Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Rights Day: Vigil in Amherst Commons

“Dignity and justice for all of us”

Join our celebration of the 60th AAlign Centernniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
When: Wed 12/10/2008 4:00-6:00pm
Where: Amherst Downtown

Amherst, MA- Since its adoption in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Declaration is universal, enduring and vibrant, and it concerns us all.

“Any attempt to sacrifice justice not only validates the false dichotomy between peace and justice but undermines the potential for a sustainable end to the crisis in Darfur." said Salih Mahmoud, attorney and human rights defender from Sudan, a country plagued by over 6 millions of Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

It is no surprise that the theme for the Human Rights Day this year is focused on dignity and justice. More than 42 million people have been uprooted from their homes around the world, including 16 million refugees who fled to neighboring countries. Without justice these 42 million would not have the dignity that we enjoy in a relatively peaceful area here in Western Massachusetts.

Sixty years later, we pay tribute to the extraordinary vision of the Declaration’s original drafters and to the many human rights defenders around the world who have struggled to make their vision a reality.

We dedicate our celebration of the Human Rights Day this year to one democracy activist from Libya, Mr. Fathi El-Jahmi, a prominent journalist who has called for democratic reforms in Libya. This month marks the beginning of his seventh year of imprisonment in the horrific prisons of Colonel Gaddafi. We strongly encourage you to send a letter on behalf of this courageous human rights defender (see sample letter at the blog of AI’s Amherst group:

Amnesty International vision is of a world in which every person – regardless of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity – enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sample letter to free Fathi El-Gahmi
Colonel Mu’ammar al-GaddafiLeader of the RevolutionOffice of the Leader of the RevolutionTripoliGREAT SOCIALIST PEOPLE’S LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA

Your Excellency:

I am deeply concerned about 66-year-old democracy advocate Fathi el-Jahmi who has been detained since March 2004 for seeking peaceful political reforms in Libya. He suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Without proper medical treatment, his life may be in grave danger.

On 6 February 2008 the Gaddafi Development Foundation (GDF) issued a statement that a court had determined Fathi el-Jahmi to be “mentally unstable” and that Mr. el-Jahmi had been transferred to the Tripoli Medical Center as a result. The GDF failed to explain how the court arrived at their conclusion, or whether medical expertise had been used to reach this diagnosis. A previous claim by Libyan authorities that Fathi el-Jahmi was suffering from mental illness was contradicted by independent medical experts at Physicians for Human Rights and the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations, who stated in a public report that Fathi el-Jahmi remained “mentally strong.” I am concerned that Fathi el-Jahmi’s physical and mental health may have deteriorated due to the conditions in which he has been held, particularly because he appears to have been detained in solitary confinement for much of the period since his arrest on 26 March 2004.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Libya is a party, states that everyone shall have the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Amnesty International considers Fathi el-Jahmi to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful expression of his political views. I urge your government to bring about his immediate and unconditional release. I further urge you to ensure that while he is detained, Fathi el-Jahmi receives adequate medical treatment, delivered by professionals with relevant expertise, and that an independent medical assessment of his condition is allowed immediately.


copy to:
The Honorable Ali Aujali
Libyan Embassy
2600 Virginia Avenue N.W.
Suite 705
Washington, D.C. 20037

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Journalists Arrested in Sudan

More than 60 journalists were arrested in Sudan according to international media
The Sudan Human Rights Org (Cairo Chapter) issued the following Press Release:


Gross government violations of the press and journalist rights

November 20, 2008

The Government of Sudan is required to respect the right of the Press and the right of all journalists to attend Parliament sessions, in general, and those sessions scheduled to pass a new law of the press and publications to govern journalist work and their relations with the authorities.

The government prevented unlawfully hundreds of journalists from attending the National Assembly session on the new law on Monday November 17th. Harsher prevention by police and security forces disassembled peacefully protesting journalists outside the parliament space, then arrested and detained 78 protestors. These acts and others inviting the abstention of three English papers and seven Arabic journals from publication constitute a flagrant violation of the Interim Constitution and the parliamentary traditions that allow journalists to cover parliamentary sessions in the press.

The Sudan Human Rights Organization is deeply concerned with the repressive environment the government has been spreading over the public life throughout the last three years in the course of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005) prior to the upcoming 2009 elections.

The Organization has repeatedly condemned the government’s insistent violations of journalist rights and public freedoms. We have been asking the government, to no avail, to end the unlawful security interventions that obliterate journalist columns, restructure printed news, and confiscate whole papers, in addition to arbitrary arrests, heavy fines, and possible terms of imprisonment by the notorious Press and Publications Law.

As we welcome the Assembly’s approval of the National Elections Commission, SHRO asks the Government to abide by all provisions enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the National Interim Constitution, especially those concerned with the freedom of the expression and the right to peaceful assembly to prepare the national elections’ process prior to the actual voting in 2009.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AI-128 particpates in Tents of Hope

Photo by John Grant

Mohamed Elgadi, Amherst Chapter Coordinator, spoke in front of Sudan Embassy in Washington, DC and was among the group that delivered the People's Arrest Warrant of President Omer Al-bashir

"As part of the events, about 450 students from around the country traveled to the capitol for leadership training in grassroots mobilization for genocide prevention"
for more info, read the story

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fathi el-Jahmi: Our Adopted POC

In our October meeting, our Group-128 decided to adopt a jailed journalist from Libya as our POC.

