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Posts tagged ‘human rights’

Stop Meriam’s Execution

A judge in Sudan just sentenced 27-year-old Meriam to 100 lashes and death by hanging for violating her faith and marrying a Christian man.

We must act immediately to save Meriam from this horrific death. Click here to sign the petition asking the United States and the United Kingdom to intervene and put pressure on Sudan to stop Meriam’s execution.

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Meriam is 8 months pregnant and has a 20 month-old child. The courts are convicting her of violating her Muslim faith and adultery because her marriage to a Christian man is void under Sharia law. But Meriam says she was raised by her mother as a Christian her whole life.

Adultery and violation of faith should not be considered crimes at all, let alone acts worthy of the death penalty. Human rights groups are calling this a breach of international human rights law.

If enough of us raise our voices in protest against this horrific sentencing, the government of Sudan will be forced to protect Meriam from execution. Please sign the petition to join the campaign to protect Meriam.

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Thank you for taking action,

Jen
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

No Means No – Not “I do.”

W1403EAWMN1This month, lawmakers in Mozambique will debate revisions to the Criminal Code that would allow a rapist to escape punishment – by marrying the woman he attacked.

No means no – not “I do.” It forces survivors to endure the unthinkable.

If you were a woman or girl in Mozambique, not only could this law greatly increase social pressure to marry your rapist, it would actually prevent police from launching an investigation unless you (or a parent or guardian if you are a minor) made an official complaint.

It’s a gross violation of women’s rights.

Shine a light on this draconian bill and help Amnesty stop it before it becomes law.

Morocco had a law like this. It was repealed in January.

Why? How?

Because of outrage over the case of Amina Filali. She was forced to marry a man whom she said had raped her. In 2012, Amina lost all hope and swallowed rat poison and died shortly afterward.

She was just 16 years old.

When we raise our voices together, we can make a difference. Raise a furor over this bill – take action with Amnesty.

Thank you for standing with women and girls in Mozambique.

In solidarity,

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

Held In Hell

W1312EAIAR3It took Miriam Isaura López Vargas several weeks to piece together what happened to her.

On Feb. 2, 2011, the 30-year-old mother of four had just dropped three of her children off at school when two masked men forced her into a van, blindfolded her and tied her hands. The men drove her to military barracks 50 miles away.

Soldiers raped and otherwise tortured her repeatedly, trying to force her to “confess” to drug trafficking and incriminate other detainees, unknown to Miriam. She was held in this hell, without charges, for 8 months before being released.

Urge Mexico’s Attorney General to conduct a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the torture of Miriam López.

Miriam is not alone. Torture cases have skyrocketed in Mexico.

According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission Reports, torture and ill-treatment rose an astounding 500 percent in Mexico from 2005 to 2012.

Miriam has identified those responsible, yet no charges have been filed. Even if charges were filed, convictions for such crimes are rare.

December 15 is a key day for Miriam’s case: it marks two years since she filed an official complaint and yet there is very little progress.

Who do you turn to when government soldiers rape with impunity? The massive global human rights force of Amnesty International.

Miriam is one of 10 urgent human rights cases highlighted in Amnesty International’s 2013 Write for Rights campaign, the world’s largest and most effective letter-writing event.

Together, we’ve helped free enough prisoners of conscience to fill Madison Square Garden – twice.

Today, I’m asking you to help Miriam live free from fear. Make your voice heard – demand justice for Miriam.

In solidarity,

Jasmine Heiss
Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Write for Rights

W1312EAIAR1Imagine being imprisoned for voicing a New Year’s Eve wish for peace and democracy.

That was one of the reasons Ethiopian authorities sentenced iconic dissident journalist Eskinder Nega to 18-years in prison on charges of terrorism and treason.

Join Amnesty in calling for Eskinder Nega’s immediate and unconditional release.

Eskinder is one of 10 urgent human rights cases highlighted in Amnesty International’s 2013 Write for Rights campaign, the world’s largest and most effective letter-writing event.

Every day that Eskinder and other journalists remain imprisoned, the dark cloud of oppression in his country grows more menacing.

Eskinder and his family have endured arrest and harassment from authorities for years. In 2006 and 2007, Eskinder and his wife, Serkalem Fasil, along with 129 other journalists, opposition politicians and activists, were detained and tried on treason charges in connection with protests following the 2005 election.

Serkalem gave birth to their son Nafkot while in prison.

Show solidarity with Eskinder and Serkalem – raise your voice to defend theirs.

The crackdown on free speech in Ethiopia has intensified since early 2011 – a number of journalists have been imprisoned on trumped-up charges of treason and terrorism while others have fled the country to avoid jail time. Newspapers have been closed down and last year, printers were ordered to remove any content that may be considered illegal by the government.

The independent media, and freedom of expression itself, has been dismantled in Ethiopia. Eskinder has been prosecuted at least 8 times for his journalism. His words have done no harm. His writings are a lawful expression of his human rights.

Free speech needs more champions today. Be one of them.

In solidarity,

Jasmine Heiss
Campaigner, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Letter From Yoko

ye13_rc_yokoLetter From Yoko

John wrote, “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.”

That’s what being part of Amnesty International means for me. We are a worldwide movement of dreamers and activists — who are shining a light of hope for those imprisoned for their beliefs.

Join me and make a donation to Amnesty International. Your gift will support our work freeing individuals who are imprisoned only for having the courage to speak, to demonstrate, and to express the thoughts that you and I do freely every day.

Because the need is so great, several leading Amnesty supporters have agreed to match any contribution you make now through December 31.

As I write this, the unjustly imprisoned are suffering behind bars.

Right now, a Tibetan filmmaker — Dhondup Wangchen — is languishing in a Chinese prison simply because he made a film that explores the views of Tibetan people toward the Beijing Olympics and the Dalai Lama.

After a secret trial, he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for “subversion of state power” and has reportedly been tortured.

Amnesty is pressuring the Chinese government to release Wangchen, investigate the allegations of torture to bring those responsible to justice.

Will you help Amnesty be a light for prisoners like Wangchen? Make a donation that will go twice as far.

Because of people like you, Amnesty International is a tenacious, tireless advocate for humanity. There is no greater champion for prisoners of conscience and no stronger force for human rights.

Together we can not only imagine, but also build a more just, more peaceful world.

You have my deepest gratitude for your commitment to human rights.

In Peace,

Yoko Ono
ARTIST & HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
AIUSA

I Shouldn’t Speak

W1311EAWMN1“I Shouldn’t Speak”

Being raped, it makes you…a person without rights…every day someone reminds me that I’ve been raped and that I should put myself in a corner, that I shouldn’t speak, I should say nothing.”- Rose, raped at age 15, Haiti

Defend women like Rose.

The first time Rose was raped, her aunt arranged the attack as punishment for an argument. Rose was kidnapped by three men, assaulted, and then abandoned in a remote area. She was 15 years old.

The second time Rose was raped, a thief came into her house and assaulted her while her children were sleeping. She was 20 years old.

We cannot undo Rose’s pain, but Amnesty supporters like you CAN do something to put an end to the violence that robs women and girls like Rose of their rights.

Urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

IVAWA was just reintroduced in Congress. This bill seeks to end the global epidemic of violence against women and girls, making preventing and ending this human rights abuse a diplomatic and foreign assistance priority for the US government. IVAWA includes:

* Support for organizations working to change the attitude of men and boys about violence against women and girls.

* Specialized training for health care providers to recognize the signs of physical and sexual violence against women and girls
Protections to ensure that girls can go to school safely.

*Focused training for law enforcement and legal personnel to properly respond to incidents of violence.

The rapes to which Rose was subjected prevented her from going to school, which in turn affected her employment opportunities and her ability to live a healthy life – but IVAWA can help women like Rose access critical health care, law enforcement support and legal assistance, and ultimately change the social norms that say violence is acceptable.

Rose’s story bears a horrible truth – that one in three women globally has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. IVAWA has the potential to make the one in three become none in three. But not without your help.

Countries, communities, and families cannot thrive without the contributions and talent of half their populations.

You can take action to end one of the world’s most pervasive human rights abuses today. Tell your Representatives in Congress to support IVAWA.

Let’s get this bill passed.

In solidarity,

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

“I Demand My Rights.”

“I Demand My Rights.”

Kaia* was eleven years old when she was assaulted and raped on the way to school. A teacher took her to the hospital, but the police demanded bribes for even taking down a statement.

So Kaia did something incredibly brave. She sued the police for failing to protect her. What’s even more incredible is what happened next.

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In Kenya where Kaia lives, a woman or girl is raped every 30 minutes. Police there routinely turn a blind eye, further isolating terrified young survivors and reinforcing the notion that rape is ok.

Kaia and ten other young survivors challenged that. On the day of the case, ignoring threats to their safety and a blockade from court security, they marched from their shelter to the courthouse, chanting “Haki yangu” — Kiswahili for “I demand my rights.” And then the judge issued his ruling: The girls had won!

The amazing advocates and human rights lawyers that worked with Kaia are ready to bring similar lawsuits against police forces across Africa and beyond, but they need funding to do it. We won’t process pledges until we reach our goal, but if just 30,000 of us pledge a small amount now, we can repeat this game-changing victory in other countries, remind police that rape is a crime, and take a powerful step forward against the global war on women:

Click to pledge what you can — we’ll process your contribution only if we hit our goal of 30,000 donors.

When Kaia’s story began, she looked set to become just another of the countless victims of child rape ignored by the police. But Kenyan child rights advocate Mercy Chidi and Canadian human rights lawyer Fiona Sampson joined forces to challenge this injustice in the courts.

The plan was hatched in Kenya by a group of colleagues from Canada, Kenya, Malawi and Ghana — it seemed like a long shot to sue the police force for failing to act, but they stuck with it and took risks… and made legal history. The work has just begun: like any win, it takes time, effort and money to make sure the ruling sticks, and to use it as a springboard to wipe out violence against women.

If we raise enough, here’s how we could turn a huge victory for Kenya into a win for countries across Africa and even the rest of the world:

* help fund more cases like this, across Africa and around the world
* use hard-hitting campaign strategies to make sure these groundbreaking judgments are enforced
* push for massive, effective public education campaigns that strike at the root of sexual violence and help erase it for good
respond to more campaign opportunities like this case — with super smart strategies that turn the tide in the war on women.

Click to pledge what you can to start this important work right away — we won’t process any contributions unless we hit our goal of 30,000 donors.

As citizens, we often appeal to political leaders and other officials to get serious about protecting women’s rights. It’s important to keep doing that, but when they fail to hear their consciences, we need to appeal to their interests, and take them to court. That sends a powerful message: not only that there are new consequences for their crimes, but that the era of unchallenged misogyny in the culture of our societies is coming to end.

With hope,

Ricken, Maria Paz, Emma, Oli, Nick, Allison, Luca and the rest of the Avaaz team

* Kaia is a pseudonym, but her story is real. She is not pictured here.

Amazing Activists

Amazing Activists

Amnesty activists are amazing. And to prove it, we wanted to send you an update on three victories your activism helped us win:

victory-925-3Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience Nasrin Sotoudeh released from prison in Iran! Nasrin, a human rights lawyer, was arrested 3 years ago and sentenced to prison for defending political activists and juveniles facing the death penalty. Amnesty activists took on her case and never gave up on her. Last week she was released and reunited with her family. Welcome home, Nasrin!

victory-925-120-year victory: USA signs historic treaty to end irresponsible arms sales around the world — In April, when the Arms Trade Treaty was adopted at the UN, we pledged that we would demand that the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress sign and ratify this landmark treaty to end the unscrupulous trade in deadly weapons used by dictators, war lords and criminal gangs to commit atrocities. Today, we are one step closer: Secretary of State John Kerry signed the treaty this morning. This is the result of decades of dedicated activism from Amnesty members — your work paid off!

victory-925-2Amnesty welcomes a new leader — It’s Steven W Hawkins’ first day as Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director. Steven brings a deep commitment to social justice and grassroots organizing. He chose to come to Amnesty because of you — a vibrant movement of individuals committed to creating a world in which everyone can enjoy all of their human rights. Follow Steven on Twitter @StevenWHawkins!

Thanks for your continued dedication to making the world a better place.

In solidarity,

Cammie Croft
Chief Digital and Communications Officer
Amnesty International USA

On the Ground In Syria

On the Ground In Syria

For two and a half years, courageous Amnesty researchers — like Donatella Rovera — have been on the ground in Syria and neighboring countries investigating and reporting war crimes and other violations against Syrian families. What she and her team have documented there is horrific.

A mother’s three sons dragged outside, shot dead, and then set on fire for her to watch. Cluster bombs tearing into small children playing in an alley. Militias opening fire on peaceful demonstrators.

Now our research teams — backed up by the innovative use of satellite imagery — are gathering information of a heinous attack, apparently using chemical weapons, that killed scores of people, including children.

Now that the international community’s attention is focused on Syria, we must ensure that no more civilian lives are lost and that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity are brought to justice.

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Your donation to Amnesty helps us deploy researchers to document abuses and demand justice for the forgotten and the suffering. Support this work by making a monthly donation to Amnesty International today. For a short time, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

During recent investigations in Syria, Donatella met 20-year-old Noura in a field hospital, a temporary clinic created in secret to protect victims and medical staff from retaliatory arrest and torture.

Noura was injured in a cluster bomb attack. Cluster bombs inflict massive damage by detonating in mid-air and releasing hundreds of “bomblets.”

Donatella, as well as all of us from Amnesty, is committed to telling the world their story, and demanding action from the international community.

When you become a member of Amnesty, your donation helps put expert researchers — like Donatella — on the ground in places like Syria, where the world’s attention is desperately needed.

The human rights crimes in Syria have been called a “moral obscenity” that should “shock the conscience of the world.”

As human rights defenders, you and I share an urgent responsibility to help bring those responsible to justice. We must mobilize to stop further atrocities against the Syrian people.

Please, don’t delay. Support our human rights investigators. Donate now.

Sincerely,
Frank Jannuzi
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

Hanging by a Thread

Dear Friends,

Most people didn’t know who the Rwandans were until it was too late, and 800,000 of them were dead. Right now, the fate of Burma’s Rohingya people is hanging by a thread. Racist thugs have distributed leaflets threatening to wipe out this small Burmese minority. Already children have been hacked to death and unspeakable murders committed. All signs are pointing to a coming horror, unless we act.

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Genocides happen because we don’t get concerned enough until the crime is committed. The Rohingya are a peaceful and very poor people. They’re hated because their skin is darker and the majority fear they’re ‘taking jobs away’. There are 800,000 of them, and they could be gone if we don’t act. We’ve failed too many peoples, let’s not fail the Rohingya.

Burmese President Thein Sein has the power, personnel and resources to protect the Rohingya, all he has to do is give the word to make it happen. In days, he’ll arrive in Europe to sell his country’s new openness to trade. If EU leaders greet him with a strong request to protect the Rohingya, he’s likely to do it. Let’s get 1 million voices and plaster images of what’s happening in Burma outside his meetings with key EU heads of state:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/we_said_never_again_en/?bMPbqab&v=26526

Torture, gang rape, execution style killings — human rights groups are using the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe the brutality in Burma. Already more than 120,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee, many to makeshift camps near the border, while others have fled in boats only to drown, starve, or be shot at by coastguards from neighboring countries. Reports show that violence is escalating — earlier this year President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency after another round of deadly attacks, and it’s just a matter of time until there is a large scale massacre.

Genocides don’t happen when governments oppose them, but the Burmese regime has been leaning the wrong way. Recently, a government spokesperson admitted that authorities were enforcing a rule that limits the Rohingya population to having only two children and forces couples seeking to get married to obtain special permission. And experts report that government authorities have stood by or even participated in acts of “ethnic cleansing.” President Sein has finally been forced to acknowledge what’s happening to the Rohingya, but he has so far refused to implement plans to stop the violence and protect those at risk.

Until he does, the risk of genocide hovers like a dark cloud over not just Burma, but the world. Through their trade relations, UK PM Cameron and French President Hollande have massive leverage with Sein — if they press him to act when he meets with them this month, it could save lives. Let’s make sure they do. We’ve failed too many peoples, let’s not fail the Rohingya. Join the call now and share this with everyone:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/we_said_never_again_en/?bMPbqab&v=26526

Time and again, the Avaaz community has stood with the people of Burma in their fight for democracy. When the regime brutally cracked down on Buddhist monks in 2007, Avaazers donated hundreds of thousands of dollars/euros/pounds to provide technical support and training to activists to fight a communications blackout. In 2008, when a devastating cyclone killed at least 100,000 Burmese, but the venal military regime stopped all official international aid from coming in, our community donated millions directly to monks on the front line of the aid effort.

Our community didn’t exist when genocide was committed in Rwanda, 20 years ago. Would we have done enough to stop it? Let’s show the Rohingya our answer to that question.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Jeremy, Aldine, Oliver, Marie, Jooyea and the whole Avaaz team

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