Respect the Human Rights of All Ferguson Residents

by Rachel O’Leary, AIUSA Deputy Executive Director, Membership Mobilization
AIUSA Delegate in Ferguson, MO

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. When local residents took to the streets in protest, the police department responded with heavy-handed tactics – including tear gas and rubber bullets.

When I touched down in Ferguson, Missouri with the Amnesty International USA delegation, I didn’t know what to expect. We had some facts, but new details came to light by the hour, which helped us get a better grasp on policing in the city and on protestors, journalists and residents caught in the middle of rapidly evolving events.

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Egypt: Catastrophic decline in human rights one year after ousting of Morsi

3 July 2014

Egypt: Rampant torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions signal catastrophic decline in human rights one year after ousting of Morsi

  • At least 16,000 detained and at least 80 deaths in custody recorded in past year
  • Torture and other ill-treatment in detention continues unabated
  • Fair trial standards routinely flouted

A surge in arbitrary arrests, detentions and harrowing incidents of torture and deaths in police custody recorded by Amnesty International provide strong evidence of the sharp deterioration in human rights in Egypt in the year since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

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Take action for Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for her religion

On May 15th, while eight-months pregnant, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was sentenced to death after refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for “adultery” because she is married to a Christian man.

Meriam is being held in a prison in Khartoum, Sudan, along with her young son, Martin, and newborn daughter, Maya. Her lawyer says she has been shackled with heavy chains, even during labor.

Amnesty International considers Meriam a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of her beliefs.

The court charged Meriam, who has a Muslim father, with adultery under a law that prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men. When Meriam explained that she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, she was charged with abandoning her Muslim faith and sentenced to death.

It is unclear when her execution will take place. Sudan’s Criminal Code requires that pregnant women sentenced to death must be kept alive to give birth and nurse for two years before being executed.

Let’s tell the Sudanese authorities to release Meriam now.

Global Day of Action To Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention on May 23

May 16, 2014

Local Media Contact: Megan Harrington, Amnesty International USA Group 48, 206-398-9838

Amnesty International USA Group 48, Veterans For Peace, and hold ‘May 23 Global Day of Action To Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention’
Exactly one year after President Obama recommitted to close down the detention facility, multiple local social justice groups will protest the lack of progress on detainee transfers

PORTLAND, OR—On Friday, May 23, one year after President Obama once again promised to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in a speech at National Defense University, local chapters of Amnesty International (USA Group 48), Veterans For Peace, and will host a rally at noon at Director Park in downtown Portland.

This rally is part of a Global Day of Action organized by Witness Against Torture, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Amnesty International and other groups.

Groups are calling on President Obama to transfer the dozens of cleared detainees and make good on his commitment to close the detention facility this year.

The President’s pledge last May came amidst a mass hunger strike by men protesting their indefinite detention. Since then only a handful of detainees have been transferred despite Congress’ decision to ease restrictions on such transfers.

There are no excuses for further delay. The President has the authority to transfer cleared detainees and it’s time to use it. Groups are also calling on President Obama to release the full Senate report on CIA torture and ensure that the CIA does not have the final say about what information is made public.

“The existence and continued use of the ‘gulag’ of Guantanamo is grotesque,” said S. Brian Willson, member of the Portland chapter of Veterans for Peace. “The fact that Americans tolerate the long imprisonment and torture of other human beings without due process means we need to take a serious look at the level of apathy in our culture.”

Activists will wear orange jumpsuits representing detainees at colorful demonstrations in over 25 cities, including Portland.

WHERE: Director Park, 815 SW Park Ave, downtown Portland, OR.
• Events will also be held in Washington, DC, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, London and over 20 other cities. For a full list & contact info, visit:

WHEN: 12pm, Friday, May 23, 2014

WHO: Members of the public and activists from multiple local social justice groups

WHAT: Global Day of Action Against Guantanamo

To participate, the public can attend a rally, sign a petition, call elected officials and tweet President Obama.

Protect the Girls of Chibok

It’s been two weeks since hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by an armed group that has terrorized northeastern Nigeria. There have been reports that some of the girls may have already been sold into sexual slavery, or will soon be sold into forced “marriage.”

The Nigerian government has yet to take effective action. It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

Boko Haram, the Islamist armed group claiming responsibility for the kidnappings, opposes any form of western education. Boko Haram members reportedly descended on the school and loaded the terrified girls onto trucks in the dead of night. They drove away unhindered.

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