Stay tuned: on March 3rd, our ad hoc planning committee is gathering to get started on some events and activities in 2015!!!
We’ll post possible events and calls for help in making them happen!
Things like speaker panels, film screenings/talks, poetry readings, music events and MORE!
If you have a great idea for an event OR a group we can partner with on something, email Ayres or Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are not big on capacity right now (let’s hope that changes in the warmer months!), but big on IDEAS and we’d love to do events that offer a local + international connection.
Brenda Sólkez reads the names of the 46 Mexican students, who were killed or missing from Ayotzinapa, during Amnesty International Pittsburgh’s Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival.
Not enough investigation was done, and the government has closed the case. However, human rights groups are demanding answers and justice for innocents killed or disappeared.
JAILED AFTER EXPOSING POSSIBLE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Transgender US Army Private Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013, after leaking classified US government material to the website Wikileaks. Some of the documents pointed to potential human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law by US troops abroad, the CIA, and Afghan and Iraqi forces operating alongside the US army.
Chelsea says she was trying to spark a meaningful debate on the costs of war and raise awareness of US military conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. She believed that that she was exposing abuses by releasing the information, but she wasn’t allowed to present evidence that she was acting in the public interest. In fact, Chelsea couldn’t even explain her motives until the sentencing phase of her trial. What’s more, she was overcharged with offenses including ‘aiding the enemy’. It seems that her prosecution was meant to send a harsh warning to other potential whistleblowers seeking to expose U.S. Government wrongdoing.
Chelsea spent three years in detention, awaiting trial. For eleven months she endured conditions described by a UN expert on torture as ‘cruel and inhumane’. These included isolation in solitary confinement – 23 hours a day in a small cell with no window to the outside.
The US has spent far too long punishing Chelsea for revealing potential human rights abuses. She should be shown clemency and government officials should focus their energies on investigating the alleged abuses she exposed.
IMPRISONMENT AND 1,000 LASHES FOR A WEBSITE
In May 2014, Raif Badawi was jailed for 10 years. His sentence also included 1,000 lashes, a 10-year travel ban, and a lifetime ban from appearing on media outlets once he is released.
What was Raif’s so-called crime? Violating Saudi Arabia’s information technology law and insulting Islam through the creation of ‘Saudi Arabian Liberals,’ a website meant for social and political debate in Saudi Arabia. He is a Prisoner of Conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of his beliefs.
The charges against Raif are related to articles he wrote criticizing religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, and pieces penned by others that Raif published on the Saudi Arabian Liberals’ site. The prosecution had called for him to be tried for ‘apostasy’ or abandoning his religion, which carries the death penalty.
Raif is one of many activists in Saudi Arabia persecuted for openly expressing their views online. Facebook and Twitter are incredibly popular in a country where people can’t openly voice their opinions in public. The authorities have responded to this increase in online debate by monitoring social media sites and even trying to ban applications such as Skype and WhatsApp, further stifling free expression.