Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Human Rights Update May 21-27

Miriam, human rights defender, 1942-2012


Survival International provides a useful tool for locating the embassy of any country in your country. You can also find embassies here.  


The state legislature has voted 31-15 to abolish the death penalty in the state. The governor says he will veto it, but there should be enough votes to override the veto. Cheers to the lawmakers of Nebraska. Read and hear NPR about it.


In the wake of the closing of the Titan and Pollyanna blogs, we are continuing the charity corner here.  This week, we are referring you to Human Rights Watch. This is an NGO that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. We quote their mission statement:
"Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice."
EU: Protecting Asylum Seekers and Refugees
They have a very high rating from charity monitors.. As an example of their activity, we present a story of their struggle against sexual abuse in the US military and the reprisals against those who dare to complain.


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.
This week we focus on the the Wanniyala-Aetto (‘forest people’), who live in a region of tropical forest to the east of Sri Lanka’s central mountain massif. They are thought to have lived in Sri Lanka for many millennia before the arrival of the now dominant Sinhalese and Tamils. They are commonly known by outsiders as ‘Veddah. In 1983, the Wanniyala-Aetto’s last forest refuge was designated as the Maduru Oya National Park. They were moved to government villages and banned from entering their forest without a permit. They were also banned from hunting and gathering. Survival International is trying to persuade the government to recognise the rights of the Wanniyala-Aetto to live, hunt for their own consumption and gather forest produce inside the Maduru Oya National Park. Please help as suggested in the posting. 



Take slavery in Iraq to the International Criminal Court

We have added a new section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. We refer you to the site of Walk Free where you can find a large number of campaigns against manifestations of slavery in different countries. The number of people living in slavery is of the order of 35 million, which indicates the extent of the problem. We suggest that you look up the Fair Trade movement in your country and make an effort to avoid buying slave-produced products. This week we join the call to refer ISIS to the International Criminal Court. We note in that the past few months, an estimated 5,000 women and children in Iraq have reportedly been forced into marriage and sexual slavery by members of ISIS.2

Slavery is such a significant part of ISIS’s agenda that the group has published a pamphlet on the subject, which includes instructions such as, “It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of."

This calls for action by the UN Security Council We refer you to a petition site that will transmit your call to all members of the Security Council. Please take this action.


Demonstration against torture in Mexico
Torture is out of control in Mexico despite the adherence of the government to international conventions against torture. Please act to obtain justice for victims. 


Two human rights activists, Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma remain in detention at Makala prison in Kinshasa. The two are facing charges of “treason, attempted coup and an attempt to take the life of a Head of State”. Amnesty International believes that the activists are being detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience. Please write and protest on their behalf.


Human rights defender Víctor Martínez and his family are still at risk as the protection measures granted to him are not being adequately implemented. Please write to the authorities involved and demand that they fulfill their commitments.


The building of the facilities for the 2012 World Cup is being carried out by workers in slave-like conditions and with no regard for safety. It is expected that 62 workers may lose their lives for each game played during Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, a tournament likely to be sponsored by FIFA partner companies Coke, VISA, McDonald’s, Adidas, Kia and Hyundai. Without sponsorship, this multi-billion dollar tournament could not take place. Please click and send your demand for fairness and decency to the sponsors.

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