Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Human Rights Action update, October 21-28

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, the humanitarian scene is dominated by natural disaster rather than human inhumanity. A massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake has struck in Afghanistan causing widespread loss of life and destruction. There are many ways you can help such as the Mercy Corps or Oxfam. The need is great--please make an effort to help.


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 call on you to help the Matses who live along the Peru-Brazil border. Contact has harmed them greatly. Now they are under pressure from a Canadian oil company. Please open the link and take the actions requested at the end of the page.


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 look at slave produced components of electronic devices. Most electronics devices contain minerals that originate in the mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, often called “conflict minerals.”

And as you read this, men, women and children are being threatened with force – often at gunpoint –to work in Congolese mines where conflict minerals for our electronics devices come from. Nintendo has yet to take steps to keep conflict minerals out of its supply chain. Please join the call to Nintendo to understand that slavery is not a game.


Ernest Johnson, aged 55, is due to be executed in Missouri on 3 November. He was convicted of three murders committed during a robbery in 1994. There is evidence that he has intellectual disability, which would render his execution unconstitutional. Please call for Ernest Johnson’s execution to be stopped and for his death sentence to be commuted.


On 19 October the President of Singapore rejected the clemency petition of Malaysian national Kho Jabing. He is now at imminent risk of execution. Please join the call for clemency and for a an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and commutation of all existing death sentences.


Again we have two cases from Myanmar, where presumably totalitarian rule was supposed to be coming to an end. Five journalists have been sentenced to long prison terms for writing an article in a newspaper about an alleged chemical weapons plant.
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Five reporters from Myanmar are in jail for doing their job © Amnesty International
 In another case, a young student activist, the head of a students' union, along with other students has been arrested for "unlawful assembly." Please open the links and act for them.
Phyoe Phyoe Aung © Private
Phyoe Phyoe Aung. © Private


Shop assistant Yekaterina Vologzheninova is facing trial on 27 October for “inciting hatred and enmity” against the Russian government and Russians fighting in eastern Ukraine. The charges stem from her posts on social media criticizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russia’s involvement in Donbass, eastern Ukraine. Please call for a halt to the prosecution and for protection of the basic right of free expression.


A 23-year-old Somali refugee, allegedly raped in July on the island nation of Nauru, in the Central Pacific, is now 15 weeks pregnant. She is in urgent need of an abortion and mental health care. After bringing her to Australia to terminate her pregnancy, which was not carried out, the government of Australia unlawfully returned her to Nauru, where her safety and health are at risk. Please call upon the government of Australia to protect and help this rape victim.


Shop steward Sergey Mastepan has been fired from his job with Estonian stevedoring services company Transiidikeskus AS. He's been involved in raising awareness about poor working conditions and anti-union discrimination inside the company, including speaking out in a newspaper article and most recently giving a picket line speech. Please call for his reinstatement.

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