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.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

INDIA: Dalit Rights Activist Held without Charge - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov. 10, 2017.

Chandrasekhar Azad, a prominent Dalit rights activist has been held in administrative detention since 3 November 2017, the day after he was granted bail following over four months in prison. 

Chandrasekhar Azad remained in detention for over four months, before he and 14 other arrested Dalit activists were granted bail on 2 November by the Allahabad High Court. Newspaper reports quoted the court stating that the cases against Azad appeared to have been politically motivated. The next day, before he was released from custody, Chandrasekhar Azad was arrested again on the same grounds under the National Security Act (NSA), an administrative detention law.  Chandrasekhar Azad is the founder of the “Bhim Army”, a group of Dalit activists who campaign against caste-based discrimination and violence, and run about 300 schools for underprivileged Dalit children in Uttar Pradesh. 

Villagers in Shabbirpur have commenced a hunger strike demanding Chandrasekhar Azad’s release.  The NSA states that a non-judicial Advisory Board must submit a report to the Uttar Pradesh authorities with its opinion on whether there is sufficient cause to continue detaining an individual within seven weeks of his detention. Depending on what the report recommends, authorities may continue to detain Chandrasekhar Azad for up to one year without charge or trial.

CHINA: Activist at Risk for Torture - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov. 10, 2017.

Dong Guangping’s family heard about his relocation in October but have received no direct notification from the government, as required by Chinese law.   He has been held incommunicado without trial since his forced return from Thailad in 2015.  There is great concern that he is at risk of torture.
In China, a detainee needs to buy most necessities, such as toothpaste, toilet paper and more nutritious food, using money others have sent. Unlike other detainees, most of the time friends were not allowed to send money to Dong Guangping, as the detention centre required them to show Dong Guanping’s notification of formal arrest, which the family has never received. 
Recognized as a refugee and accepted for rapid resettlement, Dong Guangping was forcibly returned to China on 13 November 2015, five days before he was scheduled to depart from Thailand to a third country and despite the known real risk that he could face serious human rights violations. Detained for almost two years, his family have yet to receive direct notification from the authorities about his whereabouts, arrest, indictment or charges against him.
Please take action before Dec. 22, 2017.  Thank you very much.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

USA: Moratorium on Executions in Nevada - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 5, 2017

The State of Nevada is set to carry out its first execution in over 11 years. A prisoner who has waived his appeals is due to be executed at 8pm on 14 November. Amnesty International is calling for a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition. 

The last execution in Nevada was carried out on 26 April 2006; the next would be the first to take place in its new death chamber at Ely State Prison; and the first in the USA using the three-drug combination chosen by the Nevada authorities. In early 2017, a bill to abolish the death penalty in Nevada failed to move out of committee. 

Please take action before Nov 14, 2017

YEMEN: Professor held Incommunicado - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov. 5, 2017

Mustafa al-Mutawakel, 61, professor of Economics at Sana’a University and Chairman of the General Authority for Investment in Sana’a, has been held incommunicado since 27 April. He was arrested that day at around 8am at al-Falaj checkpoint in the governorate of Ma’rib, north-east of the capital Sana’a, after having attended a conference in Morocco.
According to his family, Mustafa al-Mutawakel was allowed one phone call on the day of his arrest to his wife. During the call, he informed her that he had been detained by the internationally recognized Yemeni government forces (also known as al-Shar’ia) in the governorate of Ma’rib. He has since been held incommunicado with no access to a lawyer or any member of his family, raising fears that he might be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. According to medical reports reviewed by Amnesty International, Mustafa al-Mutawakel suffers from high blood pressure and blood clotting. Prior to his arrest, he received regular medical treatment and medication to manage his blood clotting including regular blood withdrawal (venesection). If this treatment is discontinued, he is at higher risk of more blood clots forming and higher blood pressure.
Mustafa al-Mutawakel was appointed in November 2016 as the Chairman of the General Authority for Investment, which is controlled by the de-facto Huthi-Saleh authorities. The reason for his arrest remains unclear. However, his family believes that his arrest might have been triggered by his perceived association with the Huthi-Saleh authorities by the internationally recognized Yemeni government.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Cartoonist Detained Without Charge - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, Nov 6, 2017.

Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist and activist from Equatorial Guinea, continues to be detained without charge at the Malabo prison of Black Beach. Detained on 16 September after being arrested while leaving a restaurant in Malabo,  he has been accused of heading an organisation involved in money laundering and counterfeiting money. 
On 9 October, Ramón’s lawyers submitted a request to the court asking for a hearing with the prosecution witnesses in order to prove that they are giving false testimony, after which the Court could determine whether or not to charge Ramón. However, the court is yet to respond to the submission and his lawyers are concerned that this is a delaying tactic the authorities are using to keep Ramón in prison. If the court does not respond to the submission by 30 November, which is when the judicial year ends, then Ramón could be in prison until at least 16 January 2018 when the courts resume their sessions.
Ramón‘s continued detention is believed to be in connection with his art work which he uses to critique the human rights situation in the country.
According to family and friends who have been visiting him, Ramón is in good spirits and in good health despite being imprisoned. He has also been given access to a pen and paper which enable him to continue with his drawing. Some fellow prisoners have even asked him to make drawings of them. 
The Cartoonists Rights Network International has awarded him the 2017 Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning.

USA: Farideh Kioumehr on Anti-Violence Education - INTERVIEW

Nov. 4, 2017

Please Click below and listen to a most informative and heartening interview (about 12 minutes).


Friday, November 3, 2017

JAMAICA: Justice Sought for Police Killing - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA; Nov 2, 2017

Police killings of mainly young and mostly poor men is all too common in Jamaica. When Shackelia Jackson’s brother Nakiea was gunned down by police in 2014, she refused to be silenced.

The police had been pursuing a “Rastafarian-looking” suspect in a robbery, and Nakiea fit that description. They found Nakiea in his small restaurant and shot him dead. But Shackelia was determined not to let Nakiea’s story end there.

She has battled a badly underfunded, sluggish court system to lead a bold fight for justice. In doing so, she has rallied dozens of families whose loved ones have been similarly killed, amplifying their cries for justice. The police have responded by raiding her community, timing the raids to coincide with court dates.

USA: Ohio to Execute "State-Raised" Man - URGENT ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, November 2, 2017

Alva Campbell, aged 69, is due to be executed in Ohio on 
15 November. The governor can commute the death sentence despite a parole board vote against clemency. 

Charles Dials was shot dead in Columbus, Ohio on 2 April 1997. Police arrested Alva Campbell, who had earlier escaped from custody when being taken to court on an armed robbery charge, and he confessed to police. He was brought to trial and sentenced to death in April 1998. This was vacated on appeal, but he was resentenced in 2001. 

Alva Campbell,turning 70 in April 2018, has spent most of his adult life in prison. According to a sociologist who has reviewed the case, after a horrific early childhood, Alva Campbell “spent most of his adolescent years” in various state institutions and effectively became a “state-raised youth”, with no treatment plan ever developed by his custodians. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

EGYPT: Facing Charges for Searching for Missing Husband - ONLINE ACTION

Amnesty International, USA, October 31, 2017

When Hanan Badr el-Din’s husband disappeared, her life changed for good. She last saw him on television, wounded and at a hospital after attending a protest in July 2013. But when she went there, she couldn’t find him. 

Hanan searched for her husband at police stations, prisons, hospitals and morgues. No one could tell her what had happened to him. Her husband is one of hundreds of people missing at the hands of Egypt’s security forces. Every day, an estimated three to four people – mostly political activists, students, protesters, even school children as young as 14 – are taken by Egyptian police or military, never to be seen again.

Yet the Egyptian government claims that disappearances don’t exist in the country.