Saturday, December 30, 2017

IRAN: Newletter, Abolition of Death Penalty - NEWS

Amnesty International, Iran, Dec, 20, 2017.

On 11 December 1977 Amnesty International and participants of the International Conference on the Abolition of the Death Penalty issued the Stockholm Declaration which called on all governments to bring about the immediate and total abolition of the death penalty. At the time, only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty. Forty years on, that figures stands at 105. To mark this anniversary, Amnesty International looks through this newsletter at the trend towards abolition in Middle East and North Africa.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

USA: Berks Kids Freed - GOOD NEWS

Amnesty International, USA, Dec. 22, 2017.

We recently helped two young children and their mothers who fled violence in their native countries in Central America get released from over 600 days in immigration detention. 

Three-year-old Diego and eight-year-old “Antonio” have spent much of their childhood behind the walls of a detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania despite having proven that they and their mothers posed no safety or flight risk while their asylum petitions are reviewed. 

Two other children and their mothers who have been at Berks for an extended time remain. AIUSA continues to fight for their freedom, and for an end to family detention.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

VENEZUELA: Order for Antiretroviral Medication Needed - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Dec. 20 2017

The Venezuelan government has reportedly not yet signed an urgently needed order for the purchase of vital antiretroviral medication in Venezuela, putting the lives of at least 77,000 people living with HIV in the country at risk. The dwindling stock of antiretroviral medications will finally run out in March 2018, according to local civil society.

Local organizations providing care to people living with HIV report that Venezuela received its last shipment of antiretroviral medication in September 2017, with supplies that could last a maximum of six months.  Unless Venezuela receives additional supplies, the country will reportedly have no antiretroviral medication for the approximately 77,000 people living with HIV, putting their lives and health at serious risk.
Civil society sources also report that the Venezuelan authorities have until now refused to sign additional purchase orders for the urgently needed medication. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Amnesty International New Zealand, Dec 17. 2017.

Please watch this short video about our victories in 2017!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

LIBYA: Stop Selling Refugees - EMAIL ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Dec 14, 2017.

Torture, detention, exploitation and rape are daily horrors for many refugees in Libya.  Europe is helping Libya to trap people in hell. By training and providing the Libyan coastguard with ships to transport migrants back to the country, European leaders are contributing to unspeakable suffering.

More than 20,000 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are being held in detention centres, with no sense of when or if they will ever be released. The conditions are utterly inhumane - with little access to food, water or medical care. They face brutal treatment; torture, rape – and even being sold.

It’s crucial that we call on Libyan and European leaders to protect migrants and refugees from horrific human rights abuses  in Libya.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

USA: Demand ICE Stop Separating Families - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Dec 7, 2017

US border agency officials forcibly separated four Central American asylum-seeking fathers from their children after their arrival to the US, in violation of US standards on family unity during immigration detention. The whereabouts of two children are still unknown.

Between 10 and 13 November, four Central American fathers and their children crossed into the United States from Mexico, seeking asylum from death threats and violence.

Eric Edgardo M. C. and his son Roger (3) are from Honduras, and three families are from El Salvador: Jose D. F. and his son Mateo (1); Carlos B. A. and his son Dominic (12); and Walter R. A. and his daughter Melissa (5).

USA: Death Penalty Does Not Work - NEWS

Amnesty International, USA, Dec. 12 2017

Capital punishment does not work. There is a wealth of mounting evidence that proves this fact.

The death penalty, both in the U.S. and around the world, is discriminatory and is used disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities. Since humans are fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.

The astronomical costs associated with putting a person on death row are leading many states to re-evaluate and re-consider having this flawed, unjust system on the books.
Learn more about death penalty statistics and key arguments:

Monday, December 11, 2017

USA: Human Rights Day Dec 10th - TAKE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA; International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, 2017.

Celebrate 69th Anniversary of United Nation Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Get involved and shine lights on people whose rights have been denied and whose voices cannot be heard. 

Every December we write letters and/or sign petitions for Amnesty International Write For Rights cases that are listed at and at Amnesty International Group 139 Website in Wisconsin:

Join us today by taking an action or signing a petition to help create a better tomorrow. Thank you.

