Thursday, March 27, 2014

Human Rights Action Update March 21-27

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012

The wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, has been able to have medical examinations and treatment, and her health condition has improved. She had been prevented from receiving the treatment she needed after suffering a heart attack in January. She continues to be held under illegal house arrest in Beijing. Liu Xia, 53, has had medical examinations and treatment at several different hospitals in Beijing. The examinations have suggested that she is mainly suffering from psychological stress, anxiety and depression, and the doctors warned this is likely to become worse unless her current living condition changes.

Liu Xia, a poet and artist, has been under house arrest since 8 October 2010, following the announcement that her husband, Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She remains under tight surveillance in her home and is not allowed visitors. She has recently been allowed to speak to friends by phone, and they say that her physical and mental health has improved. Liu Xia had a heart attack and was admitted to Beijing Shijingshan hospital for emergency treatment shortly before Chinese New Year in January. The doctor suggested that she be hospitalized for two weeks for further examination and treatment, but she was returned home. On 8 February, she went back to the hospital under police escort, where she was diagnosed with a heart condition, which the doctors said required further treatment. Her family completed all the necessary forms and paid the hospital fees, however the hospital refused to admit her and she was returned home.

Many thanks to all those who took action on her behalf. We will continue to work on her case through other means, but no more action is required from the Urgent Action Network at this time. Messages or photos to show solidarity with Liu Xia can be posted on a bi-lingual tumblr page here. As you can see, even the Chinese are sensitive to a worldwide outcry.

Former militia leader Charles Blé Goudé is to be transferred to the ICC to face accusations of crimes against humanity.
Former militia leader Charles Blé Goudé is to be transferred to the ICC to face accusations of crimes against humanity.
© STR/AFP/GettyImages
Also good news:The decision taken today by Côte d’Ivoire to send former militia leader Charles Blé Goudé, accused of crimes against humanity, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a key step towards justice for the victims of serious crimes following elections three years ago, said Amnesty International.

Now to the bad stuff:

Last week we informed you of the death of Cao Shunli who had been denied medical treatment while in detention. Now the Chinese government is refusing to let the family see her body or her medical records. There is obviously something that they need to hide and it is feared that her body will be cremated to remove evidence of torture.

Two men who are suspects in a robbery have reportedly been tortured while in police custody in the district of Christ Church. They have not received adequate medical treatment and remain at risk of further ill-treatment. Please act to protect them from further torture.

The Guardian recently exposed the slave trade that is driven by the working conditions on tea plantations in India, including those of the Tata Corporation, the owners of Tetley's Tea. Tata is apparently suing the Guardian. No one claims that Tata is selling slaves, but as pointed out by WalkFree the conditions create the situation.  Men and women operating as “recruiters” prey on young girls living on tea plantations in Assam, India. Thousands of girls have reportedly ended up trapped as domestic slaves in middle class homes in Delhi.

So how do these girls become trapped? The short answer is that workers in Assam are trapped in a unique situation of terrible poverty making them vulnerable to the lure of human traffickers. Please click on the WalkFree link and send in your protest.

On 13 March 2014, human rights defender Ms Balendran Jayakumari and her 13-year-old daughter were detained in their Killinochchi home in northern Sri Lanka from approximately 4pm until 10pm.

There are reports that Balendran Jayakumari and her daughter have now been brought to Vavunia for further investigation. Please click on the Take Action tab at the bottom of the page and register your protest.

Trade union leader, Kim Jungwoo, is at risk of receiving a further prison sentence at an appeal hearing on 4 April. He has been detained since June 2013 after taking part in protests in support of dismissed workers and their families. He is due to be released, but there are fears he will be given a heavier sentence by Seoul High Court as part of a continued crackdown on trade unionists in South Korea. Please act on his behalf.

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