Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#FreeThe20 Women Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Concern Campaign

     Throughout September, we will be profiling the individual cases of twenty women political prisoners and other prisoners of concern from around the world. Twenty years ago in Beijing, the world set out an ambitious roadmap for empowering women, advancing gender equality, and promoting women and girls’ human rights, as set forth in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at that historic conference. We have selected one woman prisoner for each year that has passed since that vital step forward for women’s rights in 1995, though there are countless more. In naming these women, we are sending a simple message to their governments and others like them: if you want to empower women, stop imprisoning them. And we are also sending a message to twenty prisoners and their families, and to others like them: We have not forgotten about you, and we will continue to highlight other cases of concern going forward.

#FreeThe20 Campaign on Women Political Prisoners video (18:39 min)

Click here to learn about these women. 

Iran: Husband and wife, Arash Sadeghi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Sentenced to Jail on Security Charges - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International
     Arash Sadeghi, a former student activist, was informed in August 2015 that he had been sentenced by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to 15 years’ imprisonment on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system”, “gathering and colluding against national security” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic.” Amnesty International understands that Arash Sadeghi’s posts on Facebook about political prisoners, his interviews with the media about time he has spent in prison and his communications with journalists have been used against him as “evidence.” He had been arrested on 6 September 2014 and held in solitary confinement for six months, with no access to a lawyer. The court did not allow his lawyer to see his casefile, and said he could only have a lawyer if he or she was appointed by the court. Arash Sadeghi refused a court-appointed lawyer, sobhe had no legal representation at trial.
     The court sentenced his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee to six years in prison for “insulting the sanctities of Islam” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. The charges appear to have arisen from an unpublished story the authorities found in her house, and her Facebook posts about political prisoners. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was sentenced in her absence, as she was in hospital with an illness on the day she was tried. The court rejected her request to adjourn the hearing. Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi were arrested on 6 September 2014 by men believed to be Revolutionary Guards, and taken to Section 2A of Tehran’s Evin Prison, where they have since said they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated. They were released on bail on 27 September 2014 and 14 March 2015 respectively.
Click here for more information and addresses for letters.  

Guatemala: Demand justice for Environmental Activist and Human Rights Defender! - ONLINE PETITION

Friends of the Earth
     "Rigoberto was a 28-year old schoolteacher and indigenous activist. He was shot outside of a courthouse just one day after a court ordered the palm oil company to suspend operations due to a huge spill of palm oil waste. He had been among the first to report a massive fish die-off from the polluted water.
     It is absolutely unacceptable that activists like Rigoberto put their lives at risk when they stand up to Big Polluters. We must demand justice for Rigoberto now!"

Click here for ONLINE PETITION.

Iran: In observation of World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 - NEWS

Submitted by one of our members, Mr. Osanlou.

From: The Joint Committee on coordination of operation of Iranian Democratic Parties and Organizations

To: Democratic Governments of the World

The Joint Co-ordination Committee, supports the  teachers movement and campaign.

We Iranians living abroad, are members of various parties, organizations and groups, and in a joint effort, defend the righteous struggle of the oppressed teachers in Iran.

No matter which city or country we reside in, we stand with teachers, who on October 5th, "International Teachers Day", will be protesting throughout Iran, and support their effort to realize their aspirations. And in solidarity with the Teachers Unions, trade organizations, and any other bonafide Iranian inside Iran, we strive to communicate and amplify their voices.

We also call upon Iranians, wherever they may be, to join this struggle for justice and humanity and  coalesce in order to take effective steps towards democracy and a civil society. This is the least we can do to help free our teachers who are imprisoned, and realize their objectives for a pluralistic society for a free Iran and a better tomorrow.

We Iranians who seek freedom and democracy, call on all teachers and trade unions, and all freedom loving people around the world, to join us in demanding the release of imprisoned teacher on the "International Teachers Day," which was named by the World Cultural Organization. We also demand that the legitimate rights of teachers, which is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the articles of the International Labor Organization, and adheres to international labor institutions, particularly the International  Federation Of Training and Development Organizations, to assist us in our efforts, and join our teachers inside Iran. We urge working people around the world to write protest letters and emails to international bodies such as the United Nations and International Labor Organizations; and to join demonstrations around the world in order to echo the righteous voices of Iranian teachers seeking justice.


  1. The Iranian Freedom-Seekers Front
  2. The Iranian Democratic Front
  3. Iranian National Front (Overseas chapter)
  4. PanIranist Front (Overseas chapter)
  5. The United Front for Democracy and Human Rights
  6. Democratic Party of Kurdistan
  7. People’s Party of Baluchistan
  8. Iranian Constitutionalist Party (Liberal Democrats)
  9. Populist Association of the Koormanj Khorassan 
  10. Ismail Khoei Foundation
  11. Mohammad Nourizad
  12. Zartosht Ahmadi-Ragheb
  13. Hashem Khaastar (Representative of the Teachers Guilds of Khorassan)
  14. Akbar Mohammadi Foundation
  15. The Voice of the Green Wave - London chapter
  16. The Voice of the Green Wave - Cardiff chapter
  17. The Voice of the Green Wave - Birmingham chapter
  18. Supporter of the Mothers of the Laleh Park - Stockholm
  19. Supporter of the Mothers of the Laleh Park - Dortmund
  20. Supporter of the Mothers of the Laleh Park -  Hamburg
  21. Supporter of the Mothers of the Laleh Park - London
  22. Supporter of the Mothers of the Laleh Park - Fresno
  23. Fresno Association for Art & Culture
  24. The Association of Free Iran
  25. Europress Federation
  26. Unity for Iran - Belgium
  27. The Movement for Democracy and Secularism - Belgium 
  28. The Iran-Germany Theater Center
  29. Campaign for Democracy in Iran - Swiss chapter
  30. Neek Foundation (Afshin Osanlou)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mexico: The Ayotzinapa stories - One year on

Amnesty International
September 23, 2015
"On 26 September 2014, 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa were subjected to enforced disappearance in Iguala, state of Guerrero. The burned remains of one of them were found weeks later. The other 42 are still missing.
Here´re some of the stories of the people who are still looking for them."

Click here for their stories and complete article. 


Dear AIUSA Colleagues, 
Thank you for participating in AIUSA’s Fall Lobby Weeks!  Amnesty International local and student groups across the U.S. will be sending a strong message to Congress to help bring transparency and accountability to police departments nationwide, reform the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, and to support human rights in Bahrain.

Your Representative and Senators are likely to be in a district office during the October 13-16 and November 23-27 Congressional recesses, making these good times to try to meet locally with them. But if those dates don’t work for you, you may schedule a meeting with the district office Congressional staff any time this fall. 
(District office staff are those based in your state, not in Washington DC.  All Members of Congress have district offices). 
Coordinating a visit to your elected officials is easy - it only takes a moderate time commitment to contact the office you want to visit, read the background materials, practice your meeting, and then actually meet with your Members of Congress. The attached resource package will provide you with information to make the most of your meeting.
A reminder to please build your delegation, contact your district office to schedule a meeting, and watch our Raise the Roof! video (http://www.amnestyusa.org/learntolobby) as soon as possible. 
Please join our Phone Briefing to learn about the issues and asks in advance of your meeting.  We’ll hold a conference call on Tuesday, October 6 at 8:30 pm Eastern Time - Dial-in Number: (605) 562-3000, Access Code: 570537# (please note that unless you are using your cell phone, this is not a toll free call).  If you dial in and hear a busy signal, then please call (559) 546-1400 and enter the same access code 570537# (again, this is not a toll free call).

Our “How to Lobby” Webinar, for useful tips on lobbying, will take place Wednesday, October 7 at 8:30 pm Eastern Time.  
To join the webinar, please go to: https://aiusa.webex.com/aiusa/j.php?MTID=m954db8ca811e6b7d89c2073d676c6948
Meeting number: 791 066 059
Meeting password: Lobby123 
Audio connection: 1-877-668-4490 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada); 1-408-792-6300 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
Access code: 791 066 059
Plan to log-in at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the webinar to test your audio and make sure you have the proper web browser and internet connections up and running.

Participating in Lobby Weeks is a great opportunity to connect with your Members of Congress and to build your group’s capacity to advance human rights advocacy.  With your help, we'll bring Amnesty's key human rights issues to the attention of your elected officials!
With warm regards,Ulana Moroz Senenko
Director, Member Advocacy
Amnesty International USA

Womens Human Rights Network - Fall 2015 UPDATE

Amnesty International

 "It's a new season and with the lovely fall weather upon us we have a number of updates for you. First, the My Body, My Rights (MBMR) campaign has a Fall 2015 Activist toolkit that is ready for your activism and energy! In addition to the toolkit, we also have new design for the campaign and some gear to help spread the word. And, if you missed the MBMR Webinar that took place on September 16th, do not fret, you can access the recorded version in this newsletter. On a more somber note related to the MBMR campaign, we have an update to share with you regarding a recent coup d’état in Burkina Faso.

Lastly, it's that time of year again for Amnesty's regional conferences! We hope that many of you will be able to join us to help garner more support for women's human rights." 

Click here for entire UPDATE.

Mexico: One Year Anniversary of the Enforced Disappearance of the Ayotzinapa Students - POSTCARDS and LETTERS DEADLINE Dec 1, 2015

Amnesty International USA

     In the late hours of September 26, 2014, 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teacher training rural college (Escuela Normal Rural Raul Isidro Burgos) were subjected to enforced disappearance in Iguala, state of Guerrero, Mexico. A year has passed and despite worldwide attention, the Mexican authorities have failed to properly pursue all lines of investigation, especially the worrying allegations of complicity by the armed forces.
     A year after the tragic events in Iguala, an independent commission provided an analysis that Mexico’s Attorney General failed to provide. We must act to bring those responsible to justice. Join me in taking action.
     Let’s join our voices and send a strong message to Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto that there is still time to show to the world that corruption and impunity will not be tolerated in Mexico.
     You may download the postcard pdf file below. Feel free to make as many copies as you like and collect signatures. You may also use the sample letters shown below (in English or Spanish) to collect signatures.
Send all signed postcards and/or letters to the AIUSA Washington DC office, to the attention of 
Marselha Gonzalves
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, 
Washington DC, 20006.
We will be delivering all collected postcards and letters to the President of Mexico by either bulk mail or through our colleagues in AI Mexico.
All signed postcards and letters must arrive at the Washington DC office by December 1, 2015.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
In solidarity,
Diego Zavala
Country Specialist, Mexico

Saturday, September 26, 2015

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update of Member "Other" Links and Petitions - Sept 25 to Oct 2, 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:

Iran: Death of trade unionist must trigger action to tackle appalling prison conditions - AMNESTY PUBLIC STATEMENT

Amnesty International
September 25, 2015
     "Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to urgently address the inhumane detention conditions prevalent in many of Iran’s prisons, which contribute to medical conditions developing in prisoners or exacerbate pre-existing ones. The authorities must also ensure that all those in detention have access to adequate medical treatment in line with international human rights standards and ensure that those needing specialized treatment are granted medical leave."
 Shahrokh Zamani
 Atena Farghadani
 Hossein Rafiee
 Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi
 Atena Daemi
 Narges Mohammadi
 Mohammad Reza Pourshajari
 Afshin Sohrabzadeh

Click here for the entire PUBLIC STATEMENT.

Saudi Arabia: Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr Sentenced to Beheading and Crucifixion - TWO ONLINE PETITIONS

Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr was 17 years old when he went to an anti-government protest in the Saudi Arabian province of Qatif. He was accused by the government of carrying a firearm, attacking security forces and even armed robbery. None of those charges could be proven but he confessed nonetheless. He didn’t have a lawyer and some say the confession was drawn from the teenager via torture.

His sentence is due to be carried out by beheading and crucifixion, a method that involves removing the head of the prisoner and tying their headless body to a cross.

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION.  
Click here for more information from Amnesty International Australia and ONLINE PETITION. 

Amnesty International Daily URGENT ACTIONS - Sept 25 to Oct 2, 2015

Click here for entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of September 25 to October 2. (This post is updated daily.) 

     Countries for this week's Urgent Actions include: Malaysia, Russian Federation, Egypt, Iran, India, Myanmar, Egypt, Cuba, Colombia, and Nepal. 

 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.

Friday, September 25, 2015

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - September 25, 2015

Hi Everyone,

     So much to do and so little time and, yet, when we do act, success is so sweet! Did you see the video of Peter Greste when he heard the news that his fellow Al Jazeera journalists were pardoned. Enjoy and let's celebrate together!
     Monday, September 28th, is quickly approaching. The Amnesty Global Day of Action focuses on My Body My Rights. What will you do? Sign a petition? Wear a t-shirt? Let us know and we'll post YOUR action in our next Weekly Update.
     Finally, the Pope is visiting the U.S. this week. We don't advocate for any particular religion or for any religion at all but the man is a world leader who has spoken out regarding the European Migrant Crisis, promotes the abolition of the death penalty, and advocates for peace. To read the complete text of his speech given before the U.S. Congress, click here.
     Have a wonderful week!
 -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

Links to this week's Amnesty International and Human Rights Information and Actions


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mexico: Where are the Missing Students in Mexico - ONE YEAR LATER VIDEO and ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International Canada

A MUST WATCH --> One year later...Where are they?!
On September 26 2014, 43 students went missing in Mexico and the government has failed to find them.
The families of the students have not given up and we haven't either! Demand justice for ‪#‎Ayotzinapa‬ > http://bit.ly/1uXpYq2

Act today! Click here for ONLINE ACTION. 

Amnesty International: Global Day of Action September 28, 2015

Amnesty International
September 24, 2015
My Body My Rights is Amnesty International's global campaign to help ensure that everyone has access to their sexual and reproductive rights and to stop criminalization of sexuality and reproduction by governments.  We’re asking you to join us in advocating for sexual and reproductive human rights by mobilizing people in your community through education and action! 
This fall, we’re focusing on IrelandBurkina FasoEl Salvador, and sexual and reproductive human rights education here at home.
We’re rolled out an Activist Toolkit toolkit on our homepage www.amnestyusa.org/mybodymyrights for you to download and take action—it’s full of information, activities, and ideas! 

Amnesty International My Body My Rights -  ACTIONS

Ireland: #NotaCriminal - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International USA
"She's pregnant. Doctors say the fetus won't survive. But Irish law says she has to carry the pregnancy to term.

She was raped. Now she's pregnant. And each day that the pregnancy continues reminds her of the horror she went through. Still, Irish law says she has to carry on.

She needs an abortion, but she is not allowed one in Ireland. Instead, she is forced to leave the country - if she can travel. If she stays and tries to have an abortion in Ireland, she is threatened with a 14-year jail term.

She is not a criminal. She has a human right to an abortion.

Sign our petition today. Tell Ireland to change its abortion law.

Click here for ONLINE PETITION.

More Information from Amnesty International:
"Ireland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.  Ireland only allows women and girls access to abortion if their life is at risk.  In all other cases, abortion is a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison.  Healthcare providers are stopped from giving out full information on abortion, for fear of being accused of “promoting" or “advocating” it –a crime that carries a fine of up to 4,000 euros.
By denying women and girls abortions in cases of rape, incest, risk to health or severe and fatal fetal impairment, Ireland is violating their human rights!
This Monday is Amnesty’s Global Day of Action focusing on Ireland.  It is not to late to take action!"

Good News! - Iran: Mahdieh Golrou Released - URGENT ACTION UPDATE

Amnesty International USA
June 11, 2015
Women’s rights defender Mahdieh Golrou was released from Tehran’s Evin Prison after three months detained for peaceful demonstrations. She was a prisoner of conscience.
No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals. 
For more information. 
  • PDF version: 
  • Word version: 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GOOD NEWS Al Jazeera Journalists: FREED!

Amnesty International UK, Facebook Sept 23, 2015

At last, all three Al Jazeera journalists are free!
Egypt's president has pardoned jailed journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, along with many other prisoners. Australia's Peter Greste returned home after being deported earlier this year.
Thank you for taking action and standing with them, and all journalists jailed just for doing their jobs.

Also see:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


September 22, 2015
     Congratulations to W.A.V.E., Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort. This last weekend they collected a total of 893 signatures at two events held in Madison, Wisconsin this last weekend. Their website can be found here. Our group leader, Azam, was one of the volunteers!
538 signatures at Fighting BobFest
355 signatures at Willy Street Fair
Total for the weekend: 893

USA Congress: More Syrian refugees need resettlement - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International USA
     "For centuries, the United States opened its arms to many refugees whose lives had been torn apart by war, and those ruthlessly hounded because of who they are or what they believe in. But today, the people of Syria are suffering these hardships on an unimaginable scale, and we're still waiting for US leadership on the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. Take action. Urge Congress to increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the US. Read More

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION.

More Information

China: Su Changlan Facing Life in Prison - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International Australia

"A former primary school teacher, Su Changlan, is passionate about promoting women's rights, particularly around violence, child trafficking and underage marriage. She is now paying a terrible price for her peaceful work and faces life imprisonment. Police arrested Su Changlan last year after she made pro-democratic posts online. Chinese authorities are now detaining Su Changlan without trial. She hasn’t been allowed to see her family for over ten months and has very limited access to her lawyer.:

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION.

Amnesty International Midwest: Newsletter for September 2015

  • From Moment to Movement 2015 Midwest Regional Conference
  • My Body My Rights
  • Shout Out to Batavia High School
  • Way to Go University of Wisconsin
  • Open Leader Volunteer Positions

Click here for Amnesty International Midwest Newsletter - September 2015.

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Center for the Humanities 2015-2016 Events

 A sampling of the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities Events for 2015-2016, Click here for more events.

The Center's Flagship Lecture Series  
October 6
 Eric Cline
December 3
 Junot Diaz
February 8
February 15
 Michael Warner
March 17
 Sally Mann
March 29
 David Henry Hwang
April 20
   agnès b
April 28

Also posted on our sidebar under "Upcoming Amnesty International and Human Rights Events."

Hungary: Violating Human Rights for Refugees - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International
     Hungary sealed off its southern border with Serbia on 15 September with a razor wire fence, blocking access to its territory for thousands of refugees. Amendments of the Criminal Code and Asylum Law came into force the same day. The new measures include criminalization of “illegal” entry, punishable by up to three years’ custodial sentence, and the creation of “transit zones” where an accelerated asylum procedure is applied to the few asylum-seekers they admit each day. A previous amendment came into force on 1 August designating Serbia as a “safe third country of transit”, which would allow Hungary to refuse applications for international protection from asylum-seekers arriving from Serbia. Hungary cannot shift its responsibility to provide a prompt and effective asylum procedure and to provide international protection to those who need it to third countries such as Serbia, where the asylum system is ineffective and does not guarantee access to international protection to those who need it. Moreover, reception conditions in Serbia expose refugees and asylum-seekers to human rights violations. 
Click here for more information and addresses.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update of Member "Other" Links and Petitions - September 18 to September 25, 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:

USA: #IStandwithAhmed - NEWS

Good News India: Dalit Family to be Provided with Protection - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International

     On 16 September the Supreme Court of India ordered the Delhi Police to provide 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari, her 15-year-old sister, and the rest of their family with protection, as they are currently living in Delhi and are fearful of returning to their village. Although the family do not yet feel it is safe to return to their village, the Supreme Court decision is a positive development and they are very grateful for all those that took action on their behalf.
     On 24 May, the family fled their village in Baghpat district fearing violence after their brother eloped with a married woman from a Jat (dominant caste) family. On 30 May, their house in the village was ransacked. On 30 July, members of a village khap panchayat– an unelected all-male village council - ordered that Meenakshi Kumari and her sister be raped and paraded naked, with their faces blackened, as punishment for the actions of their brother.