Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update, June 7-13

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

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

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the Jane Godall Institute. The mission:

“We are a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.”

 

This charity is highly rated by Charity Watch.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we call your attention to the people who chose to live in isolation from the outside world on North Sentinal Island, one of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. They vigorously reject all contact with outsiders. View this video of a contact attempt.

https://assets.survivalinternational.org/films/71/embed

It is vital that their wish to remain uncontacted is respected – if not, the entire tribe could be wiped out by diseases to which they have no immunity. Contact imposed upon other Andaman tribes has had a devastating impact.

Following a campaign by Survival and local organizations, the Indian government abandoned plans to contact the Sentinelese.

Survival is campaigning to ensure that their current position – to not make further attempts to contact the tribe – is maintained.  Please join this campaign.

 

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 lend your voice to the question who picked my tea?  

RANT ABOUT RAQQA

damage_children_sh2-750x422

This picture speaks for itself

The city of Raqqa in Syria was subjected to a major set of attacks by the US-led coalition. The attack was supposed to drive Daesh out ofits self-declared capital. The attack killed hundreds of civilians who had no way of escaping the city. Someone must be held accountable for this massive atrocity. Please open the link, read the devastating account and sign the letter to the US Secretary of Defense demanding an accounting for the killings.

In the end, Daesh was granted safe passage out of the town so the civilian deaths were for naught.

URGENT ACTION CASES

USA

Urgent Action Victory! – Texas Court Issues Stay of Execution

On 5 June, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution for Clifton Williams, who was due to be executed in Texas on 21 June. The stay is so that there can be a hearing into the claim that Clifton Williams has intellectual disability.

Clifton Williams was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Cecilia Schneider during a burglary of her home in July 2005. At trial and on appeal, his lawyers claimed that he has intellectual disability, and that his execution would violate Atkins v. Virginia, the 2002 US Supreme Court ruling banning the death penalty on individuals with such disabilities. The Atkins ruling left it to states to determine how to meet the constitutional ban. In the absence of a law passed by the legislature, in 2004 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) created a framework for the assessment of claims of intellectual disability in capital cases (known as the ‘Briseño factors’). From the outset there was concern that this framework was non-scientific and that it under-protected individuals Atkins intended to exempt from execution. It was not until Moore v. Texas in 2017 that the US Supreme Court found the Briseño factors to be “an invention of the CCA untied to any acknowledged source” and contravened its rule, articulated in Hall v. Florida in 2014, that adjudications of intellectual disability must be “informed by the views of medical experts”.

By then, Texas courts had already determined that Clifton Williams did not have intellectual disability and the federal courts had affirmed that under the deferential standards for federal review of state court decisions. With an execution date of 21 June 2018 set, Clifton Williams’s lawyers sought to bring a new challenge in the courts in light of the Moore v. Texas decision in order to reopen their claim that he has intellectual disability. On 5 June, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay: “In light of the Moore decision and the facts presented in applicant’s application, we find that applicant has satisfied the requirements of [Texas law]. We remand his application to the convicting court for a live hearing to further develop evidence and make a new recommendation to this Court on the issue of intellectual disability.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally. Today there are 142 countries that are abolitionist in law or practice. There have been 1,476 executions in the USA since 1976 when the US Supreme Court approved new capital statutes. Texas accounts for 551 of these executions, or 37 per cent of the national total. There have been 11 executions in the USA this year, six of them in Texas.

Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is requested at present.

 EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Urgent Action Victory! – Cartoonist and Activist Able to Leave the Country

Equatorial Guinean cartoonist and activist Ramón Esono Ebalé was finally able to leave Equatorial Guinea on 28 May after he was issued a passport by the authorities.

Equatorial Guinea authorities issued cartoonist and activist Ramón Esono Ebalé with a passport on 23 May. This enabled him to finally leave the country on 28 May, more than two months after his release from prison. He will be reunited with his wife and daughter whom he has not seen since his arrest.

Ramón Esono Ebalé was released from Malabo prison of Black Beach on 7 March. Eight days before his release, the state dropped the charge of ‘counterfeiting money’ against Ramón after the state’s main witness retracted his testimony and admitted that he had been asked to falsely accuse Ramón of counterfeiting activities.

Ramón was arrested and detained on 16 September 2017 in the capital of the country, Malabo and questioned over his cartoons, which criticised Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang and his government. During his detention, Amnesty International considered Ramón Esono Ebalé to be a prisoner of conscience who had been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression through art.

On behalf of Ramón, his family and his friends, we express thanks to all those who took action. Without your support, Ramón’s release and reunion with his family would have not been possible.

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

 

ZAMBIA

Urgent Action Update: ACTIVIST RELEASED ON BAIL, SET TO STAND TRIAL

Image result for pilato

Fumba Chama, affectionately known as Pilato, was released on a US$3000  bail on 21 May. His trial will begin on 25 June. Pilato was arrested on 16 May on arrival at Kenneth Kaunda Airport in Lusaka. He had been forced to flee the country on 5 January after receiving threats on his life from members of the ruling Party, Patriotic Front.

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TURKEY

Urgent Action: Detained Rapper Accused Of Promoting Drugs

Image result for ezhel

Rapper, Ezhel, was remanded on pre-trial detention on 23 May accused of ‘publicly promoting drug use’ in his lyrics, music videos and social media posts. He faces up to 10 years imprisonment if he is found guilty.

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GUATEMALA

Urgent Action Update: TWO MORE LAND DEFENDERS KILLED

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Human rights defenders Florencio Pérez Nájera and Alejandro Hernández García from the Campesino Development Committee (Comité de Desarrollo Campesino, CODECA) were violently murdered on 4 June. Authorities must end this wave of killings, which add up to 6 human rights defenders killed in Guatemala in less than a month.

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Turkey

After nearly a year on the picket lines, it’s time for DPDHL to negotiate with the union

TÜMTIS members have been on the picket line for more than 300 days (since 17 July 2017), protesting against DPDHL Express’ denial of their right to a collective bargaining agreement.

We urge DHL Express Turkey to move swiftly to negotiations. Please lend your support to these workers.

INDIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-union harassment and victimization escalate at AB InBev Sonepat India. Please support the protesting workers. Management at global brewer AB InBev’s plant in Sonepat, India is escalating its attacks on trade union rights.  Please click and join the protesting workers.

USA DISNEYLAND

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Disneyland’s workers are undervalued, disrespected and underpaid

A survey by the LATimes shows that while Disneyland is a happy place to visit, it is by no means a happy place to work. Disneyland employees report that they struggle to make ends meet and pay for basic necessities as a result of pay cuts and low wages; two-thirds don’t have enough food to eat and 1 in 10 have recently been homeless. Meanwhile, Disney’s CEO, Robert Iger, reportedly made over $36 million in 2017 alone, and over the next four years will make the same as 6,178 of his employees. Where is the justice?  Please sign the petition on behalf of these struggling workers.

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 17-23

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

 

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

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we call your attention to Labourstart, who are a nonprofit offering help and support to working people around the globe. As you know, we use their web site to look for human rights issues in the world of labor. Please donate to support their work.

lsistanbul2011

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we look at the the Dongria Kondh tribe that inspired millions when they won a ‘David and Goliath’ battle against mining giant Vedanta Resources. The tribe vowed to save their Niyamgiri Hills and their self-sufficient way of life.

Now their lands and lives are under threat again. Their leaders are being harassed by police and imprisoned under false charges. The Dongria feel the government is trying to destroy their community in order to allow mining.  Please post their story on all your social media and help generate pressure on the Indian government. Please open the link to hear from the people themselves.

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 help end slavery in the supply chain of the soft drink business in the US.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

SUDAN

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

Nineteen year old, Noura Hussein Hamad Daoud, was sentenced to death on 10 May for killing her husband in self-defense after he tried to rape her for a second time. A Court in Sudan, on 29 April, found her guilty of the murder of her husband Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad. Noura’s case highlights the failure of the Sudan government to tackle the tragedy of early and forced marriage as well as marital rape.

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GUATEMALA

Urgent Action: Three Land Defenders Killed, Others at Risk

Image result for Guatemala land defenders

Luis Marroquin, José Can Xol and Mateo Chamám Paau, three land and territory defenders from different communities in Guatemala were killed in less than a week. Guatemalan authorities must take action to fully investigate these crimes and ensure that other defenders can carry out their work without fear for their safety.

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VIETNAM

Urgent Action: Serious Health Concerns For Prisoner of Conscience

Image result for trần anh kim

Trần Anh Kim was convicted and sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the Peoples’ administration” in 2016. At 69 years of age, his health is deteriorating and according to his wife, “may not survive his lengthy imprisonment” as authorities have denied him adequate medical care. A prisoner of conscience, Trần Anh Kim must be immediately and unconditionally released.

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MALDIVES

Urgent Action: Up to 20 Years in Prison on Trumped-Up Charges

Ahmed Mahloof faces charges of “terrorism” and “obstruction of police duty” for taking part in peaceful protests, along with charges of “false reporting” for two tweets about the police service. If found guilty of the trumped-up and politically motivated charges, the independent Maldivian politician could face nearly 20 years in prison.

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FRANCE

Rail unions fight against privatization

 

 

 

 
The French railway workers have expressed their strong disapproval of the proposed reform of the railway system leading towards privatization.
Please show your support by sending your message to the French government. If it comes up with my data, simply erase and put in your own.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update May 3-9

Our Featured Image above shows Miriam, 1947-2012, a great human rights defender

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

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we feature the International Rescue Committee aka IRC.

The mission, in part:
The IRC will put in place high-impact, cost-effective solutions that help people affected by crisis. We’ll also use our learning and experience to shape humanitarian policy and practice in ways that improve the lives of more people worldwide. And in all of our work we will focus on breaking down each of the barriers faced by women and girls.

The world’s more than 60 million displaced people, the highest number ever recorded, require more than “aid as usual.” Their growing and increasingly complex needs mandate a transformation—a creative rethinking—in the global humanitarian response. The International Rescue Committee has taken on this challenge.

The charity is highly rated by Charity Watch and worthy of your donation.

Education: ultimate empowerment tool

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is abuse by so-called conservation organizations that team up with industries to drive out tribal people. Please join the call for a new approach to conservation.

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 take steps to end slavery now.

URGENT ACTION CASES

AZERBAIJAN

Urgent Action Victory! Supreme Court Orders Journalist’s Release

 

On 5 April, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court ordered the release of independent journalist and prisoner of conscience, Aziz Orujov on a suspended three-year sentence with three-year probation. On 15 December 2017, Aziz Orujov was found guilty of abusing official powers and illegal entrepreneurship, under Articles 308.2 and 192.2.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan respectively, and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. The latter charge was quashed while the ‘abuse of official power’ charge was re-qualified for a lesser charge, which carries a maximum three year imprisonment penalty.

Aziz Orujov was arrested on 2 May 2017 while on his way to work and remanded in pre-trial detention under a 30 day administrative detention order for purportedly disobeying a police officer’s legitimate orders. On 2 June 2017, when his administrative detention order was due to expire, new fabricated charges of illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of official powers were brought against him. The charges relate to him being the co-founder of the Caucasus Media Investigations Centre Public Union, an organisation he founded in 2006 with his brother and sister-in-law. The prosecution claims that from 2006 to 2014 the organisation received around AZN 193,000 (US$ 113,000) in grants from various donors, and failed to register the grants and pay AZN 8,000 in tax. Registration and taxing of grants only became mandatory in February 2014 when legislative amendments entered into force, but the authorities have applied these retroactively to intimidate, harass, arrest and prosecute a number of government critics from independent media outlets and NGOs. Amnesty International believes Aziz Orujov’s conviction stems solely from his peaceful work as a journalist.

