Sunday, May 20, 2007

Amnesty's blog projects

Having supposedly joined Amnesty's blog project months and months ago, I haven't done a thing with any of the campaigns they sent me, and the pile-up in my in-box is making me feel guilty! So even though this is a very lazy and uncreative response, I've got to cleanse my conscience (and my email account), so I'm just listing the campaigns below... I know, fairly lame... But I'm resolving to do much better with them from now on...! Promise...!

Free Zmitser Dashkevich!

10,000 crane birds for freedom of expression in Belarus

A legend says that if you fold 1,000 origami crane birds, your wish will be granted. Origami cranes have come to symbolise peace after the Second World War. Our wish today is for Belarus to restore freedom of expression and proceed with the immediate and unconditional release of all those who are detained for the legitimate and peaceful expression of their views.

We are appealing in particular for the release of youth opposition leader Zmitser Dashkevich. Zmitser was sentenced in November 2006 to one and a half years' imprisonment for 'organizing or participating in an activity of an unregistered non-governmental organization', under article 193, Part 1 of the Criminal Code. The Article was added to the Criminal Code in December 2005 as part of a series of amendments that introduced penalties for civil society organizations and other outspoken critics of the government, in the lead-up to the presidential elections in March 2006.

Join Make Some Noise and add your crane to free Zmitser Dashkevich! For your readymade origami print-out and a 'how-to' video, click here. Take a picture of your best origami crane(s) and upload it in the form below. Make Some Noise will then put all pictures online and track the progress towards the 10,000 cranes appeal. Once your picture has been uploaded, put your crane(s) in an envelope addressed to:
Minister of Internal Affairs
Vladimir V. NAUMOV
ul.Gorodskoi Val 4
220615 Minsk, BELARUS

Hello all,

Yesterday, we at Amnesty International UK launched a new UK web appeal in the Sunday Mirror on behalf of a 20-year-old woman artist facing execution in Iran
; we hope you can help with some campaigning by blogging about this web appeal. We’re asking people to go to our website
and to write to the Iranian authorities, imploring them to stop the execution of Delara Darabi, who was just 17 at the time of her alleged crime.

Delara Darabi and her 19-year-old boyfriend Amir Hossein reportedly went to a woman’s house in 2003, where Amir Hossein allegedly killed the woman. Delara initially confessed to the murder, but subsequently retracted her confession. Delara says that Amir Hossein asked her to admit responsibility for the murder to protect him from execution, believing that as she was under the age of 18, she could not be sentenced to death.

Amnesty members around the world are urgently campaigning to stop Delara’s execution. You can link to our press release

There’s also an active online campaign for Delara on MySpace
with background material and pics of Delara, and an online petition too

Much of Delara’s artwork was painted while she was in prison, awaiting execution and can be seen online at Flickr.

Iran executes more known child offenders than any other country, and, in 2006, Iran and Pakistan were the only countries in the world to continue to execute child offenders. At least 28 child offenders remain on death row in Iran and the country is known to have executed four child offenders last year.

Iin the past, Iran has commuted death sentences after international outcry, so we think this campaign could really make a difference. Hope you can help in any way you can – we’ll let you know if we hear any developments.

Until next time,

Liz and Steve
Project Blog Crew

Did you know that 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes in Darfur, Sudan? Each day, they face threats that are hard for us to even imagine including rape, disease, and starvation.

These people need our help to put an end to the genocide and they need it NOW.

Please join me in taking the first step to stopping the violence.

Sign the Save Darfur Coalition's petition urging President Bush and the UN Secretary-General to take immediate steps to stop the killing.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people in the region who desperately need outside help.

The Save Darfur Coalition is urging the international community to prevent further killings, displacement, and rape by deploying the UN peacekeeping force that has already been authorized, strengthening the understaffed African Union force that is already in Darfur, establishing a no-fly zone, increasing humanitarian aid, and ensuring access for delivery of food, medication and other essential supplies.

Please do not stand by while the violence continues - you can make a difference.

Go to
to get involved.

Then please forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to join you.

If you'd like to make a donation to support the campaign, you can do so at:

Thank you for your help

So, did you think the death penalty is a thing of the past? Maybe that it died out with witch burning (or at least after major miscarriages of justice showed how fallible capital punishment is)?

Think again.

