Beset by industrial disasters and environmental militants, the State of Nigeria is on shaky ground.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been strategically attacking the infrastructure of Shell oil as well as corrupt politicians and businessmen from around the country. Their success has gone a long way in not only making the Nigerian government look incompetent, but causing millions of dollars of structural damage. Shell has done much to draw the ire of humanitarians and environmentalists alike, but MEND’s tactics of bombing, kidnapping and other forms of direct action have caused much controversy. The Nigerian government is currently trying to open a dialogue with MEND, but it is an uphill battle.
To make matters worse, 300 people—men, women and children—were hospitalized when a welder accidentally sliced a gas cylinder, releasing a poison cloud of chlorine gas into the air. At the same time, over 160 people have died, including 111 children, due to amateur gold miners improperly disposing of led deposits.
Save Peter Erlinder
Law professor Peter Erlinder of William Mitchell Law School in Saint Paul, Minnesota has been detained in Rwanda by the Kagame regime, which is accusing him of consorting with opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire. Ingabire was arrested in April on charges of “genocide ideology,” shocking an international community that idealizes Kagame as a safe, environmentally progressive leader. Kagame, who is famous for saying that human rights can only come after economic security, poses a pragmatic figure for cautious development in the era of climate change, but this latest development proves that he is only the figurehead most representing the greenwashing of African politics.
Long time human rights advocate and Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, Erlinder is a human rights lawyer, president of the defense lawyers’ association at the Tribunal and past-President of the National Lawyers Guild.
Ready to TAKE ACTION?
Please share this information and encourage everyone you know to contact the state department, their representatives in congress and other
appropriate officials to demand the immediate release of Peter Erlinder. The US and Rwanda need to know many, many people are paying attention and our pressure will not decrease- it will only grow! Below is a list of numbers to call and a sample script, of course feel free edit or use as a jumping off point. Thank you again and please call, call, call!!
My name is ____________ , I am calling/writing about the arrest of Prof. Peter Erlinder in Rwanda last Friday [May 28th] morning. He was in Rwanda acting as an attorney, representing his client, opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
I am asking to ask you to demand his immediate release from Rwandan jail. His detention violates his human rights, he is in danger and as an U.S. citizen deserves the highest level of advocacy and protection from the U.S. government.
Please call for his immediate release. Thank you.
Bureau of African affairs 202-647-4440
Julie Steinhert, State Department – Rwanda desk 202-647-1893
State Department – Rwanda desk (general) 202-647-1637
Johnnie Carson,Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs 202-647-2530
Rwanda embassy (NY): +1 212 679 9010 or 1 212 679 9023
Stephen J. Rapp war crimes ambassador Phone: 202-647-6051
Susan Rice, US AMB to the UN Accredited Journalists: 212-415-4050
Opinion & Comment line: 212-415-4062
Rwanda Mission to the UN in USA: +1 212 679 9010 or 1 212 679 9023
Rwandan Amb. James Kimonyo 1714 New Hampshire NW Washington, DC 20009
AND YOUR OWN SENATORS / REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS!
If you are on facebook, consider joining the group Free Prof Peter Erlinder Now, this is an excellent source of up-to-date information.
There is also a site “aggregating” the news stories, so you can see all the coverage from one spot (warning: corporate media is almost uniformly awful!) – latest news and videos on Peter Erlinder: