Friday, October 31, 2014

Vietnam: GOOD NEWS - Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay released!

Nguyen Van Hai, better known by his pen name Dieu Cay (“peasant’s pipe”), was released from prison yesterday, having served four years of a 12-year prison sentence. Immediately after his release he was taken to the airport and put on a plane, eventually bound for the USA.
A popular blogger on social justice issues, Dieu Cay was charged under the vaguely worded Article 88 of Viet Nam’s Penal Code for “conducting propaganda” against the state. He was sentenced to prison in September 2012 after an unfair trial.

Click here for entire article. Here is a link to AI Press Release on October 22, 2014

TEN Human Rights Movies

Movie List
1. The Help
2. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
3. Osama
4. Rabbit-Proof Fence
5. Milk
6. The Kite Runner
7. The Green Mile
8. Zero Dark Thirty
9. Mary Meets Mohammad
10. Lord of War

Click here for more information from Amnesty International.

Case update: Brishna’s rapist sentenced - October 30, 2014

A cleric who raped a 10-year-old Afghan girl and put her at risk of an "honour killing" has been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Family members who threatened Brishna with 'honour' killing have now promised they won't harm her -- but she's still at risk

Click here for more information from Amnesty International.

Mark your calendars - Write for Rights is coming soon!

Write for Rights Thanks You 2013

Thursday, October 30, 2014

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - October 31, 2014

Greetings Everyone!
     This has been a sad week as we mourn the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari. Many of us have sent petitions and rallied for her with the hope that the Iranian government would reconsider her case. Her last words to her parents are riveting. Please visit our website at this link to learn more about this woman.
Although we are saddened by this news, we are also encouraged by the words of Shiza Shaid who spoke to a large group at the UW-Madison on Monday. She was the featured speaker at the 2014 Go Big Read event. This year's book is "I am Malala." Click here to view her presentation which was streamed live and archived on this site.
     Remember: If you have any questions, concerns, or items for our group to post, please send them to
     Peace to you,
     Debbie, Weekly Update Editor
Click here for entire Weekly Update. 

Displaced Iraqis face new threats as winter approaches - News from UN Oct 26, 2014

From:  Messengers of Humanity from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
     Trapped in their homes and villages for many weeks, thousands of Yazidi civilians fled the area taking refuge in Duhok Governorate after militant groups killed many of them. The Kurdistan region is home to hundreds of thousands of displaced families fleeing many parts of Iraq. Conflict and political instability have forced 1.2 million people from their homes. Cars, packed with children, have been fleeing into the Kurdish region, where hundreds of thousands of people are already sheltering. Sabri Gheeru is one of them.
Click here for the entire article.

Amnesty and Torture: Online Petitions and Information

Amnesty International has taken a strong stance against torture. Here are just a few links from AI and one from NRCAT.
  •   Torture and Other Ill-Treatment - Amnesty International USA

    In the years since 9/11, the U.S. government has repeatedly violated both international and domestic prohibitions on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the name of fighting terrorism. Click here for more information. 
  •  Demand Accountability for Torture and Abuse, Nigeria: Moses Akatugba - Amnesty International USA  
    When he was only 16 years old, Moses Akatugba was arrested and tortured. He reports being beaten by the police, shot in the hand, and hung for hours at the station. Moses states he only signed the confession agreeing he was involved in a robbery because of the torture and asserts his innocence. In November 2013, after eight years of waiting for a verdict, Moses was sentenced to death. Click here for online petition.
  •   Stop Torture President Obama came into office stating that he intended to look forwards not backwards, and would "turn the page" on the abuses committed under the Bush administration. That is simply not good enough. Click here for more information.
  • Will Obama Affirm the Bush Position on Convention Against Torture? -from National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT)
In November, the Obama Administration will appear before the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva to discuss the U.S. record on torture.  Though NRCAT applauded the President for banning torture on his second day in office, shockingly, recent reports indicate that the President is considering reaffirming a Bush-era interpretation of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) before this monitoring body.  The Administration is reported to be having an internal debate over whether or not the CAT applies to U.S. torture that is done outside of U.S. soil
Click here for an online petition asking President Obama to take a clear stand against torture.

Iran: Omid Kokabee, Iranian Physicist and Prisoner of Conscious, Received 2014 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award Date: October 27, 2014

Iran: Omid Kokabee, Iranian Physicist and Prisoner of Conscious, Received 2014 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award Date: October 27, 2014
"It is uncommon that scientists risk their freedom in defense of the principle of scientific freedom for all scientists, and yet this 32-year old physicist, at the beginning of a promising career, has done just that," the award's selection panel said. Omid Kokabee, an Iranian graduate student in physics at the University of Texas at Austin who was imprisoned for refusing to contribute to weapons research in his home country, has been awarded the 2014 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Kokabee, the first doctoral student to win the award, was honored by AAAS "for his courageous stand and willingness to endure imprisonment rather than violate his moral stance that his scientific expertise not be used for destructive purposes and for his efforts to provide hope and education to fellow prisoners.”  Click here for more information:

Univeristy of Wisconsin Madison Go Big Read, "I am Malala" Event

Some members of our AI Madison Group #139 attended this year's Go Big Read event on Monday. We listened to Shiza Shahid talk about her journey as a young woman in Pakistan, her relationship with Malala, and the Malala Fund. She offered inspiring words to all activists. Here is a link to the video of her streamed speech.

FGM: Ban Ki-moon backs Guardian’s global media campaign

From The Guardian, October 30, 2014
UN chief launches grants initiative in Kenya as part of push to change how female genital mutilation is reported and perceived

 “Not only do we hope to support the Kenyan media in bringing the issue of FGM to national and global attention, but we hope to create a media model that can be reproduced in other countries,” he said. “The mutilation of girls and women must stop in this generation – our generation.”

Click here for the entire article.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pakistan: Defending her religion - Online Petition and Amnesty International Urgent Action

A woman in Pakistan has been sentenced to death simply for defending her religion. We have to stand up against this injustice and convince the government of Pakistan not to execute Asia Bibi.

Russia: Letter to Secretary John Kerry - Human Rights Watch Online Petition

"Overshadowed by the Ukraine conflict next door, President Vladimir Putin's repressive policies are casting another shadow over freedoms in Russia. Urge Secretary of State Kerry to show solidarity with Russia's human rights community and take concrete action against the Kremlin's sweeping crackdown on human rights.
Sign the petition and demand Secretary Kerry to work with the European Union to call for the repeal of Russia's repressive legislation and to support Russia's independent human rights activists." -Human Rights Watch
                                                      Click here for petition.  

Nigeria: More Kidnapping Updated Media Links

  • From CNN News, Oct 28, 2014
     "Kano, Nigeria (CNN) -- Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped at least 30 boys and girls from a village in northeast Nigeria during the weekend. The abductions appear to be the latest in a string of recent kidnappings by Boko Haram that dims hope for the anticipated release of 219 schoolgirls ‎held by the group since April following a controversial ceasefire declared by Nigerian authorities." Click here for entire article.
  • NPR, Oct 27, 2014 
"According to reports this morning, armed militants with the extremist group Boko Haram have continued to abduct young girls in Nigeria.
Remember, earlier this month there was hope that the abductions would stop when the government announced a truce with the group. The deal was supposed to culminate in the release of the 276 school girls the group kidnapped in April." Click here for entire report.
  • New York Times, Oct 23, 2014 - Boko Haram Said to Abduct More Women in Nigeria
 "DAKAR, Senegal — Scores of young women have been kidnapped in new abductions by Islamist militants in Nigeria, according to local journalists, a Roman Catholic bishop and news reports, indicating that Boko Haram’s campaign of violence is continuing despite official reports of a cease-fire with the group." Click here for entire article.

Amnesty and More Gun Violence Links

Gun violence is a HUMAN RIGHTS issue. Amnesty International, by Lee Edwards. Click link for entire article.

Amnesty and the Environment: Links and ONLINE PETITIONS

Protect your drinking water

     (1) Clean drinking water is essential for everyone. The EPA is proposing new regulation, "Waters of the U.S.," which protects the nation's rain-dependent streams and wetlands from pollution. These streams are the headwaters of drinking water supplies for one in three Americans.
     Our nation's clean water policy should provide all communities with access to healthy, safe water by protecting the streams and wetlands that contribute to our drinking water supply.
 Tell EPA that clean water is important to you. Urge EPA to safeguard your health, and that of your family and community, by putting forth a strong, science-based, health-protective Waters of the U.S. rule.
 Click here for an online petition from Physicians for Social Responsibility
(2) Today, America has NO NATIONAL LIMITS on carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants—the largest source of carbon pollution in our country. Be a part of history: Tell the EPA and Congress that you support strong carbon pollution standards!
Click here for Online Petition from the Environmental Defense Fund.

(3) California Environmental Scorecard is an interactive informational tool created by the California League of Conservation Voters. Click here for link to their website which contains resources and action tools. 

(4)  Tell Retailers: Toxic Chemicals Have No Place in Children’s Halloween Costumes - online petition by Safer Chemicals: Healthy Families. 

(5) Want to make a difference this Halloween? You know what is scarier than zombies, vampires, or witches? A world without bats, bees, and wolves. They are under threat and time is running out. In honor of Halloween this year, take a moment to protect the animals that desperately need your help. Celebrate by making your voice heard.  Click here for link to petitions and actions you can take today.

Monday, October 27, 2014


Thank you to everyone who wrote on Ruth Cosrojas Gonzalez's behalf. It was reported 6 days ago that she had been released on September 29. For more information about this GOOD news, click here. 

Amnesty International | IRAN - Press Release - Execution of young woman a bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record and her last message

  • AI Press Release, October 25, 2014
“The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“Tragically, this case is far from uncommon. Once again Iran has insisted on applying the death penalty despite serious concerns over the fairness of the trial.”
Click here for entire Press Release. 
  • Hanged Iranian Woman Leaves Heartbreaking Last Message, Slate Magazine, Oct 26, 2014
 Here is an English translation of Ryhaneh Jabbair's last message to her family.
  •  Heartbreaking Final Letter Of Hanged Young Iranian Woman Reyhaneh Jabbari, Huffington Post, October 26, 2014 
Click here for entire article.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Global Resolution for the Establishment of Infrastructures to Support the Culture of Peace - Online Petition

One of our members submitted this post. This online petition was created by and the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace.  Together they are seeking ONE BILLION people to join together to create the cultural, economic and governmental framework for a new era of lasting peace. With the ambitious goal of uniting ONE BILLION Peace Ambassadors to generate a transformative force that creates powerful and lasting change for the betterment of humankind and future generations. Online Petition link. 

In an effort to establish Departments of Peace rather than Departments of War, this short video was created. Please click this link to view "Admissions" (21 min) which won the 25 international awards.

Daily Urgent Actions for October 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 2014

Daily Urgent Actions for this week can be found here.
Countries include: Pakistan, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, Algeria, Serbia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, The Gambia, and Egypt.

 Note: Most Urgent Actions require a written letter. See our guidelines for writing letters. 

Jewish Voice for Peace - a national activist group

One of our members has shared information about Jewish Voice for Peace. Through grassroots organizing, education, advocacy, and media, Jewish Voice for Peace works to achieve a lasting peace that recognizes the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination. Their website includes: news items, their campaigns, activist toolkits, and more information about this national group.

Video describing Jewish Voice for Peace

Iran: Reyhaneh Jabbari - Rest in Peace

We celebrate our successes and we mourn our losses. Sadly today we have learned that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been hanged by the Iranian government. Many of us who signed petitions, worked hard to initiate a retrial, tried to replace her assigned lawyer, and sought justice are saddened. by this news and are moved to work even harder for the people of Iran.

"The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme."

Link to some of the news outlets reporting her death

Friday, October 24, 2014

‘The Good Lie’: Sudan’s ‘lost boys’ find their way in well-told tale (Movie)

"A three-star (out of four) movie review of “The Good Lie,” a tale that illuminates the experiences of the 20,000 “lost boys” (and girls) of Sudan. It focuses on three young men who make it out of the Kenyan refugee camps and land in Kansas."  Click here for article from the Seattle Times.

Trailer for movie

"Mama Efua", Efua Dorkenoo, 1949-2014 - Outstanding Voice for Women's Human Rights

From Equity Now Facebook post
  • "It is with deep sadness that we learn today of the passing of our friend and colleague, Efua Dorkenoo, OBE. Efua has been a truly outstanding voice for women and girls around the world. She spearheaded the Africa-led work to end female genital mutilation (FGM) for over three decades. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."
  • "Gloria Steinem, who had written an introduction to “Cutting the Rose,” and who was one of Efua’s closest American friends, e-mailed, calling her a “miracle of hope and change,” and saying that there was “no way to measure the loss of the courage, compassion and effectiveness that Efua Dorkenoo brought to the struggle for women’s human rights. #EndFGM "
  • The New Yorker article:  "Efua Dorkenoo, the Ghanaian feminist who died last weekend of cancer, at sixty-five, was the warrior-in-chief in the ongoing battle against F.G.M.—the marginally less traumatizing way for women to utter the words “female genital mutilation.” Millions of women in Africa and throughout the countries of its post-colonial diaspora revered her; they called her Mama Efua and, with pride, urgency, and not a little fear, followed her lead.

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - October 24, 2014

Happy Fall Everyone!
    This week we have two important posts which include links to more information and online petitions about these two important topics. Please check out (1) Amnesty and Gun Violence Links and (2) Human Rights and the Environment - Online Petitions. We also have this week's Online Petitions, Urgent Actions, Human Rights News, a video, and Calendar Events. Thank you to our contributors: Angie, Azam, Farideh, and Wayne. If you have information that you would like to share with our AI Madison Group #139, please send an email to
   -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

Click here for entire Weekly Update

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Words of Peace - Video

  Uploaded on Dec 6, 2009
"What three words most convey what peace means to you?" That's the question we asked people to write down for us for our school assignment at the University of Utah. Some people used a different number of words but did their best to communicate how they relate to peace in their own hearts and minds.

Music: "The Opening" by Helen Tesfazghi and Gianni Bini's Soul Orchestra

New AI Campaign on Sri Lanka: #OURFUTURE

Oct 15th, 8:14pm
As you may know, AI's International Secretariat is now asking that AI members take a photo of themselves or a group holding a placard saying #OURFUTURE and email it to by Oct. 22. The photos will be used to support Sandya Eknaligoda, wife of the disappeared Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. She will be launching a new #OURFUTURE campaign poster in Sri Lanka on Oct. 27 (the national day in Sri Lanka to commemorate the disappeared). She'll also be staging a vigil that day and asking Sri Lankan MPs to ensure that victims' families can speak without fear. AI launched its new campaign on Sri Lanka called #OURFUTURE at the beginning of October. For more images and photos for this new campaign, please visit Thanks for any help you can give on this action. Jim McDonald, AIUSA Sri Lanka Country Specialist

NOTE: I apologize for the late posting of this important email. I was unavailable. -Debbie

Denis Mukwege, an African Voice Against Rape, Awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

Denis Mukwege, an African Voice Against Rape, Is Honored by Europe
New York Times, Oct 22, 2014

The European Parliament has awarded its highest human rights accolade, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, to Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecological surgeon who has treated thousands of women and risked his life in a campaign to end the use of mass rape as a weapon of war.
     “In many armed conflicts around the world, rape is used as a weapon of war,” the statement said. Dr. Mukwege helped victims in his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, by founding the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu in 1998, and he still treats victims of sexual violence. While the war in Congo may be formally over, the citation said, “the armed conflict still continues in the eastern part of the country, and so do attacks against civilians, including gang rapes.”

Click here for entire article.

Detroit, USA: United Nations Human Rights FB Post October 21

Reposted from Facebook
     Detroit: The water shut-offs are disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable and poorest, most of whom are African American, warn UN rights experts:
So far this year over 27,000 residences have had water services disconnected.
      UN Special Rapporteurs Catarina de Albuquerque and Leilani Farha stress that all decisions that affect access to water and to adequate housing for residents of Detroit should be guided by human rights.
Click here for entire article. 

HRANA October News Update

  • ·         Iran: October to October (2013-2014) - Annual Review of 548 Execution in Iran
Office of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists Association of Iran has published a report, reviewing the last year Executions in Iran. Click here for details of this report.
  • ·         Iran: Former Amnesty International, Prisoners of Conscious, Arash Sadeghi, was Detained - Risks Torture
Arash Sadeghi, a former student activist at Allameh Tabataba’i University, was arrested on 6 September at his workplace in Tehran by men in civilian clothing believed to belong to the Revolutionary Guards. Click here for more details.
  • ·         Iran: A Juvenile executed at Tabriz Central Prison in Iran
Fardin Jafarian who was charged with murder at the age of 14, was executed on October 19, 2014 at Tabriz Central Prison. Click here for more detail.
  • ·         Iran: 18 years imprisonment and exile for 3 Christian Priests
Three Christian Priests (L-R) Reza Rabbani, Behnam Irani, and Abdolreza Ali Haghnejad were sentenced to 18 years imprisonment at Islamic Revolutionary Court. Click here for more details:
  • ·         Iran: Atena Farghdani and Ghoncheh Ghavami on ‘dry’ hunger strike
Atena Farghdani, painter artist and children’s rights activist, was arrested in early September this year and no exact information regarding the charges against her has been obtained yet. Ghoncheh Ghavami, a British-Iranian citizen, who had gone to watch a volleyball match in Azadi Stadium on 20th June this year was arrested and then released hours later. A few days later, she went to get her personal belongings; she was arrested again and since 105 days ago she has been detained. It should be noted that during ‘dry’ hunger strike, the striker avoids to drink water and other liquids, too. Click here for more detail.