Last week we published our global survey of executions in 2006. It shows that at least 1,591 people were executed in 25 countries last year - the majority in China (1,010), Iran (177), Pakistan (82), Iraq (65), Sudan (65) and USA (53) - but that these are only minimum figures. China, for example, refuses to even publish execution statistics and it secretly executes 7,000-8,000 each year.

Do they get what they deserve? Well, this is what it can involve:

· A man in Somalia was publicly stabbed to death after being hooded and tied to a stake
· A Sri Lankan man was found to be still alive and moving by morgue staff after being hanged in Kuwait - he died five hours after the hanging
· In Japan a man was taken to the gallows in a wheelchair
· In Iran, two people (a man and a woman) were stoned to death - stoning was made the punishment because they were accused of adultery

Check out the full gory details:

One of the latest shocking cases we’ve come across involves a 17-year-old Kurdish girl called Du’a Khalil Aswad who was stoned to death in Iraq last month. This was a so-called ‘honour killing’ because she and a boy had supposedly brought shame on their community. Horrifically, local security people reportedly stood by and let the stoning happen.

For the full story, check out:

And, there’s a disturbing set of photos of Du'a Khalil after she’d been stoned at:

There is a way in which you can take action on other cases to help prevent further executions. One such case is the case of Delara Darabi, the 19-year-old woman in Iran who could be executed within weeks – the case we emailed you about in the middle of April. We are asking people to go to the link and send appeals to the Iranian government to urgently stop this execution. Please check out Delara’s case and spread the word to as many people as possible:

As always, thank you all for your support.

Until next time,
Liz and Steve
The Project Blogsters

Hi all,

Many of you will be familiar with the media reports of village-burning, mass rape, killings and lootings by armed men pillaging their way across the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

But like us, you might be asking - why, when the evidence of enormous human suffering is so clear, is nothing done to protect these people? Didn’t the whole world say ‘never again’ after the Holocaust, and after what happened in Rwanda? Isn’t this why we have international law and human rights?

Amnesty International has been reporting on the crisis in Darfur since 2003. Our reports, such as one in 2004 that exposed how rape was being used systematically to terrorise the Darfuri population, helped to raise awareness of the crisis and to get the UN to start talking and at least get monitors into the region:

This kind of evidence from the frontline, based on what people on the ground report to Amnesty, is critical in getting the international community to listen and to act. But it works best when it is supported by activists who share the message, tell others, and when necessary take to the streets – as 1000s of us did at the end of April:

This month, Amnesty staff member Kerry Smith has been in eastern Chad, interviewing people who have been displaced from their homes in attacks very similar to those which have taken place in Darfur. The crisis has truly spread across the Sudanese-Chad border.
You can read her extremely moving reports in a special blog sent direct from Chad here:

Amnesty will deliver a formal report on our findings to governments soon, calling for an effective peace-keeping force to be sent to Darfur, and to Chad, to protect people now. You can help us make this work more effective by telling those you know about the crisis, linking to our blogs and special reports, and joining us when we demonstrate on behalf of the Darfuri people. The latest info is always here:

Thanks for your support.

Until next time,
Liz and Steve
The Project Blogsters

Hey, everyone,
Infant Mortality is defined as the percentage of infants who die between birth and their first birthday. It one of the leading measurement of health and economic welfare of any given population. These numbers are rising in the southeast of the United States - 17 out of 1000 black babies die in their first year in Mississippi - vs. 6.6 for every 1000 white babies.

I am working towards midwifery within a framework of social justice, so I wanted to share this information with you. This article has it's issues - I won't go into a full critique, but notably lacking is any mention of the systematic eradication of the granny midwives tradition in the southeast, nor any mention of the impact of the many missing men from these communities, due to the high incarceration rates among young black men in the southeast. Nevertheless, the information is important and the article even mention some viable models for improving the situation. Included is an excellent audio slideshow.

Please read this article and feel free to forward this to anyone you might know who could be interested. It makes me proud to be involved in providing good care for the pregnant women I meet and the revolutionary models of healthcare that are working in New Orleans, but also ashamed at the continued class and race divisions in this country, particularly around health care. With hope and resistance,
~ Kate



Jo said...

Hi. Thanks so much for writing about Delara Darabi. Please note that the official website of the SaveDelara campaign is

You can find the latest information, news, and updates about Delara's case, see her paintings, and find related materials.

John said...

This is a fascinating post! It could not have been expressed better.