Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Human Rights Update April 13-20

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


This week we refer you to the Ecuador Earthquake Relief Fund by GlobalGiving. A 7.8 earthquake has caused significant damage along the central coast of Ecuador. More than 350 people were killed and thousands have been displaced as numerous homes, buildings, and roads were damaged or destroyed. 
 Ecuador Earthquake Relief Fund
Survivors need access to emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance. All donations to this fund will exclusively support locally driven relief and recovery efforts from this disaster.  It has a high rating with Charity Watch. Please pitch in for these heavily afflicted people. You may also check out a list of active early responders provided by Huffington Post.

Good News!


Prominent student unionist Kyaw Ko Ko was released from prison on 8 April after courts in Myanmar dropped charges against scores of student protesters. Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.


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 Enxet people of Paraguay. The Enxet were once self-sufficient hunter-gatherers, but most now live as exploited labourers on the vast cattle ranches which have engulfed their lands. Nearly all provide for themselves at least partly by hunting and gathering, especially of capybaras (the world’s largest rodent), deer, iguanas and wild honey; and some still manage to live entirely off hunting and gathering and growing a few vegetables. Please act as best you can to help them get their land back. If you live in the USA or UK write to you Congressperson or MP. Otherwise, write to your local Paraguay embassy.


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 struggle against child slavery. For children around the world, war, violence and disaster are part of everyday life. With their schools being attacked and destroyed, many are unable to seek education and are left at risk of exploitation, trafficking and being forced into armed conflict. Please join the call to world leaders to take steps to protect these vulnerable children. Check out #UpForSchool


There is a safety crisis in the mining industry. 
 Ratify ILO C176 on Mine Safety
But a solution exists: ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health on Mines.
This safety convention works by:

  •     Getting countries to create a legal and inspection framework for mine safety
  •     Requiring companies to create a safe working environment
  •     Giving workers the right to independent safety representatives, and to refuse unsafe work

But ILO C176 has only been ratified by 31 countries - and many countries with the worst safety record have not signed up.

28 April is International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers.

On this day, mourn the dead, but fight for the living: tell your government to make mining safer by ratifying ILO Convention 176.


According to news sources, every August during la Fiesta de la Virgen de la Asunción in the village of Chalhuani, which is located in the Apurímac region of central Peru, villagers strap a local dog who they believe has "misbehaved" to the back of a bull. The bull is then released into a bullfighting ring, where both animals are killed in a bullfight. Not only would such a sadistic "tradition" arguably violate Peru's animal welfare laws, it also is a stain on the country's beauty and international reputation. Please urge Peruvian officials to intervene, then forward this alert far and wide!


Librarian Natalya Sharina has been under house arrest since 30 October 2015 for the library holding “extremist literature”. She was charged with a new offence on 5 April which makes it possible to extend her period of house arrest for up to a year. She is a prisoner of conscience. Please call for her immediate and unconditional release.


Public Service International (PSI) calls on all its affiliates to support the reinstatement of of two union leaders dismissed in February 2014 with 22 other workers, following a nationwide strike in protest of working conditions and the lack of protective equipment and medication. Although twenty were later reinstated, NAHWAL President, Joseph S. Tamba and Secretary General George Poe Williams have not yet been reinstated. Health workers in Liberia risked their lives against Ebola, now they need your support.


Swedish foodworkers fighting Findus factory closure by asset strippers Nomad Foods

The Swedish Food Workers Union (Livs) is fighting plans to shut down the Findus frozen food factory in Bjuv, which would throw 450 workers out of a job and devastate the many hundreds of farmers who supply the plant. Please join the protest. Unfortunately this is a too common practice, especially in the US where the economy is a true jungle.



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