Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Human Rights Action Update September 9-16

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.


In the wake of the closing of the Titan and Pollyanna blogs, we are continuing the charity corner here. This week, we are again overwhelmed by the refugee crisis in Syria and Europe. We recommend that you donate to help these unfortunate people via Mercy Corps who have a wonderful record of crisis help. Please donate.
Mariam and her family had a house and a comfortable life in Syria. But now, as refugees in Lebanon, they face a very different reality — each day they struggle to stay safe and healthy in the tent settlement they now call home. Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps


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 confront the wrong assumption that tribal people benefit from being brought into the so-called mainstream. In fact, the opposite is true. When  left to their own devices on their own land, the prosper and thrive. Please join the campaign to protect the land and resources of the tribal people of India
Soliga children, Karnataka. The Soliga told the government that they would rather be poisoned than leave their land. Their rights to their forests are now protected.


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:

Clothes, phones, even the food we eat – every aspect of our modern lives could be tainted by modern slavery at some point during the production process. If you want to be sure the goods you buy are slavery free, take action now.



Good news for all! The three activists of the pilots union, Alexei Shlyapnokov, Valeriy Pimoshenko and Sergei Knyshov, have had their convictions overturned and are now free, albeit awaiting a new trial. This is not a complete victory, but it shows what international pressure can achieve. Cheers!!


An opposition parliamentarian, and eight other politicians and activists, have been charged by a Malaysian court for taking part in peaceful protests in February and March. Please act if possible.


The right to life is fundamental to all humans. At least two people were killed and one seriously injured in police operations in favelas in Rio de Janeiro on 8 and 9 September. Two boys, aged 13 and 16, were shot dead and a 33-year-old woman was shot in the face and is in grave condition. Residents of one favela report that police operations are still ongoing, with heavy shooting. Please act.


Ecuadorian organization Fundamedios is at risk of being closed down by the authorities. This NGO focuses on freedom of expression. The action appears to be an attempt to restrict freedom of association and expression in Ecuador and interfere with the legitimate work of Human Rights Defenders and NGOs. Other organizations are at risk of being closed down. Please raise your voice.


In an unprecedented union busting attack Chinese-owned oil company Zhongda, operating in Kyrgyzstan, has fired an elected trade union leader and blocked his access to the company in violation of the national legislation. LabourStart and IndustriALL are launching a campaign to reinstate the union leader and stop union busting. Please join the campaign.


Finland's new right-wing coalition government has announced plans to unilaterally cut pay and benefits negotiated through collective bargaining through legislation which violates basic trade union rights, Conventions of the ILO and international and European human rights instruments. They are asking for solidarity and support. Please help.

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