Azam Niroomand-Rad, Coordinator, Amnesty Group 139

BAHAMAS: Detained Man Missing - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, December 8, 2017.

After being detained by immigration authorities for more than 3 months, the whereabouts of a Bahamian-born man, Jean Rony Jean-Charles, are unknown and his lawyer has been denied access to the detention centre where he was being held. 

Bahamian immigration officials detained Jean Rony Jean-Charles, a Bahamian man born to foreign parents.  Neither his family nor lawyers have seen him since the second week of November. On 4 December officials at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre denied access to Jean Rony Jean-Charles’ lawyer, Fred Smith QC.  When he returned again on 5 December they informed him that his client had been “deported” from the Bahamas on 24 November. 

According to Fred Smith QC, authorities have not provided him with a deportation order. In accordance with international standards, any deportation procedures must ensure individual assessment of each case, provide individuals with deportation orders in writing, and allow individuals to challenge their deportation before an independent court of law. 

According to an affidavit by Jean Rony Jean-Charles’ relative as part of a writ of habeas corpus, in which they also annexed a certified copy of his birth certificate, Jean-Charles was born in the Bahamas and has lived in the country all his life. This gives him the constitutional right to apply and be registered as a citizen. According to Fred Smith QC, the Bahamian authorities have not charged Jean Rony Jean-Charles with any crime.

Friday, December 8, 2017


Amnesty International, USA, Dec. 7, 2017.

You can help change the lives of this year’s 10 cases by writing letters. When combined with millions of others, your letters help convince government officials to free prisoners of conscience, support human rights defenders, and end other urgent cases of abuse. Together, we can change lives and change our world.

CHINA: Justice for Ni Yulan - WRITE for RIGHTS

Amnesty International, USA, Dec 6, 2017.

Imagine being dragged out of your house by unknown men having to find somewhere to sleep on the street. Now imagine this happening time and time again.

This is reality for Ni Yulan, a housing rights activist in China.  An ex-lawyer, Ni Yulan and her family watched the demolition of their home shortly before the Beijing Olympic Games. She wasn’t going to let it happen quietly. She resisted - educating neighbours about their rights and advocating on behalf of other displaced residents.  Her activism didn’t go unnoticed by the Chinese authorities - soon she was arrested and jailed simply for defending housing rights.

Despite winning international awards for her courageous work, Ni Yulan has faced nearly 20 years of harassment, evictions, and surveillance.

The police once tortured her so brutally, she was left with broken feet, smashed kneecaps and confined to a wheelchair for life.

FINLAND: Protect Transgendered People - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Write for Rights 

Sakris was a teenager when he realised that the gender he was given at birth doesn’t express who he is.

Since then, he has faced many challenges in Finland. First, he needed to be diagnosed with a “mental disorder” in order to change his name to one that he felt better matched his identity. Then he learned that in order to have his gender legally recognized, he would also need to be sterilized.

"It felt like I was categorized subhuman based on my gender identity. I felt sick."

Despite facing intimidation and threats, Sakris is bravely campaigning for a fairer system for transgender people in Finland, so that nobody else is treated how he has been treated.

If the Finnish government ends these cruel regulations, transgender people will be able to live their lives with dignity, enjoying their right to be recognized for who they are.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ISRAEL: Issa Amro & Farid al-Atrash Stand for Palestinian Rights - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, Write for Rights 2017.

Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories cannot get to work or school, or see their friends and family without feeling the disruptive effect of Israel’s military rule.  It even restricts their ability to farm their land, attend a protest, or access essential services such as electricity and clean water.
People’s entire lives are effectively held hostage by Israel.
Issa Amro and Farid al-Atrash have been peacefully standing against the force of Israel’s military rule, demanding the end to Israel’s settlements in the city of Hebron and other places in the occupied West Bank. But because they have stood up to Israel, they are being punished and are facing criminal charges.
Palestinians need to be able to stand up for their rights - and the world needs to know what is happening to them. None of this can happen without activists like Issa and Farid.

We need to show Israel that we stand with peaceful protesters so that they stop prosecuting Issa and Farid and allow them to continue their important work. 

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Monday, December 4, 2017

ISRAEL: Ban Israeli Settlement Goods - ONLINE PETITION

Amnesty International, USA, Dec 2, 2017.

For the last 50 years, Israel has been forcing thousands of Palestinians off their land, occupying and illegally using it to create settlements that exclusively house Jewish Israeli settlers.

Entire Palestinian communities have been displaced by these settlements. Their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed, they’ve had restrictions enforced on their movement, access to their own water, land and other natural resources. The communities have also been violently attacked by the Israeli military and settlers. 

We want governments to stop enabling the economy that keeps these illegal settlements growing and fuels the suffering of Palestinians.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Amnesty International, Canada, Nov. 30, 2017.

The operation to move refugees and asylum seekers from the Lombrum detention centre shows no signs of de-escalating. Authorities armed with sticks and knives have been forcibly relocating men over the past week. 

Hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers remain at risk of violence from members of the local community and security forces. Refugees have said they witnessed others being beaten or injured in the move. Police are threatening to forcibly move the hundreds of men still at the centre.

The closure of the detention centre only to move refugees to other so-called transit centres on Manus Island increases the already grave risks to their human rights.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

POLAND: Polish Parliament Tries to Undermine Judiciary - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 28, 2017.
The Polish Parliament is debating amendments to the Law on the National Council of the Judiciary (NCJ) and the Law on the Supreme Court. The proposed changes would allow parliament to elect judges to the NCJ, until now a self-regulating body of judges, and would decrease the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65 years, thereby requiring 40% of current Supreme Court judges to retire. Any Supreme Court judge seeking to continue their work would have to be vetted by the President.
If approved in the lower chamber of the parliament, the Sejm, the amendments will be submitted to and voted on in the Senate. The President has the power to veto any proposals adopted by the parliament.
On 24 July, the President vetoed two out of three legislative amendments which threatened the independence of the judiciary, following large nationwide demonstrations opposing the proposed changes. The two vetoed amendments were redrafted by the President and submitted to the parliament on 26 September.
The President’s redrafted amendments undermine the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, enshrined in Article 45 of the Polish Constitution, in Articles 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 2(3) and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Poland is a state party. These amendments are incompatible with Article 47 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

USA: Border Officials Separate Families - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov. 27, 2017

US border agency officials forcibly separated four Central American asylum-seeking fathers from their children after their arrival to the US, in violation of US standards on family unity during immigration detention. The parents are subsequently suffering from emotional distress, and the whereabouts of two of the children are still unknown.  

Please take action by January 3rd, 2018.

MYANMAR: Aung San Suu Kyi Stripped of Freedom of Oxford - NEWS

RT News, Nov 28, 2017.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of the Freedom of Oxford over her failure to halt the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is accused of “turning a blind eye to violence.”

Suu Kyi was given the Freedom of Oxford in 1997 for her fight against oppression and military rule in Myanmar. She spent years under house arrest in Rangoon. However, she was stripped of the honor after a cross-party motion was unanimously passed during a special county council meeting in Oxford Town Hall.

Monday, November 27, 2017

MADAGASCAR: Father Convicted for Protecting Rain Forest - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 20th, 2017.

Clovis Razafimalala is a father of two and an environmental activist passionate about protecting Madagascar’s endangered rainforest. However, a corrupt network of smugglers will stop at nothing to silence him.

A billion-dollar trade has emerged from the illegal sale of Madagascar’s precious rosewood trees.  While the government simply looks away, Clovis and his fellow activists are bravely taking a stance.

Clovis has been repeatedly targeted, arrested and even had his family home fire bombed for his peaceful activities. In July 2017 he was convicted on false charges, including the destruction of property. He could face prison at any time if he keeps up the fight.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

EGYPT: Women Human Rights Defenders Detained - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 22, 2017.

Women Human Rights Defenders and Prisoners of Conscience Mahienour El-Masry has been detained on remand on 18 November, alongside activist Moataseem Medhat. If convicted, Mahienour and Moataseem, as well as three other activists, could face up to five years in prison for “participating in an unauthorized protest”, amongst other charges.

Take Action by January 2, 2018.

Friday, November 24, 2017

MYANMAR: Apartheid Against the Rohingya - REPORT & ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, UK, Nov. 22, 2017

The Rohingya people in Myanmar are currently trapped in a dehumanising system of state-sponsored discrimination and racial segregation. This is apartheid – a crime against humanity as defined by international law. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

CHINA: North Koreans at Risk of Forcible Return - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 15, 2017.

Lee Su-jung (name being used in China, aged 24) and her son (aged 4) are currently in detention in Shenyang, China, along with 8 other North Koreans. If forcibly returned, they are at risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations, such as arbitrary detention, torture or other ill-treatment and possibly execution. 

Lee Su-jung arrived in China from Hoeryeong, a city near the northeastern border of North Korea on 17 October with her son. They were joined by 8 other North Koreans upon arrival. The group of 10, of which seven were women or girls, travelled with a broker to the city of Shenyang. Lee Su-jung maintained contact while in China with Lee Tae-won, her husband in South Korea by mobile phone. 

Early in the evening of 4 November, Lee Tae-won was talking to his wife on the phone, but the conversation was interrupted, and he heard what he thought might be the detention of Lee Su-jung and their child by the police. Lee Tae-won, who left North Korea in 2015 and now lives with his mother and brother in South Korea, has not been able to contact her since. Through other intermediaries, he received confirmation on 12 November that his wife and son were detained in the Santaizi Detention Centre in Shenyang. 

Please take action before Dec. 27 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

CHINA: Relatives of Uighur Activist Detained - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 15, 2017

Chinese authorities have detained up to 30 relatives of Uighur human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, who currently lives in the United States. Among the detained are Kadeer’s sisters, brothers, sons, grandchildren and extended relatives. It is unclear when they were taken away, and they are presumed to be arbitrarily detained at an “education centre”. They are at high risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Amnesty International, USA, Nov 13, 2017

He’s an online activist and father of seven. In September 2016, Tadjadine Mahamat Babouri, commonly known as Mahadine, posted videos on Facebook. In them, he accused the Chadian government and people close to it of corruption and misusing public money. He also complained about the economic crisis gripping this oil-dependent nation which is suffering from falling oil prices worldwide.

Making and posting the videos was a bold thing to do in a country where speaking out like this carries serious consequences.

Within days, Mahadine was snatched from the street in broad daylight by a group of men believed to be intelligence officers. He says he was beaten, electrocuted and chained up for weeks, and moved from one prison to another. His wife and children were told nothing of his whereabouts and had to track him down themselves.

Mahadine now faces a life sentence, and faces charges including threatening national security. He is gravely ill, having caught tuberculosis in prison. He needs urgent medical attention. He should not have to spend the rest of his life locked up for courageously expressing his opinion.


Amnesty International, UK, Nov 13, 2017

British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's devastating case has been splashed across headlines over the past week. Her photo may be on the front pages of newspapers but sadly Nazanin remains behind bars in Iran, imprisoned on ridiculous false charges of espionage.

Nazanin was arrested a year and a half ago when she was on holiday in Iran, visiting her parents. She was about to board a plane back to the UK when she was seized by guards. She has been imprisoned ever since. 

The Iranian authorities have launched an unfair and cruel case against her.

Separated from her young daughter and husband, Nazanin is serving a five-year prison sentence for false charges related to her work for UK media charities after a deeply unfair trial.


Amnesty International, Australia, Nov 12, 2017

The Myanmar army is continuing a ruthless campaign of violence against the Rohingya people, an ethnic minority group in Myanmar. It’s time for the Australian Government to step up and show leadership on this human rights crisis.

Call on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to up the pressure on the Myanmar Government now.

In just over one month more than 430,000 Rohingya people have fled the bloodshed. Landmines continue to threaten men, women and children in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Villages have been burnt to the ground and authorities won’t allow life-saving aid through.