Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Human Rights Action blog September 14-21

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 your attention is drawn to plight of children deported from Israel to South Sudan and to children throughout the Third World. We refer you to Become--mission statement: "Become supports children, families and communities in developing countries to overcome poverty and injustice. Become invests in self-sustainable, income-generating strategies to help orphans, vulnerable children and their communities meet their basic needs, reach their potential, and BECOME whatever they want to BE.

Creating solutions to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children takes strong partnerships and innovative ideas to find effective, resourceful and community-based solutions. To this end, we partner with local grassroots communities in developing countries.  "

Some of the scholarship awardees with Lea Forshtat, a lawyer and co-founder of the South-Sudan scholarship program

In particular, there is an initiative named Come True developed and facilitated by Adv. Lea Forshtat and Dr. Rami Gudovitch to address the major educational needs of the South Sudanese children who were deported from Israel in 2012. With the quality of the education system in South Sudan ranking among the  lowest in the world, this need is acute. Please open your heart and your pocket


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. We send you to the campaign page and urge you to choose a cause to support.  View this video.


We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers' supply chains cannot be overemphasized.
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Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places.

Good News!

Ahmed Abdullah Released On Bail 

Prisoner of conscience Ahmed Abdullah was released on bail on 10 September after spending over four months in detention without trial.

A Cairo criminal court ordered the release of Ahmed Abdullah and four co-defendants on 10 September against a bail payment of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately US$ 113). However, prosecutors have not formally closed their investigation.

Mina Thabet, another human rights defender working at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, was released on 18 June, on a bail payment of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately US$ 1,130). His representatives fear he may still stand trial on trumped-up charges linked to his human rights work.
Ahmed Abdullah and Mina Thabet extended their gratitude to Amnesty International for its work on their case. Ahmed Abdullah said: “Even in my dark cell in solitary confinement at Tora Prison, I never felt alone or forgotten. I knew that Amnesty International members were out there speaking for me and this made me feel safe.” He also added: “Together we will bring truth for Giulio Regeni. This is a promise.” Meanwhile, Mina Thabet said: “Your solidarity made us feel safe. Thank you for supporting us.”


Help Halt Execution of 13 Men  

Thirteen members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult are now at risk of execution in Japan, following the conclusion of the trials of other cult members. The 13 men were found guilty of and sentenced to death for carrying out a deadly sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995 and other illegal activities. Their executions could be carried out at any moment. Please call for commutation of these death sentences, despite the horror of their crime.


Help Release Prisoner of Conscience With Tumor 

Prisoner of conscience Trần Thị Thúy’s health has seriously deteriorated since being diagnosed with a tumor in April 2015. Prison authorities continue to deny her proper medical treatment unless she confesses to the crimes for which she was convicted. Please call for her release and medical treatment.


Help Release Journalists At Risk Of Torture/Ill-Treatment

Six citizen journalists from the Sichuan-based website “64 Tianwang” (, were detained for covering protests in relation to the G20 Summit. Three have since been released but one is still missing and two remain in detention without any access to lawyers and are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Please act for them.


A Thai court on Tuesday found a British labor activist guilty of defamation and computer crimes, a verdict that some experts and rights advocates predicted would harm efforts to protect migrant workers in Southeast Asia.
Andy Hall, a British defender of migrant rights, outside the Bangkok South Criminal Court on Tuesday after the court found him guilty of criminal defamation and breaching computer laws in Thailand. Credit Lillian Suwanrumpha/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The activist, Andy Hall, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined about $4,300 in connection with his work on a 2013 report by a Finnish advocacy group that accused Natural Fruit, based in Thailand, of violating its workers’ rights. Please call on Natural Fruit to rescind its persecution of Andy Hall.


Help Ensure Access to Abortion

The Dominican Republic Senate was due to vote on 25 July on a reform to the Criminal Code which maintains the criminalization of abortion except where the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or girl. Senators decided to send the text to the Human Rights Commission for further consideration. 
The newly elected Congresspersons must urgently reintroduce the three circumstances for decriminalization of abortion that were approved in 2014: where i) the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or girl; ii) where the foetus would be unable to survive outside the womb; iii) and where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Any other action would constitute a regression in the rights of women and girls. Please raise your voice and call for rejection of the proposed new law.

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