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

UKRAINE

Urgent Action Victory! – Women’s Rights Activists No Longer at Imminent Risk

Following the attacks that marred International Women’s Day in Ukraine on 8 March, Vitaliana Koval and other women’s and LGBTI rights defenders in Ukraine are no longer considered to be facing an imminent threat of violence. Vitalina Koval has since received adequate protection measures during a public action she staged on 31 March, calling against the impunity of far-right groups in Ukraine.

On 31 March, Uzhgorod police successfully ensured the protection of those who attended a public action calling “For European Uzhgorod! Against impunity of the far-right”, organized by women’s and LGBTI rights defender, Vitalina Koval. The action was held in response to a series of attacks and threats by far-right groups in Uzhgorod, Ukraine, which marred International Women’s Rights Day on 8 March. Many Uzhgorod march participants, including event organiser Vitalina Koval, Ivan Danatsko and Ivan Dyulay, were attacked, while others like Aleksandr Peresolyak were later targeted and threatened with violence. In Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine, attackers threw bricks at a tram car carrying activists who were leaving the march, but despite available video evidence of the attack no one was arrested. Later in the day, another participant in the demonstration suffered from a fractured skull after reportedly being beaten by far-right activists near his home.

In Uzhgorod, the police detained the group of attackers who doused march participants in red paint, only to release them a few hours later. Meanwhile in Kyiv, not only did the police not apprehend the attackers, who also threw paint, they took one of the event organisers to the police station, Olena Shevchenko to submit an administrative protocol for alleged “violation of order to conduct public demonstrations.” On 15 March, Shevchenkivskyi Disctrict Court in Kyiv ruled she had committed no offence and closed the case.

Vitalina Koval told Amnesty International that she credits in large part the steps the police took to protect the 31 March action to the number of appeals the police told her they received. She went on to share her heartfelt thanks to all those who took action on the case. ‘It was very heart-warming to receive support’ she says. ‘When you see that so many people support you, it helps you to calm down, gain confidence in oneself and it gives you strength to move on.’

While Amnesty International welcomes the steps taken by Uzhgorod police to ensure the action on 31 March was held in a safe and enabling environment, and encourages it to provide the same protection measures for future actions and events, an effective investigation into the 8 March attacks has yet to be carried out.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation and calls on both Uzhgorod’s Head of the National Police in Uzhgorod and the Minister of Interior to ensure a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into all attacks perpetrated against activists on and around 8 March by right-wing individuals is carried out, and that those responsible are held to account.

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

BAHRAIN

Urgent Action Victory! – Prisoner of Conscience Released

On 26 March, political activist and prisoner of conscience, Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released from Jaw prison, in the Bahraini capital, Manama. He served three years in prison on charges of “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”.

Prisoner of conscience and political activist Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released on 26 March 2018, after having served his three-year prison sentence in Jaw prison, south-eastern Bahrain. He was the former Secretary General of the Unitary National Democratic Assemblage, an opposition party also known as al-Wahdawi party.

Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed, was arrested on 26 March 2015, the day his party issued a statement denouncing the airstrikes in Yemen. The same day, the Ministry of Interior announced Bahrain’s support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen and issued a statement warning that the government would take steps against any “attempt to exploit the situation through division or sedition, or issuance of statements against the approach Bahrain has taken”. His trial before the High Criminal Court in Manama started on 27 April 2015. On 28 June 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”. On 26 October 2016, the High Court of Appeals reduced the sentence to three years.

Amnesty International believes that Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was tried and convicted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and has not used or advocated violence.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed’s case. No further action is requested by the UA Network.

BAHRAIN

Urgent Action Victory! – Prisoner of Conscience Released

On 26 March, political activist and prisoner of conscience, Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released from Jaw prison, in the Bahraini capital, Manama. He served three years in prison on charges of “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”.

Prisoner of conscience and political activist Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was released on 26 March 2018, after having served his three-year prison sentence in Jaw prison, south-eastern Bahrain. He was the former Secretary General of the Unitary National Democratic Assemblage, an opposition party also known as al-Wahdawi party.

Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed, was arrested on 26 March 2015, the day his party issued a statement denouncing the airstrikes in Yemen. The same day, the Ministry of Interior announced Bahrain’s support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen and issued a statement warning that the government would take steps against any “attempt to exploit the situation through division or sedition, or issuance of statements against the approach Bahrain has taken”. His trial before the High Criminal Court in Manama started on 27 April 2015. On 28 June 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information that could damage military operations of Bahrain and its allies and calling for resistance”. On 26 October 2016, the High Court of Appeals reduced the sentence to three years.

Amnesty International believes that Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed was tried and convicted solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and has not used or advocated violence.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Fadhel Abbas Mahdi Mohamed’s case. No further action is requested by the UA Network.

USA

Urgent Action: Urge Governor Not to Veto Abolition Bill

A bill abolishing the death penalty in the US state of New Hampshire, passed by its legislature, is due go to the Governor. He has said that he will veto it. He should sign it or allow it to become law and make New Hampshire the 20th abolitionist state in the USA.

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Fears for Detained Human Rights Defender’s Life

huang-qi

 

Huang Qi, founder and director of Sichuan-based human rights website “64 Tianwang” (64tianwang.com), is seriously ill with no apparent access to adequate medical care at the detention centre. Detained since November 2016, the human rights defender has reported several incidents of torture and other ill-treatment by police officers and beatings by other detainees.

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CHINA

[Extended Deadline] Urgent Action Update: Former POC Feared To Be In Detention Again

gao-zhisheng

 

The whereabouts of Human Rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng remains a mystery after he has been missing for over three months. Conflicting accounts have emerged as to his exact location and current condition. Given his previous treatment in detention, and without access to a lawyer, he is at high risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

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INDIA

Urgent Action Update: Administrative Detention Term Extended for Activist

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Human rights defender Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ has been held in administrative detention for over six months and, following a decision by the High Court on 26 April 2018, will continue to be detained without charge until August 2018. Under the National Security Act, he is at risk of being detained for up to 12 months without charge or trial.

TAKE ACTION

Prometheus and Pandora XIV

In our  featured image above, we show Prometheus looking out at the world and wondering if giving fire to humans was such a great idea.

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

IN MEMORIAM Milos Forman 1932-2018

Born on February 18, 1932, in Čáslav, Czechoslovakia, Milos Forman was a New Wave filmmaker before immigrating to the United States, later earning a directing Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He returned to his homeland to film Amadeus, an acclaimed venture that  won eight Oscars, including another directing prize for Forman. Among his other works are The People vs. Larry Flynt, Valmont and Man on the Moon.

 

Milos Forman

Forman died on April 13, 2018 in Hartford, Connecticut at Danbury Hospital after a brief illness, according to his wife Martina who told CTK, Czech’s news agency. She described his passing as “calm, and he was surrounded the whole time by his family and his closest friends.”

A detailed obituary can be found in the NYTimes.

Rest in Peace–you enriched the lives of all of us.

RANTS OF THE MONTH

This month in Israel is marked by three national secular holidays, Holocaust Memorial Day, National Memorial Day and Independence Day. Prometheus and Pandora will rant about them in this blog.

 

RANT FOR MEMORIAL DAY/INDEPENDENCE DAY/HOPE FOR PEACE

We have a strange custom in Israel, Memorial Day is the day before Independence Day and since Jewish holidays begin and  end at sunset, we have a discontinuity that jars some of us every year. Others approve saying that we should appreciate the cost of independence before we start to celebrate it. After 70 years we have achieved much, even peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but real peace and security are still out of our reach. We may have peace with a few governments, but we do not have real peace yet with the people whom they rule. In truth our government today does not seek true peace with our Palestinian neighbors nor is most of our public willing to make the concessions needed for such a peace. Thus we ride the hobby horse to nowhere as expressed by the late cartoonist Dosh.

dosh_srulik

Prometheus and Pandora wish now to turn away from the “big picture” and focus their attention and yours on two bereaved families, Rami and Nurit Elhanan and Bassam and Slawa Aramin. Their bond  is grief for their daughters, Smadar Elhanan who was killed by a suicide bomber at age 14 and Abir Aramin who was shot by an Israeli soldier at age 10. As Avi Oz, the theater director wrote on Facebook–never mind Memorial Day, just look at the eyes of these two lovely girls who fell victims to the blind hatred that pollutes our world and weep.

abir

Who are we to say anything? We   quote verbatim the Facebook post of Rami Elhanan. We can say no more.

“I do not need a Remembrance Day in order to remember Smadari. I remember her all the time, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 60 seconds a minute. Without a pause, without a rest, for 20 long and accursed years now, and time does not heal the wound, and the unbearable lightness of continuing to exist remains a strange and unsolved riddle …

But Israeli society very much needs Remembrance Days  .From year to year, like clockwork, in the week after Passover, it is drawn into the annual ritual: from Holocaust to the Rebirth of the nation, a sea of ceremonies, sirens and songs – an entire people is swept into a whirlpool of addictive sweet sorrow, eyes tearful and shrouded; mutual embraces accompanied by “Occupation songs” and sickle and sword songs (the sword and sickle songs of the singing company of the Nahal (a brigade in the Israeli army)),  against the background of images of lives that were cut short and heart-rending stories … and it is hard to avoid the feeling that this refined concentration of bereavement, fed directly into the vein, is intended to fortify our feeling of victimhood, the justice of our path and our struggle, to remind us of our catastrophes, which God forbid we should forget for a single moment. This is the choice of our lives – to be armed and ready, strong and resolute, lest the sword fall from our grasp and our lives be cut short.

And when all this great sorrow is dispersed with the smoke of the barbecues, (it is customary for Israelis to celebrate with barbecues on Independence Day) when Israelis return to their daily routines, I am left enveloped in great sorrow. I miss the old good Land of Israel that never existed, and I have feelings of alienation and estrangement that keep increasing with the passage of years, from war to war, from election to election, from corruption to corruption.

And I think about the stations of my life, on the long journey that I have taken on my way to a redefinition of myself, of my Israeliness, of my Jewishness and of my humanity. About the light-years that I have traveled, from the young man who 44 years ago fought in a pulverized tank company, on the other side of the Suez Canal, from the young father who 35 years ago walked the streets of bombed Beirut, and it did not at all occur to me that things could be otherwise. I was a pure product of a cultural-educational and political system that brainwashed me, poisoned my consciousness and prepared me and others of my generation for sacrifice on the altar of the homeland, without any superfluous questions, in the innocent belief that if we did not do it, they would throw us – the second generation after the Holocaust– into the Mediterranean Sea.

Nearly 40 years have passed since then, and every year this armor of victimhood continues to crack. The self-righteousness and the feeling of wretchedness keep dissipating, and the wall that separates me from the other side of the story keeps crumbling.

When Yitzhak Frankenthal recruited me to the Bereaved Families Forum 19 years ago, for the first time in my life I was exposed to the very existence of the other side – to this day I am ashamed to say that for the first time in my life (I was 47)  I encountered Palestinians as normal human beings, very much like me, with the same pain, the same tears and the same dreams. For the first time in my life I was exposed to the story, the pain and the anger, and also to the nobility and the humanity of what is called “the other side.”

The climax of that journey was the meeting between me and my brother, the “terrorist” who spent seven years in an Israeli prison, the peace-warrior Bassam Aramin, who wrote to us, among other things, the following moving words:
“…Dear Nurit and Rami. I wanted to express my identification with you
as a brother on this sad day, the anniversary of the death of your
beautiful and pure daughter, Smadar. There is no doubt that this is
one of the saddest days, and from the moment we met I did not have
the courage to write to you about it, for fear of adding more
sorrow and pain to your hearts. I thought that time would likely
heal that deep wound. But after I myself drank from that same
bitter cup that you drank from before me, when my daughter Abir was
murdered on 16 January 2007, I understood that parents never forget
for a moment. We live our lives in a special way that others do not
know, and I hope that no other human beings, Palestinians or
Israelis, will not be forced to know …”

Today my perception of the two sides is completely different from what it was 40 years ago. For me, the line that separates the two sides today is not between Arabs and Israelis or Jews and Muslims. Today the line is between those who want peace and are ready to pay the price for it, and all the rest. They are the other side! And today, that other side, to
my dismay, is the corrupt group of politicians and generals that leads us and behaves like a bunch of mafia dons, war criminals, who play ping-pong in blood among themselves, who sow hatred and reap death.”

