Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Human Rights Action Update December 2-9

Miriam, human rights defender, 1947-2012


Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to "The Herculean Labours of Erasmus of Rotterdam".


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


This year the Connecticut Supreme Court struck down exemptions to the state’s 2012 death penalty ban, which had excluded the 11 inmates currently on death row. The court determined that that the death penalty fails to meet ‘contemporary standards of decency’ and serves no ‘legitimate penological purpose.’ Connecticut can now stand fully among the 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have abolished the death penalty. Cheers for Connecticut.


 In connection with World Human Rights Day, December 10, Amnesty International sponsors an annual campaign of letter writing for human rights. You are invited to join in.  Here are 12 egregious cases of gross violations of the human rights of individuals around the world.Do as many as you can. 

You can also find more cases on Twitter at the hashtag #Write4Rights posted by Ai Wei Wei.

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In the wake of the closing of the Titan and Pollyanna blogs, we are continuing the charity corner here.  This week, the we refer you to IsraAID. It is a means of donating to relief projects world-wide The Mission: "IsraAID, founded in 2001, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to providing life-saving disaster relief and long term support. For over a decade, our teams of professional medics, search & rescue squads, post-trauma experts and community mobilizers, have been first on the front lines of nearly every major humanitarian response in the 21st century. Our mission is to efficiently support and meet the changing needs of populations as they strive to move from crisis to reconstruction/rehabilitation, and eventually, to sustainable living."

South Sudan
South Sudan as an example of the activity

Donations are tax deductible in the U.S. (501c3) and Israel (sec. 46)  It is highly rated by the Israel Gives monitor.  Read more. 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 call on you to help the  Khanty people of Siberia, Russia. The Khanty are semi-nomadic, as are most herding peoples. In their homeland, the Siberian taiga, temperatures can reach as low as -50 degrees Celsius, and little grows. Traditionally, the Khanty have moved around with their reindeer, sometimes staying in ‘chum’ (reindeer-skin teepees), and sometimes in log houses in which a fire is kept burning at all times.
Moss is stuffed between the logs for insulation. The Khanty depend largely on reindeer for their food and livelihood, getting most of their nutrition from the animals. They also hunt and fish, gather berries, and sell reindeer and furs that they have hunted in order to purchase other supplies. They are suffering pressure from oil companies that steal their territory in order to drill, Please open the site and take whatever steps you can of those suggested.


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 ask you to call for the immediate release of anti-slavery activists in Mauritania. Biram Dah Abeid is a leading anti-slavery activist in Mauritania, the country with the highest prevalence of slavery in the world. The organization he founded, the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement has fought for the freedom of countless men, women and children. Please call for the release of Biram Dah Abeid and his fellow activists who  are sitting in a prison cell for their work to end slavery in Mauritania.


Please join the demand that the Israeli and Chinese governments not go ahead with a deal to import some 20,000 Chinese construction workers into Israel.
This would entail huge human rights abuses and gross exploitation.


Four prominent labour activists have been criminally detained in what appears to be a coordinated crackdown on labour rights organizations in Guangdong province, south-east China. The whereabouts of four other activists are currently unknown, and several others have been questioned. This crackdown comes at a time of escalating industrial tensions in the region. The page is from AI Switzerland but is in English. Please act on behalf of  Zeng Feiyang, Zhu Xiaome, Deng Xiaoming and  He Xiaobo. In addition, the whereabouts of four other labour activists, Peng Jiayong, Meng Han, He Minghui and Tang Jian are unknown, raising fears that they have also been detained. Demand justice for them as well.


Jean Marie Justilien, a Haitian national, was shot in the back of the neck during an immigration raid in June 2015, and detained and charged with illegal entry into the Bahamas. On 2 December he was found not guilty, but was transferred to Carmichael Road Immigration Detention Centre where he remains deprived of his liberty. He is at risk of ill-treatment and needs urgent medical attention. Please call for his release.


Congolese political opposition member, Paulin Makaya who has been detained since 23 November was finally brought before an investigating judge of the High Court of Brazzaville on 1 December. He is held in pre-trial detention at the central prison of Brazzaville facing three different charges. Please act on his behalf.

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