Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘AIUSA’

All Women, Not Some

Dear Gabriel,

W1302EAWMN1_2Congress turned its back on women last year when it shamefully failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for the first time since 1994.

The reason? A group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives wanted to deny protections for three communities that face disproportionate levels of violence — Native American and Alaska Native women, immigrant women and LGBT individuals.

But there is hope. Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a strong, inclusive and bipartisan VAWA that will help support all women facing violence and exploitation.

Amnesty is mobilizing an urgent effort to get an identical bill passed in the House. Please donate now and support our work to defend human rights.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

1 in 3 Native American and Alaska Native women will be raped in her lifetime. When the perpetrator is a non-Native man – as in 86% of cases – a complex maze of jurisdictional issues can delay the judicial process or potentially even allow the perpetrator to escape justice.

Immigrant women often face higher rates of sexual harassment and domestic abuse – but when it comes to seeking justice, they have few legal rights and little protection from abusers who could exploit their immigration status.

LGBT violence survivors often face discrimination when attempting to access potentially life-saving social services – discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
An inclusive VAWA would put an end to these injustices . Stand with us and help pressure Congress to put partisan politics aside and protect the rights of all women. Donate now.

Your donation will help mobilize grassroots activists to pressure Congress through phone calls and office visits, educate the public about the current gaps in services that survivors face, and pressure key Representatives to muster the political will to support an inclusive bill.

If you believe in justice for all people – not justice for somedonate now.

Thank you for all that you do to protect human rights.

Cristina Finch
Managing Director, Women’s Human Rights Program
Amnesty International USA

Gun Violence & Child Soldiers

Dear Gabriel,

The United States is not the only country where children are facing an epidemic of gun violence. While in the U.S., we continue to grapple with the tragic reality of children who routinely face gun violence in their communities and children who increasingly are the targets of mass shootings, in other places around the world, we see the heartbreaking consequences of children who also face the daily horrors of armed conflict, many forced to become soldiers.

During Monday’s inaugural address, President Obama said:

“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”

However, the President could have — and should have — broadened his statement to include children from the war-torn neighborhoods of Aleppo, Syria to valleys of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because if protecting all children is our shared destination, then we can’t afford to let our concern be confined by U.S. borders.

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We must call on the President to lead efforts to establish a strong Arms Trade Treaty, one that will help stop irresponsible and illegal arms transfers around the world that directly contribute to the recruitment of child soldiers.

You have probably heard about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda — the group responsible for widespread murder, rape, maiming and amassing throngs of child soldiers. Fewer people know about the recruitment of child soldiers by Bosco Ntaganda, a commander of the FPLC armed group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fewer still realize that the armed groups who have taken control of the northern part of Mali, as well as the Malian army, are also using child soldiers.

Why do children in Uganda, the DRC and Mali continue to have a target on their back?

Because a global free-for-all lets weapons flow into the hands of armed groups and governments who, in turn, recruit children and commit other grave abuses. By failing to make the establishment of a global Arms Trade Treaty a priority, President Obama is letting them get away with it.

Protect all children from violence — please call for a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

It’s simple; no child should be forced to stand on either side of a weapon.

But the gun lobby in the U.S. is still trying to make you believe that this is about taking guns away from law-abiding Americans. It’s not.

The Arms Trade Treaty would put in place common-sense measures, like background checks on international arms sales, to stop or at least slow the sale of weapons between countries that fuel conflict, atrocities and instability as well as lead to the displacement and deaths of millions of civilians and the continued use of child soldiers.

More than 43,000 of you have helped set the record straight for the NRA’s leadership. Thanks for supporting children everywhere who are trapped by armed conflict. Your voice is so important as we prepare for the UN to hold its conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in March.

Every child deserves that same right no matter where they live. With your help, we can make this Arms Trade Treaty “bullet-proof”.

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

Keep The Light Burning

Dear Gabriel,

ye2012_generic_rcWhen Amnesty founder Peter Benenson published his “Appeal for Amnesty” in 1961, little did he know he lit the fuse of a human rights revolution.

It was as if people were waiting for this signal.

Fast-forward to today and it is hard to believe the scale of the transformations that followed. Women’s rights, children’s rights, indigenous rights, workers’ rights, the rights of disabled persons – all of these have been strengthened by international standards and in the public consciousness.

Each of these human rights achievements sprang from the ideals and efforts of a movement powered by people like you.

When you support Amnesty International USA, you are a part of this heroic history. If you give right now, your gift will unlock matching funds – but only until Dec. 31.

When Peter lit the first Amnesty candle, he was reminded of the words of a 16th-century man who faced persecution with these words (paraphrasing), “We have today lit such a candle as shall never be put out.”

We free the unjustly imprisoned.
1966, 1,000 prisoners of conscience released since founding

We are recognized for our groundbreaking work.
1977, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize for work to secure freedom and justice

We break the chains of oppression.
1986, Members write to 10,000 people of influence around the world urging them to pressure the South African government to end human rights abuses under apartheid

We elevate human rights.
1993, After intense lobbying, United Nations establishes UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

We turn torturers into outlaws.
2002, International Criminal Court treaty enters into force after years of lobbying

We defend the defenders.
2010, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is finally set free after spending some 15 years under house arrest
For 50 years, supporters like you never let Peter’s light fade. Today we are three million members strong and growing with each human rights success.

I am so proud of what Amnesty has become, and so hopeful for what it can be.

To unleash the extraordinary achievements of tomorrow, we need your investment in this movement today. I urge you to take advantage of our matching gift challenge before it ends on Dec. 31.

LIGHT THE WAY: Donate to Amnesty today.

Together we can deliver hope for humanity.

Frank Jannuzi
CHIEF ADVOCACY OFFICER
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

In Jail With Her Innocent Clients

Dear Gabriel,

ye2012_nasrin_rcNasrin Sotoudeh has had enough.

One of Iran’s most prominent human rights attorneys, Nasrin is serving a six-year prison sentence for defending political activists and juveniles facing the death penalty.

While Nasrin is in jail, authorities have gone out of their way to harass her husband and children.

LIGHT THE WAY to freedom for prisoners of conscience around the world. Click here to support Amnesty International’s work to defend human rights.

Iranian authorities are doing their utmost to silence the families of political prisoners.

When Nasrin’s husband Reza Khandan wrote a letter protesting her harsh treatment in prison, he was accused of “disturbing public opinion,” detained in Evin Prison overnight and questioned while blindfolded.

When authorities discovered that Nasrin had been using a tissue to write her defense for an upcoming court hearing, they cut off face-to-face visits with her 13-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.

Nasrin went on a seven-week hunger strike in protest.

But there is hope. The “judicial restrictions” placed on Nasrin’s daughter were removed today after increased public pressure from Amnesty International activists and others, ending Nasrin’s hunger strike.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has denounced Nasrin’s unjust imprisonment, calling her a “sincere colleague and a very courageous Iranian attorney.”

In October, after receiving the Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders, Nasrin issued the following statement from prison:

Iranian society has never ignored its fundamental rights, but has paid heavily in doing so. They have never stopped their efforts because of arrest, incarceration, [or] judicial prosecution. I am proud to defend each and every one of [my] cases. I am glad and satisfied to endure incarceration alongside my innocent clients.

Nasrin’s children need their mother back, and the Iranian people need their brave human rights hero set free.

Your gift today can make a difference to victims of repression like Nasrin. Donate now.

Gabriel, your generosity makes Amnesty work.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Nossel
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

She Was Loved and Murdered

Dear Gabriel,

W1212EAIAR1“Noxolo was loved for being a mother, friend, soccer player and activist, she will never be forgotten by her loved-ones.”
– Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee Colleagues

Why did she die?

Noxolo Nogwaza was murdered on her way home from a night out with friends. In the early hours of April 24, 2011, her attacker(s) raped, repeatedly beat and stabbed the 24 year-old—apparently because of her sexual orientation. Noxolo was an activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in South Africa.

A year after her death, no progress has been made in the investigation into her murder and her killer(s) remain at large. Help change that. Demand justice for Noxolo.

She was a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee, an organization that aims to empower and inform LGBTI people and to combat hate crimes, victimization and injustice through education and awareness-raising activities.

Sadly, homophobia and hate crimes against LGBTI individuals are common in South Africa, particularly against those living in townships and rural areas. Definitive statistics are difficult to obtain as the South African government does not classify rapes according to sexual orientation. However, in the last five years, there have been at least 10 reported cases of rape followed by murder of lesbians in townships across the country.

South African authorities must urgently take steps to put an end to these crimes. With your help, we can make sure that they do.

Please take action now. Tell the Police Commissioner to thoroughly investigate Noxolo’s death and bring her killer(s) to justice.

Thank you for standing with us.

Sincerely,

Linda Harris and Sadie Healy
Country Specialists, South Africa
Amnesty International USA

Keep Your Word Mr. President

Dear Gabriel,

“Don’t blow it.” That’s what I want to say to President Obama.

This is the moment that will define the future of the United States’ commitment on human rights. President Obama’s second term will determine whether the post 9/11 stains on the United States’ human rights record are an anomaly or the “new normal.”

President Obama promised to support and advance human rights. Let’s hold him to it.

When he was first elected in 2008, President Obama promised a new dawn of American leadership. As a new president, he acknowledged that the protection of human rights cannot rest on exhortation alone.

He offered the promise of an administration that would respect human rights — closing the Guantánamo prison, bringing detention practices in line with international law, repudiating secrecy and ensuring that human rights weren’t traded away in the name of national security.

It really isn’t a choice for the President to make. Under international law, the U.S. government is obligated to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, and ensure accountability for violations of those rights.

Tell President Obama to live up to his promises and uphold human rights.

The prison at Guantánamo, indefinite detention, unfair trials, unlawful killings with drones and other human rights violations committed by the U.S government undermine the rule of law in the U.S. and around the world. These abuses also create a climate in which other countries can point to a double-standard to justify their own human rights abuses with the refrain, ‘if the U.S. government does that, why shouldn’t we?’

By taking bold steps to restore respect for human rights President Obama can help ensure justice, security and accountability here in the U.S. and around the world. That’s why he must take three bold actions immediately:

Close the prison at Guantánamo
Stop unlawful killing with drones
Ensure the UN adopts a strong Arms Trade Treaty

President Obama has been given a second chance to keep his promises on human rights. Please stand with us today and call on the president to live up to those promises.

Thank you for everything you do to protect and advance human rights.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Nossel
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Shot for Being a Girl

Dear Gabriel,

On Tuesday, the Taliban deliberately shot a 14-year-old Pakistani girl on her way home from school because she promoted education for girls.

Education is not just a human right – it’s also a crucial safeguard against violence and discrimination.

The bullets that struck Malala Yousufzai’s skull have left the young activist in critical condition. Taliban militants said that if she survives, they would target her again.

Living free from violence and discrimination is a human right, yet millions of women and girls like Malala suffer from gender-based violence in their homes, in their communities, even at the hands of the state.

Your contribution is needed to help Amnesty hold accountable both state and non-state actors and stop the cycle of violence against women.

Girls and women everywhere deserve a better future.

Today is the first ever International Day of the Girl – a day to shine a light on gender discrimination and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.

One in three women has been affected by sexual violence. Women are beaten, raped, mutilated and killed with impunity.

Gender-based violence is a violation of the dignity and human rights of women and girls that also undermines the fabric of societies and stability of countries.

Can you donate to Amnesty International today, to make sure our human rights campaigners have the resources they need to fight for women and girls like Malala?

Together, we will press forward until no government, no community, no people permit or promote violence against girls and women.

Thank you for all you do to defend human rights.

Sincerely,

Cristina M. Finch
Program Director
Women’s Human Rights
Amnesty International USA

Listen To Joan Baez

Dear Gabriel,

All this month, artists and human rights activists like me have proudly raised our voices to defend human rights with Amnesty International. Now, it’s your turn.

Sunday is your last chance to double your gift. Please join me by donating to Amnesty International right now.

Your gift matters – collective action releases people from prison, torture and execution:

“I don’t regret a single moment. I celebrate the work that I do and the people I work with…We are in it together.”

That’s Jenni Williams, the inspiring co-founder of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise. She’s been arrested 43 times and been beaten severely for defending human rights in her country. Jenni credits Amnesty International members with saving her life multiple times.

