Speak up for refugees

SYRIA-CONFLICT-REFUGEES-WEATHER-SNOWWe are in the worst refugee crisis since WWII, with over 21.3 million refugees across the globe. But dozens of hateful anti-refugee bills have been introduced in Congress—and the president has signed an anti-refugee executive order, carrying the force of law. The order bans Syrian refugees; bans visa holders from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen for 90 days; and suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (“USRAP”) for 120 months. At a time when U.S. leadership is vital to protecting lives, the U.S. is abdicating its responsibilities. The executive order signed discrimination into law and amounts to a Muslim ban. Refugees are being scapegoated in the name of national security.

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United Nations adopted Arms Trade Treaty

Amnesty International
2 April 2013

UN puts human rights at heart of historic Arms Trade Treaty

Today, governments at the United Nations adopted by a wide margin an Arms Trade Treaty that will prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons will be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

In the UN General Assembly 154 states voted to adopt the treaty just days after Iran, North Korea and Syria – three human rights-abusing countries under some form of UN sanctions – staged a cynical move to try and block it. All three voted against the treaty today and 23 other states abstained.

“The world has been waiting a long time for this historic treaty. After long years of campaigning, most states have agreed to adopt a global treaty that can prevent the flow of arms into countries where they will be used to commit atrocities,” said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, from the UN conference in New York.

“Despite Iran, North Korea and Syria’s deeply cynical attempt to stymie it, the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations have shown resounding support for this lifesaving treaty with human rights protection at its core.”

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Film screening, Education Under Fire, Oct 26

A screening of the documentary Education Under Fire regarding the Iranian government’s attack on the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education will be held at the Portland Baha’i Center.

Friday, October 26, 2012 at 7:00pm
Portland Baha’i Center
8720 N Ivanhoe St, Portland, OR 97203

Baha’is in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution simply for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college (and blocked from many professions). The 30-minute documentary, produced by Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty International, profiles the growth, struggle, and inspiring spirit of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE).

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AIUSA Nowruz holiday action

The Persian holiday Nowruz (“new day”) is an ancient holiday celebrated on the first day of spring to welcome in the new year. Traditional Nowruz celebrations include the preparation of a Haft Sin table which literally means the seven S’s. Seven items beginning with the Persian letter Sîn (equivalent to the English letter S) and which represent spring time are set out. To honor this tradition, Amnesty International USA has selected seven Iranian cases, all of them prisoners of conscience who have been identified by Amnesty International as “individuals at risk” and are therefore targeted for intensified campaigning. Several of them have been sentenced to long prison terms for their peaceful activism and several are in poor health. Click here for the case information and detailed instructions on writing to the prisoners.

Unite for human rights in Iran on February 11

Last week, two men were hanged after being accused of inciting the post-June 12 election violence that erupted last summer in Iran. The Iranian government failed to answer one key question – how could these men have been responsible for the violence when they were being held in detention long before it even occurred?

As if this injustice wasn’t enough, now the lives of 9 more men hang in the balance on similar charges. Amnesty International is that some of them may be executed before February 11th – a date holding much significance in Iran and one that could signify an end to these abuses.

February 11th is known as Victory of the Revolution Day – equivalent to the Fourth of July in the United States; it is meant to symbolize liberty, independence and freedom. Authorities in Iran fear that February 11th will spark a wave of massive protests and unite Iranians in their calls for change and accountability.

That is why on February 11th we should stand in solidarity with the Iranian people on this important date.

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