Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Human Rights Action Update February 24-March 2

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



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.


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.


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 Kasiisi Project Girls Support Program. Their mission is threefold:  keeping girls in school, informed about their sexual health, and economically independent. The Kasiisi Project Girls Support Program has developed initiatives to assist girls in successfully completing their education. These programs include: Supplying sanitary pads to girls who are menstruating; Constructing private 'girls only' latrines; Providing accurate health information and mentorship through a female health worker. This may seem to be a somewhat delicate issue to raise, but it is a human rights problem and the future of the developing world depends on providing education to girls and young women. The Kasiisi Project is a most worthy cause.
Primary school girls
Primary school girls


The Dongria unanimously rejected the mining project and have vowed to protect the Niyamgiri hills
The Dongria unanimously rejected the mining project and have vowed to protect the Niyamgiri hills
© Bikash Khemka/Survival
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 Dongria Kondh, a tribe in eastern India, who are facing a new threat from mining on their ancestral land, despite having won a major “David & Goliath” legal battle in 2014.
The Dongria Kondh were originally threatened by international mining corporation Vedanta Resources, who tried to open a bauxite mine in their sacred Niyamgiri hills, but were prevented by the Indian Supreme Court, which ruled that the Dongria should decide whether to allow the mine to go ahead.

The tribe unanimously rejected Vedanta’s plans to mine their hills during a historic referendum in which all twelve villages that were consulted voted against the mine. The mining company is back with the aid of the state government.
Please blast this scandal out to the world on all your social networks and take the steps requested on the site.



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 issue of children kidnapped into forced begging in Bangladesh. Read and watch the story of a seven year old who was mutilated after refusing to beg. Four men surrounded the 7-year-old boy, bound his hands and feet and cracked open his head with a brick. They held him down and took a switchblade to his throat. They sliced his chest and belly in an upside down cross. And in a final brutal act, they hacked him sideways, chopping off his penis and his right testicle. He survived and now we must all try to put an end to this evil. Put this out on all your social media.


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. There was a great response as reported by Eric Lee, but more pressure is needed. 

A big thanks to the more than 10,000 of you who very quickly turned our campaign demanding justice for murdered Italian researcher Giulio Regeni into one of our largest.  But we need many more people to sign up, so please share this link widely. Please join the protests and demand true answers from the government of Egypt.



A young Tibetan writer and blogger, Druklo (pen-name Shokjang), was sentenced to three years imprisonment, almost one year after he was first detained. It is believed that this is as a result of an article he wrote describing the increased presence of Chinese security officers ahead of a politically-sensitive Tibetan anniversary. Please call for his immediate and unconditional release.


Please join an AVAAZ initiative to support laws against so-called honor killings in Pakistan. You may also join a call to President Obama to throw the support of the US government behind the struggle to eliminate this atrocity.










Blogger Darya Poliudova was sentenced on 21 December 2015 to two years’ imprisonment in an open prison colony for criticizing the Russian government. The appeal hearing will take place on 10 March. Please call for the sentence to be quashed and for the right of free expression to be protected.



 Said Elhairech - who has continued to lead his union, Union des Syndicats UMT des Transports - has been dismissed from his job by Somaport, the CMA-CGM owned port operator. Please click and tell CMA-CGM to give Said back his job and to stop attacking trade union rights in Morocco.

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