What You Need To Know:
✅ On November 19th, Ukrainians got the chance to send letters to the victims of repression and persecution worldwide;
✅ The 10th letter-writing marathon, organized by Amnesty International, has started in Ukraine;
✅ Ervin Ibragimov, the Crimean Tatar civil activist who was kidnapped in May 2016, was a key person in the Ukrainian marathon.
The 10th letter-writing marathon, organized by Amnesty International, took place in Kyiv on November 19th. Ukrainians got the chance to voice their support to the victims of repression and persecution in letters. The marathon was dedicated to Human Rights Day.
The key person of the Kyiv flashmob was Ervin Ibragimov, the Crimean Tatar civil activist who was kidnapped in May 2016. His current whereabouts remains unknown. In April he visited the World Congress of Crimean Tatars in Lithuania, where violations of Crimean rights were discussed. After that, he was kidnapped by unknown people and is yet to be found .
“There are two ways to support the cause. First, petitions to the de facto authorities of Crimea calling for an impartial and quick investigation into his disappearance. Second, writing letters of support to his parents. We hope that such pressure will have a positive effect on the investigation of this case,” says Oksana Pokalchuk, director of Amnesty International in Ukraine.
Ukrainians also wrote letters to 7 other victims of repression and persecution worldwide.
Annie Alfred, Malawi, South Africa
Annie was born with albinism in Malawi, Africa. There are thousands of people like her there, and all of them are in danger. The point is that some locals are convinced that it will bring them fortune. According to Amnesty International, the UN noticed that from 2000 to 2013, it had received 200 reports of ritual attacks on people with albinism across 15 countries – all in Africa.
Helen Knott, Canada
It’s been over 100 years since Helen Knott’s great-great-grandfather signed a treaty with the government of Canada to protect his people’s way of life. Instead of honoring that promise, the government has authorized a massive hydro-electric dam that threatens Indigenous cultures and ways of life in the Peace River Valley, British Columbia, reports Amnesty International.
Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani youth activists Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov have been in detention since May 10th. They wrote a message criticizing the government on the statue of the former president on the eve of his birthday. The next day, in May 2016, they were arrested and imprisoned. With the use of force, they confessed to possessing heroin.
Zeynab Jalalian, Iran
Zeynab Jalalian from Iran was jailed for life for her supposed links to the military wing of a Kurdish opposition group. Because of tortures in prison, she began losing her eyesight. The authorities are denying her the medical treatment she needs.
Eren Keskin, Turkey
In 2014, Eren Keskin, a journalist from Turkey, was convicted of “insulting the Turkish state” because she spoke out against the killing of a 12-year-old boy by the army. She faces arrest because of the articles she published in the newspaper she edits.
Johan Teterissa, Indonesia
A primary school teacher Johan Teterissa has spent almost 10 years in jail. He led a group of people in a peaceful protest, which took the form of a traditional dance in front of Indonesia’s president. At the end of the performance, he unfurled a flag forbidden by the government. He was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment.
Ilham Tohti, China
A university professor Ilham Tohti worked tirelessly to build bridges between ethnic communities in China. He always opposed violence in his writing and sought to encourage co-operation and understanding. He was given a life sentence for allegedly stirring up ethnic hatred.
Translated by Olga Kuchmagra