Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Human Rights Action Update August 27-September 2

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012



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


No one in his/her right mind would consider Amnesty International a threat to security. Nonetheless it has been subject to electronic surveillance. The revelation that the UK Government has been systematically spying on the electronic communications of Amnesty International has thrown into sharp focus the need for a strong and effective system to monitor and regulate electronic surveillance by governments. The surveillance of Amnesty was not only illegal but puts at risk human rights activists around the world who are in touch with the organization. Read More...

Press freedom is under attack around the world. The trial and conviction of Aljezeera journalists in Egypt is another link in this nefarious chain. This sends a chilling message from the Egyptian authorities that anyone exercising their freedom of expression could face arbitrary detention and ill-treatment in detention.


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 Books for Africa. This is a highly rated charity that provides books for a book-starved continent. We quote:"Books For Africa. A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to students of all ages in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.
Books For Africa remains the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, shipping over 33 million books to 49 different countries since 1988.  Over the past 12 months we have shipped 2.4 million books, 665 computers and 200 e-readers containing 1.6 million digital books, as well as 5 new law and human rights libraries to 21 African countries. More than $2.3 million was raised last year to ship the books to the students of Africa."

They have a four star rating from Charity Navigator. Please donate.


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 want to discuss the role of international law in the survival of indigenous peoples.    

When tribal peoples lose their lands, their societies disintegrate and individuals often succumb to alcoholism and fatal diseases.

The only international law that can secure tribal peoples’ land rights is the International Labor Organization Convention 169. ILO 169 recognizes and protects tribal peoples’ land ownership rights, and sets a series of minimum UN standards regarding consultation and consent.

ILO 169 has been around since 1989, but only twenty-two countries have ratified it so far. At this rate, it will be another 170 years before every country has ratified the Convention. Every country that does so, strengthens its force, and gives tribal peoples a greater chance to survive and thrive. Please open the link and write to your MP,  congressperson or Prime Minister calling for ratification of ILO 169.


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.   Look for this logo:
This week we focus on forced marriage.
Every year forced marriage sentences millions of women and young children to a life in slavery. It’s a crime that’s widespread, but rarely spoken about – a crime that flourishes in the shadows of society. The UN says that forced marriage is likely to increase in the coming years unless major changes occur. Please act.


This is too horrible for words. 

On 30 July, an unelected all-male village council in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, northern India, ordered that a Dalit woman and her teenage sister be raped and paraded naked. The sisters and their family have fled the village and are now in Delhi. On 24 May, 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister fled their village in Baghpat district with their family, fearing violence after their brother eloped with a married woman from a Jat (dominant caste) family. On 30 May, their house in the village was ransacked. On 30 July, members of a village khap panchayat– an unelected all-male village council - ordered that Meenakshi Kumari and her sister be raped and paraded naked, with their faces blackened, as punishment for the actions of their brother. Please raise your voice in protest.


Human rights defender Ms Soni Sori has been the target of an ongoing slander campaign led by the Inspector General of the Police of Bastar region, Mr Kalluri, following a press conference in which she drew attention to an alleged arbitrary killing by the police. She further received direct threats from the Inspector General. - See more a and please act.


Mahmoud Hussein appeared in court again on 26 August due to an irregularity in his case, two days after his detention had been renewed for 45 days. He is a 19-year-old student who has spent over 18 months in pre-trial detention in Egypt after being arrested for wearing a T-shirt with the “Nation Without Torture Campaign” logo. Please join the call to the Egyptian government to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly.


Please show solidarity with the port workers who created "SOLIDARITY" three decades ago. Maciek Konopka has been sacked from his job at Deepwater Container Terminal (DCT) in Gdansk because he's a committed and active trade union leader.


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