Our virtual Write for Rights event is just days away. The registration page is here. As we near December 10, International Human Rights Day, I’m focusing on one of the seven Write for Rights cases each day. Today, I’ll focus on Idris Khattak, a human rights defender in Pakistan.
Idris Khattak investigated government-sanctioned abductions for human rights groups, including Amnesty International. These state-sanctioned kidnappings are also called enforced disappearances or forced disappearances. He himself was abducted on November 13, 2019 as he traveled in a rented car from Islamabad to his home in Peshawar. The Pakistani government has since acknowledged that it has imprisoned him under the Official Secrets Act even though this law only applies to state officials, not civilians. Also, he is set to be tried in the Pakistani military court system, which is known for its disregard of due process and lack of transparency. To this day, no information has been released regarding the specifics of the charges against him. He also suffers from diabetes; and it’s uncertain whether he’s consistently getting the medical care he needs. Pakistan’s current prime minister, Imran Khan, is on the record as stating that forced disappearances are unacceptable; and there have been recent breakthroughs in Idris Khattak’s case, including his being allowed a brief visit by his daughter, Talia Khattak. Nevertheless, his current whereabouts and condition remain unknown. Join us this Human Rights Day as we write letters urging a fair trial in a civilian court for Idris Khattak, or his immediate and unconditional release in lieu of any credible and admissible evidence against him.
If you’d like to learn more about Idris Khattak’s case, please click here. You can sign an online petition on his behalf here.
Our virtual Write for Rights event is only a few days away. The registration page for the event is here. As we approach December 10, International Human Rights Day, I’d like to focus on one of the seven Write for Rights cases each day. Today, I’ll focus on Jani Silva, an environmental activist and community advocate in Colombia.
Jani Silva has worked to defend the Amazon ecosystem in Colombia and the rights of local communities for decades. This includes projects geared towards conservation, reforestation and community empowerment. However, with its rich supplies of natural resources such as oil, Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental activists; and many are killed. On April 17 and then again on April 22 of this year, guns were fired less than 60 yards away from Jani Silva’s home. Weeks earlier, information concerning plans to kill her was provided to the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, a human rights organization in Colombia. Amnesty International has since urged the Colombian Ministry of the Interior to provide protection for her. Please join us on December 10 in writing letters urging protection for Jani Silva and her colleagues as they continue their work to protect the Amazon rainforest and to stand up for the rights of local communities.
More information regarding Jani Silva can be found here. Also, you can sign an online petition created by Amnesty International here.
Our virtual Write for Rights event is less than a week away. I’d like to welcome Amnesty International St Louis (Group 105), which has recently joined us to host the event. The registration page for the event is here. As we approach December 10, International Human Rights Day, I’d like to focus on one of the seven Write for Rights cases each day. I’ll start with Germain Rukuki.
Germain Rukuki is a human rights defender in Burundi. He was arrested in 2017 by security forces there then sentenced to 32 years in prison. His imprisonment apparently stemmed from his work for the Association of Christians Against Torture (ACAT), which had organized mass protests in 2015 against then-President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, which was widely considered unconstitutional. The protests were violently dispersed by government security forces and the ruling party. Human rights advocates like Germain Rukuki were then targeted by the government.
Since these troubling events, a new government has taken power in Burundi; and its current president, President Evariste Ndayishimiye, has voiced strong support for human rights. With this promising change in affairs, now is the time to urge the release of Germain Rukuki from his unjust imprisonment. With a letter, you can change Germain Rukuki’s life for the better. Join us to help make this happen.
If you’d like to learn more about Germain Rukuki’s case, you can find additional information here. An online petition urging the release of Germain Rukuki can be found here.
Amnesty International local groups in Seattle and Bellingham, along with student groups from Kentridge High School and Skyline High School, will be hosting a virtual Write for Rights event on December 10th from 6pm to 8pm. Please join us. The registration page for the event is here.
We have seven cases this year. However, sending just a single letter supporting a victim of human rights abuse or urging a policymaker to remedy what’s been done makes a difference. We provide sample letters that you can print out, sign and mail from the comfort of your own home. Or you can write a letter yourself. For the cost of paper, an envelope and postage, you can change someone’s life for the better this International Human Rights Day. We hope you can join us.
In early August, AIUSA released “The World Is Watching, Mass Violations By U.S. Police Of Black Lives Matter Protester’s Rights.” The report contains interviews with protesters (including several in Seattle), Recommendations, and a listing of Good Practices to ensure the right to peaceful protest.
A copy of the Report has been forwarded to the Seattle Police Department, Washington Attorney General Bob Fergusen, and the entire Seattle City Council.
The website includes actions that can be taken from home, a link to the full Report, an Interactive Map showing what has happened in your area, and video taken at several protests.
As we have seen within the last month, police violence against unarmed African-American men remains an issue. International law enforcement standards require that force of any kind be used only when no other means are available.
Please take time to read the Report and take action to bring America into compliance with International standards.
Pursuant to Governor Inslee’s continuation of the Stay at Home order, we will not be meeting in May. Meetings will begin again once the order is lifted and all members feel safe in gathering together again.
Come to our next meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, at the University Friends Service Committee U District offices at 4001 9th Avenue NE from 6:30 – 8:30PM. We’d love to meet you. For a map and street view go to: https://goo.gl/maps/ZjhAes5zWgE2
On this month’s agenda:
Action on our adopted case, José Adrian
Latest update on the Chinese mass incarcerations of Uyghurs, with aligned letters and petition
Discussion of requests for AI speakers at upcoming events
Discussion and vote on resolutions being presented at the Annual General Meeting in San Diego next weekend!
And of course action in behalf of our adopted case José Adrian.
Tuesday, February 4th, at the University Friends Service Committee U District offices at 4001 9th Avenue NE from 6:30 – 8:30PM. We’d love to meet you. For a map and street view go to: https://goo.gl/maps/ZjhAes5zWgE2