Please see below for Urgent Actions that you can take to support our Campaigns and People at Risk.
TripAdvisor Checkout Campaign
Please see Amnesty International Website for a draft of the letter to be sent to Stephen Kaufer CEO of TripAdvisor to protest about TripAdvisor advertising properties built on Occupied Territories:
JOURNALIST ARRESTED TWICE IN 6 WEEKS
On 29 March 2019, Maria Ressa was arrested by Pasig City police officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. She was charged with violating the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law, which punishes Filipinos who allow their names or citizenship to be used to evade laws on the nationalization of certain rights, franchises or privileges. Also charged were Rappler’s managing editor and five other members of Rappler’s board. Ressa was released later that day after posting PhP90,000 (approx. USD1,700) in bail; the six others posted bail of the same amount each on 27 March 2019, ahead of the issuance of arrest warrants against them.
Rappler has been a consistent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration, and Ressa’s arrest appears to be part of a broader campaign to silence critics of the government.
TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER – PLEASE TAKE ACTION BEFORE 13th MAY 2019.
Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra,
Department of Justice,
Padre Faura Street,
Dear Secretary Guevarra,
I am writing to express my dismay at the arrest, yet again, of Maria Ressa, executive editor of news outlet Rappler, over alleged violations of the Philippine’s Anti-Dummy Law. This comes only about a month and a half after her previous arrest on politically-motivated cyber-libel charges. Both prosecutions seem to be part of a continuing and broader campaign to silence critics of the Philippine government.
Rappler has been a consistent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration, publishing detailed investigations into some of the thousands of extrajudicial executions committed by police and armed vigilantes during drug-related operations. The arrest of Maria Ressa on 29 March 2019, for the alleged violation of the country’s Anti-Dummy Law, is the latest attack against her and Rappler. It comes close on the heels of her previous arrest on 13 February 2019, on what appear to be politically-motivated charges of cyber-libel. Tax evasion charges were also brought in December 2018 against Maria Ressa and her company, Rappler Holdings Corp. – charges that are still pending in court. Amnesty International believes these, too, are trumped-up charges that were designed to stifle criticism of the President and his ‘war on drugs.’
Rappler has consistently drawn attention to the deadly reality of the ‘war on drugs,’ and the thousands of unlawful killings of poor and marginalized people perpetrated in its name. Its persistence in documenting these abuses has attracted the wrath of the Philippine authorities.
I urge your office to act swiftly to uphold and protect the freedom of the press. Specifically, I urge you to:
• Drop the charges against Maria Ressa and Rappler, which appear to be solely motivated by political interests;
• End the harassment of the media, journalists, and critics of the Duterte administration, and take measures to guarantee their right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Thank you for your kind attention.
For Amnesty International, Canterbury Group, UK
Please see Amnesty International website for further information:
Urgent Action: End attacks against human rights defenders
On 22 April, Cristina Palabay of Philippines-based human rights alliance Karapatan, received a text message from an unidentified person warning her and several others that they are targeted to be killed this year. Hours earlier, Karapatan member Bernardino Patigas was shot dead in Escalante City, Negros Occidental. He is the second human rights defender killed who was on a ‘hit list’ released in 2018. The killing of Patigas and the threats against Palabay come amid increasing risks for human rights defenders in the country
SEND A QUICK EMAIL TO SUPPORT CHRISTINA:
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 10 JUNE 2019
Use this draft letter or write a letter in your own words:
Chief, Philippine National Police
National Headquarters Building
Camp BGen Rafael Crame, Quezon City
Dear General Albayalde:
I am writing to express my concern over death threats received by human rights defender in the Philippines, Cristina Palabay. Cristina is the secretary general of Karapatan, a coalition of several human rights groups and individuals. On 22 April, she received a text message from an unidentified person, warning her and several other human rights defenders that they are targeted to be killed this year.
The threats were all the more alarming as they came just hours after another human rights advocate, Bernardino Patigas, was gunned down in Escalante City, Negros Occidental province. The killing of Patigas and the threats against Palabay and other human rights defenders come amid what appears to be an increasingly deadlier campaign against human rights defenders and political activists.
I note with grave concern that Patigas is the second human rights defender killed who was on a supposed ‘hit list’ disseminated by unknown individuals in Negros Occidental in 2018. The list, reported by Philippine media, asked the public to report through a specified phone number the whereabouts of these people, putting their lives at great risk. Also, on the list was human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos who was killed in November 2018. Dozens of other human rights activists, including environmental defenders, have also been killed since June 2016, as reported by media and human rights groups within and outside the country. All these point to the gravity of the threats against Palabay and other activists.
I therefore urge your office to act swiftly to protect human rights defenders in the country. Specifically, I call on you to:
- Open a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the death threats against Cristina Palabay and other human rights defenders in the country, and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials;
- Put in place effective mechanisms to protect human rights defenders at risk in consultation with them and in accordance to their wishes, and ensure they are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals; and
- Launch an effective investigation into the killings of human rights defenders and bring all those responsible to justice in fair trials.
