Thursday, February 27, 2014

Human Rights Action Update Feb. 21-27

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012     
 We start with three items from China. The crackdown on human rights defenders there is intensifying as the regime becomes aware of the tensions building up because of social inequities. These are all updates on previous cases whose situation has worsened. Action is called for.

Please open the UA on Liu Xia that we issued on 17 February.   It's also available here on Amnesty's website:  There were more updates last Friday. Liu Xia was allowed to be admitted to a hospital in Beijing last Friday. However, she was warned not to disclose any more information in relation to the name and location of the hospital and her health conditions. So, we are not sure if she has actually been given any proper medical examination or treatment. Her lawyer also wouldn't want to talk in more details. We will see if we will have enough information to issue an update this week or next week.

Please open an updated UA for Ilham Tohti. This Uighur intellectual is now in severe danger.

Here is a UA update on Cao Shunli. She is now in hospital and there is serious concern for her health.

Coca-Cola Iberian Partners (CCIP) is imposing a restructuring plan that will affect nearly 1,200 workers and result in the closure of four of 11 Coca-Cola bottling plants in Spain.
Coca Cola is trying to close bottling plants despite its high profitability in Spain. Please support the defense of jobs around the country.

Survival International reports on major steps taken by the Brazilian government to drive illegal loggers out of the homeland of the Awa tribe.
The Awá are one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in the Amazon. They depend on the forest for their survival.
The Awá are one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in the Amazon. They depend on the forest for their survival.
© Domenico Pugliese/Survival
Over 50,000 people responded to the call for an outcry and it worked. Thanks to all of you who helped. Cheers also for the celebrities who supported the campaign.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Human Rights Action Update Feb. 14-20

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012  


Illegal gold-mining is destroying the Indians' forest, and polluting their rivers with mercury.
Illegal gold-mining is destroying the Indians' forest, and polluting their rivers with mercury.
© Colin Jones/Survival

The Brazilian authorities have launched an operation to combat illegal gold-mining on the land of the Yanomami tribe. ‘Operation Korekore’ is set to last 30 days and aims to arrest approximately 200 illegal miners who are operating in one part of the tribe’s territory. The operation’s ground squad has reportedly destroyed at least 20 illegal mining rafts and one airplane landing strip so far. On the other hand there is a bill pending in Congress that would permit large-scale mining on indigenous land and bring further destruction. There over 650 requests from mining corporations to mine in the Yanomami territory. Please click on the link and send a pre-written letter to the Brazilian government.


The Jawara tribe who live in the jungle on the Indian island of Andaman have long suffered abuse at the hands of so-called civilized people. That includes tourist safaris to spot them as though they were animals. The Indian government has even paved a road across the island to facilitate this "tourism." Now a journalist who exposed sexual exploitation of Jawara women is being harassed by the police. Please open this site and write to the Indian government to protest.
Jarawa women are being lured with alcohol and drugs and sexually exploited by poachers on their land.
Jarawa women are being lured with alcohol and drugs and sexually exploited by poachers on their land.
© Survival
As Survival International says in response to frequently asked questions:
Will my letter make a difference?
Yes. Time and again, letters from Survival supporters have called governments and organizations to account. Policies have changed and lives have been saved.
Should I post, fax or e-mail?
The most powerful way is to print and post your letter. We will e-mail you a ready-to-print PDF of your letter, together with postage information.

We sometimes also publish e-mail addresses or fax numbers where there is a realistic chance of these being read. However, e-mail addresses change and fax machines get unplugged. If you can, please post your letter.

Ethnic cleansing and massacres are being perpetrated against the Muslim population of this country.
Fati, an 11-year-old girl who was injured with deep machete wounds to her head and arm in an attack by anti-balaka militia in Boali (north of Bangui) on 17 January 2014. © Amnesty International

Peacekeeping forces are trying to protect them, but there is not enough force available. Call on the African Union to provide peacekeeping force MISCA ( Mission internationale de soutien à la Centrafrique sous conduite africaine) with the support needed to end ethnic cleansing and sectarian killings in the Central African Republic. Please act on this atrocity and call for protection of the victims.

Burning and looting of Muslim property and a mosque in PK 26 area, north of the capital Bangui in late January. © Amnesty International
The UN has broken its silence on the brutality of the regime in North Korea. A new report accuses the government of Kim Jong Un of crimes against humanity.
Drawing submitted by former North Korea prisoner Mr Kim Kwang-il shows a practice known as pigeon torture
A drawing by a former prisoner shows a practice known as pigeon torture
 Please join the worldwide outcry and call for action on the part of the international community. 

A bit of good news has come our way.  Our campaign on behalf of the striking workers of the Labatt brewery in St. John's, Newfoundland has been successful The workers are back on the job. They thank all the people around the world, 12,007 of you -- more than two-thirds of whom  came from outside Canada. Again it is shown that the protests of individuals are effective in making changes in policy and actions.   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Human Rights Action Update Feb. 7-13

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012


We start again with some good news. The governor of the state of Washington in the US has announced a moratorium on executions that will hold as long as he is in office. This is short of an initiative  for abolition or even commutation of the sentences of those now on Death Row. Nonetheless, it is a small step forward and we commend the governor for his action and his strong criticism of the application of the death penalty.

The Winter Olympic Games are under way in Sochi and the Russian authorities are doing whatever they can to silence dissent.

Yevgeny Vitishko was detained this week and charged with ‘swearing at a bus stop’ and hooliganism. He’s a prisoner of conscience. Ask for his release. We believe Yevgeny has been gagged by officials keen to stop him from protesting during the Sochi Winter Olympics. His 15 day sentence coincides conveniently for the government with the period of the games.

For the past two years victims of abuses by past military regimes in Bolivia have been encamped in protest in from of the Justice Ministry, demanding reparations and justice. Their campsite outside the Ministry of Justice was set on fire on 9 February. No casualties have been reported but files and other important documents have been destroyed. Please join the protest and the demand for an investigation as well as the demand for justice for victims of human rights violations.


Workers at the big flower auction FloraHolland have been engaged in futile negotiations with their management. After the failure of a warning strike on Feb. 6, they had no choice but to start an indefinite strike on Feb. 9. Workers at the company have been fighting in vain since last year for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and a social plan that addresses the needs of hundreds of workers who are losing their jobs and others who will be transferred to new locations in a major restructuring. Please click and send a message in support of the workers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Human Rights Action Update Jan.31-Feb. 6

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012
We start with some good news. Dmitrii Bulatov, the Ukrainian EuroMaydan activist who was abducted, beaten and ‘crucified’, has been given permission to leave the country to obtain treatment for the severe injuries he received at the hands of unknown assailants. We are also informed that charges against union leaders in Fiji have been dropped. Cheers to all of you for your appeals and support.  It proves again, as if proof were needed, that appeals and protests on human rights issues are effective and important.

During the 1990s around 2,000 mainly peasant and indigenous women were sterilized as part of a demographic control policy targeted at those living in poverty. There is strong evidence that health professionals implementing family planning programs were pressured into meeting sterilization quotas and that in most cases, women did not give their free and informed consent. Women and their families were allegedly threatened with fines, prison sentences, or the withdrawal of food subsidies if they refused to undergo the operation. Many did not receive adequate aftercare and suffered health problems as a result, and 18 died.  All of these women  have been denied justice after the Public Prosecutor’s office closed their cases. The failure to investigate their claims highlights the persistent discrimination against peasant and Indigenous peoples in Peru, including women. Please write to the Public Prosecutor to protest this grave injustice.

Ilham Tohti, prominent Uighur scholar and founder of the website “Uighur Online”, was taken from his home in Beijing by authorities on 15 January. His whereabouts are currently unknown. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Please join the action on his behalf.

Global unions are mobilizing workers around the world to protest at Cambodian embassies on Monday 10 February, to demand the release of 23 activists seized during demonstrations in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in January. The call to action to “Free the 23” comes on the eve of a Cambodian court hearing for the workers on 11 February. Please open the site and click on on the petition link at the bottom of the page.