Jenni is right – we’re in this together to shine a bright light on the horrific acts of violence committed by Syrian security forces against their own people, in the hopes we can help end the atrocities.

We’re in this to fervently declare love a right, not a wrong, and work to overturn the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

We’re wholeheartedly taking part in this because we refuse to yield to oppression and to hate, and we will not let slip our hard-fought gains.

With the world facing unprecedented assaults on human rights, Amnesty’s mission is more relevant and urgent than ever.

Your gift will help Amnesty rise to these challenges. Donate now.

Very truly yours,
Joan Baez
Musician, Human Rights Activist

Stand With Joan

Dear Gabriel,

It is impressive how powerful the nonviolent human rights movement has become.

But unless we are constantly vigilant in standing up for human rights, we risk losing them.

Here’s what’s happening, and why I’m urging you to stand with me and take action:

After a year of both promising advances and broken promises, Egypt’s transition to accountable government is an open question. Despite activist progress, women remain marginalized from leadership positions, the new civilian government is without a constitution, and officials are still using Mubarak-era laws to attack the media and freedom of speech.

Here in the U.S., the state of Texas just executed a man, Marvin Wilson, with an IQ of 61, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 10-year ban on executing people with “mental retardation.”

House lawmakers continue to hold up reauthorization of an inclusive Violence Against Women Act, leaving the fate of critical new protections for Native American and Alaska native women, immigrant women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in limbo.

We must not stand by while human rights are under attack. Action is the antidote to despair.

I’ve been with Amnesty from the very beginning, and this month, during our September Membership Drive, I’m reminding myself and others to raise our voices for Amnesty to defend human rights for all.

Donate today to help Amnesty respond to these assaults on human rights.

Amnesty has a bold goal of inspiring 50,000 gifts during the drive, and is offering a 2-for-1 match on your donation before Sept. 30.

Amnesty knows what it takes to fight for human rights on a global scale.

To this day I am still deeply moved and inspired by the story of Burmese human rights defender and former prisoner of conscience Aung San Suu Kyi. Thanks to the persistence and solidarity of human rights advocates like you, Suu Kyi is free to continue her pro-democracy work and spread her message of freedom and dignity.

Freeing Suu Kyi took 21 years of unwavering activism. This is what it means to be a part of the Amnesty movement.

Please, give no ground to doubt. Go forward in the fight for human rights with Amnesty. Click here to stand with Amnesty during the Membership Drive today.

We are counting on your concern, caring, love, and nonviolent action.

In Peace,
Joan Baez
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

Killing Frenzy In Gambia

Dear Gabriel,

The Gambian President has decided to execute all death row inmates in just a matter of days, despite the serious concerns over whether the inmates received fair trials at all. There’s no time for appeals or questions.

And to prove President Yahya Jammeh means every word — the executions have already begun. This past weekend, nine individuals were dragged from their cells without warning or good-byes and executed. Just like that.

The prisoners were lined up and shot by firing squad. Now 38 others are at extreme risk of meeting the same end.

Don’t let Gambia kill one more prisoner – stop the execution spree!

President Yahya Jammeh has set mid-September 2012 — that’s no more than 3 weeks from now — as a deadline for carrying out this sickening plan. But he’s already proven that he’s not willing to wait long.

The only thing close to an explanation the President has given was during the televised speech in which he announced these plans, claiming that he wants “to rid the country of all criminals”.

This is no way for a justice system, or a President for that matter, to operate. The death penalty in Gambia is often used to punish political dissent, disguised as “treason”. President Jammeh has a history of making these kinds of cruel and outrageous remarks. He’s recently threatened to behead all homosexuals and has urged Gambians to stop buying newspapers so that journalists would starve to death.

The insanity stops here — no more executions in Gambia!

What’s more shocking — the executions Gambia carried out last week were the first in 27 years — effectively ending an unofficial moratorium! Gambia is now the first West African country to execute prisoners in recent history.

These executions are a major blow to the global movement to abolish the death penalty. They violate international and regional human rights standards to which Gambia is a party. We can’t let Gambia take a giant leap backwards for human rights — stop the executions now!

In Solidarity,

Emily Helms
Country Specialist, Gambia
Amnesty International USA

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