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This year’s Write for Rights cases are all women human rights defenders from around the world. Sign your name in support of all ten cases.
Atena is in prison in Iran. Nonhle is being threatened in South Africa. Marielle (above) was killed in Brazil. Each of them have paid a price for defending human rights in their countries. So have seven other women from around the world, each harassed and threatened for their peaceful activism. We can help them and their families by demanding change on their cases. Read more about them in the petition letter below.
Right now, eight families are being held indefinitely at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. After the trauma of being ripped apart when they came here seeking safety, they are now together — but still behind bars.Join the effort to reduce harmful online abuse against female politicians and journalists. With just a few spare minutes on your computer or mobile phone you can help fight back against trolls online.
The US Government claims it’s keeping Americans safe by using drones, air strikes and Special Forces operations to kill people it calls “militants” or “terrorists” around the world. But in the process it is killing thousands of civilians, usually without explanation or an effort to compensate survivors or their families for their devastating losses.
On 17 January 2018, US Border Patrol agents arrested Dr. Scott Warren, a 36-year old Human Rights Defender and humanitarian aid volunteer. The USA government is now prosecuting Dr. Warren for allegedly “harboring” two undocumented migrants by providing them with humanitarian aid in the desert town of Ajo, where he lives. He faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted on all charges. The arrest came hours after the release of a report documenting the willful destruction by border agents of humanitarian aid supplies in the USA–Mexico border areas. His trial begins on 29 May 2019. Authorities should immediately drop all criminal charges against Dr. Warren for his vital humanitarian work.
On 14 and 15 May, journalists Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal, working for Disclose, and Benoît Collombat, with Radio France, were summoned for a hearing by the Intelligence Services after the Paris Prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation against them for revealing a national defense secret. In April, they had published “the Yemen papers”, a series of classified documents regarding the sale of French weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and their use against civilians in the civil war in Yemen. The actions of these journalists are protected by the right to freedom of expression and the investigation against them must stop.
On April 26, two unknown men on motorbikes, presumably belonging to a local gang, circled the office of Pierre Espérance (fourth from the left in the image below), a prominent Haitian human rights defender, in Port-au-Prince. He reported that different sources advised him about recent death threats made against him and stated that the police were aware of them. Pierre Espérance received previous threats in 2018, and in 2014 when a letter containing a gun bullet was sent to the organization’s offices. We demand that the Haitian authorities provide him with effective protection according to his wishes and that authorities immediately and independently investigate these threats.
On 5 April 2019, human rights defender Zine El Abidine Erradi was released after serving a one-year sentence in Agadir local prison, following an unfair trial. Zine El Abidine holds a refugee status in France and had been arrested upon his arrival in Morocco to visit his father. As of 15 May, he could eventually come back in safety in France after receiving his travel documents.
11 Saudi women activists on trial before the Criminal Court in Riyadh risk being sentenced to prison terms on charges related to their women’s rights activism. Many of them have campaigned against the long-standing ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, and the end of the male guardianship system. While seven women activists were temporarily and conditionally released, four others remain in detention. The 11 women remain at risk of being sentenced to prison.
Maria Ressa, human rights defender and executive editor of online news outlet Rappler, was formally charged in court on 14 May for one count of cyber libel. Arrested on 13 February, she was released on bail after spending a night in jail. A month later, on 29 March, she was again arrested for allegedly violating the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law, which limits mass media ownership to Filipinos and Filipino-owned corporations. Ressa is also facing four counts of alleged tax-related violations for using financial mechanisms that Ressa argued are not taxable as these do not generate taxable income. Rappler has been a consistent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration, and Ressa’s arrest and prosecution appear to be part of a broader campaign to silence critics of the government.
Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali needs urgent specialized medical care unavailable inside prison. The Iranian authorities previously conditioned his transfer to a hospital outside of prison on being shackled, which would amount to degrading treatment. He was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial, which used “confessions” Ahmadreza Djalali has said were obtained under torture.
Around 500 Roma people, including around 150 children, pregnant women and older people have been left homeless after being forcibly evicted by the authorities from their settlement in municipality of Giugliano in Campania, in southern Italy, on 10 May. The Roma families have been made homeless and are living in inhuman conditions as the authorities have failed to provide them with alternative housing.
Asia Bibi is a Christian farm worker, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010. After an eight-year ordeal, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted her of all charges and released her in October 2018. Following the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold her acquittal on 29 January 2019, it was confirmed by the Pakistani Foreign Office on 9 May that she had left Pakistan and safely arrived in Canada to be reunited with her family.
Rosalina Dominguez, her four sons and two members of the community of Río Blanco, Intibucá, in Honduras were threatened last 30 April and 1 May 2019. The community members are afraid that this might be the beginning of a new wave of attacks against them after previous threats for protesting the Agua Zarca Dam together with the Civic Council of Popular Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). We urge the Minister of Human Rights to immediately guarantee the safety of Rosalina Domínguez, her family, members of Río Blanco and COPINH and to investigate any attacks against them.