” is behind the killings of 14 persons in the Putumayo region since the COVID-19 lockdown started. We are urging the National Protection Unit to increase the protection measures for Jani Silva.

TAKE ACTION

USA

On 14 July, the US authorities carried out the first federal execution in 17 years, with two others following closely on 16 and 17 July. Two of them were executed hours after their original death warrants had expired, following the lifting by the US Supreme Court of temporary injunctions put in place by lower courts. As a fourth man remains at risk of execution on 28 August and new executions have been set for August and September, we urge the US Attorney General to call off the death warrants and abandon any plans to pursue further executions.

TAKE ACTION

JORDAN

Release leaders of the Jordanian Teacher Association

Education International (EI) calls on workers and unionists to urge the Jordanian authorities to immediately release the education union leaders and revoke the unlawful suspension of all union work by the Jordanian Teacher Association. Read more and join the protest.

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PROMETHEUS AND PANDORA XXV

Our featured image shows Cassandra. a priestess of Troy who was given the ability to issue true prophecy by Apollo, but was believed by no one. This curse was placed on her when she failed to deliver her part of the deal, guess what!

FOLLY OR EVIL

Throughout human history foolish decisions by power holders have caused calamitous results for nations and peoples. The late American historian Barbara Tuchman defines folly as “Pursuit of Policy Contrary to Self-Interest.” In her book THE MARCH OF FOLLY, Tuchman examines 4 conflicts: The Trojan Horse, The Protestant Secession, The American Revolution, and The American War in Vietnam. In all four cases, a wiser choice was available. As Tuchman writes,”The power to command frequently causes failure to think.”

The Trojan War was a great military adventure of ancient times, undertaken by the kings of ancient Greece against the city of Troy. It lasted for ten years and cost many lives, but also produced many heroes.

We see this now in the handling of the corona virus crisis. Heads of state in various countries either tried to deny the pandemic and some, as in Latin America continue to do so or come up with idiotic ideas such as the recent recommendation by Donald Trump that injection of detergents or UV light inside the body might be cures for covid-19! Alas, his idiotic advice was taken by too many people.

Randy Rainbow puts this in perspective and drives home the point that what is really lacking is intelligent leadership in the USA and elsewhere. There are places,

Randy Rainbow puts this in perspective and drives home the point that what is really lacking is intelligent leadership in the USA and elsewhere. There are places, such as Finland and New Zealand, where the pandemic is being confronted by intelligent leadership with better results. Nonetheless there is still no cure or vaccine available.

This graphic shows the spread of the virus around the world.

The state of the US with regard to the pandemic continues to deteriorate with over 100,000 deaths at the this writing (20/6).
This graphic illustrates what is happening.

Steve Almond writing in PBS WBUR Cognoscenti provides a cogent
analysis of what went wrong and why the USA, in contrast to other
countries, has no real chance of stopping the pandemic. He points
out the role that right wing ideology a la Goldwater and Reagan has
had in leading the US down this path of destruction. It is sad to
think of the great Republican Abraham Lincoln and what he might
think of what has happened to his party. His concept of government
was that government should do for people what they cannot do for
themselves. As Almond concludes and Prometheus and Pandora agree,

“This is the America foretold by Goldwater and Reagan, one in which
“government” is a cynical joke told among white people. The
punchline used to be decaying schools, a decimated middle class, a
diseased health care system and a dying planet. It is now a plague
that is killing thousands of people. If we continue down this path,
the death toll will be in the millions. And it will include
American democracy itself.”

It is not obvious to Prometheus and Pandora that this is a matter of folly and not malevolence. Leaders such as Trump in the US, Netanyahu in Israel, Bolsonaro in Brazil and others, too many to list, care nothing of the well being of their people. Their role in office is to enrich the plutocracy that supports them, to deregulate business, which involves endangering the public, and to appoint reactionary judges. It is encouraging to note that Netanyahu has gone on trial for several charges of corruption, bribery and other types of malfeasance.

PURE EVIL

Pandora and Prometheus have no doubts about the source of the police brutality that has had a huge upsurge around the world. The killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis MN who strangled him by kneeling on his neck and of Eyad Hallaq in Jerusalem, an autistic special needs person who was gunned down by border police although he posed no threat to them or anybody, are two blatant examples of police going rogue. Police brutality or police violence is legally defined as a civil rights violation where officers exercise undue or excessive force against a subject. This includes, but is not limited to, physical or verbal harassment, physical or mental injury, property damage, and death.