Let us add the speech of another bereaved father,  David Grossman, the famous writer. He speaks in Hebrew with English subtitles:

INDEPENDENCE–AFTER 70 YEARS

Back to the big picture. For 70 years we have lived here as the State of Israel and we are still not integrated politically into the region. Most of us in the peace camp have supported the idea of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and economic partnership. The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has probably voided any chance of success of this vision. The writer A. B. Yehoshua proposes an alternative solution, which some may regard as visionary or deluded. Read his essay and think for yourself.

NATALIE PORTMAN AND BOYCOTT

natalie

The actress Natalie Portman who was chosen as the 2018 Genesis Laureate has announced that she will not come to Israel to accept it from the Prime Minister Netanyahu. The reaction from the establishment in Israel borders on the hysterical. even calling her antisemitic. She also has her supporters, such as Gideon Levy in Haaretz and Amy Spiro in the Jerusalem Post. Prometheus and Pandora agree with the sentiments she expressed in her Instagram statement . One might argue that she could have done what the writer Ian McEwan did when he received the Jerusalem Book Prize. He came to Jerusalem and spoke hard truth to power, about the occupation and the wholesale violation of human rights. Nonetheless, she took a positive step and we salute her for it.

We append her statement in which it is clear that she is not a BDS supporter.

“My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others. Let me speak for myself. I chose not to attend because I did not want
to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a  speech at the ceremony. By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it. Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance. Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power. Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me as my own. This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel. I will be announcing them soon, and I hope others will join me in supporting  the great work they are doing.”

A RANT ABOUT ASYLUM SEEKERS

The following is a quote from the web site of the UN agency that deals with refugees.

“The world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home by conflict and persecution at the end of 2016. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also 10 million stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.”

Israel has tens of thousands of refugees, mostly from African countries. It has been trying to get rid of them by whatever means. A deal was set to stop the forced deportation to Africa from Israel of asylum seekers, resettle 16,000 of them in
Israel and the same number in Western countries. Netanyahu hours later decided to suspend the deal, even though he had already signed it, following pressure from within his party and from coalition members.

Netanyahu announced the cancellation of the deal at the start of a meeting he held with residents of south Tel Aviv.“I listened closely to many comments about the agreement,” Netanyahu said. “After reevaluating the advantages and disadvantages [of the deal], I decided to cancel the deal.”

Bradley Burston, writing in Haaretz in English deplores the cancellation and takes issue with the racism involved in the actions of the government. There was popular protest against the mass deportation plan and now all seems to be back at square one, alas.

Israeli protest against the expulsion of African asylum seekers, in March 2018. Israeli protest against the expulsion of African asylum seekers, in March 2018. credit-Meged Gozani

 

A BIT MORE ON LIES FROM HIGH PLACES

In a previous blog Pandora and Prometheus ranted loud and clear about mendacity in the public sphere. They traced the history of the imperial lie from King Shalmaneser III of Assyria in the ninth century BCE down to Kellyann Conway and her “alternative facts”  in our time. We somehow overlooked the comments on the Pentagon Papers by Hannah Arendt in the New York Review of Books. She raises an interesting point, that the lies emanating from high places may be caused by the fact that many leaders live in a delusional world of their own making or created for them by their underlings.  We   strongly recommend that you read her article–it is as relevant today as it was in 1971. If the NYRB proves inaccessible, you can find the article here.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Pandora and Prometheus  point you at the NYTimes editor’s choice in which Geoffrey Cowles, a Senior Book Editor, recommends 11 books and provides reviews.  The list includes fiction and nonfiction, original English and translations, and should keep you out of mischief for a while.