Please send copies to:
Menardo I. Guevarra
Department of Justice
DOJ Building, Padre Faura Street,
HIS EXCELLENCY MR ANTONIO MANUEL LAGDAMEO Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines 6-11 Suffolk Street SW1Y 4HG
For further information please see Amnesty International website:
NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE CAMPAIGN
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British mum serving a five-year prison sentence in Iran – for a crime she didn’t commit.
She is being treated awfully in prison. When she was first arrested she was thrown into solitary confinement. She has also been refused medical care and has been forced to go on hunger strike.
Nazanin is under the diplomatic protection of the UK. Iran must release her immediately. Help get her home by signing the petition on the Amnesty International website https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/help-get-nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe-home .
URGENT ACTION – PERSON AT RISK
YEMENI ACADEMIC HELD INCOMMUNICADO Professor and political figure Youssef al-Bawab has been held in incommunicado detention in Sana’a’s Political Security Office (PSO) since 2 April 2019 and is at heightened risk of being tortured. He has been detained since 20 October 2016. In April 2017, he was accused of charges that carry the death penalty. The legal proceedings against him have been seriously flawed, including enforced disappearance, excessive pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care. Amnesty calls on the Huthi de facto authorities to drop all charges and immediately release him as the organization believes that he is being prosecuted on trumped-up charges used to punish him for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. For more information see Amnesty International Website:
PLEASE SEND THIS DRAFT LETTER OR ONE IN YOUR OWN WORDS BY 30TH MAY
H IS EXCELLENCY DR YASSIN SAEED NOMAN AHMED
57 Cromwell Road,
Dear Dr Ahmed,
Youssef al-Bawab, a linguistics professor at Sana’a University, has been held incommunicado since 2 April 2019 when he appeared before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Sana’a alongside 35 other detainees; their charges include espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, which carries a mandatory death sentence under Yemeni Criminal Law. During the trial session, Youssef al-Bawab appealed to the judge on behalf of the other detainees, highlighting how he and others have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment throughout their detention at Political Security Office (PSO) in Sana’a, including beatings, being hung from the ceilings and tied up using iron chains. The court did not respond to Youssef’s statement and the judge failed to order an investigation into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment
On 6 April 2019, Youssef al-Bawab was not brought to court to attend his next session. His lawyer asked about his whereabouts, medical condition and whether he was still alive or not. The court failed to answer these questions.
After his arrest in 2016, Youssef al-Bawab was forcibly disappeared for three months. Eventually he was transferred to the PSO in Sana’a and his family was permitted to visit him. He only had access to legal counsel once during his initial interrogations in March 2017.
I urge you to drop the trumped-up charges against Youssef al-Bawab and immediately release him as he is being punished for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. Pending his release, I urge you to intervene to ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, granted access to adequate medical treatment and regular access to his lawyer and family.
For Amnesty International, Canterbury Group.
URGENT ACTION – PERSON AT RISK
Wei Zhili, an editor of “New Generation” (xinshengdai), a website which monitors and reports on internal migrant workers in China, was transferred to secret incommunicado detention on 20 April 2019. Under this form of detention, he does not get access to a lawyer of his choice. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. For more information please see Amnesty International Website:
Please use draft letter below or write in your own words – please send appeals before 7th June 2019.
Director of Shenzhen City Pingshan District,
Public Security Sub-Bureau,
1 Longping Lu,
People’s Republic Of China
Dear Director Song,
Wei Zhili has been taken away by police along with another colleague since 20 March, amid a crackdown on students and activists advocating for workers’ rights. No arrest or search warrant was shown by the police while they were searching his home in Guangzhou and questioning him before his arrest.
On 27 March, Shenzhen City Ping Shan Public Security Sub-bureau informed Wei’s families that he was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in Shenzhen City No. 2 detention centre. The detention authorities allowed Wei to meet his family-appointed lawyers on 28 March, 8 April and 18 April. In one of the visits, Wei Zhili told his lawyer that he had not been tortured, but the police had verbally humiliated him and threatened him that they would bring his family to the interrogation room if he continued to “refuse cooperation with them.”
However, on 20 April, police informed Wei’s parents that, since 19 April, Wei had been put under residential surveillance at a designated location – a form of secret incommunicado detention that allowed the police to hold individuals for up to six months outside the formal detention system. Individuals placed under this form of detention would have no access to legal counsel of their choice, their families or others, and be subject to the grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment. The police also requested Wei’s parents to dismiss their lawyers immediately and threatened them not to cause any trouble.
Therefore, I call on you to:
- immediately and unconditionally release Wei Zhili unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that he has committed an internationally recognized offense and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards;
- ensure that Wei Zhili is not subjected to any torture or other ill-treatment and has regular and unrestricted access to a lawyer of his choice and is able to communicate with family members, without interference unless justified in line with international human rights law; and
- end all harassment against Wei Zhili’s family.
For Amnesty International, Canterbury Group.