November 27, 2007

An Open Letter from Your Regional Director

(originally posted 11/23/2007)

Dear Midwest P&J members,

Our P&J Executive Board met for its annual fall meeting over Veterans Day Weekend and decided to focus on just two issues from now through next summer's RA. They are ending the war fast and radically improving or eliminating the NCLB language from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I urge everyone to concentrate your efforts on those items this year.

We have also decided to concentrate our Chiapas efforts on the soon to be built Paul Mann Teacher Training Center. For those who don't know, Paul Mann was a tireless teacher peace advocate, and P&J member from Des Moines who died suddenly in September of '06, leaving a host of friends and acquaintances missing him greatly.

Tom Wolfe
Midwest P&J Director

November 23, 2007

Brazil: Prison rape exposes increasing abuse of women

Women in Brazil are the hidden victims of a crumbling detention system that exposes them to rape and other ill treatment, said Tim Cahill, Amnesty International's researcher on Brazil.

The statement came as reports emerged of the case of a young woman in the state of ParĂ¡ -- northern Brazil -- who was left in a police cell with 20 men for a month and repeatedly sexually abused.

"We receive extensive reports of women in detention who suffer sexual abuse, torture, substandard healthcare and inhuman conditions, showing that this case is far from isolated but continues to be hidden from the public," said Tim Cahill.

Even though women in Brazil make up a small percentage of the overall prison population, their numbers in detention are rising. There is a desperate need for the Government to address their needs, which are rarely if ever met.

The case also highlights concerns around the treatment of juveniles illegally held with adults around Brazil.

"At a time when some authorities and the media are consistently calling for a reduction of the age of criminal responsibility, this case shows how far Brazil is from ensuring the necessary minimum protections for its youth," said Tim Cahill.

While Amnesty International recognises that the federal and state authorities have responded rapidly to this case, many others go unreported or uninvestigated. It is essential that the authorities act in all such cases - not only those which receive extensive national and international media coverage.

Amnesty International calls on State Governor Ana Julia Carepa and on the federal authorities to:
• investigate the allegations and bring those responsible to justice, ensuring that the victim and her family receive effective protection
• urgently review the whole of the detention system to ensure women are not exposed to human rights abuses and that juveniles are not illegally held with adults.

November 16, 2007

Take Part in the Iraq Moratorium TODAY!November 16th, 2007

November 16th, 2007

Today, as part of the third Iraq Moratorium Day, thousands of concerned individuals like you, from Auburn, Alabama, to Madison, Wisconsin, from Mesa, Arizona, to Boston, Massachusetts, are taking action in their communities to make opposition to the war and occupation in Iraq visible, and to say no to a new war in Iran. We urge you to participate in this simple yet powerful initiative. It's not too late to take part. Here are some things you can do today:

(1) Wear an anti-war button, armband, or t-shirt -- something visible expressing your opposition to the war. Encourage others to do so as well.

(2) Check to see if there is an activity happening in your city. If there is, join in and bring a friend.

(3) Put an anti-war sign in your house or apartment window, on your lawn, or in your car window.

(4) Call into radio talk shows. Talk about why you oppose the war in Iraq, why you want to stop a new war in Iran, and why you want all of the troops to be brought home now.

(5) Download and distribute our ­"Want to Do More?" flyer in your community, where you work, at the school you attend, or anyplace where people gather.

(6) Sign the Iraq Moratorium pledge: "I hereby make a commitment that on the Third Friday of each and every month, I will break my daily routine and take some action, by myself or with others, to end the War in Iraq." Then forward it to others and encourage them to sign and take action as well.

(7) Click here to find other ways you can take action as an individual, and help build this effort.At the end of the day, check the Iraq Moratorium blog to read reports from actions around the country, and be sure to post a report on what you did as well. (You must register for an account and login at It's got to stop -- we've got to stop it.