Welcome to the September 27, 2015 edition of this Peace/Justice action email!
This brief newsletter revisits the world of human slavery and slavery-like conditions, focused on those trying to uncover this repugnant largely hidden world. The first action is URGENT, given that the court case is in mid-October. The second action involves the head of Mauritania’s most prominent anti-slavery group, who has been detained for almost a year. In addition there is a thank-you to those opposing the Shell Arctic drilling – they have ceased explorations for now. The next newsletter will hopefully have some basic guidelines regarding the Syrian refugee crisis.
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URGENT: DROP CHARGES AGAINST THAI INDUSTRY RESEARCHER
Human rights activist Andy Hall will soon find out if he faces time in prison for reporting on labour rights abuses in the Thai pineapple industry. In 2013 a report entitled Cheap Has a High Price was published by the NGO Finnwatch, which included some of his research. It contained allegations of worker abuse and slavery-like practices in the Natural Fruit factory, a Thai company that processes pineapples and supplies retailers around the world.
Instead of looking into the allegations, Natural Fruit targeted Andy. He was hauled into court on charges of computer crime and criminal defamation. Despite an international outcry, Natural Fruit have not backed down. Thus WalkFree is calling on the Thai government to ensure that all charges against Andy Hall are dropped.
The Thai authorities are already facing global scrutiny for not doing enough to protect workers from abuse — the latest US Trafficking in Persons report gives Thailand the lowest score for action to tackle trafficking.
FREE MAURITANIA’S ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVISTS
Biram Dah Abeid is a leading anti-slavery activist in Mauritania, the country with the highest prevalence of slavery in the world1. The organization he founded, the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement, has fought for the freedom of countless men, women and children.
Mauritania fully outlawed slavery in 2007 but has systematically failed to end it in practice. It has fallen to activists like Biram to fight for people’s’ freedom and they face regular harassment and harsh treatment in their campaigning.
Mauritanian Sentenced to Prison [Slate]
=== FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS ISSUES ===
Shell Stops Its Arctic Drilling
Thanks to all who took action this spring calling on Shell to not drill in the Arctic. Shell just announced that it will cease exploratory drilling “for the foreseeable future” due to surprisingly marginal discoveries and indirectly to what they saw as the surprising public pressure.
Shell Abandons Alaska Arctic Drilling [Guardian]
=== ARTICLES OF INTEREST ===
Detecting (and Eventually Preventing) Mass Killings and Genocide
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has unveiled an online tool to forecast which countries have the highest risk of state-led mass killings. The aim of the project is to help prevent civilian mass atrocities by providing earlier and more accurate warning. Much has been learned from past genocides in Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Holocaust in terms of the clear early warning signs that precede mass violence.
The tool takes into consideration factors including political instability and potential threats to a regime’s hold on power that might lead to a response in the form of a mass killing. Live expert feedback is also part of the project, which defines mass killings as killings of more than 1,000 civilians.
Topping the list of countries currently at risk are: Myanmar, followed by Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.
New Tool To Assess Risk of Mass Killings [Al Jazeera]