Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 342

With National Human Rights Day just around the corner (December 10th) I chose to visit Amnesty International and fight for human rights!

My first letter was to defend Native women from domestic violence. More than 1 in 3 Native American and Alaska Native women will be subject to domestic violence or sexual assault in her lifetime. The maze of federal, state, and tribal jurisdictions, along with the damaging precedent set by the Supreme Court ruling in Oliphant v. Suquamish, has created an environment of impunity in Indian Country where perpetrators act without fear or consequence for their crimes. On October 31, 2011, Senator Daniel Akaka continued the fight to end violence against Native women by introducing S. 1763, the "Stand Against Violence and Empower (SAVE) Native Women Act". The legislation will seek to tackle the issue of domestic violence in particular, by restoring the capacity of tribal governments to prosecute crimes of domestic violence and uphold protection orders in Indian Country.

The next one was to stop the repeated, arbitrary arrest, intimidation, harassment and ill-treatment of activists in Zimbabwe. The activists of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are frequently targeted by police and security forces while exercising their freedom of speech and assembly. The members of WOZA gather to march to bring attention to human and civil rights violations in Zimbabwe. Many members have experienced incidents of unnecessary physical violence during the course of arrest and while being held in jail or prison.

The last one was to remind the Olympic Committees of the Bhopal Tragedy in India. The lives of tens of thousands of people in Bhopal, India were devastated in December 1984 by a catastrophic gas leak at Union Carbide’s pesticide factory (now owned by Dow chemical). Since the world’s worst industrial disaster, over 25,000 people have died, and over 100,000 continue to deal with serious health problems. There has been no justice in Indian or US courts for victims, no proper rehabilitation for the many survivors struggling with medical problems, and no adequate compensation for those whose lives were changed forever by the leak. Sadly, this human rights disaster now spans generations.

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