Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Human Rights Action Update February 17-24

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 Labors 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



Joseph Afandi, a journalist with the El Tabeer daily newspaper who was held incommunicado by the South Sudanese National Security Service (NSS) since 29 December 2015 has been released. Thanks to all who helped. 


His Holiness has called for a stop to executions. Cheers! 
Pope Francis urged Catholic leaders not to allow executions during the Holy Year AP  


Tunisian teacher Abdelfattah Said has been freed. His case was dismissed by a court of appeal on 5 February.  Thanks to all who acted for him.


Bushmen children now must apply for permits to stay with their families when they turn 18 – or risk 7 years in prison.
Bushmen children now must apply for permits to stay with their families when they turn 18 – or risk 7 years in prison.
© Forest Woodward / Survival, 2015
The Botswana government has promised to restore some of the essential services to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve that it cut on this day 14 years ago. The healthcare and water services that it now says it will reinstate were shut down by the government during the brutal eviction of Bushmen from the reserve in 2002.

In 2006, Botswana’s High Court ruled that the evictions were illegal, and upheld the Bushmen’s right to return home. The recent decision to restore services follows talks between the government and Bushman communities. While some Bushmen welcome the decision, many fear the U-turn could be short lived, and view the move as timed to coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.


In the wake of the closing of the Titan and Pollyanna blogs, we are continuing the charity corner here. This week we refer you again to the Mercy Corps. They are present wherever help is needed. Their mission: Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Go to their site and donate to what seems to you to be the highest priority. They are rated highly by Charity Watch.


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 your attention to the disastrous and criminal oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon. Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon have suffered from three oil spills in two months.

The spills are all attributed to State oil company PetroPerú, which has failed to conduct routine maintenance on its pipelines. One spill released at least 2,000 barrels of oil, which spread into the local rivers, affecting indigenous communities that include the Achuar, Shapra, Wampis and Awajún.
Dozens of Peruvian tribes have seen their territories opened up to oil companies
Dozens of Peruvian tribes have seen their territories opened up to oil companies
© Johan Wildhagen/Survival

The spills have destroyed the ecosystem, compromising the health, food and safety of local communities. Locals have lost their livelihoods and are no longer able to drink water from the rivers or fish for food. Please blast this scandal out to the world on all your social networks.


We have added a new section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the site of the CNN Freedom Project  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 these logos:


This week we  refer you to the the trafficking in illegally obtained kidneys in Nepal. Read the whole terrible story and then blast it out on all your social networks. Only worldwide attention and pressure will put an end to this evil practice.


People all over the world were shocked and saddened to learn of the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni, a young academic who was in Egypt to research the situation of independent trade unions. Please join the protests and demand true answers from the government of Egypt. Insert your own details into the form.


There are increasing fears for the health of prisoner of conscience Trần Thị Thúy, who continues to be denied medical treatment, despite repeated requests to the Vietnamese authorities. She has been diagnosed with a tumor on her uterus and is in severe pain, unable to walk without assistance. She has been told she will not receive treatment unless she “confesses” to the crimes she was convicted of. Please call for her immediate and unconditional release and for medical services that she requires desperately.


Fish farmer Aramais Avakian was sentenced on 19 February to seven years in prison for “plotting anti-constitutional activities” following an unfair trial. He had been detained since 4 September 2015 and was subjected to torture. Please act on his behalf.


Human rights and pro-democracy activist, Manuel Chivonde Nito Alves, was charged with contempt of Court and subjected to a summary trial. He was sentenced to six months in prison and asked to pay a fine on 8 February. He is now serving his sentence at Viana Prison. Please call for the revocation of his sentence and for protection for human rights activists.

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