Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Human Rights Action Update March 16-23

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


In the wake of the closing of the Titan and Pollyanna blogs, we are continuing the charity corner here.  This week we refer you to the India Development and Relief Fund.
Chennai Floods
Life is difficult even after the rains

Our Mission

Breaking the cycle of poverty in India and Nepal by empowering marginalized people with skills, services and infrastructure grounded in sustainable development
Our Philosophy

We believe a lasting change in impoverished regions can happen only when local people take charge and lead the change.  Our method puts power, not charity, in hands of the poor. We steer our programs to produce benefits for children and women who are powerful players in the fight against poverty.  We empower marginalized people with education, livelihood skills and self-governance capabilities so they are equipped to make changes to their lives and their children's.

We also believe every person has the right to survive and prosper with dignity.  IDRF’s programs serve the disadvantaged without regard to religion, caste or creed.

Their rating by Charity Navigator is very high with 96.5% of its budget spent on programs and operations.

Good News! - Democratic Republic of Congo: 

Nine Peaceful Protesters Released Two activists from Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA), Juvin Kombi Narcisse and Pascal Byumanine have been sentenced to three months in prison and fined 100,000 Congolese Francs (about 100 US Dollars) for organizing an ‘illegal’ demonstration. Seven others who were arrested with them have been acquitted. Thanks to all who helped. 


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 Ogiek tribe of hunter-gatherers in Kenya. A man from Kenya’s Ogiek tribe was shot dead on Sunday March 13. Stephen Munyereri was reportedly trying to salvage what remained of his son’s home after it was destroyed by illegal settlers.
Stephen Munyereri was allegedly shot dead by an illegal settler in full sight of local police
Stephen Munyereri was allegedly shot dead by an illegal settler in full sight of local police

Mr Munyereri was allegedly shot at close range by a settler, within sight of local police. The suspected killer is now said to be under police protection.

The Ogiek have lived in the Mau Forest since time immemorial, but have long been victims of state­-sponsored landgrabs. In 2013 the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ordered the Kenyan government to halt their programme of Ogiek evictions. In 2014 Kenya’s courts ordered that the Ogiek’s land be identified as soon as possible.

Yet this ruling was never implemented, and over the past two weeks more than 100 Ogiek families are said to have fled their homes. Their houses and possessions have reportedly been torched with the support of the police. Please click on the link to email the Kenyan government.


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 take you to Cambodia, a major center for the commerce in girls and women. Watch the video and blast it out to all your social media.


In 1995, Obie Anthony was wrongfully convicted of murder. At the time, he was only 19 years old. It was not until almost two decades later that his name was cleared. Obie narrowly avoided being sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit… but his story is far too common. Please act against the death penalty.


Prominent journalist and columnist Jia Jia went missing while he was at the Beijing airport, about to board a flight to Hong Kong. Friends believe that his disappearance may be related to an open letter published on a website on 4 March calling for President Xi Jinping to resign. Please act on his behalf.


Investigate the Disappearance of Yuri Grabovski and Protect Oksana Sokolovskaya (UA 67/16). 

Two Ukrainian lawyers have been under sustained pressure from the Ukrainian authorities in connection with a high profile and deeply politicized case they are working on. One of them went missing on 6 March is suspicious circumstances. Please act.


Apple is failing to do basic checks to ensure that cobalt mined by child laborers and adults working in hazardous conditions has not been used in their products. It is time Apple took some responsibility for the mining of the raw materials that make their lucrative products and you, the consumer, can force them to do so.
Children as miners

TAKE ACTION and call on Apple to investigate their cobalt supply chain and prove they are addressing human rights abuses

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