Saturday, May 28, 2016

Iran: Iranian Musicians and Filmaker Summoned to Jail - URGENT ACTION before July 8th, 2016

Amnesty International

     Filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, his brother Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, both musicians, were summoned on 26 May to report to the Office of the Prosecutor in Tehran’s Evin prison within five days to start serving their prison sentences. All three were sentenced, following a grossly unfair trial, to six years’ imprisonment and fined 200 million rials (about US$6,625) on charges related to their artistic work. In February 2016, the men were told that a Court of Appeal in Tehran had ruled that they must serve three years of their six-year prison sentences. The court suspended the rest of the sentence for a period of five years, conditional on their “good behaviour”.
     Hossein Rajabian, Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi had been convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “illegal audio-visual activities”, after a three-minute trial on 26 April 2015 before Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The charges had arisen 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 by Iranian singers from outside the country, some of whose lyrics and messages are political or cover taboo subjects. The men have been out on bail since December 2013. Before that, they were held for two months in solitary confinement, where they have said they were subjected to beatings and electric shocks to make video “confessions”. Their “confessions” were used as evidence against them to secure their convictions even though they told the judge that they were obtained through torture and other ill-treatment. They have had no access to a lawyer at any stage of their arrest, detention, trial or appeal.

The Urgent Action Update is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:

Amnesty International Day - May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016

We're 55 today. That's 55 years of standing up for truth, fairness and justice. Together we have achieved some amazing things. Thank you!

How Amnesty International Helps Students Stay Woke - NEWS ARTICLE

Teen Vogue
May 28, 201

     "Fifty-five years ago today, The Observer in London published an article called “The Forgotten Prisoners” that used Universal Declaration of Human Rights articles to call for justice for international political prisoners who were being held captive because their opinions, ideas, or religion. The article was the kick-start for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, Amnesty International.
The organization fights for human rights around the world with the help of research, campaigns, media, grassroots efforts, and other forms of action and advocacy. They support people of every race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity — and students are involved, too. Today, on Amnesty International Day, we celebrate people like Rania Zakaria, a student activist coordinator for the humanist group at her North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana."

Click here for ENTIRE ARTICLE.

AIUSA: Seeking NEW Executive Director - POSITION PROFILE

AIUSA is seeking an exceptional Executive Director to lead the organization by working in deep collaboration with our incredibly powerful and engaged members, the Board of Directors, staff, and partners in the international movement to advance the human rights movement in the US and globally. In addition to leading the organization and this collaboration, the Executive Director will focus on several key elements, including (but not limited to):
  • Serving as an inspirational leader in the human rights movement nationally and globally and ensure AIUSA plays an active role in the global movement
  • Leading AIUSA in effective implementation of Amnesty International’s vision, mission, and core values as a global organization 

  • Providing inspirational and motivational leadership for a complex grassroots organization with a diverse range of extraordinarily passionate and committed members and a highly skilled staff 

  • Working closely with relevant senior managers on all fundraising initiatives, ensuring that AIUSA has a strategic, robust fundraising program and plays an active role with key donors and supporters
  • Collaborate and partner closely with the Board of Directors to implement the vision, mission, and policies set by the Board for AIUSA and to deliver on organizational goals and priorities set in accordance with AIUSA’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan
  • Working closely with relevant senior managers to ensure the effective recruitment, retention, empowerment, and development of an active and growing membership
You may view the full position profile here:

Job Description

I encourage you to share this announcement with your networks. We have partnered with Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm dedicated to the nonprofit sector, on this search. Please feel free to contact our search consultants, Molly Brennan ( and Sam Simmons ( with any candidate recommendations you might have or suggestions for further networking.
Ann Burroughs
AIUSA Board Chair

AI Madison Group #139 Member List of "Other" Links & Petitions - May 27 to June 3, 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: 

Thank You President Obama for Protecting Transgender Rights - ONLINE PETITION


President Obama:      Thank you for standing with the transgender community. From the lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s HB 2 to the comprehensive guidance on how Title IX protects transgender students, your administration has made it clear that this is a country where transgender people are equal under the law. Thank you for fighting back against ignorance and discrimination – and for fighting for safety, dignity, and justice.

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION. 

Amnesty International URGENT ACTIONS - May 27 to June 3, 2016

Click here for entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of May 27 to June 3. (This post is updated daily.)

Countries include:  China, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, El Salvador, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Egypt, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates .

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, May 27, 2016

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - May 27, 2016

 Greetings Everyone!
     Don't forget to #WearOrange on June 2nd. Amnesty has joined many other organizations to bring attention to the lives being lost due to gun violence. Watch this video to learn more about this important event.
     Protests around the world have sought to spotlight the plight of 32 year old blogger, Raif Badawi. Recently his wife described the torture of watching him receive part of his sentence of 1,000 lashes. She stated that "I felt the pain they were inflicting on Raif as if it was my own. They might as well have put me in a square and flogged me." Amnesty has been working diligently for his release. Please consider signing this online petition on his behalf.
     We would also like to encourage our members to read Outrage and Optimism: Education in emergencies is ready for a revolution which was written by Elika Dadsetan, daughter of one of our members. Passion runs deep within this activist family. Thank you, Farideh, for sharing Elika's article with us.
     Thanks for all that you do!
     In solidarity, 
     -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Human Rights Watch: The Week in Rights - May 26, 2016

Raif Badawi: Wife of blogger jailed in Saudi Arabia describes 'torture' of watching him publicly lashed - NEWS & ONLINE PETITION

May 18, 2016

Ms Haidar described her horror as she saw him being lashed in front of a mosque in Jeddah, watched by a crowd of people applauding and shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
“It was too much for me. It’s indescribable, watching something like that being done to the person you love,” she wrote in an excerpt published by the Guardian.
“I felt the pain they were inflicting on Raif as if it was my own. The men I had seen in the video might as well have put me in a square and flogged me.
“But worst of all was the feeling of helplessness. I sat on my sofa, wrapped my arms around my legs and wept. I don’t know how long I sat there for…if only I could have done something for him!”

Click here for ENTIRE ARTICLE. 

Also see:

Look Beyond Borders - VIDEO

Amnesty International
May 23, 2016
     A poignant new video experiment breaking down barriers between recently-arrived refugees and Europeans will be launched globally by Amnesty International tomorrow, 25 May 2016.
The video, Look Beyond Borders, is based on a theory that four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact increases intimacy. Amnesty International Poland and Polish ad agency DDB&Tribal applied the theory, developed by psychologist Arthur Aron in 1997, to the refugee crisis, sitting refugees from Syria and Somalia opposite people from Belgium, Italy, Germany, Poland and the UK, with overwhelmingly positive results. It was filmed by Amnesty International Poland in Berlin in April 2016.

Daniel Craig Speaks Out Against Landmines At World Humanitarian Summit - VIDEO

Published on May 23, 2016
James Bond star Daniel Craig appeared at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey today to speak out against landmines.

Craig spoke before business leaders, aid groups and donors in Istanbul for the world's first humanitarian summit and called on government to do more to clear landmines.

The summit is an attempt to develop a more coherent response to what the UN chief ban Ki-moon has called the worst global humanitarian situation since WWII.

El Salvador: Release of woman jailed after miscarriage, a victory for human rights - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International
May 20, 2016

     A court's decision today to release a woman who spent four years in jail in El Salvador for miscarrying her pregnancy is a great victory for human rights, said Amnesty International.
María Teresa Rivera, 33, was jailed in 2011 and sentenced to 40 years in prison for “aggravated homicide” after having a miscarriage.
     "The release of María Teresa is yet another step towards justice in a country where women are treated as mere second class citizens," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

Click here for ENTIRE STATEMENT.

ICAED on the Commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared 2016 - STATEMENT

International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED)
Monday, May 23, 2016
     "The clamor of the families of victims of enforced disappearance from across the globe to resurface and bring back their disappeared loved ones is louder than before. Another year has passed and although a significant number of milestones have been achieved in the collective struggle against this painful phenomenon, enforced disappearance continues to traumatize the lives of innocent families worldwide.
     In the August 2015 Report of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID), the number of cases under active consideration stands at 43, 563 in a total of 88 states[1].It is plausible to theorize that the continuing occurrences of enforced disappearance is associated with the States’ lack of sufficient legal mechanisms and frameworks that will safeguard the lives of its citizens from the cruel act of enforced disappearance. The UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which is an international legal instrument that was adopted to address the issue, is faced with different political challenges. As of May 2016, many countries have yet to sign and ratify the Convention and those which have ratified have yet to recognize the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Iran: 17 Prisoners executed in Alborz Province - NEWS

Iran Human Rights
May 25, 2016

According to Iran Human Rights (IHR) sources 17 prisoners have been executed in two different prisons of Karaj (west of Tehran) on 24. and 25. May.IHR had previously reported about the scheduled execution of two groups of prisoners in Karaj. Six prisoners were transferred on Sunday (May 22) from the Karaj Central Prison and at least eight were transferred from Rajaishahr  on Tuesday (May 24) in preparation of execution.
According to close sources the six prisoners from the Central Prison were hanged in Gehzelhesar prison of Karaj yesterday morning May 24. All the prisoners were charged with drug offences.
Sources have also reported about the execution of 11 prisoners in the Rajaishahr prison of Karaj early this morning. Ten of the prisoners were charged with murder and one was sentenced to death charged with rape. One of the prisoners identified as "Mehdi Rajaei" was reportedly under 18 years of age at the time of alleged offence.
Click here for ENTIRE ARTICLE.


Malawi: Stop Ritual Murders Of People With Albinism - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International New Zealand
      Whitney and Harry were targeted because they have albinism. Thousands of people with albinism – particularly children – are at huge risk of abduction and killings in Malawi, where their body parts are sold for witchcraft. The abductions are on the rise. Call on Malawi’s government to step in and stop this brutality.

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION. 

World Humanitarian Summit - ART

Messengers of Humanity
May 25, 2016

 In the lead up to the Summit, we asked artists from around the globe to create and donate a piece of art, symbolizing the “Agenda for Humanity”, the Secretary-General’s vision for the future of humanitarian action. Their art is a reflection and plea to stand up for our common humanity. We hope you will enjoy the art on instagram @whsummit, and the stories behind them, and share them with your friends.

NOTE: Summit is happening RIGHT NOW!

Outrage and Optimism: Education in emergencies is ready for a revolution - NEWS ARTICLE

World Vision Interntional
May 20th

     "Millions of students around the world are being denied education. This should evoke outrage. However, there is also reason for optimism. Using innovative approaches, which increasingly requires adapting to evolving technology, we can expand access to education for students in emergency and crisis situations. These new approaches not only create new opportunities for learning, but also facilitate safer environments for all involved."
Click here for ENTIRE ARTICLE.  

Note: We are particularly happy to share this article which is written by the daughter of one of our AI Madison Group #139 members.

Iran: Buisnessman in long-term solitary confinement - URGENT ACTION by July 4, 2016

Amnesty International

Please find below and attached an Urgent Action that Amnesty International has issued today on Lebanese national and permanent US resident Nizar Zakka who has been held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison since his arrest on 18 September 2015. He is due to go on trial on 6 June in Iran on national security-related charges. He was in Iran to speak at an international conference on the role of women in sustainable development.
The Urgent Action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:

Amnesty Joins 2nd Annual #WearOrange Day - June 2, 2016

Amnesty International Midwest Office
Good evening Midwest Family

Amnesty has again joined hundreds of organizations around the country for the 2nd Annual #WearOrange Day.

#WearOrange Day is June 2nd and will again bring attention to the lives being lost due to Gun Violence.  The campaign is asking everyone to #WearOrange on June 2nd.

There are also many communities that will be having event on June 2nd, you can search via the #WearOrange website for events.  If there is one in your community please encourage your members to attend, support and participate in the event. 

Thanks in advance and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me.

P.S. Make sure to take pictures and share.
Ernest Coverson, Senior Organizer

U.S.: End LGBTQ Discrimination in Foster Care & Adoption! - ONLINE PETITION

 States across the country continue to propose and pass legislation allowing child welfare providers to refuse to work with LGBTQ parents. As if that wasn’t bad enough, some federally-funded state and private child welfare providers are also using our tax dollars to discriminate against LGBTQ foster youth in their care! This is outrageous, dangerous, and has to stop.

Click here for more information and ONLINE PETITION.

UK: Exposed: British cluster bombs used in deadly attacks on civilians- ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International UK

     The Saudi Arabia-led coalition which has been brutally attacking Yemen for over a year, killing civilians and destroying homes, schools and hospitals, has now been found to have used a British-made cluster bomb.
The UK government has Yemeni blood on its hands.
Tell the Prime Minister to investigate immediately and stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia – it’s illegal, immoral and inhumane.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

USA: Leonard Peltier, "If I don’t get clemency, I’m going to die here" - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International USA
      Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), which promotes Native American rights. In 1975, during a confrontation involving AIM members, two FBI agents were shot dead. Peltier was convicted of their murders, but has always denied killing the agents.
      Amnesty International is concerned about the fairness of proceedings leading to his trial and conviction. Given that all legal remedies have been exhausted and that Peltier has spent 40 years in prison and is in poor health, please write to President Obama to grant clemency on humanitarian grounds and in the interests of justice.

Click here for more INFORMATION and ONLINE PETITION.

Amnesty International URGENT ACTIONS - May 20 to May 27, 2016

Click here for entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of May 20 to May 27. (This post is updated daily.)  
Countries include: Indonesia, Oman, Bahrain, China, Brazil, Bangladesh, Mozambique, South Africa, and Ukraine. 

 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.

Iran: Leading Iranian Human Rights Activist, Narges Mohammadi, to Serve Ten Years in Prison - NEWS

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
May 19, 2016
     "The prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been sentenced to serve ten years of a 16-year prison sentence, for her work defending human and women’s rights in Iran. 
     Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Mohammadi to ten years in prison for “membership in the [now banned] Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty,” five years for “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the state,” the Defenders of Human Rights Center announced on May 18, 2016.
     The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on the Islamic Republic to immediately release the unlawfully imprisoned Narges Mohammadi and end the years of suffering she has unjustly endured behind bars."