Group 48 Holiday Potluck & Write-a-thon

Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s annual global letter writing marathon. Every December, Amnesty supporters write millions of messages for people whose basic human rights are under attack.

Date: Friday, December 12, 2014

Time: 7:30-9pm (set up starts at 7:00pm)

Location: Buchan Building at First Unitarian Church (church map)
1011 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR

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Algeria: 18-year-old Syrian Refugee Faces Deportation

Amnesty International
Urgent Action UA 269/14
28 October 2014

The Algerian authorities may be preparing to forcibly return an 18-year-old Syrian refugee after he entered the country without official legal documentation.

Moustafa Albakkor, 18, fled Syria in 2012 to escape the crisis that had begun in 2011 and entered Turkey where he was officially recognised as a refugee by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He travelled to Algeria in August 2014.

He was arrested on 18 August and detained in El-Oued Penal Institution, in the north-east of the country. He was tried on 12 October 2014, sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and fined 50,000 Dinars (US$600) for “entering the country with forged travel documents”. His appeal hearing is scheduled for 5 November. His family told Amnesty International they have been prevented from visiting him in prison for over two months.

He is now at risk of being forcibly returned to Syria, where he would face a real risk of human rights violations. Shortly after he was arrested, an official source told Moustafa Albakkor that the Syrian Embassy were in dialogue with the Algerian authorities regarding his deportation.

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Urgent Action – Syrian family at risk

Amnesty International
Urgent Action UA 258/14
14 October 2014

Parents and Six Children At Risk

A Syrian couple, Rania Alabbasi and her husband Abdulrahman Yasin, and their six children, now aged three to 15, have been subjected to enforced disappearance by the Syrian authorities. They were arrested in March 2013.

According to a relative who lives abroad, Military Intelligence officers came to Rania Alabbasi and her husband Abdulrahman Yasin’s house on 9 March 2013 and arrested Abdulrahman Yasin. They are not believed to have given any reason for arresting him. They returned the following day and confiscated items such as money, jewelry, papers and the family’s three cars.

They returned again on 11 March, this time to arrest Rania Alabbasi along with her six children. She has five daughters, Dima (aged 15), Entisar (aged 14), Najah (aged 11), Alaa (aged nine) and Layan (aged three) and one son, Ahmad (aged seven). Rania Alabbasi’s secretary, who was in the house when the security forces arrived, was also arrested.

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From Switzerland to Ferguson: A Flame of Activism Elevates to New Heights

by Aquib Yacoob, 2014 Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellow

AquibI am honored to have spent this past summer as Ladis Kirstof Fellow for Organizing and Activism. I was fortunate; I discovered the power of activism on my first day as a freshman back in high school – I was 14.

After joining my school’s Amnesty International chapter at a rally outside of the United Nations – as the saying goes – my flame was ignited. I discovered a new voice. I discovered a new community. I discovered my individual power, and the collective power we hold when we organize, when we mobilize.

I’ve been involved with Amnesty since that day, now some seven years ago. I’ve volunteered in-and-out of our national, regional and legislative offices in New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, respectively. I’ve participated in human rights conferences across the United States. I’ve met with some of the most inspirational human beings our world has to offer. All of this, as an Amnesty member.

The 2014 Ladis Kristof Fellowship allowed me to enter the world of human rights and social justice professionally. It took my engagement to the next level. My time spent working with and learning from Amnesty staff and member leaders has confirmed one thing: this is where I want to be; working towards a socially just world, working “in human rights” – this is my raison d’être, so to speak.

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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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