Actions and Issues
More info on 2021 Actions coming soon...
The main actions are:
The main actions are:
- Sri Lanka: Justice for Ragihar Manoharan and the Trinco Five
- United States: End the federal death penalty in the United States
- Honduras: Justice for Environmentalist and Human Rights Defender Berta Cáceres
- China: End mass detentions of Uyghur people and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, including Tibetan environmental activist A-Nya Sengdra and Uyghur economist and professor Ilham Tohti
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: End mass detentions of Uyghur people and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience
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.
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.
Ilham Tohti Action Links:
United States: End the death penalty and stop executions
In the last year, while the United States saw a significant decline in the use of state executions, there was a tragic restarting of federal executions by the U.S. Government. Under the Trump Administration, 13 federal prisoners were executed by former president Trump in his last six months in office. Those 13 executions included a woman, Black men, a Native American man, prisoners with severe intellectual disabilities, and even prisoners who were only accomplices to crimes and didn't commit any murders themselves. What the United States saw in those waning months of the Trump Administration had never been seen before in our lifetimes.
While the Biden Administration has indicated that it has no plans to continue executing federal prisoners, it is critical that we turn this promise into law, and make sure that Congress passes legislation to end the federal death penalty once and for all.
Get on the Bus participants will hear from an individual directly impacted by the death penalty in the United States, and have the opportunity to take action in a number of ways, including contacting your Members of Congress to support the federal death penalty abolition legislation (House Bills 97 and 262, and Senate Bill 582), writing letters to the editor in support of death penalty abolition, and taking action on a new AIUSA prisoner focus case: Rocky Myers, a death row prisoner in Alabama.