|Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012|
We start with infringements on the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular uncontacted tribal communities whose home territories are being invaded by development, in particular, prospectors and developers of mineral resources. Uncontacted tribes are extremely vulnerable to contact with outsiders, as they risk being exposed to diseases to which they have little or no immunity. Historically, this was the most effective means by which the Western Hemisphere was depopulated after the arrival of Europeans who had, over the centuries, evolved immunity to various diseases. Please act on the request of Survival International and write to the Peruvian government. In general, it is good human rights practice to follow Survival
© A. Goldstein/Survival
We move on to the War on Women, this time in Colombia. Please click and send the template letter provided by Amnesty International.
Roma in Romania are being maligned and suffering discrimination. Our friend, Guy, has called our
attention to an article in the Independent about the situation there and proposes a template letter. I
trust you will vary it and expand it.
Str. Motilor 5 Cluj-Napoca 400001
Dear Mayor, Why were 400 Roma people forced to leave
their houses in Cluj, where they had lived for generations? Why are they still living on a garbage dump
at Pata Rat? Why has alternative housing not been provided for them? I look forward to receiving
information from you. Romania's treatment of its Roma citizens is damaging the reputation of your
As always, you might vary the letter at least a little, perhaps after glancing over the "Independent"
article and Amnesty's Urgent Action of 22 December 2010:
And, as perhaps always, it may have to be explained that "Roma", the name of the people otherwise called
Gypsies, has no connection with "Romania", the country where the largest number of them happens to live.
You can send your letter also to: Victor Ponta Guvernul Romaniei Piata Victoriei nr. 1 Sector 1,
Bucuresti Romania Email: email@example.com ("Dear Prime Minister Ponta") and Traian Basescu Palatul Cotroceni
Bulevardul Geniului nr. 1-3 Cod postal 060116 Sector 6, Bucuresti Romania Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org ("Dear President Basescu")
If you use the old UA from Amnesty, be sure to update the name of the mayor of Cluj.
We end with a labor rights issue. We note again that companies that are responsible employers in their
home country become vicious exploiters and abusers when they think they are in a Third World place where
they can get away with it. Please call this Finnish company that is running wild in Mexico to account.
Similarly, we have a case of a failure of a monitoring organization to perform its function of ensuring that the use of the Fair Trade logo truly reflects the treatment of workers by a company.