Friday, July 29, 2016

Iran: Congratulations! United for Iran Turns Seven! - NEWS

United for Iran, website
     "United for Iran is an independent nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area working for civil liberties in Iran. We achieve our mission by improving human rights conditions, increasing the capacity of civil society, and engaging citizens through technology. We envision an Iran where the liberties and human rights of every citizen are honored. An Iran where ordinary citizens are empowered and engaged in public affairs. An Iran that is vibrant, open, and democratic. We believe that defending human rights is the responsibility of us all, and everyone has a role to play."
     "United for Iran launched the Iran Prison Atlas in 2012 as a real-time tool for documenting the background, treatment, and procedural violations of the cases of Iran’s political prisoners. Since its inception, Iran Prison Atlas has been overseen and updated by former political prisoners, utilizing their experience and contacts. The Atlas now provides a more complete view of Iran’s prison system and contains over 2,000 records on Iranian judges, prisons, and political prisoners. United Nations officials, national governments, and advocacy groups worldwide use the Iran Prison Atlas."

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - July 29, 2016

Greetings Everyone!

      "Our observers in Cleveland saw mostly peaceful protests, with police securing march routes and taking steps to ensure the safety of protesters and the public. We are still reviewing notes and videos of the citations that police gave to protestors to better understand the context and the police response. Now in Philadelphia, our team has been seeing peaceful protest, with police largely appearing to be fulfilling their duty to protect people's right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. You can read more about the delegation of human rights observers here. You can follow more updates on our Twitter and Facebook. In the weeks ahead, Amnesty will send letters to law enforcement leaders in both cities – and state and federal policymakers – outlining what the observers saw and what lessons can be drawn from how the protests were handled." -from the July Amnesty Insider Newsletter

     Five Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty: (1) You can't take it back, (2) It doesn't deter criminals, (3) There is no "humane" way to kill, (4) It makes a public spectacle of an individual's death, and (5) The death penalty is disappearing. - from the July Amnesty Newsletter (Amnesty International Australia)

     We have news and action links related to the resumption of executions in Indonesia, the executions and detentions in Iran, facts about gun violence in America, and inspiring videos. Thanks for sending in these stories and sharing with our group.
     -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

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

America: Gun Violence - FACTS and VIDEO

  • Facts about toy guns.
  • Children and guns in America
​Each day approximately 7 children and young adults (under the age of 19) die from gun violence. This is equivalent to one child dying every three hours and 18 minutes.
  • Toddlers and guns in America
Of the 2465 children who died because of gun violence in 2013, 70 of them were between the ages of 0 and 4 years old
  • Gun Violence in the United States 
 EVERY YEAR in America more than 100,000 people are shot with a gun; these are homicides, suicides, assaults, or accidents.
  • Gun Violence in Comparison to other Countries
  • More Facts
The risk of homicide in these homes is three times higher in homes with guns than those without guns.
Click here for more FACTS and references 

 "We Are The World... We Are The Children" (6:56 min)

Indonesia: Stop the Executions - ACTIONS

Amnesty International Australia

      Indonesian authorities are reportedly preparing to execute 13-15 people imminently. The situation is urgent. We must pull out all the stops to demand these executions are halted.
  • Call
  • Email
Click here for entire article and ACTIONS.

Amnesty International - July NEWSLETTER

Amnesty International Australia

This newsletter is filled with articles, updates, petitions, actions, and videos. Here is just a sample of the articles and petitions in the July Newsletter. Click below for the ENTIRE newsletter.

Click here for ENTIRE newsletter.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Amnesty International Insider - NEWSLETTER July

Amnesty International
July 2016

 We've had powerful reminders this month of how important it is to ensure that people's rights are respected everywhere, with the shootings in the U.S., the attacks in Nice, Mogadishu, Munich, Baghdad, Dhaka and Kabul, the brutal crackdown following the failed coup in Turkey, and so many other events.

Amnesty International's work has never been more critical – and it's never been more important for us to have a strong voice in the U.S. that's connected to our global movement.

Last week, AIUSA Board Chair Ann Burroughs and I were in Barcelona to meet with the directors and chairs of other Amnesty International sections across the globe and plan our shared work as a movement. It was inspiring to share experiences and ideas with our colleagues from around the world. We developed plans on several key areas of work, including the global campaign for refugees, which we'll share more about in the weeks and months ahead.

From the observer delegations in Cleveland and Philadelphia to researchers documenting human rights crises in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and all around the world, Amnesty is always focused on defending the human rights of every person–no matter who or where they are.

None of this work is possible without you. Your support and activism make Amnesty the powerful force for change in so many places around the world.

Thank you,

Margaret Huang
Interim Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Unfortunately we don't have a link to this important email/newsletter. Here are some of the links from the newsletter.

Guantanamo: Let Mohamedou Slahi Go Home - ONLINE PETITION

ACLU Action

     Mohamedou Slahi has spent 14 years inside Guantanamo waiting for his freedom. Now he can finally go home - if we keep the pressure on Secretary Carter.
     Will you send a message to Secretary of Defense Carter to make sure that Mohamedou is quickly released and sent home?

Click here for more information and the ONLINE PETITION. 

U.S. 'Looking Into' Reports Iran Detained American Robin Reza Shahini - NEWS

July 28, 2016
     An Iranian-American man, California-based Robin Reza Shahini was detained while visiting his mother in Gorgan earlier in July, according to Shahini's friends. "We've seen reports of the detention (in) Iran of a person reported to be a U.S. citizen, and I can tell you we are looking into that," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters, saying he had no more information to offer.
     The two other U.S. citizens of Iranian descent detained in Iran are businessman Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi. Iran does not recognize dual nationality, which prevents Western embassies from visiting such detainees.
Click here for ENTIRE article. 

Indonesia: In less than 72-hours they will face the firing squad - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International
     Over a year ago we were shattered by Indonesia’s execution of eight men, including Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Not only did we mourn the loss of life, but the triumph of cruelty over redemption. Just this week we saw two more death row prisoners moved to Nusakambangan prison island where 14 prisons are awaiting their fate by firing squad. All of the prisoners' families have been suspended from visiting them in their final hours as the Indonesian authorities prepare for the executions. Join us and thousands of other supporters as we call for mercy and urge President Widodo to put a stop to the executions before it’s too late. 
Click here for more INFO.
Click here for even more INFO and ONLINE PETITION. 

Indonesia: They took them to execution island - SEND EMAIL

Amnesty International Australia
July 27, 2016

     If the authorities stick to their plans, the prisoners will have a choice: hood or blindfold.
They will be led out in front of the firing squad on Nusakambangan Island – grimly known as ‘execution island’ – where they will have another choice: standing or sitting.
     That will be the last choice they have.
      The group of executioners, metres away, will take aim and fire. Some will have live ammunition, others won’t. This ordeal is designed to prolong the prisoners’ fear until the very last minute.
Click here for more INFO and ONLINE EMAIL info.

Iran: More Than 250 People Executed So Far In 2016 - NEWS

Iran Human Rights
July, 26, 2016
     According to a report published by Iran Human Rights (IHR), Iranian authorities have executed at least 250 people between January 1 and July 20 of this year. This represents an average of more than one execution each day. Still, the execution numbers so far in 2016 are significantly lower than the numbers for the same period in 2015. 
     Last year, Iranian authorities executed more than 700 people in the first seven months of the year. The execution numbers for the whole year were more than 969, the highest in more than 25 years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

UN: Right To Health, Colombia And US Congress - NEWS

The WorldPost
July 22, 2016

     Recent memos allegedly leaked from the Colombian Embassy in Washington describe intense pressure by the pharmaceutical industry and its Congressional allies to discourage Colombia’s efforts to half the local price of Novartis’ Gleevec, one of the leading medications used to treat Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). See Huffington Post “Colombia Fears U.S. May Reject Peace Plan To Protect Pharma Profits.”
     As a US citizen, as the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia since 2012, and as a person with CML, I believe that if US citizens and members of Congress know what I know about Colombia — and about CML — they would see that these strong-arm tactics cruelly threaten human lives, and also undermine our own economic and security interests at a critical time for Colombia.
Click here for the ENTIRE article.

Iran: Day 115 #FreeNazanin Dual Standards - UPDATE & ONLINE PETITION

 Jul 27, 2016 — Lots of you have asked what is the UK doing?

     There have of course been a number of distractions in UK politics with Brexit and its fallout. Even with near 800,000 signatures and being on every national news, I have struggled to break into the Westminster bubble. My parents in Fleet have taken over 100 days even to get a meeting with their MP.

