About Samir Goswami

Samir Goswami is the Managing Director of the Individuals and Communities at Risk Program at Amnesty International USA, where he oversees campaigning in support of those whose human rights are being violated. Prior to joining Amnesty, he was the Director of Corporate Responsibility, Rule of Law at LexisNexis where he created and managed partnerships with government agencies, law firms, corporations and NGOs to support anti-trafficking efforts and global initiatives that advance the rule of law. He worked with various segments in the company to incorporate corporate social responsibility within business development strategies, and created data systems and analytics to help address social issues. Samir has extensive background in legislative advocacy, community organizing, policy development and communications on the issues of violence against women, affordable housing, workforce development, criminal justice reform and human trafficking. Before moving to Washington, D.C., he worked with Illinois legislators to draft and pass various legislative initiatives on these topics. He founded and led the End Demand, Illinois Campaign, an effort to transform the state's response to human trafficking. Through this campaign he built and led a coalition that included public and law enforcement officials, survivors of trafficking and advocates and successfully lobbied the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to make the Safe Children's Act her top legislative priority for 2010. Samir has spent the last 15 years building various collaborations and coalitions around social justice issues. He is the recipient of numerous awards including, "40 Who Have Made a Difference" by Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, the "2010 Impact Award" by Chicago Foundation for Women, and he was awarded a 2010 Chicago Community Trust Fellowship in recognition of his work on human trafficking issues.
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Before the Sochi Olympics, Let President Putin Know He’s Not Fooling Anyone

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Mikhail Kosenko has had psychiatric treatment forced upon him after participating in a peaceful protest in Bolotnaya Square (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

Mikhail Kosenko has had psychiatric treatment forced upon him after participating in a peaceful protest in Bolotnaya Square (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

Mikhail Kosenko had an ordinary life. He spent a lot of time in libraries and bookshops. His sister describes him as an intelligent, well-informed person.

Then one day, he decided to peacefully and publicly express his opinion. Against President Vladimir Putin.

In Russia, such opinions are not welcome. They are violently discouraged.

Stop the crackdown against people like Mikhail.

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BREAKING: Abdullah al-Qahtani Again Under Imminent Threat of Execution

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532069_10151342611886363_1783006419_nThere has been a horrendous, sudden spike in executions in Iraq.

Sources indicate that Abdullah al-Qahtani is once again under imminent threat of execution.

Your immediate action could spare his life.

Abdullah is one of six men who were reportedly tortured into confessing to murder and terrorism.

He was initially detained for immigration violations. Abdullah’s attorneys say they have compelling evidence of his innocence. He deserves to have his evidence heard by a court in a fair trial.

Last year, after four of his co-defendants were executed, Abdullah could have been executed at any time – but his life was spared.

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Sentenced to a Psychiatric Hospital For a Peaceful Protest

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Mikhail Kosenko stands in a defendant cage in a court in Moscow (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

Mikhail Kosenko stands in a defendant cage in a court in Moscow (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

This blog originally appeared in the Huffington Post

Mikhail Kosenko was there last year when tens of thousands gathered in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in protest of Vladimir Putin’s re-election. Video evidence indicates that he was protesting peacefully, yet he was arrested days later by the Russian authorities and charged with taking part in a riot and using violence against police officers.

Although many are being prosecuted for their involvement that day, Kosenko has been sent by the courts to a psychiatric hospital, where treatment is being forced upon him. The prosecution asserts that he is a threat to himself and others, yet there is no evidence of this.

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HAPPENING NOW: Pussy Riot Member Rumored to Have Been Transferred to Siberian Prison

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Nadya had publically complained of threats she received from prison officials (Photo Credit: Maksim Blinov/AFP/Getty Images).

Nadya had publically complained of threats she received from prison officials (Photo Credit: Maksim Blinov/AFP/Getty Images).

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova is rumored to have been transferred to a prison colony in Siberia. But we can’t know for sure because Russian authorities refuse to disclose her whereabouts.

If these reports are true, transferring her to a prison colony thousands of miles from Moscow would make it impossible for her family and lawyers to see her. This would be a grave violation of her human rights and Russia’s own laws.

It’s especially concerning because Nadya had publicly complained of threats she received from prison officials. We fear she may now be being punished for this and for speaking out against deplorable prison conditions.

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From Jail Cell to Board Chair: Ann Burroughs on the Urgent Action Network

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946701_10151615992491363_98894236_nThis post is the second in a three-part blog series commemorating the launch of Amnesty USA’s redesigned Urgent Action Network. Read on for how this updated tool will help activists make a stronger impact.

Even now, twenty-seven years later, Ann Burroughs can remember what it felt like to go to prison.

I’ll never forget my anger as the door shut behind me for the first time. But I did not for a moment question my commitment to opposing injustice and the government’s repressive policies of discrimination and segregation.

Ann’s “crime” was campaigning against apartheid in South Africa. After being convicted, Amnesty declared Ann a Prisoner of Conscience and made her the subject of an Urgent Action (UA). The letters that poured in to South African officials as a result of that UA were integral in securing Ann’s release.

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Protesting the Regression to Repression in Russia

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Policemen detain an opposition supporter taking part in a picketing calling for the release of the two jailed members the Pussy Riot (Photo Credit: Evgeny Feldman/AFP/Getty Images).

Policemen detain an opposition supporter taking part in a picketing calling for the release of the two jailed members the Pussy Riot (Photo Credit: Evgeny Feldman/AFP/Getty Images).

This blog originally appeared on Fem 2.0

A lot has changed in Russia since I visited Moscow in 1985.

It was an exciting time for citizens of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev had just taken over as the General Secretary of the Communist Party and introduced “Glasnost” or openness to a people who had for years lived under the dictates of a repressive government. Glasnost started a transformation in Soviet society and awoke long dormant aspirations of cultural, civil, and political freedoms.

The ensuing three decades were turbulent to say the least, but resulted in Russians enjoying and exercising greater freedoms, including the key ability to have a say in their own governance.

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Not a Billion More

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One Billion Rising

I was in Delhi on December 17 when tens of thousands marched in solidarity to support a young victim of rape.

On the evening of December 16, this young woman and her friend boarded a bus to return home after watching a movie. Her friend was attacked, while she was assaulted and raped by five men on the bus. Both were then left to die on the side of a busy street. Her injuries were so severe, that she succumbed to them a few weeks later.

Angered by her plight, thousands took to the streets to demand justice and accountability from a system that they think routinely ignores issues around women’s safety. Subsequently, the Indian government showed uncharacteristic speed in apprehending and trying the suspects. And now substantial efforts are under way to overhaul the country’s legal, social, and cultural response to violence against women.

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