Get on the Bus made a difference for these human rights defenders:
Of the original Drapchi 14 Nuns of Tibet, 1 died in custody and the other 13 have been released.
Ngawang Choezom, Lhundrub Zangmo, Ngawang Tsamdrol, Gyaltsen Choezom, Gyaltsen Drolkar (released 10 days after GOTB in 1997), Ngawang Choekyi, Palden Choedron, Tenzin Thubten, Ngawang Sangdrol (released in March 2003), Namdrol Lhamo, Phuntsok Nyidron, Rinzin Choenyi, Jigme Yangchen. Ngawang Lochoe died in custody at the age of 26.
In 1999, GOTB demanded freedom for Xu Wenli, who was jailed in China for trying to start an opposition political party. His daughter Jin Xu led our protests demanding his unconditional release. Xu Wenli was freed in 2002, now lives in the United States, and continues to campaign for democracy in China.
GOTB demanded the release of Christine Anyanwu in 1998. A Nigerian journalist detained by regime of Sani Abacha in 1995, she was tried before a secret military tribunal and sentenced to life in prison with 3 other journalists. She served 3 years before being released after the death of Abacha in 1998. She now runs her own television production company in Abuja, Nigeria.
The subject of a demonstration outside the Russian consulate in 2002, Grigory Pasko was convicted of treason for reporting on illegal dumping of radioactive waste and ammunition by the Russian navy. He was released in January 2003 and is now taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In 2003, GOTB demonstrated in front of the US Mission to the UN on behalf of Isau Flores-Portillo, a 15-year-old child from Honduras who fled to the United States at the age of 13 seeking political asylum, only to be put in detention in the Berks County Youth Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania. Isau was released from immigration detention in February 2004, and is now living in foster care at Catholic Charities in Houston while he awaits appeal of his asylum case.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
We first protested the imprisonment of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in 2004. This Tibetan monk was sentenced to death after an unfair trial for allegedly planting a bomb and advocating for Tibetan independence. In January 2005, his death sentence was commuted to life in prison.
J.S. Tissainayagam - "Tissa"
One of the actions of the 2010 Get On The Bus event included demonstrating outside the Sri Lankan Mission to the United Nations and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of J.S. Tissainayagam, or "Tissa." Tissa, a Sri Lankan journalist, was arbitrarily detained by the police in Colombo on March 7, 2008 and convicted and sentenced to 20 years hard labor. In mid-June 2010, the Sri Lankan president issued him a presidential pardon. Tissa left Sri Lanka and entered the United States on June 19, 2010.
We will never forget:
Ken Saro Wiwa, Ogoni human rights activist, environmental crusader, and writer from Nigeria, executed by the regime of Sani Abacha in 1995, the subject of GOTB demonstrations in his memory from 1996-1999.
Impact on government policies and practices
Protection for Child Soldiers
On June 15 2011, Chadian officials signed a United Nations action plan to end the recruitment of child soldiers in Chad, and to release and rehabilitate all children involved with the military or with paramilitary groups. The agreement was signed following a meeting between President Idriss Deby Itno and UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy. Prior to visiting Chad, Ms. Coomaraswamy was briefed by Amnesty International, including information generated by our GOTB meeting with Chad’s UN ambassador in April 2011. The agreement on child soldiers must be seen as a small but very significant success for our GOTB 2011 action.