Most recently police brutality in the USA has been in the spotlight since the killing of George Floyd . The result has been an upsurge in protests against the abuse of authority by police officers and the coverup tactics of their commanders. On the worldwide scale we see that police brutality is a nigh universal phenomenon, appearing in various degrees in all countries, some of which are more enlightened and actually impose accountability and others in which impunity is almost total. The #sayhername movement points our the violence directed against black women everywhere and how their suffering is little noticed while male victims such as George Floyd make the headlines.

Pandora and Prometheus wish to draw your attention to the unholy parallelism between police brutality and the scandal of sexual abuse by members of the clergy of the Catholic Church. The issues share the following:

  1. Abuse of power
  2. Betrayal of trust
  3. Attack on most vulnerable
  4. Coverup by commanders or bishops

The major difference between the two sets of crimes is the existence of a central source of overriding authority in the Church, namely the Pope and the Holy See. This authority was able to call the various components of the Church to account. One must, however, recall that this happened only after a widespread outcry by the members of the Church, the media, lawsuits and complaints to the police and to political authorities. The case of the police is far more diffuse and calls for concerted efforts in every community. It must involve the political leadership, civil society,the various media both electronic and print, religious leaders and first and foremost a refusal of the public to tolerate the entire culture of brutality, racism, misogyny (vid. #sayhername) and impunity which has been dominant for far too long. It has been said :

“There is sometimes a fine line between a cop and a criminal. What drives their personality may be the same, and they have simply chosen different roles and professions to call their own.”

Dr. ML Rapier PhD, Clinical Psychologist.”

It, alas happens everywhere.

We see the violence and the anger and yes, even the looting, but we (whites) fail to understand what Kareem Abdul Jabbar points out to us, that when people are pushed to the edge, an explosion is inevitable. When a regime tainted with fascism confronts the people’s legitimate demands for freedom and justice, the explosion becomes lethal and full of societal dynamite.

NEWS FROM SCIENCE

PUREST AIR ON THE PLANET

The Southern Ocean is a huge body of wat stretching around the Earth with far fewer landmasses than its Northern counterpart. It is very cloudy and our lack of understanding of the composition and characteristic of the clouds over this remote region consistently cause weather models of the planet to fail to reproduce the observed weather and to be in contradiction to satellite observations. The lack of data is a result of the remoteness of the region in question.

A team of atmospheric scientists was based in Hobart, Tasmania for six weeks to collect cloud, aerosol and precipitation data over the Southern Ocean during a research project called the Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES). The Southern Ocean is the stormiest place on Earth, churned by winds and waves that circle the ice of Antarctica. This remote and usually pristine environment is typically removed from human-caused and naturally produced continental airborne particles. For this reason, the region is a unique laboratory for studying the interactions between clouds and particles naturally produced by the ocean, such as sea salt and biogenic particles. Prometheus and Pandora invite you to read the report on the mission written by a trio of scientists from the University of Colorado.

METALLIC HYDROGEN?

Metallic hydrogen is found in nature only in the interior of a giant planet. Creating the metallic phase in the laboratory has been a target of much research. A team at Cornell University has issued a claim to have achieved this goal. The paper is available on line, but has not undergone peer review. In the description in Science News, we find others expressing reservation about the result. Stay tuned. If correct, we may be moving towards a room temperature super conductor, a Holy Grail of materials science.

BOOK REVIEW

Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present (Open Yale Courses) 1st Edition

by Frank M. Snowden (Author)

In his new book, “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present,” Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale, examines the ways in which disease outbreaks have shaped politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and economic discrimination.

The book is published by Yale University Press who provide the following description:

This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today. In a clear and accessible style, Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only influenced medical science and public health, but also transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare.”

A multidisciplinary and comparative investigation of the medical and social history of the major epidemics, this volume touches on themes such as the evolution of medical therapy, plague literature, poverty, the environment, and mass hysteria. In addition to providing historical perspective on diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, Snowden examines the fallout from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola and the question of the world’s preparedness for the next generation of diseases.

https://media.newyorker.com/photos/5e5eac5d242fe900086bd215/master/w_2560%2Cc_limit/Chotiner-Epidemics-1.jpg
Epidemics like the coronavirus outbreak are a mirror for humanity, reflecting the moral relationships that people have toward one other, the historian Frank M. Snowden says.Source Photograph from National Institutes of Health / NYT / Redux

In The New Yorker there is an interview of Snowden by Isaac Chotiner which provides interesting and sobering insights of our response to pandemic. If you lack the time or the energy to read the huge tome, you should at least read the interview.