     For Nazanin, the effect has been a kind of placebo politics – prescriptions without clear political attention needed for substance. Nazanin’s case was not raised by a Minister between mid-May and early July, raised by a Minister only before they needed to make a statement in Parliament.

Click here for Day 115 #FreeNazanin – Dual Standards, UPDATE

Click here for ONLINE PETITION.

Colombia: Shut Down the Gibraltar Gas Plant in U'wa Territory - ONLINE PETITION


      As a result deep frustration over years of failed dialogue with the Colombian government, the Indigenous Guard of Colombia's U'wa people are staging a nonviolent occupation of the Gilbraltar gas extraction plant located within their territory. While the government dialogues with the U’wa, they are preparing for a violent eviction using the infamous ESMAD anti-riot squad. 

     Show your solidarity with the U'wa and call on the Colombian government to close the Gibraltar gas drilling site as a necessary measure to protect the rights of the U'wa Nation. Say no to a violent response to the nonviolent U’wa protest. 

Click here for the ONLINE PETITION. 

Sarayaku Indigenous People and Amnesty International Win Film Award - NEWS and VIDEO (51 min)

Amnesty International
October 2, 2012
     A groundbreaking documentary about an Ecuadorian Indigenous People's successful international legal battle against their country for allowing foreign oil exploration on their land without their consent has won an award at National Geographic's prestigious All Roads Film Project.
Amnesty International and the Kichwa de Sarayaku Indigenous community filmed and co-produced Children of the Jaguar, about the community's journey from their lands in eastern Ecuador's Amazonian rainforest to seek justice at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in Costa Rica.
      The film won "Best Documentary" at the 2012 National Geographic All Roads Film Festival held last weekend in Washington, DC.
Click here for more INFORMATION. 

Children of the Jaguar (Full Documentary), 51 min

 Published on Nov 11, 2013
     The Amazon ecosystem, and especially the rain forest, is considered one of the world's most complex animal and vegetable habitats. Its most important characteristics are the sheer number of different animal and plant species, and the extraordinary variations in macro and micro-habitats. In this park alone, over 100 species of tree per hectare have been identified. To give us some idea of the scale of this number, in the richest, densest jungles of Central America, the equivalent figure is no more than 40.
     Until about a year ago, √Ďame and his family lived in Quehueiriono, on of the most important settlements along the Shiripuno, a tributary of the Napo. But natural resources were running out, and were not enough to feed the 160 members of the community. So, √Ďame decided to move out, and settle in a different place, two days walk from Quehueiriono.


Stop the torture of kids in youth detention - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International Australia
    "In the past five years there’s been serious allegations about the treatment of children in detention centres in every state and territory. With little independent oversight kids all across Australia are vulnerable to brutality.
     Every effort must be made to ensure detention is a last resort for children and they’re given support to rehabilitate. Instead of subjecting kids to brutal mistreatment, we must give them every chance to rejoin their families and communities and help end the over-representation of Indigenous kids in detention."

Click here for more INFO and ONLINE PETITION.

Saudi Arabia: Iran and Saudi Arabia execute more than 350 people in six months - NEWS & ONLINE PETITION

Middle East Eye
July 27, 2016
     Iran and Saudi Arabia have between them executed more than 350 people in the first half of 2016, according to statistics released by rights groups this week.
     Iran is second globally only to China in executing their own citizens, and is far ahead of Saudi Arabia which occupies third place.
     Iran executed at least 250 people in the first six months of the year, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights.
     In the same period Saudi Arabia executed 108 people, according to a report released on Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.

Click here for ENTIRE article. 
Also see:

In Iran, female landmine survivors are third-class citizens - NEWS

July 21, 2016
     "In a country where there are discriminatory laws against women, which effectively make them second-class citizens, women with disabilities are one step lower down, becoming third-class citizens. Culture, customs and traditions all have significant effects on women who live in rural areas. Occasionally, within some of the rural and border cities, they encounter difficulties in taking part in Mine Risk Education programmes, because women are not allowed to attend classes for cultural reasons.
     Generally, there are two ways in which land mines impact upon women. The first is where women are directly injured by these deadly weapons. Women and girls usually become physically disabled, or suffer from damaged vital organs, such as their eyes. The second is where the children, spouse or one of their family members, are injured by landmines."
Click here for ENTIRE article. 

Amnesty International URGENT ACTIONS - July 22 to July 29, 2016

Click here or entire list of URGENT ACTION for the week of July 22 to July 29. (This post is updated daily. 

Countries include: Dominican Republic.

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.

AI Madison Group #139 Member List of "Other" Links & Petitions - July 22 to July 27, 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:

Friday, July 22, 2016

AI Madison Group #139 Weekly Update - July 22, 2016

 Greetings Everyone!
     Amnesty International has been present at the Republican National Convention this week and will also observe the Democratic Convention next week. Amnesty International USA has described their role at the two major Conventions in this NEWS article and action TOOLKIT. Also click here for an observer email UPDATE and ACTIONS. If you are going to protest, know your rights. Click here for Amnesty International Press Release. Also check out "Policing the police and watching protesters," from CNN.
     Angie Hougas, one of our AI Madison Group members and an AIUSA Board member, writes an excellent personal email/newsletter, "Keeping You Connected." She includes information about Amnesty International USA regarding actions, sample scripts, and news items. Unfortunately, we cannot directly link to her email since her newsletter does not have a web address. The links that I have created for her newsletter and that are found in our Weekly Update do not and cannot include photos. We suggest that you contact Angie at and ask to be part of her mailing list. We hope that she will continue to send AI Madison Group #139 her emails/newsletter as we do appreciate her insights and activism related to Amnesty International.
     Just a few actions and human rights news story this week. As always, if you have something you would like to share with our group or posted on our website & social media pages, please send your emails to keeping in mind that we do NOT post anything political/partisan or links asking for donations.
     -Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Iran: Day 109 #FreeNazanin Update on "David Cameron MP: Free Nazanin Ratcliffe" Petition - ONLINE PETITION

Richard Ratcliffe. Nazanin's husband

Jul 21, 2016 — Since I last wrote 100 days have passed and a lot more beside – this update is to catch up on events in Iran, one to follow for the UK.

After the wall of silence in Iran, it was announced last Monday that Nazanin had been indicted for ‘sowing unrest’. Nazanin is being taken to court, we discovered from the Iranian state media.

The actual charges remain shrouded in secret. They have not been told to Nazanin, nor any lawyer allowed. She was indicted alongside three others with whom she has no connection, except that they all have Western passports. ‘Sowing unrest’ could mean anything; though anything it means is bad.

Click here for ENTIRE UPDATE.
Click here for ONLINE PETITION. 

Raif still behind bars: Suspend Saudi Arabia from the Human Rights Council - NEWS and ONLINE PETITONS

Amnesty International
July 20, 2016
     Raif Badawi, a blogger in Saudi Arabia, withstood 50 excruciating lashes. His full sentence requires a total of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of confinement - all because he published a blog that promoted religious freedom.
     Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia government sits on the world's top human rights body - the UN Human Rights Council.
 Saudi Arabia has used its position on the UN Human Rights Council to shield itself from human rights investigations.

Since joining the Council in 2013, Saudi Arabia's dire human rights record at home has plummeted, and the government has also led a devastating campaign of unlawful airstrikes against civilians in the next-door country of Yemen.

The list of violations is long:
  • More than 350 people - including children - have been executed in Saudi Araia since it was elected to the Council.
  • Saudi Arabia used its membership on the council to derail a resolution that would have investigated war crimes by the Saudi-led military coalition that bombed Yemen. 
  • Human rights activists in Saudi Arabia have been harshly sentenced for peacefully expressing their opinions. Since 2014, Saudi's Specialized Criminal Court has sentence activists - including Raif Badaw and his lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair - to lengthy p rison terms - in some cases even to death - after grossly unfair trials. 

Saudi Arabia Must Free Imprisoned Human Rights Lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, Amnesty International USA, ONLINE PETITION

Saudi Arabia: A year of bloody repression since flogging of Raif Badawi, Amnesty International, Jan 8, 2016

Suspend Saudi Arabia from UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, June 29, 2016


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We Rise With Yazidi Women! One Billion Rising & Yazda Call on the World for Global Solidarity With and For Yazidi Women on 3 August

One Billion Rising
     This 3 August marks the two-year anniversary of the brutal attack of the Yazidi people in Sinjar Province in the Northern region of Iraq, Two years since IS or ISIL (also known as ISIS or Daesh) stormed towns, villages, and historic homelands of the ethno-religious group, killing over 5,000 men and elders, enslaving over 7,000 women and children and displacing over 400,000 more. Two years since the humanitarian crisis in which thousands of internally displaced Yazidis were trapped on Sinjar Mountain, surrounded by Isis fighters determined to exterminate the indigenous group, dying of exposure and dehydration. Two years since the ongoing genocide of the Yazidi people began, including the desecration of homes, holy sites and women's bodies.
     The recently published Chilcot report in the UK, which revealed that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and his major allies - including former US President George Bush had illegally waged war in Iraq in March 2003 and militarily occupied it - further reiterates the connection that the Iraq War contributed to the rise of IS or ISIL in the region.
      Nadia Murad is a 23-year-old victim of Isil's crimes in Iraq and one of the thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted and enslaved by IS or ISIL. She was brutally raped by more than 12 members over a period of three months and was among the more than 5,000 Yazidi women taken captive when IS or ISIL swept through the group's communities in Northern Iraq. After her escape, Nadia spoke out about her horrific experiences at the hands of IS or ISIL fighters to draw attention to the ongoing genocide. She has described how she and other young women were forced to pray before they were raped, and how they were treated as they were bought and sold like "sabia" - slaves. 
"We were not worth the value of animals. They raped girls in groups, They did what a mind could not imagine. They commit rape and genocide crimes in the name of Islam. When they took me to Mosul to rape me, I forgot about my mother and brothers. Because what they were doing to the women was more difficult than death" - Nadia Murad
     YAZDA is a global Yazidi organization who provides support for the victims of the genocide.
USE THE HASHTAG: #StopYazidiGenocide

Can you join us in D.C. for the Disarm Hate Rally? - August 13, 2016
It’s been a tragic summer of gun violence and hate. Enough! It’s time to make sure our national leaders hear our demands for change as they look forward to the November elections.
Americans from across the country—including national leaders, parents, activists, and award-winning celebrities—will lift our voices together at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on August 13th to #DisarmHate because gun violence in all its forms, including racism and violence against the LGBTQ+ community, must end.
It’s time to stand together and say, “Enough is enough!”
Join MomsRising at the Disarm Hate Rally in Washington, D.C. on August 13th! Make sure to RSVP here:
MomsRising is a co-host of this high-impact event. Join us, along with the LGBTQ+ community, allies, advocates, celebrities, religious leaders, and families from around the country as we gather on the National Mall to call for equality, justice, and commonsense gun laws.
We want YOU (along with your kids, family, friends, and neighbors) to be there! Let’s take our anger, frustration, and sadness and demand real change.
Here are some details:
Who: Moms, dads, kids, advocates, celebrities, the LGBTQ+ community and allies—basically anyone who cares about equality and commonsense gun laws!
What: Disarm Hate Rally
When: Saturday, August 13th, 11am to 4pm
Where: West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C. (located between Independence Ave, SW and Ohio Dr., SW, near the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Closest metro stops are Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery Metro Stations).
We have been plagued by violence in our communities and inaction by the U.S. Congress, so we need to raise our voice loudly as one and say, “Enough is enough!” Once you RSVP, please forward this email to your friends and family and encourage them to join us. You can also link to it on Facebook and Twitter.
We can’t wait to see you on the National Mall!
-Elyssa, Gloria, Nina, Sara, and the entire team
P.S. While we very much hope you will be able to join us at the rally, MomsRising will not be able to help with expenses. If you live outside the DC area, some communities are organizing buses and vans to bring families to the rally, so please email if you are interested in this transportation information.

Pakistan: End impunity for so-called ‘honour’ crimes - NEWS

Amnesty International
July 19, 2016
     “This needs to become the rule rather than the exception. Pakistan needs to undertake structural reforms that end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings, including by passing legislation that removes the option of clemency for such killings without resorting to the death penalty as a punishment,” said Champa Patel.
     Qandeel Baloch's brother has confessed to strangling his sister to death during her sleep on 15 July, triggering global outrage.
Under Pakistan’s current laws, the family of a murder victim may pardon the perpetrator, including on payment of compensation known as ‘diyat’ or ‘blood money’. In cases of so-called honour killings, where members of the victim’s own family are responsible for the crime, the perpetrator may be pardoned by their own family and not face imprisonment or any other punishments.
     “By failing to hold perpetrators of so-called ‘honour’ killings accountable for their crimes, the Pakistani state has been forfeiting its duty to the victims and letting a climate of impunity take reign. This leaves many thousands of people – mostly women and girls – from all walks of life and across the country at risk of falling victim to these crimes,” said Champa Patel.

Click here for more INFORMATION.

For more information: