Everyone from the Amnesty International St. Louis chapter would like to wish you a safe and wonderful holiday season. We hope you had a great Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa, and that we’ll see you in 2013! First meeting of the new year is Jan. 8.
This is week is a week of infographics, and below is a great one we found from the Center for American Progress on emergency contraception. Who would have thought that pharmacists discriminate against men trying to purchase emergency contraception for their partners? Who would have thought that pharmacists wouldn’t know the rules when it comes to contraception and prescriptions? Learn more about emergency contraception and the barriers that exist to accessing it:
Events for the Amnesty International St. Louis chapter have come to a close for 2012. No more meetings, no more big events, no more action besides the action we take as individuals on our own time. Although we could reflect on our previous accomplishments, we are choosing instead to look toward the future and to think about what we’ll be doing next. Here are some things to look forward to in the first few months of 2013:
- Jan. 8 – First business meeting of the new year! One of our members will be doing a presentation on human rights in China. It’s a great way to start 2013 right.
- Jan. 22 – First letter writing meeting of the new year. Hopefully we will also have good news regarding some of our write-a-thon cases, or even the Reggie Clemons case.
- Sometime in January – Results from the Reggie Clemons special hearing. After the week-long hearing in September, we should hopefully have a ruling in January. If not, then February at the latest.
- March 22-24 – Amnesty International’s Annual General Meeting in Washington DC – This is one of the biggest events of the year, where members from all over the country come together to learn about the issues, to learn how to be better activists, and to network with other members from our state and from other states. Our chapter plans on going a day early to lobby our members of Congress, since we’ll be in the neighborhood. Hopefully, you’ll join us!
Did you know that the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law nearly four years ago, yet almost nothing has changed regarding the gender wage gap in the United States? It’s something may not know about or realize is happening, and finding out if you’re not being paid as much as your male counterparts can be tough to figure out or to take action on. Never mind that despite the wage gap, women often pay more than men for the same items anyway. Never mind that there are more women in college now than ever before, and are doing better in school while also paying the same amount in tuition and accruing the same amount of debt. Learn more about all this in the infographic below:
Created by: <a href=”http://www.learnstuff.com/“>LearnStuff.com</a>
Last roundup of the year! A lot has happened in human rights over the past 12 months, ranging from the legalization of gay marriage in three states to Reggie Clemons’ special hearing, from the imprisonment of Pussy Riot to Saudi Arabia allowing women to compete in the London Olympics. A lot is sure to happen in 2013, and we are ready and willing to take on the challenge. Although this isn’t a top human rights stories of 2012 post, here are some of the top human rights news articles from the past 30 days.
Vivienne Harr, age 8, Sells Lemonade in Times Square for Freedom – Notforsalecampaign.org – This story is really inspiring, perfect for the holiday season. For 173+ days, she has been selling lemonade and donating the funds she raises to the Not For Sale network. So far, she has raised over $50,000. Actually, not a bad idea to building awareness for human rights issues.
Native Women’s Rights Are in Danger: Tell Congress to Pass a Tribal-Inclusive VAWA that Provides Justice for All Women! – Amnesty International Blog – Yes, we still need action on VAWA. The latest is that last week, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK), introduced H.R. 6625, known as the Violence Against Indian Women Act. This bill addresses some of the concerns raised by those who oppose the inclusive VAWA, while still ensuring that Native American women receive protection. It’s designed to push VAWA forward while perhaps filling its holes if the incomplete version of VAWA ends up getting passed.
How Did Your State Rank in the Fight Against Child Sex Trafficking? – Foreign Policy Blogs – Wow! Can you believe Missouri actually got a B in the fight against human sex trafficking? Although it’s not an A, no states received an A so Missouri is one of seven states to receive a top grade. This grade is a reflection of state laws and their response to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking.
How The Disabilities Treaty Senate Debacle Caught the Media’s Attention – UN Dispatch – This was a huge debacle by the Senate, indeed, especially since this treaty was modeled after U.S laws and would do nothing to change them. However, UN treaties have always been something that Congress has trouble coming around on, including treaties such as CEDAW, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
What Compassionate Release? – The New York Times – Even after learning about the criminal justice system in the New Jim Crow, there are even more problems with it than we realized. Who knew about this compassionate release cause, that prisoners could be released because of terminal illness, mental illness, impairment due to old age, or the death or incapacitation of a family member who has been solely responsible for the care of the prisoner’s minor children?
Today is the last day in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights! If you haven’t written a letter yet, or still want to write letters, then today is the last day that we will posting a case. However, if you want to write on these cases tomorrow or next week, that’s fine. Just keep in mind that these cases are urgent, and require action as soon as possible.
If you’ve been writing over the past several days, we thank you for your hard work and activism. We will keep everyone updated with any news of progress for any of the cases we profiled. The last urgent case we will feature is that of Girifna.
Sudanese for “we’re fed up”, Girifna is a youth group calling for nonviolent resistance to the government of Sudan. Its members have been routinely targeted by the authorities by being arbitrarily arrested, detained, tortured and sexually assaulted.They have also had laptops and other items confiscated from their homes, and several have been forced to flee from Sudan.
Girifna was one of the organizations targeted by the Sudanese authorities following the wave of demonstrations that began in June 2012. Several members of Girifna have been detained without being allowed to speak to their families or lawyers. Some say they were tortured in detention. We are asking that the authorities stop targeting members of Girifna and that the organization be allowed to conduct its business in peace. Please write a letter to the address below, using the sample as a guide:
Mr Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed
Minister of the Interior
PO Box 873
Start your letter: Your Excellency
I am writing in concern for GIRIFNA and its members, who have been routinely targeted by authorities for their nonviolent resistance against the government. I call on you to end the harassment, intimidation, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and other ill-treatment of GIRIFNA members.
GIRIFNA has continued to conduct its peaceful activities revolving around peaceful protests to fight for the respect and protection of human rights. Please ensure that the voices of GIRIFNA are not silenced, and that they can continue to engage in their peaceful activities free from harassment, violence and detention.
Yesterday was Human Rights Day, and this past weekend was our chapter’s write-a-thon, but that doesn’t mean our work and activism is done for the year. We still have a few more cases to profile, so if you still want to help someone out, today’s case is that of Gao Zhisheng.
Zhisheng is a human rights lawyer in China. Because of his work, he has been subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, illegal house arrest and detention. He is currently imprisoned in Shaya County prison in northwest China for violating the conditions of his suspended sentencing. He was originally sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for “inciting subversion” in 2006. The sentence was then suspended for five years.
If you don’t have an interest in writing long letters, but still want to do something for prisoners of conscience, then join us tonight at Hartford Coffee Company. From 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., we will be signing holiday cards of solidarity. This is also our last event/meeting of the year, so if you haven’t attended in a while, please do so. Otherwise, please send a letter on behalf of Gao Zhisheng, using the sample below, to:
Premier of the People’s Republic of China
The State Council General Office
I am writing on behalf of GAO ZHISHENG (高智晟), who is currently being held at the Shaya County Prison in northwest China. I ask that you release him immediately, as he is a human rights lawyer who has been imprisoned solely for his work.
I also urge that you ensure that while GAO ZHISHENG (高智晟) remains in prison, he is protected from torture or other ill-treatment.
Today is Human Rights Day! And Human Rights Day cannot forget the rights of those living or held in the United States, despite the word “international” in Amnesty International’s name. For Day 6 of the Write 4 Rights, we will focus on a case in Guantanamo Bay.
Hussain Salem Mohammed Almerfedi has been held at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since 2003. He has never been charged or brought to trial for any crime. In 2010, a federal judge ordered his release, ruling that Almerfedi’s detention was illegal. However, this ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case.
Please write a letter to Barack Obama himself to the address below:
The White House
Office of the President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500
Start your letter: Dear Mr President
I am writing in concern for Hussain Salem Mohammed Almerfedi, who has been held in Guantanamo Bay for 10 years without being charged or brought to trial for any crime. I am very concerned with his ongoing detention.
I call on you to immediately release him and other Guantánamo detainees, unless they are charged with a recognizably criminal offense and given fair trials in federal court, in full accordance with international standards and without recourse to the death penalty.
I oppose indefinite detention and unfair trials by the U.S. government. I urge you to end these human rights violations and close the Guantánamo prison. Detainees must either be charged and fairly tried, or released to countries that will respect their human rights.
Today is Day 5 in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights (with tomorrow being Human Rights Day). Not all of the cases for this year’s event involve a particular individual, as shown in today’s case.
For several hundred years, the people of Bodo in the Niger Delta have made a living from fishing and farming. Their way of life changed suddenly on August 28, 2008, when a breach in a Shell oil pipeline caused thousands of barrels of oil to spill into the local creek. That spill continued until November 7 and the land and water around Bodo were soon polluted with oil. One month later, a second spill began that lasted for 10 weeks. In June of this year, a third spill has taken place.
Shell has failed to take responsibility for these spills. They have not cleaned up the land, and they have not compensated the people of Bodo, whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the contaminated environment. The Nigerian government has also done nothing to help the situation. Please send a letter to:
President Goodluck Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Office of the President
Nigerian Presidential Complex, Aso Rock
Federal Capital Territory
Start your letter: Your Excellency
I am writing in concern for the people of Bodo in the Niger Delta, who have been pushed deeper into poverty as a consequence of three oil spills from Shell oil pipelines. I ask that you monitor the pollution in Bodo and its effects on the local community, and ensure that a clean-up operation takes place. I also urge that you publicly commit to transparency and access to information for all aspects of the clean-up operation.
Please also ensure that the affected communities are fully compensated for their losses and that operating practices of oil companies in the Niger Delta are reviewed and overhauled to prevent pollution.
It is Day 4 in Amnesty International’s Write 4 Rights marathon, and today’s case is Monica Roa in Colombia. She is the program director of Women’s Link Worldwide, an organization that advocates for access to safe and legal abortion services in her country. Because of this work, she and her organization have been attacked and intimidated, and none of those events have been investigation. We’d like to change that. Below is a letter to make that change.
If you can, please join us TONIGHT at Schlafly Bottleworks for our chapter’s annual Write-a-Thon. We will be there from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. writing letters ourselves as well as providing form letters for you to sign. Otherwise, please a send a letter on Roa’s behalf to:
Señor Presidente Juan Manuel Santos
Palacio de Nariño
Carrera 8 No.7-26
Start your letter: Dear President Santos/Excmo. Sr.
I am writing in concern for the safety of MONICA ROA and her colleagues and Women’s Link Worldwide, who have been subject to a series of attacks and intimidation. I urge you to ensure that the attacks against them are fully investigated, the results published, and those found responsible are brought to justice. Please also ensure that the criminal complaint filed against Mónica is dropped if it is based solely on her legitimate work as a Human Rights Defender.
I also call on you to publicly recognize the legitimacy of the work on sexual and reproductive rights that is being carried out by Women’s Link Worldwide and other Colombian human rights defenders, and encourage government officials to desist from further stigmatizing their work. I remind you of the urgent need to effectively implement the Constitutional Court’s decision on the decriminalization of abortion and to fulfill the government’s obligations regarding the protection of women’s and girls’ human rights, including their right to sex education, access to contraception, and access to safe abortion on the three grounds allowed for in Colombia.