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