Flying Our Flags for Filep

Do you have a flag at your house, your school, your office, or on your car? In the US, many people display US flags, but you also see lots of other kinds of flags—flags from people’s countries of family origin, or rainbow flags for LGBT pride, or even confederate flags recalling the Civil War era. Whether or not you like a particular country’s flag, or agree with what a given flag stands for, you have to admit that people don’t often run into trouble for flying their various flags. They certainly don’t end up in jail. But then again, they don’t live in Indonesia.

On December 1, 2004, Filep Karma was arrested for raising a flag during a peaceful ceremony in Papua, Indonesia. Sentenced to 15 years behind bars for his nonviolent activism, Filep continues to be an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, and he needs our help!  Now is the time to take action: flood the streets of DC, educate your community, Write for Rights, stand with Filep now!

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Tiananmen 20th Anniversary Coming Up

© 1989 Hei Han Khiang

© 1989 Hei Han Khiang

As I’m sure many of you know, June 3-4, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

Two decades after the crackdown, about 50 people who were involved in the demonstrations are believed to remain in prison. The Chinese authorities continue to refuse to carry out an open, independent and impartial inquiry into the events of 1989, and no one has been brought to justice for their role in the crackdown. Attempts to mark the anniversary of the crackdown have been suppressed, and public debate or discussion of the events is banned.

This Thursday, Amnesty International is co-sponsoring an event on Capitol Hill to commemorate the 20th anniversary. Speakers will include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as survivors of the Tiananmen crackdown and other prominent faith, government and human rights leaders, as well as Amnesty’s own T. Kumar.

If you’re not in the DC area, there are lots of other events happening around the country and around the world this week. Get involvedkeep the memory of Tiananmen alive!

The Women of Atenco have waited three years for justice…

The women of Atenco calling for justice on the 2nd anniversary of the abuses, one year ago.

The women of Atenco calling for justice on the 2nd anniversary of the abuses, one year ago.

…and they’re still waiting. Yesterday and today mark the third anniversary of the police operations in San Salvador Atenco that resulted in the arbitrary arrests of more than 45 women. At least 25 of those women filed complaints of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the police who arrested them. However, none of those responsible for the events at Atenco have been brought to justice. The women of Atenco continue to wait for justice.

This past week, the swine flu outbreak has caused terrible problems for Mexico.  Unfortunately, on the third anniversary of those events at Atenco, several campaign actions that were planned now have to be postponed.  Rallies had to be cancelled, speakers cannot fly into Mexico, and offices are closed throughout the country.  As such, several of our actions and campaign ideas have had to be set aside for the time being as Mexicans struggle to get through this sudden outbreak.

As you can imagine, the women of Atenco are feeling pretty discouraged that they will not be able to draw attention to their case this week as they had hoped. They continue to wait for impunity to end and for justice to be served.  Support them through our Mariposas Initiative or by signing our online petition to tell President Calderon that they are not alone – the world is waiting for justice for these women.  Even though swine flu is his main concern right now, he needs to remember the Women of Atenco and he needs to see how many people are watching and waiting.