Leading up to our 2015 human rights conference in Brooklyn, NY, March 20-22, we are highlighting six Amnesty International USA staff members and moments in their life that have helped build their career in the human rights movement! Read all six in our “Meet me at the AGM” blog series.
NAME: Jasmine Heiss
I WORK FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA AS: Senior Campaigner, Individuals at Risk Program
IN THAT ROLE I:
- Strategize, power-map, and creatively deconstruct injustice
- Build project-plans, relationships and coalitions
- Influence private and public actors to defend and uphold human rights
- Work directly with my human rights heroes
HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
I grew up in Northern Michigan in a house run off of solar and wind with gravity-fed (COLD!) water, and intensely idealistic parents. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
former New York Times Iran correspondent Nazila
Journalists working in Iran face daunting challenges. They are constantly under threat of being suddenly arrested and detained for long periods of time, in inhumane conditions and without knowing the nature of the charges against them.
Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has just earned the dubious distinction of being the longest-held foreign journalist in Iran. Detained in Evin Prison since his arrest in July, it was just announced that Jason Rezaian’s detention was extended another two months in November. This despite the fact that Iran’s top “human rights” official, Mohammad Javad Larijani, said in early November that he anticipated that Mr. Rezaian would be released within one month. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
When Ghoncheh Ghavami decided to take a stand this past June to protest Iran’s ban on women attending volleyball games, she likely did not figure she’d spend the rest of the summer and fall sitting in a miserable prison cell. Ms. Ghavami, who just turned 26, surely also did not predict that her call for equality would generate hundreds of thousands of supportive voices from around the world. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Maz Jobrani, the popular Iranian-American comedian, usually makes people laugh. But now he has set mirth aside to send a serious message to the Iranian authorities: they should release noted physicist and prisoner of conscience Omid Kokabee, who is serving a ten-year prison sentence in Iran’s Evin Prison. In his video message, Mr. Jobrani notes that Omid Kokabee was sentenced to his long prison term after a grossly unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
This week marks the announcement of the 2014 Nobel prizes, recognizing the lifetime accomplishments of some of the world’s most extraordinary people. Twenty-eight of these eminent individuals—winners of the Nobel Physics Prize in years between 1972 and 2013—have signed letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader calling for the release of a brilliant young physicist and prisoner of conscience, Omid Kokabee, who is serving a ten-year sentence in one of Iran’s most miserable prisons. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Going to watch a volleyball game shouldn’t mean having to make a major political statement. It certainly shouldn’t mean arrest and indefinite detention in solitary confinement. But that is exactly what happened to dual British-Iranian Ghoncheh Ghavami, a 25-year-old woman who went to Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in June to watch a match during the International Federation of Volleyball World League games. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Jason Rezaian at The Washington Post via Getty Images in Washington, DC on November 6, 2013. (Photo by Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
When CBS’ 60 Minutes aired its 8 Days in Tehran program in May 2014, featuring seemingly unfettered access to Iranian officials and frank interviews with ordinary citizens, observers may have been justified in assuming that a new day was dawning for freedom of information in Iran. After all, correspondent Steve Kroft and his crew were able to wander around Tehran freely, without minders, to talk to people in the Bazaar and elsewhere.
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Esmeralda Lopez, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for Mexico My desire to end torture in Mexico runs deep. Years ago it became too dangerous for me to visit my family in Mexico because they are only hours from Ciudad Juarez, a hot spot of violence. Some officers point to incidents of violence and the high crime rate as justification for use of torture. But I know torture is not the solution. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
An Israeli army Merkava tank is positioned along the border in front of buildings in the Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014 (Photo credit: David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images).
Interview with a human rights fieldworker in Gaza
This morning as I brushed my teeth I could hear the familiar buzzing of a drone circling above our building. I ignored the sound. Drones circle overhead all the time – you never know whether it’s just for surveillance or an impending missile launch.
The uncertainty makes you feel helpless. What can anyone do?
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Cameroon, May 2013: A young man who has been frequently beaten in his neighborhood and evicted from his home because of his sexual orientation and gender identity (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).
By Colby Goodman, Senior Research Associate at the Security Assistance Monitor and a member of Amnesty USA’s Military, Security and Police Working Group
Late last month, the Obama Administration took the unusual step of suspending U.S. security assistance to Uganda in connection with its new “Anti-Homosexuality Act,” raising the possibility of similar U.S. restrictions for other African states on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Summit.
According to a June 24th Amnesty International fact sheet, homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries and punishable by death in four of these states (Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan).
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST