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.

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