A BIT OF SCIENCE

Refining the fine-structure constant

The fine-structure constant, α, is a dimensionless constant that characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between charged elementary particles. Related by four fundamental constants, a precise determination of α allows for a test of the Standard Model of particle physics. Parker et al. used matter-wave interferometry with a cloud of cesium atoms to make the most accurate measurement of α to date. Determining the value of α to an accuracy of better than 1 part per billion provides an independent method for testing the accuracy of quantum electrodynamics and the Standard Model. It may also enable searches of the so-called “dark sector” for explanations of dark matter.

The answer: The fine-structure constant is approximately 1/137.035999046.

If the new measurement disagreed with the earlier one, that might be an indication of new particles. But the two agree reasonably well, which confirms that the electron is probably not composed of smaller particles and disfavors the possibility of dark photons. These hypothetical particles are similar to run-of-the-mill photons, or particles of light, but unlike normal photons would have mass and interact very weakly with known particles. Big news in geekdom/nerdsville–the rest may yawn and skip.

 

Weicheng Zhong

CONSTANT QUANTIFED A team of physicists, including Weicheng Zhong of the University of California, Berkeley (pictured) has performed the most precise measurement yet of the fine-structure constant, which governs the strength of electromagnetic interactions.

 

SILLY TIME

What If–?

If you did fall into Jupiter’s atmosphere in a submarine, what would it actually look like? What would you see before you melted or burned up?

—Ada Munroe

Interesting discussion

Bring up your kids to be ready for the real world:

It leads to this:

NICE TO HAVE A CHOICE

Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update April 12-18

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

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

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

 

 

CHARITY CORNER

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

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

This charity is highly rated by Charity Navigator.

nigeria_famine_qf

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

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.  They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

This week we look at the Congo Basin tribes.  

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

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and lend your voice to the call for freedom for girls.

MASTER’S DEGREE IN HUMAN RIGHTS

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

xiaoyun_shen_mhr_cropped

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

Xiaoyun Shen, MHR ’15

URGENT ACTION CASES

ETHIOPIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

SWAZILAND

Urgent Action: Dozens Left Homeless After Forced Eviction

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

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQxNBnqly8vH42Y1k9w6VSO4QABzei_OwLkZV4n0PXWOypp3UGM

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INDIA

Urgent Action: Dalit Rights Activist Still Detained Without Charge

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

Image result for chandrashekhar azad image

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NIGER

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defenders Arrested and Detained

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

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update April 5-11

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

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

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

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

Core Values we deliver:

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

Mission:

zimbabwe-goat-distribution

We deliver goats to provide livelihoods

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

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

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

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

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

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

aus-abor-jmi-11_article_column

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

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and lend your voice to the call to end domestic slavery in India.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

ECUADOR

Urgent Action Victory! – Indigenous Defender No Longer Under Threat

Image result for Patricia Gualinga

Patricia Gualinga,

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

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

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

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

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

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

ETHIOPIA

Urgent Action: Eleven People Detained Without Charge

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

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CHINA

Urgent Action Update: Activist Formally Arrested After 6 Months

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

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

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

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UZBEKISTAN

Urgent Action Update: Report Finds No Torture Despite Visible Bruises

bobo

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

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INDIA

Urgent Action Update: Activist with Disabilities Health Deteriorates

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

TAKE ACTION

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

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

 

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

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

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

phri-who-we-are-pamphlet

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

The Uncontacted Indians of Brazil

At risk of extinction from disease and land loss

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

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

Act now ↓ Donate →

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and lend your voice to the call to put a stop to exploitation of forced labor in U.S. detention.

us-detention-page-header

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDIA

Urgent Action Victory! Indigenous Peoples Advocate Released on Bail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAPAN

Urgent Action Update: Risk of Executions After Final Sentence Confirmed

Image result for aum shinrikyo

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

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IRAN

Urgent Action: 11 Women Ill-Treated and Arbitrarily Detained

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

Related image

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TURKEY

Urgent Action: Students Detained for Anti-War Protest

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

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EGYPT

Urgent Action Update: Court Upholds Death Sentences of Two Men

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

Image result for Ahmed Amin Ghazali

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

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