Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XII Number 9, September 2004


Thursday, September 23, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting Caltech Y has moved. New
Location! Just around the corner from our old meeting place, we move to San
Pasqual between Hill and Holliston, south side. You will see two curving
walls (painted white) forming a gate to a path; our building is just behind
the left-hand (east) wall.  This month we welcome activist Hector Ariztibal 
who will update us on the human rights situation in Colombia.  Help us plan 
future actions on Tibet, the Patriot Act, Campaign Against Discrimination, 
death penalty, environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, October 12, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.
Corner of California & Hill. We are back in our usual location in the
basement recreation area. This informal gathering is a great for newcomers
to get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, October 17, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This month
we discuss Colombian writer Laura Restrepoıs The Dark Bride. (More info

Hi everyone,

Hope you are enjoying the early Fall.  Summer is over and it's time to get
back to work and school!  We have lots of fun and interesting projects this
Fall-- please come to our meetings and find out what's going on!
The weekend before Thanksgiving is the Doo-Dah Parade, a spoof of the Rose
Parade Pasadena is famous for.  We have had an entry for several years now.
This year will prove to be interesting as we will decide what to do with our
"marching letters" and prisoners! Come join the discussion at our next
monthly meeting. 

Hector Ariztibal will be updating us on the situation in Colombia, his
native country, at our monthly meeting Sept 23.  He is a well-known human
rights activist and will speak on actions his group is planning plus update
us on "Plan Columbia".

We are also developing a lending library of books and other media materials
with a human rights theme-- some that we have read in our Rights Readers
Book Group and more. If you have books you'd like to loan, please contact me
at  .  I am still
working on setting this up.

The crisis in the Sudan continues.  Please see the action elsewhere in this
newsletter.  Samantha Power, the author of our May book group selection, "A
Problem from Hell-America and the age of Genocide", has written an article
published in the August 30th New Yorker magazine on the crisis in Sudan
titled "Dying in Darfur". For those of you who don't subscribe, you can find
it online or at local libraries.  It is very interesting.  Our group is also
going to show the documentary film, "The Lost Boys of Sudan", in early
October.  More info will be coming.

Good news this month! Anwar Ibrahim has been freed-- some of you may
remember we sent him postcards and wrote letters on his behalf.  He is the
former deputy prime minister of Malaysia and had been convicted on
politically motivated charges of sodomy and abuse of power.

Amnesty USA has just released a report on racial profiling, the result of
hearings held in several major US cities, including Oakland, California,
last year.  See the summary in this newsletter for more information.
Please take note that our monthly meetings have moved to a new location just
down the street from the old one (see Upcoming Events for details!

Take care,


Please visit the AIUSA website   for several
actions you can take on the on-going crisis in Sudan. Here is a sample
letter on the Sudan crisis:

Please send appeals to:
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
c/o Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Sudan to the United
655 Third Avenue, Suite 500-510,
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to express my sincere concern about the fate of an estimated
1.2 million forcibly displaced people in Darfur and the continuing threats
to their lives and safety.

Satellite images of the area between al-Jeneina and Zalingei, commissioned
by Amnesty International, indicate that 44 percent of the villages and
settlements have been burnt. Most of the other villages have been abandoned.
These satellite images of destroyed villages vividly illustrate the pattern
of attacks, including burning, killing, looting and raping that extends
throughout Darfur and has caused the crisis of forced displacement in the
region. Amnesty International has also interviewed refugees in camps in Chad
and found that many of the human rights violations in Darfur have been
targeted specifically against women and girls. These violations have
included abductions, sexual slavery, torture, and forced displacement.
Displaced people continue to live under the control of the very people who
have caused their predicament. Janjawid militiamen continue to attack people
outside the IDP camps and harass people inside. One displaced person who
reached Khartoum after three months in Mukjar camp said, "It is not a camp
but a prison." There have been numerous reports of men venturing outside the
camps being killed and women and girls raped. In Mornay camp in March 2004,
a shaikh told the UN that 16 women a day may be raped as they went to gather
water in the riverbed (wadi). Despite this, women continued to go out to
fetch water even though they were likely to be raped because if the men went
they would be more likely be killed. Rapes and other forms of violence also
occur within the IDP camps.

Within the camps the humanitarian conditions are precarious. There is still
not enough food in Darfur to last throughout the rainy season, which will
cut off much of region, especially western Darfur. Displaced persons camps
in remote areas cannot be reached, except by plane or camel. A resident of
West Darfur told Amnesty International "The food is reaching hundreds but
there are thousands who need food and receive nothing."

I urge you, as President of Sudan, to act now to enforce Sudanese
constitutional protections for your own citizens. Article 20 of your
Constitution states, "Every human being shall have the right to life,
freedom, safety of person and dignity of honor save by right in accordance
with the law; and is free of subjection to slavery, forced labor,
humiliation or torture."

In this regard, I urge you to:

- Disarm and disband the Janjawid militia;

- Suspend any member of the Sudanese armed forces suspected of having
committed or ordered human rights violations, pending investigation;

- Prevent any member or former member of the Janjawid militia from joining
police, military, or security forces and prevent any member or former member
of the Janjawid militia from operating inside or on the peripheries of
displaced persons camps;

- Provide full and unimpeded access to humanitarian agencies and human
rights monitors to all areas and groups in Darfur, and

- Guarantee that displaced persons will not be forced back to any place
where their lives, health, or safety would be at risk.

I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the horrific attacks on
civilians in the Darfur conflict and to address immediately the consequences
of this violence. I appeal to you to take all steps necessary to allow full
and free access to Darfur for humanitarian agencies and human rights
monitors to ensure that the civilian population is provided with
humanitarian relief. Thank you for your attention, I look forward to your

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

"Threat and Humiliation": -- New Report Released

Last week Amnesty released a report "Threat and Humiliation: Racial
Profiling, Domestic Security and Human Rights in the United States."  You can
download the report in its entirety from   where
you will also find suggested actions.  A summary of the report follows:

Racial profiling is a serious human rights problem affecting millions of
people in the United States in even the most routine aspects of their daily
lives. A year-long study conducted by the Domestic Human Rights Program of
Amnesty International USA found that the unlawful use of race in police,
immigration, and airport security procedures has expanded since the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The study further found that state
laws provide insufficient and inconsistent protection against profiling.
Despite promises by President George W. Bush shortly after his taking office
to end racial profiling, the number of American ethnic, racial, and
religious groups whose members are at high risk of being subjected to this
scourge has increased substantially. To address this growing national
problem, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) urges the White House and
Congress to prioritize and enact the End Racial Profiling Act of 2004 and
allocate sufficient funds for its vigorous enforcement.

>From July 2003 to August 2004, AIUSA's Domestic Human Rights Program studied
the current state of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies in the
United States. The process began with the consultation of a wide range of
community organizations and the organizing of a series of public hearings
across the United States throughout the fall of 2003 (San Francisco/Oakland
on September 9, Tulsa on September 30, New York City on October 2, Chicago
on October 18 and 20, and Dallas on November 15). At the hearings, victims,
human rights advocates, experts and law enforcement officials testified
about their experiences with racial profiling.

The hearings were followed by an intensive period of research that included

- State laws concerning racial profiling
- The U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of relevant protections guaranteed
by the U.S. Constitution
- Pertinent federal policies
- International treaties, covenants, and laws
- Recent national public opinion polls
- Current U.S. census data
- And a wide range of literature on the subject.

The major findings of this study may be summarized as follows:

1. A staggering number of people in the United States are subjected to
racial profiling:

- Approximately thirty-two million Americans, a number equivalent to the
population of Canada, report they have already been victims of racial

- Approximately eighty-seven million Americans are at a high risk of being
subjected to future racial profiling during their lifetime.

- Racial profiling directly affects Native Americans, Asian Americans,
Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Arab Americans, Persian Americans,
American Muslims, many immigrants and visitors, and, under certain
circumstances, white Americans.

- Racial profiling happens to both women and men, affects all age groups, is
used against people from all socio-economic backgrounds, and occurs in
rural, suburban, and urban areas.

- Racial profiling of citizens and visitors of Middle Eastern and South
Asian descent, and others who appear to be from these areas or members of
the Muslim and Sikh faiths, has substantially increased since September 11,

2. As the testimony cited in this report shows, racial profiling occurs in
almost every context of people's lives:

While driving: A young African-American schoolteacher reports being
routinely pulled over in his suburban neighborhood in San Carlos,
California, where only five other African-American families live. Native
Americans in Oklahoma report being routinely stopped by police because of
the tribal tags displayed on their cars. In Texas, a Muslim student of South
Asian ancestry is pulled over and asked by police if he is carrying any dead
bodies or bombs.

While walking: In Seattle, Washington, a group of Asian-American youths are
detained on a street corner by police for 45 minutes on an allegation of
jaywalking. While a sergeant ultimately ordered the officer in question to
release them, the young people say they saw whites repeatedly crossing the
same street in an illegal manner without being stopped.

While traveling through airports: An eight-year-old Muslim boy from Tulsa,
Oklahoma was reportedly separated from his family while airport security
officials searched him and dismantled his Boy Scout pinewood derby car. He
is now routinely stopped and searched at airports.

While shopping: In New York City, an African- American woman shopping for
holiday presents was stopped by security at a major department store. She
showed the guards her receipts. Nonetheless, she was taken to a holding cell
in the building where every other suspect she saw was a person of color. She
was subjected to threats and a body search. She was allowed to leave without
being charged three hours later, but was not allowed to take her purchases.

While at home: A Latino family in a Chicago suburb was reportedly awoken at
4:50 a.m. on the day after Father's Day by nine building inspectors and
police officers who prohibited the family from getting dressed or moving
about. The authorities reportedly proceeded to search the entire house to
find evidence of overcrowding. Enforcement of the zoning ordinance, which
was used to justify the search, was reportedly targeted at the
rapidly-growing Latino population.

While traveling to and from places of worship: A Muslim imam from the Dallas
area reports being stopped and arrested by police upon leaving a mosque
after an outreach event. Officers stopped him, searched his vehicle,
arrested him for expired vehicle tags, and confiscated his computer.

3. Despite the prevalence and serious nature of the problem -- including the
devastating effect that it often has on victims, their families, and their
communities -- no jurisdiction in the U.S. has addressed the problem in a way
that is both effective and comprehensive. While as of the writing of this
report 29 states have passed laws concerning racial profiling, state and
federal protections against this problem continue to be grossly

- Forty-six states do not ban racial profiling based on religion or
religious appearance.

- Thirty-five states do not ban racial profiling of pedestrians (and the
majority of the fifteen states that do, use a definition of racial profiling
that makes the ban virtually unenforceable in most circumstances).

- The scope of Tennessee's current racial profiling law is so limited that
it only pertains to the conditions under which fingerprint records are

-  In June 2003, the Department of Justice issued its Guidance Regarding the
Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies forbidding racial profiling
by federal law enforcement officials. Yet, the guidance does not cover
profiling based on religion, religious appearance, or national origin; does
not apply to state or local law enforcement agencies; does not include any
enforcement mechanisms; does not specify punishment for violating
officers/agencies; and contains a blanket exception for "national security"
and "border integrity" cases. The Guidance is an advisory, and hence is not
legally binding.

- On February 27, 2001, President Bush said, "racial profiling is wrong" and
promised to "end it in America". Yet, almost four years later he has failed
to support any federal legislative effort to eliminate racial profiling in
the United States.

4. When law enforcement officials focus on what people look like, what
religion they follow, or what they wear, it puts us all at risk. Several
incidents in history illustrate this risk:

- In 1901, President McKinley's assassin, a white man born in Michigan, was
able to conceal the murder weapon in a bandage wrapped around his arm, pass
through security, and go undetected until he shot the president because
secret service agents had decided to focus their attention on a "dark
complexioned man with a moustache".

- In 1995, after bombing the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma
City,Timothy McVeigh, a white male assailant later convicted of delivering
the bomb alone, was able to flee while officers operated on the initial
theory that "Arab terrorists" had committed the attacks.

- In 2002, two African-American male snipers were able to evade police and
continue terrorizing residents of the nation's capital and nearby areas.
Police, relying on racially-based profiles of serial killers, were searching
for antisocial white males.


Ngawang Gyaltsen     6
Urgent Actions      15
Sudan                2
OutFront (Jamaica)   2
War on Terror        1
Total               26

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

Threats to Colombian Activist

In Colombia, women who speak out for their rights face intimidation,
violence and even death from armed  groups on both sides of the country's
long-running internal conflict. In October 2003, Esperanza Amaris  Miranda,
a member of the Popular Women's Organization (OFP), which has campaigned for
women's rights  for more than 30 years, was abducted and murdered by three
armed men.     

Background information.  Esperanza Amaris Miranda was reportedly abducted
from her home by three armed men on October 16, 2003.  The men -- apparently
members of army-backed paramilitary forces -- forced her into a taxi and
began to drive  away. When her 21-year-old daughter clung on to the door of
the moving car, the men got out and kicked her to  the ground. A few minutes
later, Esperanza's body was abandoned in the road. She had been shot dead.
Esperanza was 40 years old and supported her two children by selling lottery
tickets in the city of  Barrancabermeja, Colombia. She was also a member of
the Popular Women's Organization (OFP), which has  campaigned for women's
rights for more than 30 years.    In Colombia women who speak out for their
rights face intimidation, violence and even death from armed groups on both
sides of the country's long-running internal conflict. Government security
forces and their paramilitary allies have labelled women community leaders,
activists and human rights defenders as guerrilla collaborators and
legitimate targets in the counter-insurgency war. Armed opposition groups
have killed women they accuse of siding with their enemies. Rape, mutilation
and abuse of women and girls have been used as weapons of war to generate
fear and to silence campaigns for social, economic and political rights.
Esperanza's abductors reportedly said they were from the Central Bolivar
Bloc, a paramilitary group that had  previously threatened her. She had
reported the threats to the Regional Prosecutor. Yet the police took no
effective action to safeguard her and, after her abduction, did not answer
OFP's phone calls. More than 90  murders and over 50 "disappearances" in
Barrancabermeja in 2003 testify to the impunity enjoyed by the
paramilitaries and guerrilla groups.    Esperanza's case is only one of
many. Leonora Castano, president of a group promoting women's land and
human rights, the National Association of Peasant Farmer, Black and
Indigenous Women of Colombia  (ANMUCIC), has been the target of numerous
death threats. Blanca Nubia Diaz, an ANMUCIC supporter, was  forced to flee
her home after her 16-year-old daughter was killed by paramilitaries in May
2001. In September  2003 an anonymous letter to ANMUCIC said that her son
had been taken captive.    The Colombian government has failed not only to
guarantee the safety of human rights defenders, many of them  women, but
also to combat or dismantle paramilitary groups. Ignoring repeated
recommendations by the  international community, the government is now
proposing legislation that may allow human rights abusers to  elude justice.

In the home and in the community, in times of war and peace, millions of
women and girls are beaten, raped,  mutilated and killed with impunity. Join
Amnesty International's campaign to demand that governments,  communities
and individuals act to stop violence against women throughout the world.

Call on President Uribe to:

- Bring to justice those responsible for the killing of Esperanza Amaris
Miranda and other human rights  abuses against women's rights activists;

- Take action to disband army-backed paramilitary groups and to stop the
security forces flouting the  governmentıs obligations, under international
and regional human rights standards, to protect individuals campaigning for
women's rights.    

- When writing to President Uribe, stress that although we recognize that
guerrilla groups are responsible  for serious breaches of international
humanitarian law, this cannot be used by the government as an excuse not to
take measures to confront the human rights crisis.

Send your appeals to:

Senor Presidente Alvaro Uribe Velez
Presidente de la Republica
Palacio de Narino, Carrera 8 No.7-26
Santafe de Bogota, Colombia

Send messages of solidarity and support for the women's organizations OFP
and ANMUCIC to:  

Mesa de Trabajo "Mujer y Conflicto Armado"
Calle 38, No. 16-45
Bogota, Colombia


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
Sunday,  October 17, 6:30 PM

The Dark Bride

by Laura Restrepo

Once a month, the refinery workers of the Tropical Oil Company descend upon
Tora, a city in the Colombian forest. They journey down from the mountains
searching for earthly bliss and hoping to encounter Sayonara, the legendary
Indian prostitute who rules their squalid paradise like a queen. Beautiful,
exotic, and mysterious, Sayonara, the undisputed barrio angel, captivates
whoever crosses her path. Then, one day, she violates the unwritten rules of
her profession and falls in love with a man she can never have. Sayonara's
unrequited passion has tragic consequences not only for her, but for all
those whose lives ultimately depend on the Tropical Oil Company.

Laura Restrepo is a bestselling author and political activist. In 1984 she
was a member of the peace commission that brought the Colombian government
and guerrillas to the negotiating table. As she does with all of her novels,
Restrepo did thorough research for The Dark Bride, transforming her
investigations as a journalist into the foundation for a fictional creation.

Editor's Last Word:

Read us on line:
Martha Ter Maat, 626-281-4039 /
Amnesty  International Group 22  P.O. Box 50193  Pasadena, CA 91115-0193
Amnesty International's mission is to undertake  research and action focused
on preventing and ending grave abuses of the  rights to physical and mental
integrity, freedom of conscience and  expression, and freedom from
discrimination, within the context of its work  to promote all human rights.