CAN THIS BE TRUE?

We are calling attention to Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, a former KGB agent who defected to Canada in 1970. In 1984 he gave an interview to G. Edward Griffin from which much can be learned today. His most chilling point was that there’s a long-term plan put in play by Russia to defeat America through psychological warfare and “demoralization”. It is a long game that takes decades to achieve but it may already be bearing fruit. It sounds like science fiction and it may indeed be someone’s fantasy, but if we look at the US today we see that some of the predictions are becoming real. The lack of perception of objective reality is a most troubling phenomenon, which finds its harmful expression in the public lack of understanding of the depth of the corona crisis. We see this everywhere and it is hard to explain this world wide outburst of folly. The near riot that hit the British beach of Bournemouth last weekend is an indication of the lack of responsibility of the broad public.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/69621d2b0bb792f3be75b03d7bd615d50bbc1b37/0_173_4735_2840/master/4735.jpg?width=1140&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=829b49abf2f2575109b7743dde069bb5
People were aghast

On the other hand, the New Yorker tells us how Iceland beat the virus by keeping the politicians out and letting the real professionals deal with it intelligently.

Diners in downtown Reykjavik. Since the onset of the pandemic, only a few types of businesses—night clubs and hair salons, for example—were ever ordered closed.Photograph by Valdimar Thorlacius for The New Yorker

SILLY TIME–ENOUGH DYSTOPIA

WHAT IF? Earth-Moon Fire Pole

My son (5y) asked me today: If there were a kind of a fireman’s pole from the Moon down to the Earth, how long would it take to slide all the way from the Moon to the Earth?

Ramon Schönborn, Germany

The answer as usual is interesting.

Wisdom of the street
Our dog Murphy is equally helpful to his octogenarian owners…
True not only of kings…

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update, June 25-July 1

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

esiderius 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

Along with our support of the struggle against 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. We call your attention this week to NALA an organization of medical personnel devoted to curing neglected tropical diseases. Their approach based on the following has shown results and is worthy of your support:

education,

drug administration

and hygiene

WINGS FOR SPECIAL KIDS.


We ask you 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.


We are pleased to have been chosen as special advisor to the UN (ECOSOC) in the area of inclusion. Together we can make this world a better place!

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 Peru’s Murunahua people.

Please protest now!!

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 exclusion of migrants and survivors from health care as the pandemic rages on.

URGENT ACTION CASES

AZERBAIJAN

Urgent Action: Psychiatric Detention for Criticizing the President

Opposition activist Agil Humbatov has been held in psychiatric detention in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, and injected with unknown drugs without his consent since 2 April after he criticized the authorities’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 2 June, his forced hospitalization was extended for another month. Agil Humbatov has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty and must be freed immediately.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Urgent Action: Australian Chinese Writer Held Incommunicado

Yang Hengjun, an Australian citizen who has amassed a wide public following as a novelist and blogger, was arrested and detained at Guangzhou airport on 19 January 2019. After being detained for more than a year, Chinese authorities finally announced in March 2020 that Yang would be charged with espionage. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities have suspended all his visitation rights since 30 December 2019. Yang is believed to be detained at Beijing State Security Bureau Detention Center, and there are grave concerns that he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

INDONESIA

Urgent Action: More Than 400 Rohingya People Stranded at Sea

As many as 400 Rohingya refugees are believed to be stranded at sea, with dozens of deaths having already been recorded. Fleeing violence in their home state, South and Southeast Asian governments are using COVID- 19 pandemic-related restrictions to block them from landing safely and seeking asylum. The Indonesian Government, as co-chair to the 2016 Bali Process, has a responsibility to manage a regional response to this crisis and co-ordinate search and rescue operations to locate and assist boats in distress, in line with regional declarations and international law.

TAKE ACTION

PHILIPPINES

Urgent Action Coca-Cola union leaders defending their members’ right to safe work sacked for ‘economic sabotage’!

Coca-Cola management in the Philippines is capitalizing on the coronavirus emergency to attack union leaders of the IUF-affiliated FCCU-SENTRO and intimidate their members with dismissals, disciplinary procedures and the use of police power.

Federal and provincial authorities declared imposed strict lockdown measures on March 16-17, requiring people to stay at home with exceptions for the food and other ‘essential’ industries. Coca-Cola workers suspected of COVID-19 exposure were required by management to self-quarantine without pay. The company, meanwhile, created a media buzz by announcing a USD 3 million contribution to fighting the virus.
Please join the protest.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update June 18-24

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

Along with our support of the struggle against 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.This week the world marks World Refugee Day (June 20). MSF is, as usual, making herculean efforts to ease the lot of refugees.

A Doctors Without Borders medic checks a Syrian boy seeking asylum in Vuenna Rampa, Bulgaria, Dec. 2013. Five Doctors Without Borders staffers were taken in for questioning in northern Syria and have been out of contact since Thursday. (Doctors Without Borders)

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS

In view of the recent curtailment of press freedom in various countries, we call upon you to support Reporters Without Borders. Reporters Without Borders promotes and defends the freedom to be informed and to inform others throughout the world. Based in Paris, it has international offices (Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Madrid, Stockholm, Tripoli, Tunis, Vienna and Washington DC) and more than 150 correspondents in all five continents. Recently the Covid 19 pandemic has provided undemocratic and even some nominally democratic governments an opportunity to limit freedom of expression and the right of the public to accurate and truthful information.

Covid-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March, since then it has been used as a pretext by governments to put constitutional guarantees on hold. Now that relative calm appears to be in prospect, it is imperative that these exceptional measures be lifted.

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 Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people.

In 1979 and 1986 the American fundamentalist New Tribes Mission helped organise ‘manhunts’ in which large groups of Totobiegosode were forcibly brought out of the forest.

Several Ayoreo died in these encounters, and others later succumbed to disease.

Members of the Paraguayan Ayoreo-Totobiegosode group on the day they were contacted for the first time, in 2004.
© GAT/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

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You can download this book

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Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice against the the modern enslavement of prisoners, in particular black people in the United States.

The link contains an opinion piece from 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

MEXICO

Urgent Action Victory! Rights Defender Receives Additional Protection

Since we took action for Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar, women’s rights defender in Yucatán (South), she has not faced further attacks. In May 2020, the Mexican Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders started to implement protective measures in her favor, complementing those already granted in 2017 by the National Human Rights Commission.

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

On 30 March 2020, the Secretariat of Public Security of Yucatan State, Mexico withdrew the two police escorts protecting human rights defender Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and replaced them with just one officer with limited protection functions. Adelaida is a beneficiary of protection measures granted by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) since 2017 due to the level of risk she faces as a defender of women’s sexual and reproductive rights. We were calling upon the government of the State of Yucatan to restore her full protection scheme in order to protect her life and physical integrity.

According to Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar, since we first launched the Urgent Action in April 2020, she has not faced further attacks. The National Mechanism started to implement some initial protection measures to protect her, complementing the protection measures granted by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) in 2017.

We believe that the public campaign on behalf of Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar, including appeals sent by Amnesty International members, contributed to these positive developments. Amnesty International continues monitoring the situation and will work with Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar, so that she is protected according with her wishes and the highest international human rights standards.

COLOMBIA

Urgent Action Victory! Attacks Against Indigenous Communities Investigated

On 27 May, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Villavicencio (Central Colombia) sent four people from its Technical Investigation Body to the ASEINPOME community to investigate the threats the community has experienced. This visit was ordered by the prosecutor’s office in charge of finding those responsible for the different security incidents the community has faced.

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

Since the COVID-19 lockdown started in Colombia, the indigenous community of ASEINPOME faced at least 2 security incidents. 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 on fire one house. Two weeks before this security incident, unknown people were seen driving two high cylinder motorcycles were around the community.

Following national and international pressure, including the appeals from Amnesty International’ supporters, on 27 May, the Technical Investigation Body of the Villavicencio Public Prosecutor’s Office visited the community of ASEINPOME with the intention to identify the attackers and stop them from further threatening the indigenous community.

We will be in close contact with the indigenous community to assess their security situation and will swiftly react if there is a new security incident.

POLAND

Urgent Action: Activists Risk Jail for Poster Campaign

On 10 June, two Polish activists were charged with ‘theft and burglary’ in relation to a poster campaign accusing the government of manipulating COVID-19 statistics. If found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in prison. The charges are baseless and appear to be intended to punish those who freely express their criticism of the authorities. The Polish authorities must drop the criminal charges against both activists and close the investigation.

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RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action Update: Conviction of Crimeans Must be Quashed

The Russian Military Court of Appeal will imminently review the verdict of human rights defender Emir-Usein Kuku and his five co-defendants. The six men were arrested in Russian-occupied Crimea, brought before a Russian military court, convicted under trumped-up charges and handed lengthy prison sentences in November 2019, following unfair trials. They are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released and their sentences quashed.

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GUATEMALA

Urgent Action: Covid-19 Hospital Workers Fired; Not Paid

46 facilities and cleaning staff of the public Industrial Park Temporary Hospital in Guatemala City were fired on 5 June and have not received pay since they began work on 23 March. The Ministry of Health that employs them said they needed a high school degree to continue working. We call on the authorities to urgently pay staff for the time worked and carry out an independent investigation into their dismissals which allows for remedies if the dismissals are found to be unfair.

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INDIA

Workers Rights under attack

Many states in India are using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to suspend labour laws and attack workers’ rights as the central government of Narendra Modi continues its assault on the trade union movement. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have announced extensive changes, increasing working hours from 8 to 12 hours, introducing fixed term employment and suspended or providing exemptions to labour laws. Many other states have also introduced changes. These attacks on workers’ rights were made through executive orders when the legislative assemblies or parliament were not in session. The changes were made without consultation with trade unions, and undermine fundamental principles and rights at work. The Indian government must withdraw these changes, strengthen the labour inspectorate and provide social security for all. Please join the protest

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update January 30-February 5

Our feature image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012)

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

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

This week we call your attention to a natural disaster that has impacted tens of thousands of people in the Philippines. We refer to the eruption of Mt. Taal on January 12. The Taal Volcano, located just 45 miles (72 km) from the Philippine capital city of Manila, has been trembling and erupting since Sunday, January 12. Experts report that magma levels are quickly rising and the volcano is on the verge of a full eruption. In the web site you will find a list of top rank charities that helping people impacted by the eruption. If you have difficulty, here is the list:

Charity (Sort A-Z)
GlobalGiving
International Medical Corps
Direct Relief
Americares
Taal volcano

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.

While Australia is being devastated by fire, the aboriginal people have a solution that they have used for 50,000 years. The authorities would do well to heed them.

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 issue of enslaved workers in California.

Thousands of temporary workers are being trafficked into forced labor in California under threat of violence, deportation, and harm to their families

California attracts more temporary foreign workers than anywhere else in the US. As the fifth largest global economy, workers on lawful visas from all over the world seek opportunities in California.1

The vast majority of temporary workers are recruited via third-party foreign labor contractors (FLCs), some of whom act neither lawfully nor ethically. 

.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized. Customer pressure to do the right thing is effective. Use It.

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URGENT ACTION CASES

VENEZUELA

Urgent Action: Prisoner of Conscience’s Life at Grave Risk

Since his arbitrary arrest on 29 November 2018, Venezuelan labor rights activist Rubén González, 60, has suffered a series of health crises, but has never received adequate care. On 19 January 2020, Rubén González began experiencing a grave peak of hypertension, putting his life at risk unless he receives urgent medical attention. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

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IRAN

Urgent Action Update: Kurdish Iranian Man at Risk of Execution

Houshmand Alipour, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, is at risk of execution after he was sentenced to death on 29 December 2019 following an unfair trial. Mohammad Ostadghader, also an Iranian Kurd, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in the same trial. Both were denied access to lawyers of their own choosing and say they were forced to give “confessions” under torture and other ill-treatment.

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RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action Update: Lengthy Jail Terms for Prisoners of Conscience

On 12 November, a Russian military court found Crimean Tatar human rights defender Emir-Usein Kuku and his five co-defendants guilty of trumped-up charges. After a protracted unfair trial, they have been given prison sentences of between seven and 19 years in jail. Emir-Usein Kuku and his co-defendants are prisoners of conscience and they should be released immediately and unconditionally.

TAKE ACTION

WORLDWIDE LABOR CAMPAIGNS

Support our current active campaigns

Germany

Ameos fires workers and refuses collective bargaining We call your attention to the conduct of the Ameos company in Germany. Workers at Ameos in Germany, a private for-profit hospital corporation, are demanding fair wages, secured by a collective bargaining agreement. In the federal country of Sachsen-Anhalt in the east of Germany, for example nurses receive up to 500 EUR less than comparable employees in other hospitals. But Ameos refuses to sign a collective bargaining agreement with the union, Please support their efforts for labor justice.