Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Amnesty International UK: Good News - UPDATE

Dear Amnesty Supporter,
 "Six months in and what a year it’s been! With your incredible support we’ve fought against the scrapping of the Human Rights Act, demanded action to stop drownings in the Mediterranean, seen torture survivor Moses Akatugba go from ‘prisoner to conqueror’, and – in a world first – used innovative technology to bring the horror of the devastation in Syria to people on the streets.The news has been particularly hard to watch recently, but there is much to be hopeful for, and so much we should be proud of. Here are just a few reasons why:"
Click here for entire UPDATE.

Kids learn about hunger - VIDEO

Submitted by one of our members... not strictly human rights (and, yet it is):

Published on Apr 2, 2015 (2:49 min)
We surprised kids with a stunning fact: 1 in 5 children faces hunger in the U.S. Then we asked them for ideas on how we could fight child hunger together. Their thoughts were smart, creative, and heartfelt. It’s easy for your family to help fight child hunger: volunteer at a food bank; enter a ConAgra Foods product code to donate a meal, or collect food. Visit http://ChildHungerEndsHere.com to learn more.

Amnesty International Daily URGENT ACTIONS - June 25 to July 3, 2015

Click here for entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of June 25 to July 3. (This post is updated daily.)

      Countries for this week's Urgent Actions include: Colombia, Brazil, Bahrain, Hungary, Thailand, Chad, and Egypt.

Note: Most Urgent Actions require a written letter. See our guidelines for writing letters.  Countries are added to this list during the week. The link contains all Urgent Actions for the week.

What is Amnesty International? - VIDEO

Published on Jun 6, 2013 (4:14 min)
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion, and are funded mainly by our membership and public donations. After more than 50 years of groundbreaking achievements, Amnesty International is now embarking on a major process of evolution, to adapt to the dramatic changes in the world we operate in, and to increase the impact of our human rights work. We are introducing a new, global way of working -- with a distributed centre and Regional Hubs of research, campaigns and communications -- because we owe it to the people we work for to be the most effective force for freedom and justice that we can, globally. As we develop this process -- in line with the long-held desire of our international membership -- we will post regular blogs, articles, stories and personal accounts to explain what is happening, and why it is important to those on the human rights front line. Come with us on our journey by reading our blogs here , and then help us make a real difference to people's lives by becoming a member or supporter of Amnesty International.

Belarus: Beaten By Police For Being Gay. Demand Justice - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International UK
Two years ago, Ihar Tsikhanyuk was dragged from his hospital bed by police officers. They took him into custody and beat him. Why? Simply for being a proud gay man. He made a complaint against the Minsk police force. It was rejected. His requests to launch an investigation into his abuse have been flat out refused. But Ihar remains undeterred. Please join him in his fight for justice and LGBTI rights in Belarus. Enough is enough!
Click here for ONLINE PETITION.

Monday, June 29, 2015

USA: Angie Update - NEWS

June 28 2015

HI Everyone:
Thank you everyone who took action on this issue.
Below is an article on a request for action I sent a couple of weeks ago regarding a letter to Sec of State John Kerry and the Human Rights of Palestinian Children.

Also note: Sunjeev (Of Amnesty Int'l USA)  is quoted within the article, so wanted to also mention that he had written a blog post (6/22) on this initiative as well called ‘Did your Member of Congress Stand Up for Palestinian Children?’ (http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/did-your-member-of-congress-stand-up-for-palestinian-children/) that folks might like to read. 

From Edie Garwood, AIUSA's Country Specialists for I/OT:  Follow-up action is: asking that we ‘thank’ those who signed and if our elected officials haven’t - ask them why.  Call the Congressional main switchboard number, (202) 224-3121 and simply ask for your representative.  See list below to check if your MOC is listed to ’thank’ or ask ‘why’.  You can also see other action options here (http://goo.gl/jYvDHe) and for more background information, videos, etc … see www.nowaytotreatachild.org.

Thank you all.
Angie Hougas
Incoming Board of Director for AIUSA

Friday, June 26, 2015

USA: National Religious Campaign Against Torture - ACTIONS

Amnesty has a very active campaign against torture.  Another organization, submitted by one of our members, is working toward those same goals.

National Religious Campaign Against Torture website
Actions include: 
Click here for more information.

USA: On your visit to Congress on 9/24/15, please speak out against gun violence in America - ONLINE PETITION

Los Angeles Gun Violence Prevention Network
#AskThePope #EndGunViolence
     "As the Pope’s comments about climate change have recently impacted world news, we want to hear what he thinks of an American Congress that continues to block gun reform in a country where 9 church members are shot while praying, 20 kindergartners are shot in their classroom, 12 moviegoers are shot in a theater, and over 32,000 Americans are killed by guns every year.
     On Sunday, June 21st, while Pope Francis addressed a crowd in Italy, he put aside his prepared notes and spoke frankly, implying that weapons manufacturers can't call themselves Christian. “If you trust only men you have lost,” he said, “It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit of distrust, doesn’t it?” He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today ... they say one thing and do another.”"
Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION. 

USA: President Obama's Eulogy: a man, race relations, gun violence, grace - VIDEO

Important words for us all... race, gun violence, human rights for all.

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Member Links and Petitions (Updated Daily) - June 26, 2015 to July 3, 2015

We have such a wonderful membership! Not only do we hold human rights dear to our hearts but there are also  other issues such as the environment, poverty, children's health, etc that can be related to human rights but may not be addressed by Amnesty International. Here are some of those links submitted by our members:

Amnesty International Uniting Families - Thank you and VIDEO

Dear Amnesty International Supporter,

     Last year, we wrote to supporters like you about Rebiya Kadeer's and her son Ablikim’s story. The response we got was overwhelming. I am so happy to let you know that Ablikim was released from prison in May and is reunited with his family!

“My story is very dark. You’ll see why I’m so terrified for my son, having experienced the inside of a Chinese prison myself.”

     These were the words of Rebiya. The last time she heard her son’s voice, he was screaming, as Chinese police brutally beat him and dragged him away in a car. That was nine years ago. Like Rebiya, Ablikim has defended the rights of the Uighurs. And like her, the Chinese authorities threw him in jail for standing up for human rights. Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience and campaigned tirelessly demanding his release. Because of Amnesty International, because of supporters like you, Ablikim is alive. Rebiya said that she believes efforts by the international community helped to protect Ablikim during his detention:

"My son came out alive, and for that I am happy … I believe this is due to the concern shown by the international community and rights organizations, as well as pressure from western governments on Beijing.”

     Thank you for your support of Ablikim, Rebiya, and Amnesty’s efforts to keep them safe. And please know how grateful I am for your dedicated commitment to human rights.

     With grateful thanks,

     Claire Mallinson
     National Director
     Amnesty International Australia

Published on Jun 24, 2015 (1:44 min)
Around the world, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are torn apart because they have bravely stood up for human rights.

GOOD NEWS: One of these families has just been reunited after Ablikim Abdiriyim was released from prison in May.

#StopTorture - Flash Mob VIDEO

Amnesty International
Published on Jun 26, 2015 (4:51 min)
Street action to stop torture... listen to the music, watch the dancing, join the action!

Amnesty International Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - June 26, 2015

Greetings Everyone!
     Today we celebrate as the Supreme Court in the USA recognizes same sex marriages in all 50 states. Click here to read more about this landmark case decided this morning.  We have also grouped some of the online petitions and news items related to gun violence in this post. So much is happening this week! Please check out our website posts and "act" today!!!
     -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor
Click here for complete list of links to this week's petitions, urgent actions, other actions, news, videos, and calendar of events.

USA: Supreme Court Marriage Ruling a Victory for Human Rights - NEWS

June 26, 2015
Amnesty International USA
VICTORY: The Supreme Court of the United States delivered a historic ruling today affirming the right of same-sex couples to legally marry in all 50 US states. Equality is a human right! 

Click here for entire PRESS RELEASE.

USA: Human Experimentation: Damning New Allegations of CIA Abuse - PHONE ACTION

Amnesty International USA
 "Near drownings, mock executions, men hung nude wearing diapers and immersed in ice water. Dick Cheney says he'd "do it again in a minute." Yet, the Justice Department won't read the Senate's damning report on torture. It's handing out "get out of jail free" cards to torturers.

5 minutes of your day could help prevent the US from burying the truth on torture.
Click here for PHONE ACTION information.

Iran: Prohibiting Torture Is Not Optional: Iran Must End Systematic Violence Against Its People

Human Rights and Democracy for Iran
     "Today is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. June 26 marks the anniversaries of both the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and the entry into force of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 1987. In 1998, the United Nations elected to mark this day to show solidarity with and commemorate victims of torture and to bring an end to this unspeakable crime."
     "The Convention Against Torture unequivocally bans all forms of torture under all circumstances including for reasons of national security and provides for remediation and redress for all victims of torture.[1] Iran is among the handful of countries in the world that are not state party to CAT. This is for good reason. The Islamic Republic flagrantly and routinely violates the treaty in its law, which prescribes corporal punishments such as flogging and amputation, and in practice."
Click here for entire article.

Netherlands: In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Says: Climate Action is a Human Right - NEWS

June 24, 2015
"In a landmark ruling that many hope establishes a new global precedent for a state's obligation to its citizens in the face of the growing climate crisis, a Dutch court on Wednesday said that the government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020. The decision came in response to a lawsuit, launched in November 2013 by the Amsterdam-based environmental nonprofit Urgenda Foundation along with 600 Dutch citizens, which argued that the government was violating international human rights law by failing to take sufficient measures to combat rising greenhouse gas emissions.
"The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment," read a statement from the Hague District Court.

Click here for entire article.

Human Rights Watch: Week in Rights - NEWS


There have been many petitions and articles written since the June 17th shooting in Charleston. Here are just a few links from our members and Amnesty International.
Published on Apr 8, 2014
Panelists discuss the human toll of gun violence in Chicago and other places during the Human Rights Conference 2014 by Amnesty International. This program was streamed and recorded by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dominican Republic: Uncertain Fate for Thousands in the Dominican Republic - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International USA

 In 2013, the country's highest court illegally voided the birth certificates of people born to immigrants since 1929. The vast majority of these citizens are of Haitian descent. This shameful and discriminatory act rendered thousands of Dominican-born persons stateless - easy targets for acts of discrimination and violence. 
"We are extremely worried because authorities continue to deny the existence of statelessness, but it's our reality. Discrimination exists in this country. I can't work and I can't access vital services." - Juan Alberto Antuan Vill, a young man of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic
The discrimination against Dominicans of Haitian descent must stop.

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Celebrate Pride 2015

Amnesty International USA
 We would like for you to join us on Sunday, June 28th to share the dream of equality! Volunteer with us to celebrate the 46th anniversary with thousands of activists, advocates, supporters and allies as we continue to grow the movement for human rights for ALL! For more details on NYC Pride and/or to join us as a marcher, please click here.
Take Action
Once you have printed the petitions from our Pride Toolkit and gathered signatures for Russia and Kazakhstan, you can increase your impact and write a letter directly to the authorities:
Russia Urgent Action
Kazakhstan Urgent Action
Read More
LGBT activists fight for their rights in Russia
Kazakhstan must reject homophobic "propaganda" law
Print and Celebrate
Pride Slogans
Gender Pronoun Stickers (and how to use them)
Human Rights Are My Pride Sticker templates
Rally Signs
Gender Unicorn
LGBTQI Glossary
Click here for more actions and information.
Pride 2015 Toolkit, click here.

World Refugee Day: Governments, not smugglers, are the real problem - NEWS

Amnesty International European Institutes Office
June 20, 2015
     "This Monday, Amnesty International warned that the global refugee situation has not been this dire since the end of the Second World War 70 years ago. The crisis in Syria is the biggest humanitarian catastrophe of our time, with four million refugees struggling to survive in neighbouring countries and another 7.6 million people displaced within its borders. Less publicised conflicts are also devastating; three million refugees are fleeing human rights abuses in South Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
     These people are doing what any of us would when trapped in intolerable circumstances: they flee. To achieve this, they will risk everything. Sometimes the only thing they have left to risk is their lives.
     The world’s wealthiest countries are doing shockingly little to help people leave places where their rights and lives are at risk. The international community offers money, but not enough to deal with the unprecedented scale of the crisis. More importantly, wealthy countries are miserly when it comes to offering refugees a new home, in the form of resettlement programs.
This means that the countries shouldering the responsibility for this massive crisis are generally the ones least capable of doing so; 86% of the world’s refugees live in developing nations. Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon each host more than one million refugees. The global number of resettlement places for refugees from Syria represents a little more than 2% of those living in the neighbouring host countries. And in 2013, fewer than 15,000 refugees from the entire African continent were resettled.
Click here for entire article.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Amnesty International Daily URGENT ACTIONS - June 19 to June 26, 2015

Click here for entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of June 19 to June 26. (This post is updated daily.)

      Countries for this week's Urgent Actions include:Thailand, Russian Federation, Chad, Colombia, and Indonesia.

Note: Most Urgent Actions require a written letter. See our guidelines for writing letters.  Countries are added to this list during the week. The link contains all Urgent Actions for the week.

Australia: Stand with Indigenous kids in Australia - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International Australia
"By signing up to a 'commitment to kids', we can show our government that Australians everywhere believe in better solutions than locking kids up. We can show them that more community support is needed, not more prisons for kids. We’ll be letting your politicians all across Australia know about this groundswell of support, to prove that Australians -- Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike -- stand together for harmonious communities and a brighter tomorrow."

Click here for entire article.

USA: Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015 - ONLINE PETITION & VIDEO

Submitted by one of our members...
Ricky Martin Foundation, website

"Many of the victims of child sex trafficking have been involved in our nation’s foster care system, yet the system lacks the training and guidelines necessary to provide help.

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION.

Published on Jan 15, 2015 (11 min)
“The Chance for a New Life” depicts Sara Kruzan’s journey from being sexually trafficked as a young girl to her conviction for murder and sentence of life imprisonment. For seven years, attorneys at Perkins Coie worked tirelessly in support of Sarah’s bid for freedom. Here is their true story.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Amnesty International: UN Report on Gaza Conflict a Key Step Towards Justice for Victims on Both Sides 


 Amnesty International USA
     "Victims of war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by both sides in the 2014 armed conflict in Gaza could be a step closer to justice, Amnesty International said upon today’s publication of the findings of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry into the war.
     “This report marks an important step towards accountability for all the victims and their families. It’s a welcome independent validation of Amnesty International’s own extensive research into last year’s Gaza/Israel conflict, which found that both sides carried out a litany of appalling violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
     “The evidence is overwhelming and now the members and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council must give the Commission’s findings and recommendations serious consideration, refrain from politicizing the Commission or its report, and ensure that the Council takes all appropriate measures necessary to ensure accountability.
     “Additionally, the Israeli and Palestinian authorities must co-operate with the International Criminal Court examination, opened in January, and all states must actively support the work of the ICC in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as the Commission recommended.”

Click here for entire article.

Amnesty International: Special webinar on Amnesty's Deadly Force report

Amnesty International USA

Webinar information:
Wednesday, June 24
RSVP today for 3 p.m. EST
RSVP today for 9 p.m. EST
Today, the United States lacks use of force laws that safeguard human rights.

Yesterday we released our new report, Deadly Force, which reveals that not only does the U.S. government fail to track how many people are killed by law enforcement officers each year, but also that not one of the 50 U.S. states complies with international law and standards on the use of lethal force.

Join us for a webinar that will shed light on findings in Amnesty's new report, Deadly Force: Police Use of Force in the United States.

Together, we'll discuss key information in this urgent report, its policy implications, and how you can get involved in addressing this human rights crisis.

RSVP to join the conversation and learn more about how to take action:
June 24th, 3 p.m. EST
June 24th, 9 p.m. EST

 In solidarity,

Jamira Burley
Senior Campaigner, Gun Violence and Criminal Justice
Amnesty International USA

Iran: Halt execution of young man in case riven with doubt - NEWS RELEASE

Amnesty International
June 19, 2015

   "The Iranian authorities must urgently commute the death sentence of Ehsan Shah Ghasemi, a 24-year-old man who faces imminent execution amid a flawed trial that cast overwhelming doubts over his guilt, said Amnesty International.
   Ehsan Shah Ghasemi was sentenced to death for stabbing Ali Khalili in the neck in July 2011, causing injuries that allegedly led to his death almost three years later in April 2014. The Supreme Court approved Ehsan Shah Ghasemi’s execution despite the absence of any conclusive evidence that the stab wound caused Ali Khalili’s death. The Chief Justice of Iran is expected to endorse the death sentence in the next few days.
   “Ehsan Shah Ghasemi is caught in the agonizing grip of a nightmare as he faces the gallows. His life is now in the hands of the head of the judiciary who must decide on putting a young man to death after a deeply flawed trial,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

Click here for entire NEWS RELEASE.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Member Links and Petitions (Updated Daily) - June 19 to June 26, 2015

We have such a wonderful membership! Not only do we hold human rights dear to our hearts but there are also  other issues such as the environment, poverty, children's health, etc that can be related to human rights but may not be addressed by Amnesty International. Here are some of those links submitted by our members: