Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News

Volume IX Number 6, June 2001


Child Liberated! Coordinator Cornered!

We the undersigned wish to express our hearty congratulations to the parents of Lucas “AI” Romans and welcome Lucas into the human family with full rights as enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and associated conventions, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child and do hereby pledge to rededicate our letter-writing effort s for ratification of said Convention by the U.S. Senate in honor of Lucas.

We wish to express our concern that the parents of Lucas, Larry Romans and Alexi Daher, dedicated workers on behalf of human rights, may suffer in coming months from sleep deprivation, restricted movement, and general loss of freedom, and therefore hope for a speedy release from such miseries.  As evidence of our commitment to practical measures to improve the conditions of their captivity, we are prepared to offer such relief measures as fetching, carrying, cooking, bottle-washing and babysitting services as crisis response warrants. 

We anticipate, however, that the blessings of parenthood will far outweigh these inconveniences and look forward to a continuous celebration of wonders big and small in the life of Lucas.


Martha Ter Maat                Lucas Kamp

Joyce Wolff                            Robert Adams

Paul Wagner                         John Cromshow

Kathy Hansen                      Emily Brodsky

Revae Moran                        Veroncia Raymond

Saskia Feast                           Wendy Masri

Vital Statistics: Little Lucas was a Juneteenth baby, a great day for Liberation!  6 lbs.14 oz..  We hope Group 22’s Coordinator, Larry Romans,  will be back in this space after a suitable leave.  He can still be reached for group business at 818-354-5809 or


All kidding aside, to learn more about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child visit the Amnesty USA website:

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an internationally recognized agreement between nations which establishes a comprehensive set of goals for individual nations to achieve on behalf of their children. In general, the Convention calls for:  freedom from violence, abuse, hazardous employment, exploitation, abduction or sale; adequate nutrition; free compulsory primary education;  adequate health care; equal treatment regardless of gender, race, or cultural background;  the right to express opinions and freedom of though in matters affecting them; safe exposure/access to leisure, play, culture, and art.

Recognizing the special vulnerability of children, all of these goals are expressed with respect to a child's age and evolving capacities - the child's best interests are always the paramount concern. The Convention repeatedly emphasizes the primacy and importance of the role, authority and responsibility of parents and family; it is neutral on abortion; and is consistent with the principles contained in the Bill of Rights.

Only two countries have not ratified the Convention, the United States and Somalia.  (Somalia lacks a government with authority to ratify.)


Thursday, June 28, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting 1052 E. Del Mar. Avenue, Top Floor. Help us plan future actions on Tibet, the Campaign against Torture and abolition of the death penalty.

Sunday, July 1 at 10:15 AM. All Saints Church, 132 Euclid Avenue (behind City Hall) Cosette Thompson, Western Regional Director, Amnesty International USA and Michael Heflin, Program Director, OutFront, Amnesty’s program for human rights and sexual identity will speak about the new report on torture and sexual orientation. See inside for more information.  This event is sponsored by GALAS (Gays and Lesbians All Saints.)  All are welcome!

Tuesday, July 10, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.  Corner of California & Hill in the basement recreation area.  An informal meeting, a great place for first-timers to ask questions!

Sunday, July 15, 7:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion Group at Borders Books on S. Lake Avenue. This month we discuss Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover.(see below).


AI Releases New Report on
Sexual Orientation & Torture

forced medical "treatment" designed to "cure" homosexuality; the protection of refugees fleeing torture based on sexual identity; protection of human rights defenders working on issues of gender and sexual identity; and governmental prohibition of all forms of discrimination based on sexual identity.

Amnesty International recognizes and supports the efforts of the many movements that have emerged throughout the world to break the wall of silence surrounding human rights violations against LGBT people. The organization also welcomes the recent initiative by the special mechanisms of the UN Commission on Human Rights -- including the Special Rapporteur on Torture -- to encourage the submission of information on human rights abuses related to sexual identity, and requests that UN human rights bodies give further attention to LGBT issues.

"To combat global abuses against LGBT people, a clear message must be sent by the UN: that the torture and ill-treatment of people on the basis of their sexual identity will not be tolerated," said Michael Heflin, Director of AIUSA's OUTfront program. "Governments must realize that the protection of sexual orientation and gender identity is not a special category of human rights; it is fully embedded in overall human rights norms defined in international conventions. Fighting torture based on sexual identity is an integral part of the struggle towards a truly torture-free world."


is available on line at


See Upcoming Events for a great opportunity to learn more about Out Front and the Crimes of Hate report.


Pass landmark legislation on sexual orientation
and gender identity!


H.CON.R. 259 establishes the protection of LGBT people as irrefutably rooted in standards defined in international human rights covenants and treaties. Passing H.CON.R. 259 will strengthen the US commitment to human rights.


1. Your voice can be heard in Congress! Write a letter today and hold a letter-writing drive in your community to let your representative know that you want him or her to co-sponsor H.CON.R.259

2. Please forward all responses from your representatives to Amnesty OUTfront (322 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10001) so we can keep an up-to-date list of co-sponsors.


       The Honorable ______________

       United States Congress

       Washington, DC 20515

       Dear Rep. ___________:

As your constituent, I write to ask that you support H.CON.R. 259, a landmark House resolution dealing specifically with human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It addresses the pervasive and horrendous abuses perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

H.CON.R. 259 recognizes that the human rights of LGBT people are firmly embedded in standards defined in international human rights conventions. It condemns violence against LGBT people, and asks that such violations be punished. Finally, it calls on the U.S. government to give equal consideration to such human rights violations in reporting and formulating policies around the promotion of global human rights.

Everyday women and men around the world are beaten, imprisoned, tortured or killed solely on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation. You can take a stand against this senseless violence and abuse perpetrated against this group of people. As my representative, I urge you to sign-on as a co-sponsor of H.CON.R. 259 today. Help pass this important legislation. I look forward to hearing your response.




Don't know your representative? Find out at



Prisoner of Conscience (Ngawang Pekar):       201

Death Penalty:                                                                            1

Campaign Against Torture                                          16

Environment & Human Rights                                  11

Government Action Network                                        3

Urgent Actions:                                                                         9

Total:                                                                                              241


Want to add your letters to the total?  Get in touch with


Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Borders Books & Music
475 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena

Sunday, JULY 15, 7:30 PM


NEWJACK: Guarding Sing Sing


by Ted Conover


When Conover’s request to shadow a recruit at the New York State Corrections Officer Academy was denied, he decided to apply for a job as a

prison officer. So begins his odyssey at Sing Sing, once a model prison but now the state’s most troubled maximum-security facility. The result of his year there is this remarkable look at one of America’s most dangerous prisons, where drugs, gang wars, and sex are rampant, and where the line between violator and violated is often unclear. As sobering as it is suspenseful, Newjack is an indispensable contribution to the urgent debate about our country’s criminal justice system, and a consistently fascinating read.

“[Conover] has made us fully part of his experience…. It is hard to imagine any journalist doing this more daringly or effectively.”  The New York Times

“Newjack is a graphic and troubling window into society’s scrapheap. Conover is to be commended for having the chops to venture where few others would dare go.... An important cautionary tale.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review

Ngawang Pekar, Tibetan Monk

Our group is committed to work on behalf of prisoner of conscience Ngawang Pekar. He is a Tibetan monk who has been imprisoned by the Chinese authorities since they arrested him in 1989 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa.

Have a look at the current letter count! Last month group member Robert set up an Amnesty table at two events, Tibetan Awareness Day in Pasadena and the Dalai Lama's speech at UCLA. He got 200 postcards signed, plus donations for postage to China, plus over a hundred more petition signatures. Wonderful job, Robert!

There's exciting news from Washington. On May 9, a bill titled "Tibetan Policy Act of 2001" was introduced in both the Senate (S.852) and House (H.R.1779). Its purpose is to "support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity." It encourages China to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Section 12 urges the "release of all those held prisoner for expressing their religious or political views in Tibet" and also seeks access for international humanitarian organizations to prisoners in Tibet. Could we have written it better ourselves? For the full text (surprisingly readable) and current status of the bill, go to

The Senate version was introduced by our own Senator Feinstein (three cheers!) and co-sponsored by Senator Boxer. For our action this month, please urge Rep. Adam Schiff (or your own Representative) to co-sponsor the House bill. Here is a sample letter you can copy or use as a guide:

Dear Representative,

I urge you to co-sponsor or give your support to H.R.1779, the Tibetan Policy Act of 2001.

Section 12 of this bill would have the U.S. request China for the immediate and unconditional release of all those held prisoner for expressing their political or religious views in Tibet. It would also have the U.S. seek access for international humanitarian organizations to prisoners in Tibet to ensure that prisoners are not being mistreated and are receiving necessary medical care.

NGAWANG PEKAR is a Tibetan monk held in Tibet Autonomous Region Prison No. 1. He was arrested in 1989 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in the city of Lasashi and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Subsequently, his sentence was increased by an additional 6 years. I am deeply concerned about reports that he has been beaten and denied access to medical care since his arrest. Passage of H.R.1779 would be of great help to Ngawang Pekar and other Tibetan prisoners of conscience.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.



Please send to

The Honorable Adam B. Schiff,

House of Representatives, CA 27th district

437 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515-0527.

Or go to to email your Representative.


Indigenous leaders in Colombia threatened

Kimy Pernia Domico, an indigenous leader from the department of Cordoba, has 'disappeared' after he was reportedly abducted by army-backed paramilitaries. Amnesty International is seriously concerned for his safety.

Three armed gunmen, thought to be army-backed paramilitaries belonging to the Autodefensas Unidas de Cordoba y Uraba, (ACCU), United Self-Defence Groups of Cordoba and Uraba, reportedly abducted Kimy Pernia Domico in the municipality of Tierralta, department of Cordoba, on the evening of 2 June. He tried to flee, but was apparently forced onto a motorcycle at gunpoint. Two of his abductors rode with him on one motorcycle, while the third followed behind on another. As they rode towards the departmental capital of Monteria, Kimy reportedly shouted 'me cogieron ... me llevan secuestrado' ('They have me ... they have kidnapped me'). He attempted to escape once more, but was recaptured. He has not been seen since his abduction. Later that evening, other indigenous leaders reportedly informed the Colombian Minister of the Interior, Dr Armando Estrada Villa, of the abduction.

Kimy Pernia Domico is a leader of the Embera-Katio indigenous people, who live along the rivers Sinu and Verde in the department of Cordoba. He had been on his way home when he was abducted. Access to the indigenous communities has been cut off by an illegal paramilitary checkpoint in an area known as Colas del Embalse de Urra. The checkpoint is operated by the ACCU, which reportedly maintains a strong presence in the Tierralta area. Although soldiers of the Colombian Army's XI Brigada (Brigada XI) are positioned a short distance from the checkpoint, they have made no apparent effort to dismantle the checkpoint and confront the paramilitaries.

The 'disappearance' of Kimy Pernia has heightened concern for the safety of other members of the Embera-Katio indigenous communities in the Sinu and Verde areas, who have increasingly been caught up in the conflict. In recent years, several Embera-Katio indigenous communities campaigning against the construction of the Urra Dam, which will destroy much of their ancestral lands, have been targeted by paramilitary forces working in alliance with the security forces. Community leaders have also been killed by Guerrilla forces, who have accused them of siding with the paramilitary or security forces. As recently as 22 May, the guerrilla forces the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, (FARC), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, killed nine peasant farmers, who had been traveling along the Sinu River in the Zambudo area which is part of an indigenous community area.

BACKGROUND Given the fact that members of indigenous communities and people working with them are frequently targeted by paramilitary groups operating with the support of the security forces, as  well as by guerrilla groups, the Organizacion Indigena de Antioquia (IOA), Indigenous Organization of Antioquia, has declared the indigenous communities 'neutral'. However, such declarations have failed to make the two sides of the conflict respect the physical integrity of the indigenous civilian population, who continue to be the victims of human rights violations.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send letters:

-               expressing concern for the safety of Kimy Pernia Domico, who 'disappeared' following his abduction on 2 June;

-               calling for a full and impartial investigation to establish his whereabouts, and asking for his immediate release, if he is in detention;

-               urging that those responsible for his possible abduction be brought to justice;

-               expressing concern for the safety of other members of the Embera Katio communities along the rivers Sinu and Verde, urging that all measures deemed appropriate by the communities themselves are taken to guarantee their safety from paramilitary or guerrilla attack;

-               urging that all those responsible for killings or 'disappearances' in the area be brought to justice;

-               calling for a full and impartial investigation into links between the security forces and paramilitary groups operating in Cordoba Department,

-               urging that the results are made public and those found responsible for supporting and participating in such groups are brought to justice;

-               urging the authorities to take immediate action to dismantle paramilitary groups, in line with stated government commitments and United Nations recommendations.


President of the Republic

Senor Presidente Andres Pastrana Arango

Presidente de la Republica

Palacio de Narino

Carrera 8 No.7-26

Santafe de Bogota


Editor's Last Word:

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Martha Ter Maat, 626-281-4039 /













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Amnesty International
works impartially to free-individuals jailed solely for their beliefs, ethnic origin, language, gender or sexual orientation, provided they  have not used or advocated violence-to ensure fair trials for all political prisoners, and to abolish torture and executions worldwide.  It is funded by members and supporters around the world.