Monday, February 29, 2016

South Sudan: Inside Malakal - ONLINE ACTIONS

Messengers of Humanity
     Although a peace agreement was signed in August, it’s done nothing to stem the fighting. In fact, fighting has spread to new areas with reports of people being raped and killed, and of homes and crops being destroyed and damaged by fighting. Nearly 5 years after South Sudan gained independence, fighting continues. It's a conflict characterized by alarming levels of sexual violence and the targeting of children. And while humanitarians cannot solve the political problems, they can deliver life-saving aid, but only if it's safe enough to do so, and only if the resources exist. With just 6% of the UN's humanitarian plan funded, aid projects are shutting down. Many others can't even launch. 

Please share this and encourage governments to fully fund the humanitarian response in South Sudan, before it's too late.

facebook South Sudan: Inside the attack in Malakal
Dozens of people terrorized whilst taking shelter at the UN protection camp in Malakal, #SouthSudan
twitter We must demand peace and protection for the people of #SouthSudan. #ShareHumanity

3 ways you can help Syrians | Free after 44 years in isolation | #LetThemStay update - ACTIONS

Amnesty International Australia
     The world felt a glimmer of hope when the UN Special Envoy, US and Russia announced a commitment to end hostilities in Syria. Such a commitment would relieve the suffering of millions. But before anyone had a chance to rejoice, hospitals and schools in Northern Syria were hit by Russian cluster bombs destroying even more innocent lives. Now is the time to change the course of history to alleviate more suffering with the US and Russia officially announcing a ceasefire. As we approach the five year anniversary of this crisis, it's now more important than ever to take a stance to make sure there is an end to this crisis.

Here are three things you can do to help:

  1. Sign our petition to put the pressure on global leaders to put an end to the targeting of innocent civilians. After devastating images of starving children emerged out of Madaya, we must help ensure that aid reaches those in need.
  2. Share the petition and ask friends and family to show their solidarity with people struggling to survive in Syria.
  3. Donate now to enable us to continue our work to end the suffering of families inside Syria.
Stay tuned as Amnesty partners up with other organisations, and host high profile activists in Australia including Bassam Alahmad from the Violations Documentation Center in Syria to ramp up the pressure at this critical time.

Iran: Filmaker's Flogging and Jail Sentence Upheld - URGENT ACTION before April 7, 2016

Amnesty International
     Keywan (Keyvan) Karimi was told on 20 February that the court had suspended five of the six years he had been sentenced to spend in prison, for a period of five years. He now needs to serve a one-year term and receive 223 lashes, which the court has upheld. Keywan Karimi had been sentenced in October 2015 to six years in prison and 223 lashes upon conviction of charges that included “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “illicit relations”. It appears that he was not told until his last court hearing that he faced the charge of “insulting Islamic sanctities” over a music video clip the authorities had found on his hard drive, for which he has received six years in prison. Instead, he had been charged with “spreading propaganda against the system”, which was not mentioned in the final ruling at all. 

Click here for ENTIRE URGENT ACTION and information. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

This Week in Rights - February 25, 2016

AI Madison Group #139 Member List of "Other" Links & Petitions - Feb 26 to March 4, 2016

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. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Amnesty International URGENT ACTIONS - Feb 26 to March 4, 2016

Click here for entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of Feb 26  to March 4. (This post is updated daily.) 

Countries include:  Russian Federation, Iran, Bahrain, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Azerbajian, Turkey, China, Israel/OPT, Syria, and Vietnam. 

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, February 26, 2016

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - February 26, 2016

Greetings Everyone!
     If you are interested in attending this year's Amnesty International USA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) and would like some financial help, there are individual subsidies and group subsidies available. Early registration and subsidy application forms are due TODAY, Feb 26, 2016. Click here for more information.
     Also, we have been experiencing trouble with our email address Please use this email to contact us until Amnesty International USA fixes this problem.

     Spring is coming...  Spring is coming...  Spring is coming...  Spring is coming!
     -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

Click here for links to this week's Amnesty International and Human Rights Information and Actions.

Burkina Faso: 13 years old and forced into marriage - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International New Zealand
     Girls as young as 11 are forced into marriage, many of whom are made to cook, clean, fetch water and work in the fields from dawn to dusk. Very few have the chance to go to school. Children have a right to be children. Girls all over the world are denied their basic human right to choose their own destiny - to choose who and when to marry. Your actions will help them fight for justice, freedom and safety.

Click here for ONLINE PETITION.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"What To Do When You Are Raped, An ABC Handbook For Native Girls" - DOWNLOAD HANDBOOK

Reposted from Amnesty International USA Women's Human Rights Network
 A strong, new resource from The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC): "What To Do When You Are Raped, An ABC Handbook For Native Girls." Please share widely!

NEW! Today, The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC) published What To Do When You Are Raped, An ABC Handbook For Native Girls. This book is a resource aimed at answering the questions women face following a sexual assault, from thinking through buying emergency contraception, to getting tested for STDS, to who to turn to for support.
Native Americans are raped at a rate nearly double that any other race annually – 34.1 percent. More than 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime, and three-fourths have experienced some type of sexual assault in their lives. In an effort to help communities better respond, NAWHERC created this illustrated handbook with the assistance of Lucy Bonner, a Design and Technology graduate student and research assistant at PETLab at Parsons School of Design. The project was funded by the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Also check out this Facebook page:  Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC)

Click here for a pdf of this important handbook. 

Iran: Every single man in a village executed for drug offenses

Iran Human Rights (FEB 25 2016)

      Talking to state run news agency Mehr on Tuesday February 23 about the huge problem of drug usage and offenses in Iran, Shahindokht Molaverdi, Iranian Vice President for Women & Family Affairs (appointed by Hassan Rouhani in 2013) said: We have a village in Sistan & Baluchestan where every single man has been executed. The children [of these men] are potential drug traffickers; either because they will seek revenge for the deaths of their fathers or because they will need to financially provide for their families, as a result of lack of support by the government.

Click here for ENTIRE article. 

Deadly Force: Legislative Updates & The Path Forward - WEBINAR

Amnesty International USA
     All over the country, activists are taking action to prevent and end the unlawful use of deadly force by police.  Join Amnesty International USA's webinar conversation on the legislative work taking place in some of our target states and ways to get engaged. We'll also update members on the goals of our police accountability campaign, and have an open dialogue on how to effectively move this work forward. 
Deadly Force: Legislative Updates & the Path Forward
Saturday - February 27th at 12:00PM (EST)/9:00AM (PST)
Click here to register. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pope to Catholic Leaders: Do Not Allow Executions this Year

Reposted from Equal Justice USA

February 21, 2016

Pope Francis on Sunday urged Catholic leaders to show "exemplary" courage by not allowing executions this year, while expressing hope that eventually the death penalty will be abolished worldwide. Francis told tourists and pilgrims in St. Peter's Square that "the commandment 'do not kill' holds absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty." He added that there is "an ever more widespread opposition in public opinion to the death penalty, even only as an instrument of legitimate social defense."

"I appeal to the conscience of those who govern so that international consensus is reached for the abolishment of the death penalty," the pope said. "And I propose to all those among them who are Catholic to make a courageous and exemplary gesture: may no execution sentence be carried out in this Holy Year of Mercy."

Click here for ENTIRE ARTICLE.



Refugee crisis: 'You see walking skeletons'

February 24, 2016

   The millions of refugees from Syria, Eritrea, Myanmar and elsewhere -- living in limbo or braving desperate journeys in search of asylum -- are, for many of us, the most visible symbol of how governments are stripping people of fundamental human rights, in this case the right to seek safe haven. In 2015, 30 or more countries broke a once-sacred principle of international law by forcing refugees to return to countries where they would be in danger.
Amnesty International's annual report on the state of human rights in the world, published Tuesday, warns that this is the tip of the iceberg. The international human rights system has been pushed to the breaking point by governments.
    Governments are also cracking down on the people who defend our rights, such as lawyers, journalists and activists. Eighty-eight countries conducted unfair trials, and at least 61 countries locked up people who were simply exercising their rights and freedoms. Amnesty International considers many of those people prisoners of conscience.

 Click here for ENTIRE ARTICLE.

Amnesty International Annual Report 2015-2016

Amnesty International
February 23, 2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unraveling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world.
“Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Click here for ENTIRE REPORT.

USA: Take action against so-called “honor killings” - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International USA

 As many as 5,000 women and girls are murdered each year in so-called "honor killings." That's 13 lives a day. An honor killing is the murder of a person accused of 'bringing shame' on their family or community. Although men can fall victim, most honor killings involve women and girls. Victims are murdered for a variety of reasons, including talking to an unrelated male, rejecting a marriage partner chosen by family members, committing or being accused of adultery, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, not dressing conservatively enough, and even being a victim of rape. Shockingly, murderers in some cases actually get reduced sentences in cases when honor is the motivation.

Click here for the ONLINE PETITION. 

Iran: Tortured filmmaker and musicians face jail - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International
     Filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, his brother Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, both musicians, have been sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment and fined 200 million Rials (about US$6,625). They had been convicted, after a three-minute trial, of the charges of “insulting Islamic sanctities”, “spreading propaganda against the system”, and “illegal audio-visual activities” before Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 26 April 2015. The charges against them arose from their artistic work, including Hossein Rajabian’s feature film dealing with women’s right to divorce in Iran and Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi’s distribution of unlicensed music. Their appeal was heard on 22 December 2015 before Branch 54 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran. All three men are at liberty while they await the verdict of their appeal. 

Click here for the ENTIRE URGENT ACTION. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Once Every 16 Hours, An American Woman Is Fatally Shot by a Current or Former Romantic Partner - NEWS

Reposted from Amnesty International USA Women's Human Rights Network
February 20, 2016
     According to FBI and state crime data analyzed by the Associated Press, at least 6,875 people were fatally shot by romantic partners from 2006 to 2014. Eighty percent of those victims were women. On average, that works out to 554 annual fatal shootings of an American woman by a current or former romantic partner during the nine years examined, or one every 16 hours. 
     The domestic homicide data the AP studied comes from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report, which collects figures from law enforcement agencies in 49 states.
     Of the female victims in the AP’s study period, 3,100 — or roughly 56 percent of the total women killed — were shot by husbands, ex-husbands, or common-law husbands.
Another 1,953 women were killed by their boyfriends.

"Once Every 16 Hours, An American Woman Is Fatally Shot by a Current or Former Romantic Partner," Trace, Feb 9, 2016

Ireland: Decriminalise abortion in Ireland - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International Ireland
Ireland has one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws. Seeking a termination even on the grounds of rape, incest, or where the foetus won’t survive could get you 14 years in prison.Ireland is violating the fundamental rights of its women and girls. With Irish elections coming up on Friday, now is the time to act.Tell the new government to decriminalize abortion.

Click here for ONLINE PETITION. 

International Women's Day (IWD) March 8, 2016 - IWD Action Guide

International Women’s Day (IWD) is just around the corner on March 8th. AI USA’s Identity and Discrimination Unit has compiled some actions that individuals and groups can take to mark IWD and highlight some of the advocacy work that Amnesty is doing around certain cases. 

Check out the International Women’s Day Action Guide

You can, for example:
  • draw attention to sexual and reproductive rights in the Americas and in your own communities by making a short video and posting it online; 
  •  collect as many signatures as possible to help end child marriage in Burkina Faso and the harmful abortion ban in El Salvador; 
  • and download the MBMR Spring 2016 toolkit for more ideas.

AIUSA: 2016 AGM Subsidy Application - February 26, 2016 DEADLINE

Amnesty International Midwest 

2016 AGM Subsidy Application

DEADLINE TO APPLY IS FEBRUARY 26th AT 5:00PM ESTAIUSA is providing limited subsidies in the form of lodging for Friday and Saturday night (April 1-2) of the 2016 Annual General Meeting in Miami, FL. Subsidies are intended for active AI members and activists or those hoping to become active who otherwise would be unable to attend the conference due to financial constraints.
To be eligible for a subsidy you must apply with a group of four people who are committed to registering and attending the entire 3-day conference, working a volunteer shift each day, and meeting the requirements included in the application below. For more information, including the selection process, please read the Frequently Asked Questions here:
Click here for APPLICATION and more INFORMATION.

Ernest Coverson, Field Organizer
1 N. Lasalle Ste 875
Chicago, IL 60602
312-435-6386 Office

AI Madison Group #139 Member List of "Other" Links & Petitions - Feb 19 to Feb 26, 2016

     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:

Monday, February 22, 2016

"The Look of Silence" - Film 2014

There is a new Academy Award-nominated film by Joshua Oppenheimer called The Look of Silence about the Indonesian killings of 1965–66.

An optician confronts the men who killed the brother that he never knew during the 1960s Indonesian genocide.

  It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.

Indonesia: Speak up after decades of silence - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International USA

Fifty years ago, Indonesia went through a terrible period. Possibly a million people were slaughtered after General Suharto, with U.S. support, deposed Indonesia's first president and established a military dictatorship. All of this was met with decades of silence and inaction from the Indonesian government.

Click here for ONLINE PETITION.

The Al Jazeera staff, jailed for journalism - PODCAST

Amnesty International

 Jailed for journalism: Peter Greste tells his story
It’s just over a year since Al Jazeera reporter Peter Greste was marched out of his prison cell in Cairo, bundled on to a plane and deported from Egypt.
His living nightmare had ended as abruptly as it had started.
But what really happened to Peter and his colleagues? Hear Peter tell his story in the latest episode of our In Their Own Words podcast.
Hear his story.
Click here for PODCAST.