Thursday, March 28, 2013

Human Rights action update March 21-28

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947
In this Pesach/Easter week let us start with some good news on the human rights front. The Sultan of Oman has announced a  decision to pardon all activists and writers convicted last year for insulting the ruler, IT crimes and taking part in unauthorized protests.  We applaud this action and hope that it augers greater expansion of freedom of expression in Oman.

We again are called upon to speak up for indigenous  uncontacted people. These tribes have no immunity to our diseases and has history has taught us can be wiped out.  Please act on behalf of the Ayoreo tribe in Paraguay whose lands are being stolen by a subsidiary of Spanish construction company Grupo San José.

We have two egregious cases from Uzbekistan, one of which also involves Russia.  An Uzbekistani citizen has been returned from Russia apparently by force and is at risk of torture. Please act on behalf of  Azamatzhon Ermakov
The writer Mamadali Makhmudov faces a second prison term after serving a 14 year session.  Please write on his behalf as requested..

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Human Rights Update March 16-21

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012
Happy Pesach to all. We have just a few items this week.
Good news: The Somalia Supreme Court has freed a reporter imprisoned for interviewing a woman who alleged she had been raped by soldiers.

The state of Maryland has repealed the death penalty, thank you legislators and Gov. O'Malley for doing something that is right albeit not politically expedient. This is the 18th state free of capital punishment and the sixth in six years to repeal.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at a rally in support of repealing the state's death penalty in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks at a rally in support of repealing the state’s death penalty in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Now for some labor issues:
We would not expect  big corporations that are indeed predators in the Third World to think they can get away with their nasty tricks in Europe. We are wrong.  Please help Dutch Unilever workers.

Workers at Mondelez, a spinoff of Kraft Foods, are being abused in  Tunisia and Egypt. Please act on their behalf.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Human Rights action update March 8-14

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

We open with a labor rights issue in the Netherlands. One would like to think that First World, industrialized and presumably civilized nations would be past this stage.

Unilever workers need your help

We are back to Central America for protection of human rights defenders. In Guatemala, we have an egregious case that call for your action.

In Mexico, the issue is torture by law enforcement entities and the impunity of the perpetrators. This is an easy click action on behalf of a victim Miriam López, who had the  courage to  file a formal complaint, but nobody has been brought to justice.
Portrait photo of Miriam Isaura Lopez Vargas.  © Agencia Reforma

The question of press freedom in Somalia requires attention and action.  Please act on behalf of a journalist convicted of insulting the government.

Last week, Titan marked International Women's Day with a dedicated blog. We invite you to read it if you have not already. For background, we link to a document on the status of women in Israel.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Human Rights Action update March 1-7

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012
Friday is International Women's Day and indeed the state of human rights of women around the world needs much more than a day of florid speeches and parades.  We can start with a fifteen year old rape survivor who is facing flogging for "fornication" in the Maldives. Flogging sentences for fornication are all too common in the Maldives -- and the victims are almost invariably women. When visiting the country in 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called flogging "one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women". She called on the Maldives to stop this barbaric practice. You can help by clicking the link and signing the protest petition.

In Yemen, 200 youngsters are locked in a cramped jail, 40 to a cell, waiting to hear whether their government will execute them. But in just 24 hours we have a rare moment to end this child killing when Yemeni ministers meet with Western governments for a major London summit.  You can join a petition that will be delivered at the meeting to help shame the Yemini government on this issue. Now is the day.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk  has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for criticizing the King of Thailand. I append an Amnesty Urgent Action posting issued before the sentencing for the details and the addresses. Please write to the Thai government to comply with international standards of freedom of expression.

On March 18 - 28, 2013 world leaders will convene to negotiate the first ever treaty that will help prevent keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers, such as armed groups and government forces that put children into combat. Please let President Obama know that the eyes of the world are on him since he holds the key to this issue.