Five years sentence for calling for democracy

Join Amnesty International and send message to President Muamer Qaddafi to release Fathi el-Jahmi
Libyan authorities arrested Fathi el-Jahmi in 2002 after he called for free speech and political reforms during a conference in Tripoli. For that "crime," he was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in March 2004 following international pressure but authorities detained him again just weeks later after he repeated his call for democracy during a television interview.» Learn more about Fathi el-Jahmi

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Northeast Region of AI

Our Group-128, or as it's known as Amherst Chapter, is part of the Northeast Region that includes the New England states and New York.

Northeast Office address: 58 Day Street, Davis Square, Somerville, MA 02144
phone: (617) 623-0202
fax: (617) 623-2005
Northeast Region Home Page The Northeast Office covers the following states: CONNECTICUT, MAINE, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, VERMONT, RHODE ISLAND

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No More Torture in our name!

Let's ban this disgusting crime committed under our name... Let's join Amnesty International campaign to stop torture...
see the campaign page Counter Terror With Justice

We encourage you to join the national camapign led by the interfaith groups National Religious Campaign against Torture, and the torture survivors in the US (more than 400,000) @ the Center for Victims of Torture to ban torture and hold Presidential candidates accountable to their promises during the debate.

Please read the Declaration of Principles and sign it online

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome to our new look!

below are few materials from our old Blog:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Eyes on Darfur

Amnesty International USA has identified 12 towns and villages in Darfur and eastern Chad that are at risk of attack by Janjawid militia, the Sudanese government, and/or armed opposition groups. Using satellite technology, AIUSA is closely monitoring these sites – and others in the region. Action must be taken now to prevent these sites from joining the long list of towns and villages utterly destroyed in Darfur and eastern Chad. Tell Sudanese President al-Bashir the world is watching – that we will know if harm comes to these civilians – and ask him to take all necessary steps to prevent attacks on these sites.

Sudan Accepts Phaase III Amnesty International (AI) said Sudan took a positive step on June 19 when it agreed to the deployment of the full African Union - United Nations (AU - UN) hybrid peacekeeping force in war-torn Darfur.AI called on the Sudanese Government to protect all civilians and to fulfill its commitment to disarm the Janjawid militia. AI also called on the international community to adopt a timelien and bencphmarks ato get UN peacaekeepers oon the ground as quickly as possible."The agreement is a step in the right direction," said Lynn Frederiksson, AIUSA Advocacy Director for Africa. "Now, the international community must ensure the full AU - UN force deploys as quickly as possible, and Sudan must disarm the Janjawid."AI urgedthe UN Secaurity Council and the AU Peace and Security Council to adopt the bnecessary resolutions to provide the hybrid peacekeeping force with a strong mandate and sufficient resources to protect civilians. In particular, AI said the resolutions should ensure that the hybrid force has:* The capacity to protect civilians at risk* The mandate to monitor human rights abuses, including sexual violence.* The capacity to oversee the disarmament and demobilisation of the Janjawid and armed rebel groups.* The mandate and resources to prevent Janjawid and armed rebel incursion into Chad.Darfur Satellite Project and Webxite now in OrbitAI officially launched its Eyes on Darfur project on June 6 at the Fifth International Symposium on Digital Earth in Berkeley, CA. The launch received substantial media coverage in thpe US. Two days after the launch AIUSA's New Media unit reported an initial 330,000 pae views of the Eyes on Darfur site. The sit ehas continued to experience heavy traffic.House Passes Bill that Includes Funding for Darfur Peacekeeping.The House of Representatives has passed its FY08 Foreign Operatins Appropriations bill, adding $100 million for African Union peacekeeping as well as increased funds for the UN peacekeeping account, which will fund UN participation in the joint AU - UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur. AIUSA activists and staff actively lobbied members of the House for this additional funding.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Road to Guantanamo.
The Road to GuantanamoAmnesty International Group 128, Amherst will hold two showings of the film, "The Road to Guantanamo" in April. The first showing will be at the home of Mohamed Elgadi at 135 East Hadley Road in South Amherst on Thursday, April 5 at 7:15 pm. For directions call 256-4298.The second showing will be at the home of Fanny Rothschild at 26 Morgan Circle in Cushman, North Amherst on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:15 pm. For directions call 549-0945."THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO is the terrifying first-hand account of three British citizens who were held for two years without charges in the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Known as the "Tipton Three," in reference to their home town in Britain, the three were eventually returned to Britain and released, still having had no formal charges made against them at any time during their ordeal. Part documentary, part dramatization, the film chronicles the sequence of events that led from the trio setting out from Tipton in the British Midlands for a wedding inPakistan, to their crossing the Afghanistan border just as the U.S. began its bombing campaign, to their eventual capture by the Northern Alliance and their imprisonment in Camp X-Ray and later at Camp Delta in Guantánamo.
posted by Claudia Rhodes @