Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Human Rights Action Update Feb. 12-18

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012


Survival International provides a useful tool for locating the embassy of any country in your country.



The governor of the State of Pennsylvania in the United States has declared a moratorium on all execution.  Governor Tom Wolf, who took office on 20 January 2015, has declared that he will grant a reprieve in each case in which an execution is scheduled until any recommendations of the forthcoming report of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment has been “satisfactorily addressed”. We praise Governor Wolf and hope that the next step will be abolition.


You may recall the case of Claudia Medina who was tortured and sexually abused by the marines who forced her to confess to a number of trumped up charges. A judge has just dropped the last remaining charge against her, arguing that the sole piece of evidence – a report filed by the marines – is a lie.

The judge confirmed that after her arrest Claudia was tortured and sexually assaulted by marines in order to force her to incriminate herself and others in drug-related crimes. The offenses took place on 7 August 2012 at a Navy barracks in Veracruz state, Eastern Mexico.
Claudia Medina was tortured and sexually assaulted by marines in Mexico ©Amnesty International.
Claudia Medina was tortured and sexually assaulted by marines in Mexico ©Amnesty International.
Claudia Medina's struggle is not over. Her torture complaint is not being pursued by the Federal Attorney General and impunity reigns supreme. Please take the actions requested at the end of the report and let the Federal government of  Mexico know that the eyes of human rights activists are upon them.


Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming.
Young Mursi shepherds looking after livestock, Ethiopia.
Young Mursi shepherds looking after livestock, Ethiopia.
© Ingetje Tadros/
This week we focus on the tribes of Ethiopia, in particular, the Omo Valley tribes. A massive hydroelectric dam and associated land grabs for plantations threaten the tribes of the Lower Omo River The tribes have lived in this area for centuries and have developed techniques to survive in a challenging environment. They have not been consulted about the dam or the plantations and stand to lose their livelihoods based on the river’s natural flood cycle. Please read about the tribes and take the steps proposed at the end of the article.


At least 27 people remain behind bars in China after showing support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Nine people have not been given access to their lawyers, the whereabouts of four are unknown, and at least two have reported being tortured in detention. All of them continue to be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Please act on their behalf.


Twelve people were shot dead and four others injured by military police officers during an operation in the neighborhood of Cabula in Salvador, north-east Brazil. Residents report feeling threatened and afraid as the military police have maintained their presence in the neighborhood ever since. Please call for an investigation and protection for the people of Cabula.


Prominent leaders of the trade union movement in Germany have issued a call for a new policy towards Greece and other struggling EU countries. They point out that the bailouts so far have benefited banks, but have done nothing for the structural problems and needs of the people, You are invited to join their call.


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