Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

TAKE ACTION

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

TAKE ACTION

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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TAKE ACTION

 

 

 

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.

TAKE ACTION

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.

TAKE ACTION

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.

TAKE ACTION

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

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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.

TAKE ACTION

 

Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update Blog March 1-7

Our featured image is of Miriam, the human rights defender, 1947-2012.

 

220px-holbein-erasmus1

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

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

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week, in recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, we turn our attention to the Fistula Foundation. Fistula is a childbirth injury largely eradicated in the developed world, but still devastating women in the poorest countries. It leaves the woman incontinent with catastrophic results for her family and social life.
It’s treatable with life-transforming surgery.

This charity is highly rated by Charity Watch.

 

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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

A major calamity for indigenous people is racism. Help stamp it out.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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

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URGENT ACTION CASES

USA

Urgent Action Victory! – Texas Governor Commutes Death Sentence

On 22 February, the Governor of Texas commuted the death sentence of Thomas Whitaker hours before he was due to be executed. It was the first such act of clemency in Texas since August 2007, a period which has seen nearly 150 execution in the state.

On 10 December 2003, the Whitaker family – mother, father and two sons – went out to dinner in Fort Bend County, Texas. When they returned home, Christopher Brashear was inside. The parents – Patricia and Kent Whitaker were shot, as was their younger son Kevin Whitaker. Patricia and Kevin Whitaker died, but Kent Whitaker survived his serious gunshot wounds. He would later learn that it was his other son, Thomas Whitaker, who had planned the killings and known that Christopher Brashear was waiting inside the house to shoot the family. In March 2007 a jury convicted Thomas Whitaker of capital murder. At the sentencing, the defence argued that the defendant was remorseful, had offered to plead guilty in return for two life sentences, and that neither his father nor members of his mother’s side of the family wanted him sentenced to death. The defense noted that the state was not seeking the death penalty against Christopher Brashear, who was sentenced to life later in 2007.

On 20 February 2018, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously recommended that Governor Greg Abbott commute the death sentence. This was the first time that the Board had made a recommendation for commutation since 2007 (see https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr51/139/2007/en/). On 22 February, with the execution hours away, Governor Abbott signed a proclamation accepting the Board’s decision and commuting Thomas Whitaker’s death sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He stated that the Board’s decision was supported “by a totality of the circumstances in this case so long as Thomas Bartlett Whitaker is never released from prison”. He said that Thomas Whitaker had agreed to “forever waive any and all claims to parole” and that this agreement constituted “an essential and indispensable element of my decision”.

The Governor also noted that Christopher Brashear, who had actually shot the victims, was sentenced to life while Thomas Whitaker “who conspired to kill his parents and brother, but did not actually shoot the gun that caused the murders, was sentenced to death”. Finally, the Governor noted that the prisoner’s father, Kent Whitaker, “passionately opposes the execution of his son”. In a separate statement, the Governor added that Kent Whitaker “insists that he would be victimized again if the state put to death his last remaining immediate family member”.

In that public statement, Governor Abbott noted the unanimity of the Board’s recommendation as another factor in his decision, and pointed out that “In just over three years as Governor, I have allowed 30 executions. I have not granted a commutation of a death sentence until now”. Texas accounts for 548 of the 1,469 executions in the USA since they resumed in 1977 under new capital laws approved by the Supreme Court in 1976. There have been four executions in the USA so far this year, three in Texas and one in Florida.

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

CHAD

Urgent Action Victory! Youth Activist Unconditionally Released

Alain Didah Kemba, spokesperson of the Chadian youth movement IYINA, was unconditionally released on 26 February after being presented before the prosecutor. Three days earlier, he had been released from detention for health reasons. He was having difficulty standing as he reported that he had been beaten during an interrogation while in detention. He was never formally charged.

Alain Didah Kemba, spokesperson of the Chadian youth movement IYINA (we are tired in local Arabic), was unconditionally released on 26 February after being presented before the prosecutor who decided not to charge him. On 23 February, Alain was released from detention for health reasons. Before this release, his lawyer told Amnesty International that his client could barely stand on his feet as Alain said that he was beaten on his leg joints and the soles of his feet by police officers during an interrogation.

Alain was arrested early in the morning on 19 February by a police officer. Later that day, the police spokesperson told the media that Alain had been arrested by a police commander while he was about to burn a tire with gasoline he was holding in a bottle. His lawyer was also told the same thing when he went to the Police Headquarters to ask about his client. On the same day, the Public Prosecutor told Amnesty International that he knew nothing about Alain’s arrest or his whereabouts.

On 20 February, Alain’s lawyer attempted to visit him twice at the Police Headquarters in Ndjamena, but the police denied having him in custody. Later, his friends and family were able to confirm that Alain was detained at the Police Headquarters. It was only after this confirmation that Alain’s lawyer was able to see him.

Alain was never formally charged and had denied ever being in possession of a bottle of gasoline at the time of his arrest. He said he was on his normal morning run and the police arrested him as he was running past a tire.

Over the past two years human rights defenders and government critics have been repeatedly repressed in Chad as dissent has been growing over President Deby’s victory for a fifth term and austerity measures taken by the government to counter the economic crisis. Alain has been a vocal critic of the government speaking out against the austerity measures and has participated in several peaceful protests organised by IYINA.

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

NORWAY

Urgent Action Update: Student at Risk of Deportation to Afghanistan

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18-year old student  is at imminent risk of being deported to Afghanistan, a country she has never been to. Despite the rise in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Norway has declared Kabul safe for returns. Should Taibeh Abbasi be deported to war-torn Afghanistan, she would be at serious risk of human rights violations.

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USA

Urgent Action Update: Execution Called Off, Continue Clemency Call

The State of Alabama called off the execution of Doyle Hamm late on 22 February after the lethal injection team was unable to find an accessible vein over the course of two and a half hours. The governor should now commute his death sentence.

TAKE ACTION

 

VIETNAM

Blogger Mẹ Nấm - Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh từng nhiều lần công khai phản đối công ty Formosa gây ra thảm họa môi trường tại miềnTrung Việt Nam.

Urgent Action Update: Health Fears for Relocated Jailed Activist

Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh, known as blogger Mẹ Nấm (Mother Mushroom) was secretly moved over 900km away to a prison with deplorable conditions, that is far away from her family. Currently serving a 10-year prison sentence and denied access to her medication, there are serious concerns for her deteriorating health.

TAKE ACTION

USA

Oppose Detainee Transfers To Guantanamo

The US authorities are preparing for possible detainee transfers to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. President Trump has ordered the Secretary of Defense to make policy recommendations by 30 April. The last detainee transfer to the base was in 2008.

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TURKEY/GERMANY

Smart suits, shabby treatment: Sponsor of Bundesliga teams fires union members

 

 

 

 

 

German clothing company Roy Robson has fired eleven union members from its factory in Izmir, Turkey. The company is a major sponsor of Bundesliga football teams Werder Bremen and VfL Wolfsburg. The Izmir plant employs 600 people, and textile union Teksif has tried to organize it for some time.

However, when workers join the union, the company fires them. A total of eleven union members have been fired this year. The manager has refused a meeting, saying that on principle, the company never meets with unions. Please click and join the protest.

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update February 22-28

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

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 NALA Foundation:

NTD refers to Neglected Tropical Diseases. The organization was founded by Professor Zvi Bentwich, MD,  who was one of the first doctors to deal with HIV/AIDS in Israel. During his time working in the field, he began to notice a correlation between intestinal parasites and HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other major diseases. After years of thorough research, he came up with groundbreaking evidence that there is a direct link between the two, and if intestinal parasites are eradicated, the likelihood of HIV/AIDS infection drops dramatically as well. After this realization, he could no longer sit back and continue exclusively in research. He knew he must reach out to the most vulnerable communities and begin the NTD eradication process, both to mitigate the effects it has on HIV/AIDS and to ensure that the detrimental effects of the unnecessary diseases come to an end.

Our vision is a world free of curable diseases that perpetuate poverty.

Our mission is to break the poverty cycle by eradicating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and other diseases of poverty. We put in a special effort in health education.

https://static.wixstatic.com/media/331a2b_af5163c7005b4bfc8ae970fa85210281~mv1.jpg/v1/fill/w_419,h_390,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/331a2b_af5163c7005b4bfc8ae970fa85210281~mv1.jpg

 Please read the post and donate to this most 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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is land theft. Industrialized societies subject tribal peoples to genocidal violence, slavery and racism so they can steal their lands, resources and labor in the name of “progress” and “civilization.”  Raise your voice in protest.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

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

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URGENT ACTION CASES

VENEZUELA

Urgent Action Victory! – Prisoner Of Conscience Gets Medical Care

Prisoner of conscience Villca Fernández finally received medical care after having been denied urgently needed medical treatment since June 2017. Since 26 January 2018, prison authorities have transferred Villca Fernández to a military hospital on several occasions for continued treatment.

On 26 January, authorities from the National Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional, SEBIN) facilities in Caracas transferred Villca Fernández to a military hospital in order to receive medical treatment for a range of health problems, including numbness on his face and hypertension. Due to the nature of his ailments, Villca Fernández has since been transferred for continued treatment on additional occasions. Villca Fernández’s father and lawyer told Amnesty International he has received additional medical care on 30 January and during the first weeks of February.

Nevertheless, violations to his right to due process continue. On 12 February, authorities once again did not transfer Villca Fernández to the court where the hearing for the start of his trial was scheduled to take place. The hearing was again postponed until 12 March.

Despite the need for urgent action regarding his health subsiding, Villca Fernández remains a prisoner of conscience who has not used or advocated violence and is being arbitrarily detained in SEBIN custody, and as such, Amnesty International will continue demanding his immediate and unconditional release. We ask the movement to continue campaigning on his behalf through our long-term casefile on the Individuals at Risk portfolio.

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

CAMBODIA

Urgent Action Victory! – Convicted Environmental Activists Released

Two environmental activists and prisoners of conscience, convicted of and sentenced on trumped-up charges based on their peaceful activism, were released after serving five months out of their 1-year prison sentences, as seven months of their sentences had been suspended.

Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy, activists affiliated with the environmental NGO ‘Mother Nature Cambodia’ (MNC), were released from Koh Kong Provincial Prison in the morning of 13 February 2018. On 26 January 2018, Koh Kong’s Provincial Court convicted both men of “incitement to commit a felony” and “violation of privacy” and sentenced them to one year in prison with seven months of that prison sentence suspended.

At the day of the trial, both activists had already spent five months in pre-trial detention due to their arbitrary arrest on 12 September 2017. The trumped-up charges were based on their peaceful environmental activism. They had filmed two large vessels in open waters, which were anchored off the coast of Prek Khsach in Koh Kong province, southwestern Cambodia, as they suspected them to be illegally carrying sand for export. The complaint had been filed by ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat’s company, Ly Yong Phat Group Ltd., alleging the two had filmed on the company’s “private property”, such as the Special Economic Zone in Kiri Sakor district.

Both were arrested two days after MNC had published a video exposing illegal exports of Cambodia’s valuable silica sand by companies linked to the Cambodian authorities. MNC has accused Cambodian authorities of complicity in this illegal trade of Cambodia’s natural resource by turning a blind eye to fraud and tax evasion allegedly committed by sand-dredging companies.

Upon arrest, the pair had been questioned and charged without their lawyer present. In October 2017, they had been denied bail. They were held in small and overcrowded prison cells at Kog Kong Provincial Prison. Amnesty International considered both men to be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for their peaceful activism.

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

ETHIOPIA

Urgent Action: Oromo Civilians Killed, Wounded by the Military

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At least 22 members of the Ethiopian Oromo community have been killed or wounded by military officers in two separate incidents.

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JAPAN

Urgent Action Update: Risk of Executions After Final Sentence Confirmed

 

JAPAN-SECT-ASAHARA-FILE

Aum Shinrikyo, Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara.

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. They are the cult that carried out a sarin gas attack in the Tokyo metro killed 13 people and sent more than 5,000 to the hospital in March 1995.

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INDIA

Urgent Action: Kashmiri Photojournalist Faces Life in Prison

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Kamran Yousuf has been charged with several criminal offenses including ‘waging war against the government of India’. The charges are based on the allegation that he only covered violent protests in Kashmir rather than other ‘developmental activities’. In pre-trial detention for over five months, he faces life imprisonment if convicted.

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SLOVAKIA

Urgent Action: Man At Risk of Torture if Extradited to Russia

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Aslan Yandiev was detained by the Slovakian authorities on 20 January 2011, shortly before the Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation submitted a request for his extradition. He is now at risk of imminent extradition to Russia following the Minister of Justice’s decision on 7 February to authorize it. If extradited to Russia, Aslan Yandiev would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

TAKE ACTION

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Blog February 15-21

 

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 Amnesty International. We use their resources to find our Urgent Action cases and it is only right that we give them some support in return.

 

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.

We call your attention to the struggle of the Awa people of Brazil. They have managed to get the illegal loggers off their land, but they can still use your help.

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 forced child marriages in Niger.

URGENT ACTION CASES

CAMBODIA

Urgent Action: Activist Immediately Jailed After Forcible Return

Sam Sokha, a UNHCR recognized refugee, was arrested and detained by Cambodian authorities when forcibly returned from Thailand on 8 February. She had been convicted in absentia of “incitement” for her peaceful political activism and sentenced to over two years imprisonment plus a fine. Amnesty International considers her a prisoner of conscience.

TAKE ACTION

BURUNDI

Urgent Action: Members of NGO Wrongly Accused, Facing Trial

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Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Aimé Constant Gatore and Marius Nizigiyimana are on trial for “threatening state security” and using fake documents. A verdict is expected on 26 February. They are members of the Burundian non-governmental organization Words and Actions for the Awakening of Consciences and the Evolution of Mentalities (PARCEM). Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience.

TAKE ACTION

THAILAND

Urgent Action: Criminalization of Peaceful Protesters

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Peaceful protesters in Thailand are at risk of arrest and up to eight years’ imprisonment as authorities seek to silence calls for authorities not to delay promised elections.

TAKE ACTION

KENYA

Urgent Action Update: New Threats Against Indigenous Community

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The Sengwer Indigenous community are facing new threats of eviction. On 21 January, a local government official announced intensified security operations to “flush out” everyone from the forest, who, he alleges, are “all criminals and cattle-rustlers”. Sengwer community member Robert Kirotich Kibor was shot at and killed and David Kosgei Kiptilkesi was seriously injured by gunshots during an eviction on 16 January.

TAKE ACTION

MIRIAM SHLESINGER HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION UPDATE JANUARY 25-31

miriam

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

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 international operations of  Direct Relief. Its mission:

It is highly rated by Charity Navigator and 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. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is racism. Help stamp it out.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and raise your voice to call for the freedom of the activist Gaspar Matalaev who is in prison in Turkmenistan.

gaspar-matalayev-630x325

URGENT ACTION CASES

SUDAN

Urgent Action Victory! — Opposition Member Released From Sudan Prison

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Radwan Daoud, a dual national of the US and Sudan, was released without charge from Kober Prison on 18 January. He was arrested on 6 December 2017 and first detained at the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detention centre.

Radwan Daoud resides in Oregon State. His arrest is believed to be in connection with videos he shared publicly on his Facebook account to bring attention to the police’s use of excessive force against protestors in the eastern district of Al-Greif. There has been tension between police and residents of the district protesting against the sale of public land to private investors.

He was first detained at the NISS detention centre in Al-Greif before being moved to Kober Prison. During his detention, the NISS interrogated Radwan twice about his visit to Al-Greif and about being a member of the Sudanese Congress Party. Radwan Daoud alleged being beaten, kicked and whipped with electric cables during his first two days in detention at the NISS offices.

He was denied access to a lawyer and medical attention during his 44 days in detention.

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

Urgent Action Victory! – Supreme Court Blocks Execution in Alabama

The US Supreme Court granted a stay of execution in the case of Vernon Madison who was scheduled to be executed in Alabama on the evening of 25 January. The stay is to allow the Court time to decide whether to review the claim that Vernon Madison is not “competent” for execution due to his mental disability.

EGYPT

Urgent Action Victory! Peaceful Protesters And Activists Released

Human rights activist and former Prisoner of Conscience Mahienour el-Masry and labor activist Moatasem Medhat were acquitted of all charges by Montazah Misdemeanour Court of Appeals in Alexandria. They were respectively released on 16 January and 18 January.

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Mahienour el-Masry

On 13 January, human rights defender and former Prisoner of Conscience Mahienour el-Masry as well as labour activist Moatasem Medhat were acquitted of all charges by the Montazah Misdemeanour Court of Appeals in Alexandria. Egyptian authorities released Mahienour on 16 January and Moatasem on 18 January.

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Moatasem Medhat

 

Egyptian authorities originally detained Mahienour el-Masry and Moatasem Medhat on 18 November 2017 and they were sentenced on 30 December to two years in prison for their peaceful participation in a protest on charges of “participating in an unauthorized protest” and “show of forces”. The case dates back to 14 June 2017, where Mahineour and Moatasem participated in a protest in Alexandria against the ratification of an agreement by which Egypt ceded sovereignty over two islands in the red sea, Tiran and Sanafir, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Security forces held Mahienour el-Masry originally in El-Qanater prison in greater Cairo, and later moved her to Damanhour women’s prison, 70 km east southeast of Alexandria. Security forces detained Moatasem Medhat in Borg el-Arab prison, near the city of Alexandria. The defendants’ lawyer filed an appeal and the Montazah Misdemeanour Court of Appeals scheduled a hearing on 13 January, where the court acquitted both of them.

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

 

NORWAY

Urgent Action: Student at Risk of Deportation to Afghanistan

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18-year old student Taibeh Abbasi is at imminent risk of being deported to Afghanistan, a country she has never been to. Despite the rise in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Norway has declared Kabul safe for returns. Should Taibeh Abbasi be deported to war-torn Afghanistan, she would be at serious risk of human rights violations.

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TURKEY

Urgent Action: Turkish Medical Association Facing Threats

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and its prominent members have been subjected to threats of violence, following a statement they issued on 24 January, calling for an end to the ongoing military operation by the Turkish armed forces in Afrin, northern Syria. The TTB lodged a request with the Ankara Governorship to provide protection for its offices and members, but they have received no response.

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USA

Urgent Action: Ohio Prepares for Its First Execution of 2018

Raymond Tibbetts, aged 60, is due to be executed in Ohio on 13 February. His lawyers are urging the Governor to take account of mitigating evidence they say the clemency board failed to give proper weight to, and about which the jury was not fully informed.

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MEXICO

Urgent Action: Two Young Men Remain Disappeared

Between 27 December and 3 January, at least seven young men disappeared in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state. Most cases point to the involvement of local police. Three of the disappeared men were found alive with signs of torture; two others were found dead. The whereabouts of two still remain unknown.

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Coca-Cola is a major sponsor of this year’s Winter Olympics, a huge opportunity for the world’s largest beverage company to promote its brands, its images and its sales. Since March 2015 Coke’s exclusive bottler for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, Coca-Cola Amatil (“The power behind our region’s favorite brands”), has been busy bashing rights. There should be no place for Zero Rights at the Olympic Games. Please click and join the protest.

 

THE MIRIAM SHLESINGER HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION UPDATE NOVEMBER23-29

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

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CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention toReporters Without Borders. Reporters Without Borders (RWB), or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization that promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. We invite you to see their press freedom rankings and to make a donation. You can also check out where your country ranks.

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.

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Takwarentxia with a monkey, Juriti community, Brazil.
© Fiona Watson/Survival

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

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

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You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

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Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United and to participate in the abolitionist movement against modern slavery. The good news from California–The good news from California–

Goal:

To support our partner Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), asking Governor Brown to sign new laws that apply to California that would help end victims of modern slavery from being criminalized for crimes they were forced to commit.

Summary:

Five bills that aim to help human trafficking victims caught in the criminal justice system were under consideration in the Californian Assembly. We gathered signatures calling for Governor Brown to support the two bills that offered the best protections possible. These were AB 1761 (Affirmative Defense for Human Trafficking Victims ), which will ensure that human trafficking victims are not convicted of crimes their traffickers forced them to commit, and AB 1762 (Vacating Convictions for Human Trafficking Victims), which will help protect trafficking victims from being haunted by their past convictions and remove barriers to employment and housing.

Outcome:

AB 1761 was signed into law by Governor Brown in September of 2016, but AB 1762 was vetoed

A step forward.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

 

 

MALAYSIA

Urgent Action Victory! Investigations Into Human Rights Defender Closed

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The Malaysian police have officially closed all investigations into Maria Chin Abdullah, who was detained under security laws for organizing a rally on free and fair elections. Placed in solitary confinement for ten days in November 2016, she was released on 28 November 2016 and has continued with her human rights work. She is grateful for all the support and no further action is needed.

INDIA

Urgent Action Update: Grave Health Fears For Paralyzed Activist In Prison

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Disabled activist and teacher, G N Saibaba was convicted under a draconian anti-terror law on 7 March 2017 and continues to be denied access to adequate medical treatment in Nagpur Central Jail. Due to chronic health issues, his family fear that he will not survive the winter if he is not provided immediate and adequate access to medical care.

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BURUNDI

Urgent Action: Defender Accused Of Undermining State Security

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Nestor Nibitanga, a former member of the deregistered Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), was arrested in Gitega on 21 November. Burundian police have accused him of undermining state security.

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USA

Urgent Action: Border Officials Forcibly Separate Families

US border agency officials forcibly separated four Central American asylum-seeking fathers from their children after their arrival to the US, in violation of US standards on family unity during immigration detention. The parents are subsequently suffering from emotional distress, and the whereabouts of two of the children are still unknown.

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SINGAPORE

Urgent Action: Activist Faces Seven Charges For Peaceful Protest

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Singapore activist Jolovan Wham is facing seven charges for organizing several peaceful assemblies over a one year period, including a vigil protesting the execution of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan in July 2017. If found guilty, he could face up to 3 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of SGD$11,000 (USD$ 8,100).

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LIBYA

End campaign of intimidation against Nermin Al-Sharif

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Nermin Al-Sharif, leader of the Dockers’ and Seafarers’ Union of Libya, works relentlessly for the protection and advancement of human, workers’ and women’s rights in Libya, in the Arab region, and globally. As a result, she has been subject to ongoing attacks on her freedom and personal safety including several attempts on her life. Please join the protest.