Actions and Issues
Sri Lanka: Justice for the Trinco Five
China/Tibet: Unconditional release of Tibetan activist Tashi Wangchuk and Uyghur economist and professor Ilham Tohti
Iran: Unconditional release of Nasrin Sotoudeh from prison, for regular access to her family members and a lawyer of her own choice, and for the abolition of mandatory hijab laws
United Arab Emirates: Unconditional release of Human Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor
Syria: Unconditional release of Mahmoud Othman
Saudi Arabia: Unconditional release of Saudi Women Human Rights Defender Loujain al-Hathloul
United States: Legislation for protecting people from gun violence
Sri Lanka: Justice For Ragihar Manoharan and the Trinco Five
Ragihar Manoharan, a Sri Lankan Tamil student, and four fellow students had gathered for a chat near the seafront in the town of Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka at about 7:00 p.m. on January 2, 2006, when a grenade was thrown at them from a passing auto rickshaw. The students ran, but at least three of them were injured in the explosion. A short while later, a group of 10 to 15 officers in uniform, believed to be police from the elite Special Task Force, arrived. They reportedly put the injured students into their jeep and beat them with rifle butts, and then pushed them out onto the road. According to a witness, the security forces personnel then shot the five students dead.
Despite subsequent court hearings and an investigation by a presidential commission of inquiry, no one has been convicted for these murders. Ragihar’s father gave evidence at the proceedings and then received death threats. Ultimately, Ragihar’s family was forced to flee Sri Lanka.
Justice for Ragihar and the rest of the Trinco Five has been one of the GOTB actions for several years. In July 2013, due to the mounting international pressure, the Sri Lankan government arrested 12 Police Special Task Force members in connection with the murders. All 12 were out on bail while the case was pending. In July 2019, the court acquitted all of the defendants due to lack of sufficient evidence. The Sri Lankan Attorney General later ordered the police to re-open investigations into the killings. We are continuing to call on the Sri Lankan government to effectively investigate and prosecute those who murdered Ragihar Manoharan and the rest of the “Trinco Five."
Both the 2017 and 2018 reports on Sri Lanka from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights cited the case of the Trinco Five students as an emblematic case of human rights violations for which no appreciable progress has occurred.
Take Action Now: Join the South Asia Regional Action Network
Sign up for monthly actions by email on Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, the Maldives and Bangladesh.
Email email@example.com and write "SARAN sign-up" in the subject line.
Tibet/China: Unconditional release of Tibetan activist Tashi Wangchuk and Uyghur economist and professor Ilham Tohti
This year's Get on the Bus will once again call for the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners being held by the Chinese government. We will have a special focus on two prisoners of conscience: Tibetan language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk and Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti.
Tashi Wangchuk is a Tibetan entrepreneur and language rights activist. He has been detained by the Chinese government since January 27, 2016 on charges of inciting separatism, after he worked to sue the Chinese government to expand access to Tibetan language education. He faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted.
Coming to the China/Tibet rally? Please print and cut out this mask of Tashi Wangchuk's face. We will be bringing some to the rally, too.
Ilham Tohti has been held by the Chinese Government for more than five years. He was an economics professor at Central University for Nationalities in Beijing. He has worked for two decades to build understanding between Uighurs and Han Chinese. Rejecting separatism and violence, he tried to reconcile differences between these ethnic groups. Uighurs, a mainly Muslim Turkic ethnic group, have faced widespread discrimination in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China.
In January 2014, Ilham Tohti was taken from his home in Beijing by police. For five months, family and friends were not told where he was. He was denied food for 10 days and his feet were shackled for 20 days straight. In September 2014, following an unfair trial, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of separatism.
Amnesty International recognizes Ilham Tohti as a prisoner of conscience, and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release. Amnesty also is calling for the release of the many other Uighur scholars and community members who are being unrightfully detained.
Tashi Wangchuk links:
United Arab Emirates: Unconditional release of Human Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor
In December 2018, Ahmed Mansoor, recipient of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, was sentenced to 10 years prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression. According to news reports, the authorities suspect him of using his social media accounts to, among other things, publish false information and incite sectarianism. But along with other human rights groups and United Nations human rights experts, Amnesty International believes his arrest is an attack on his work as a human rights defender and a violation of his human rights. Amnesty International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release as he is being held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression, including through his social media accounts.
Sample letter to the UAE Prime Minister
Sample letter to the UAE Ambassador
Petition for Ahmed Mansoor
UAE prime minister email and social media info:
Email via web: https://uaecabinet.ae/en/contact-the-prime-minister, Twitter: @HHShkMohd, Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/HHSheikhMohammed/
Syria: Release Ali Mahmoud Othman immediately and unconditionally
Ali Mahmoud Othman was disappeared in March 2012. His family was not told where he was being held or why, and no one has heard from Ali Mahmoud Othman since a televised interview on Syria state TV in May 2012.
He was part of a network of activists who ran the makeshift Homs media centre and was also well-known for helping foreign journalists move in and out of Homs. He started reporting on the situation in Syria in the absence of reports by professional journalists, because of restrictions imposed by the Syrian authorities following the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in mid-March 2011.
Amnesty International believes Ali Mahmoud Othman to be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for his peaceful activities as a citizen journalist, and calls on Syrian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and to stop widespread human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary detention, and executions in Syria.
Amnesty Research Report, 2017/2018: The State of the World’s Human Rights - Syria
Amnesty News, August 2014: “Disappearances in Syria: The ghosts of the war”:
Letter writing action:
AIUSA blog post about the dangers journalists in Syria face: https://www.amnestyusa.org/syria-is-a-dangerous-place-for-journalists-but-heres-why-we-need-them-there/
AIUSA blog post about ‘enforced disappearances” of journalists: https://medium.com/@amnestyusa/where-are-the-disappeared-6cd6993b55a1
Committee to Protect Journalists: Ali Mahmoud Othman profile: https://cpj.org/data/people/ali-mahmoud-othman/index.php
Saudi Arabia: Free Loujain al-Hathloul
Saudi women human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Loujain al-Hathloul has been arbitrarily detained since May 17, 2018.
Statements, Campaigns, and Reports:
- Saudi Arabia: Women's rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul due in court:
- Saudi Arabia: Release Women Human Rights Defenders Immediately!: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2018/06/saudi-arabia-release-women-human-rights-defenders/
- Campaign: “Muzzling Critical Voices: Politicized Trials Before Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court":
- Amnesty International Expert talks about the Saudi Women Human Rights Defenders detention, including that of Loujain al-Htahloul, on NBC News “Think”: https://youtu.be/dGymnno4dI0
- 60 Minutes interview with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on Loujain al-Hathloul’s detention and torture: https://youtu.be/tArnWhgr2Vo
- Democracy Now! episode focused on Loujain al-Hathloul’s imprisonment (family members interviewed) :
Recommended Social Media Hashtags and Links:
United States: End Gun Violence
Take action with us by asking your United States Senators to co-sponsor the Background Check Expansion Act, Senate Bill 42.