US State Department
US State Department
Save Aysha and Her Family from Being Executed by the Taliban
Aysha and her family are in critical danger because Aysha's father is a heroic Afghan interpreter who worked for the US military for seven years. Aysha's father, Muhammad, directly saved American soldiers' lives, including one time he dashed into an ambushed vehicle under Taliban fire. His military supervisors praised his work ethic, dedication, and trustworthiness, and his incredible skill of fluently speaking six languages made him indispensable on Special Forces night raids on Taliban insurgents. But the Taliban considers him a criminal and is working hard to find and kill Muhammad, his wife, and his four young daughters. The whole family has been living in hiding for four years. They are living in daily fear of being discovered and killed by the Taliban. Even the children are unable to leave their apartment. Leaks in the roof have made the young girls sick on several occasions from getting infections from bacteria in the water or getting cold in the winter. Meet Aysha, Muhammad, and the rest of their family in our 2-min video https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFBRd47rz7x9SHaJxEOH6IRXEgYg19L9D and help us by sharing the video (especially with your representatives in Congress) with hashtags #SaveAysha and #SaveOurAllies. My family and I tried to sponsor Aysha and her family for humanitarian parole to save their lives, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied the cases. Aysha's aunt and uncle in the United States offered to care for her and her sisters, but USCIS refused to even save the kids, making the ridiculous claim that Aysha and her sisters are “security concerns.” Tell the director of the Humanitarian Affairs Branch at USCIS, John Bird, to re-open and approve Muhammad and his family's humanitarian parole cases to save them from the Taliban before it is too late. USCIS doesn't question that leaving this family behind is a death sentence. They just don't care enough about refugees to even save a toddler from the Taliban. When the US military mostly pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban gained strength in Afghanistan and killed many interpreters or their family members in revenge. One of Muhammad's brothers and a nephew, Sahil, who was also an interpreter, were shot and left for dead in an assassination attempt on Muhammad and his family. After the Taliban ambush, Muhammad fled his home district, just in time to escape a second Taliban attack that destroyed their family home. Consequently, Muhammad lost all contact with US military personnel who could have helped him apply for an SIV visa. When I learned about Muhammad and his family's plight over a year ago, I was determined to do everything possible to save their lives. Muhammad had tried to apply to the US as a refugee on his own, but he was denied for “discretionary security reasons,” a very common problem for former military interpreters and their families. When Muhammad's refugee case was denied, he was devastated and lost all hope for saving his life and his family's lives. He said the only option left for him was to surrender to the Taliban, thinking that after the Taliban tortured and killed him, they would stop looking for his children. I told him not to give up and promised him to find a way to save their lives. Please help me keep my promise to Muhammad to save his life and his family's lives. They do not deserve to suffer and die because of Muhammad's service to the US military. My family hired a lawyer and filed a humanitarian parole case to sponsor Muhammad and his family to come live in the US while he works to get permanent, legal status in the US. Our humanitarian parole case for them may be our last chance to save their lives. In what our lawyer says is the most egregious case she has ever seen, USCIS denied Muhammad and his family's humanitarian parole cases because his refugee case had been denied and without even bothering to figure out why the refugee case had been denied. Thus, they denied Muhammad's humanitarian parole case for “discretionary reasons” without even knowing what those discretionary reasons were. This is effectively a death sentence for the entire family. When our lawyer pleaded with USCIS to at least let Muhammad's young daughters come live with their aunt and uncle in the US, the director of the Humanitarian Affairs Branch of USCIS, John Bird, refused to approve any of the family's cases and made the absurd claim that granting a one-year visa to anyone in the family, including Muhammad's 2- and 4-year-old daughters, is a security concern. Because of USCIS's policy and Muhammad's service to the US military, Muhammad's children were literally born with a death sentence. Mr. Bird acknowledges that Muhammad and his family meet all the criteria for humanitarian parole, and he does not question that they will be killed if left in their current situation. He just does not care enough about Muslim refugees to even save a toddler from the Taliban. Worse yet, last October USCIS granted humanitarian parole to family members of Las Zetas drug cartel members who murdered US ICE agents in Mexico, so that the family members of the murderers could attend a trial in Washington, D.C. Thus, USCIS is literally treating Muhammad and his family worse than criminals. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453519/operation-fast-and-furious-victor-avila-betrayed-obama-administration Sign the petition to tell USCIS to re-open and approve Muhammad's and his family's cases quickly. Muhammad is a hero who faithfully served the US military for over 9 years and is now in grave danger because the Taliban is determined to get revenge. He has already lost everything except his and his family's lives because of his service to America, but he is still proud of his choice to work for the US military. All he wants in return is the chance to bring his daughters to safety and to give them a future. If USCIS does not re-open and approve his case, he will be left behind to be killed by the same terrorists that he risked his life to fight for so many years. The Sacramento Bee wrote a story about USCIS's recent denial of Muhammad and his entire family for humanitarian parole and my family's efforts to save them. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article187680333.html The Ithaca Voice recently published a story highlighting the absurdity of USCIS blacklisting a toddler. https://ithacavoice.com/2018/02/case-denied-not-closed-fight-continues-afghan-interpreter-trying-escape-pakistan/ For more background information, The Ithaca Voice published a detailed story over the summer about Muhammad and his career with the US military: https://ithacavoice.com/2017/06/former-afghan-interpreter-hopes-find-sanctuary-u-s-help-cornell-student/ No One Left Behind, the non-profit fighting to save Afghan and Iraqi interpreters, also published a blog post highlighting Muhammad's case http://nooneleft.org/2017/12/12/4221/ Please call your Congressional representatives and ask them to join our bipartisan sign-on letter asking DHS for information on why they denied Muhammad's case. If you need contact information on your Congressional representatives, use this link to look them up: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/ Email me (Kristy Perano) at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help or for more information on Muhammad's case. Please also email me if you know Muhammad personally or if you know any government officials or reporters who may be able to help raise public awareness of Muhammad's case.
Save the J-1 Au Pair Program
The Wall Street Journal reported on August 28th that the Trump Administration might eliminate several J-1 cultural exchange programs, including the au pair program, as it implements the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. The au pair program is not a work program, it is a cultural exchange program that allows young students to travel to the United States each year to live as part of an American host family, attend classes and become a part of the local community. The diplomacy-oriented goals of the program are focused on creating meaningful cultural exchange opportunities and strong ties between citizens of this country and young people from around the world. The lasting international relationships that have been created over more than 30 years are a testament to the program’s continued success. The childcare component of the au pair program supports and empowers American families by allowing them to balance work while raising their families. The loss of this program would be devastating to the cultural exchange community and would result in American jobs being lost rather than created. Please join us in showing your support for this invaluable program. The au pair program supports thousands of working American families, connects people forming lasting diplomatic and familial bonds, and promotes American values around the world. It would be undemocratic to eliminate this program without hearing from the participants and constituents who actually benefit from this life-changing cultural exchange experience.
Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon and return to safe zones in Syria
Lebanon has a population of 4.5 million Lebanese people, 2 million Syrian refugees and half a million Palestinian refugees.It is a small country that, due to a 15 year war and the huge debt that accumulated after that for reconstruction, was already suffering economically before the March 2011 Syrian war and the spillover from the Syrian conflict including the influx of Syrian refugees that increased internal tension and slowed economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-15, and less than that in 2016, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Syrian refugees have pushed more and more Lebanese into unemployment. Yet we remain to this day the largest host (on a per capita basis) for displaced Syrians.Lebanese are known for their hospitality, however in this instance we regrettably announce that it is not within our capacity to have refugees in Lebanon, how can we invite a beloved guest to our house when we don't even have enough to feed our own children?!Besides the economical challenge, we are suffering demographic and social challenges that we worry might lead to serious altercations between both parties. Based on the facts of the country, with respect to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, Lebanon is neither a State Party nor has it signed its protocol. We ask you, the international community, our big family, please help us survive in our land, we need your assistance in relocating the displaced Syrians we have in Lebanon to safe zones in Syria designated and agreed upon by yourselves. We as the Lebanese people are willing to work hand in hand with the Lebanese government and international organizations in Lebanon, who have the data relating to the Syrian refugees, to relocate them in an organized, civilized manner. We hope for the best, God bless all the countries and we will continue to pray for world peace
A CALL FOR JUSTICE TO SAUDI ARABIAN WOMEN!
IMPORTANT! A 25 year old Saudi Arabian woman in Riyadh is trapped in a household which promotes a rape culture and abuse through various beatings, threats, violence, as well as depriving her from basic needs such as food, water and medical care. I write this on behalf of her as this is a serious matter that needs immediate attention. I and many private individuals have contacted organisations such as UN women, Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch, Un Refugee etc only for them to ignore our cry for help or they would tell us that they do not deal with "individual cases". The young lady contacted local authorities and shelters for help but they would blame her instead for the abuse or they would turn a blind eye towards her case. This was proven from a variety of emails and proofs of which she provided us with in the hopes that it will spark attention. We call upon each and every individual to be a voice, in order for her to be placed in a safe environment after her endured trauma! She is also willing to testify on behalf of many other women who are trapped in her predicament in the hopes that Officials need to start taking lives seriously! I am desperate for this petition to reach as many people as possible because the young lady is looking through other means such as suicide. Who can blame her? It is obvious that she is mentally incapable and hence I redeem this matter as being serious. I have not provided her full name so that I can protect her identity from any further dangers especially from governmental entities and/or her oppressors. It is seen as a "shame" for a victim of the Saudi state to seek international help from outside their borders. That to me is absurd considering the fact that the victim and those who are oppressed wouldnt need to seek international help in the first place if their OWN state authorities and organisations didnt turn them away! To the humanitarian organisational entities, we call upon you to act according to the promises that you preach on a daily basis! We cannot as a society allow you to weaken the voices of the vulnerable when they CALL OUT FOR YOU! Furthermore, the whole purpose as to why your entites exist in the first place is to deal with violations that are a threat to human life! If you, yourselves do not follow your own mission and vision statements that you are willingly proud to boast about in public view, you are as bad as the individuals who find the need to cause unrest in society! The abuse of Saudi Arabian Women has been an ongoing issue that never ends. It is an atrocity that shouldn't even be considered a norm. Convenants and policies do nothing for these women as they are still being abused and mistreated in the most horrendous ways. A Saudi Arabian woman must not be killed or placed in a dention centre just because she knows her worth! The Saudi Arabian state must be held accountable for upholding a culture of abuse in its society! Death should not be, by any means a way of escape for a woman who is oppressed! Stop turning a blind eye to a human rights violation that is killing many. One Womans death equates to a fallen generation! Women are more than their beauty and their strength, They hold the world in the palm of their hands, therefore we need to rise to the occassion. Saudi Arabian women deserve their freedom. We talk about their freedom, we fantasize about it, we write articles about it and we even create mediocre policies for it but we never ACT on the freedom we so actively preach about it! ACT! ACT! ACT! GOALS 1. The Saudi Arabian Victim must be set free without any arrests. Furthermore, her oppressors must be dealt with legally for the crimes committed. She must be given the necessary treatment for the trauma and she must be able to have a say when it comes to her personal concerns. 2. Provide Saudi Arabian women of ALL ages places of safety ENSURING that they will not get turned back by organisational entities, ensuring that medical provisions are being made, ensuring that their perpetrators deal with the law immediately and effectively and ensuring that places of safety are checked on a constant bases for safety precautions. Any organisation that fails to account for the above, must face legal precautions. 3. Police Enforcement must be held accountable for not taking matters of abused women seriously. Women must NOT be forced back to their oppressors neither should they be arrested for reporting a crime that is considered urgent and pertaining a crisis that has the potential cause death. We ask that the Police enforcement must be held accountable for their actions if found to do so and this can only be achieved if investigations are conducted by the state and international organisations who have ties with such entities. #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen For more info please contact me on the following: Email: Ask for it. Social Media: Instagram and Skype. (Email me for such details)
Would like to thank all members of the U.S Congress.#H.Res128 #S.Res168.Ethiopian American
To the Honorable Representatives and Senator: On behalf of the Ethiopian-American Civic Council across the United States, we would like to thank all the members of the Foreign Relations Committees of the United States Congress who voted for House Resolution 128, "Supporting respect for human rights and inclusive governance in Ethiopia,” and Senate Resolution 168, "A resolution supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia." We are very pleased that the two resolutions are now ready for consideration by the full House. We are also encouraged by the support that the two resolutions are already getting from both chambers. Ethiopian-Americans and Ethiopians across the globe have waited expectantly for a long time for the United States Congress to act in the face of the notorious crimes against humanity and corruption of the Ethiopian dictatorship. The vote in the House and the Senate will be a far-sighted, just and compassionate response to the hundreds of peaceful protest demonstrations and candlelight vigils held in front of the United States Congress and the White House over the last 25 years. With your support for these bills, Ethiopia will finally have a chance to become a stable and prosperous democracy. Your concern for the people of Ethiopia, and not merely for the tiny, unelected clique holding them hostage at gunpoint, will help build a stronger and more effective partner for the United States. The theft by Ethiopia’s senior leadership and its business cronies of an amount exceeding all US financial assistance, rendering American aid programs little more than a transfer of the US taxpayer’s money to private bank accounts and luxury properties, has been well-publicized in major Western media such as the Washington Post and Forbes. This flagrant and egregious abuse of the US taxpayer continues while the famines get larger every few years and the war against terror in the region continues to slip. The Ethiopian regime uses lobbying firms paid from the country's meager resources to continue this fraud against the American people with fabricated economic data, claims of sovereignty and even threats to cease cooperation in the fight against terrorism. We are confident that your honorable institution will see the hollowness of these arguments. When you do, it will also become clear that an Ethiopian government forced by its illegitimacy and unpopularity to rely on military generals based on loyalty instead of talent and to keep Somalia weak and divided can never be an effective partner to America in the fight against Al-Shabab. Besides providing the American taxpayer with due accountability, these two bills represent a historic opportunity to bring peace, stability and better governance to a Horn of Africa region beset by drought, poverty, disease, emigration and conflict. It’s an opportunity that must not be lost. We therefore petition you, in the name of our tortured people, to support HR 128 and SR 168. Respectfully,
Allow Afghani Girls Robotics team to compete in USA by July 16th
I'm the father of three young men who participated in, and had their lives changed for the better by participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition through high school. We were so impressed by the goals and results of the program that my wife and I volunteer and it is our #1 charity. This is really a movement that seeks to make the world better by teaching young people to work and collaborate while competing, and to celebrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). Six Afghani teenage girls have been denied visas to the USA to pilot their robot in an international competition designed to show off the teams' design, construction, and programming skills while addressing the challenge of providing clean water for the world. The team is led by Roya Mahboob, Afghanistan's first female tech CEO. A more complete report from Forbes magazine can be found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hilarybrueck/2017/06/29/denied-afghanistans-all-girl-robotics-team-cant-get-visas-to-the-u-s/#3c884396367f Tens of thousands of high-school and younger students participate in challenges building robots and competing with other teams from around the world in what has been described as "the Varsity Sport for the Mind." A Global Challenge competition will be held 16-18 July 2017 in Washington, DC around the theme of clean water supply. Teams from around the world will be arriving, competing, and cooperating. The Afghani robot has been cleared to enter the USA, but not the young women. More info on the competition and the organization can be found at: www.first.global This petition calls on the US State Department to expedite review and granting of visas for the six young women and their coach, so they can have the experience of collaborating and competing with like-minded youths from around the world, and return with the spirit of STEM and FIRST to their native Afghanistan.
Please Grant Political Asylum to Mr. Andres F. Arias and leaders of Colombian Opposition.
The Colombian Government is relentlessly persecuting its critics and opponents. It has also manufactured, against the Colombian people’s will, a total amnesty agreement with narco-terrorist group FARC. In addition to being the largest cocaine cartel in the world, FARC is responsible for thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity. And yet they will not be punished at all in virtue of the so-called peace deal. Because of their view and political stance against such an impunity deal, many of the most prominent leaders of the opposition party in Colombia have been unjustly prosecuted, preventively imprisoned without conviction, or convicted without a fair trial. This systematic political persecution through the judiciary has been instigated by the Santos Administration in order to decimate the opposition party led by former president Álvaro Uribe. Indeed, some opposition leaders have been forced into exiled and have sought asylum in the US. President Santos of Colombia has repeatedly exerted diplomatic pressure to get the US to extradite his critics back to Colombia. At the same time, he has promised FARC kingpins never to extradite them to the US, regardless of the numerous standing requests by Federal Courts all over the country. The United States cannot tolerate impunity for narco-terrorists while enabling the systematic persecution of democratic activists in Colombia. We kindly ask for your help so that the Department of Homeland Security grants political asylum to Mr. Andrés Felipe Arias and other prominent leaders of the Colombian opposition currently in US soil. Mr. Arias served his country honorably, has been a good friend of the U.S., and is now seeking the protection for his family. We will not rest until the U.S. Government acts in accordance with the values we stand for as a Nation—democracy, the rule of law, and justice.
Help Us Stop Horse Slaughter in America!!!
What Do You Think When You Hear The Word Horse Slaughter? Well for me, I think about animal cruelty, how horrible and unfair it is to be slaughtered. So please, Chip in and help me stop the Slaughter of Horses in the U.S The term “horse slaughter” refers exclusively to the killing and processing of horses for human consumption. They say that it is “euthanasia”, which is defined as a gentle, painless death provided in order to prevent suffering. Being slaughtered is the most horrible way of killing such a beautiful creature. What is going to happen if the horses become extinct, just think about it? What is the world going to be like? Did you know that over 150,000 million American horses have been trucked each year over the boarder to become human consumption. Horses bound for slaughter (who may include pregnant mares, foals and horses who are injured or blind) are commonly shipped for more than 24 hours at a time in crowded trucks without food, water or rest. That is so wrong. For all of those horse lovers out in the world, they are probably dying inside because they are reading stuff like horses being slaughtered for human consumption (HUMANS EATING HORSES). So if we don't stop this slaughter, then the horse species are going to become extinct in different parts of the world. Horses SHOULD NOT be made into food, they are very delicate creatures, they deserve to live. I don’t care if they are pregnant but the owner doesn’t want it, you shouldn’t pass it over to the doggers to slaughter them and make them into food for humans. So please can you help me stop the slaughter of horses, they need to live as much as we do. They deserve to live a happy life. So I am begging you to sign this petition and help make a difference to the world and Help save these amazing creatures!!!
Free Xiyue Wang
Since August of 2016, Xiyue Wang, an American citizen and graduate student at Princeton University, has been imprisoned in Iran on false spying charges. Wang is a history student, and he went to Iran in the spring of 2016 to do dissertation research on late 19th/early 20th century governance in the Islamic central Asian world. The project grew out of Wang's longstanding respect for Islam and his love for Persian culture. The documents he needed were mostly bureaucratic paperwork and definitely not confidential. Iranian authorities reviewed and approved Wang’s research plans in advance, and even wrote him a letter of introduction to the archives. All of the documents Wang scanned were cleared with state archivists. Needless to say, Wang is completely innocent of all charges against him. The Iranian government is holding Wang as a political pawn. Since Wang was imprisoned a year and a half ago, he has been assaulted and threatened by other prisoners, interrogated for hours on end by Iranian officials, and periodically held in solitary confinement. His family, friends, and colleagues believe his life is in danger. The ward in which Wang is currently held is cold and flea-ridden, and Wang is suffering from tooth decay, arthritis, and severe depression as a result of his confinement. He has been given no warm clothes or blankets for winter, and no medical attention outside of basic pain relievers. He is not even allowed to receive the books his friends and family have tried to send him. Meanwhile, Wang’s wife and young son suffer heartache, anxiety, and crushing uncertainty as they hope for his return to the United States. Wang’s four-year-old son has not seen his father in two years; sometimes, he has trouble even remembering Wang's face. We call on the United States government to do everything in its power to secure the release of this American citizen, scholar, father, husband, and friend. We call on the Iranian government to stop playing politics with Wang’s life, and to return him to his family and his home as soon as possible.
Save the J-1 Au Pair Program
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (August 27, 2017) reported that the Trump Administration is considering major reductions or elimination in J-1 cultural exchange programs, including the Au Pair program. This activity is to fulfill a major campaign promise of Donald Trump, under his “Buy American, Hire American” program. The premise is that these young people are “guest workers,” who are displacing American workers. The au pair program is not a work program - it is a cultural exchange program. For decades, the privately funded J-1 cultural exchange Au Pair program has been responsible for fostering global understanding in the U.S. and worldwide. Cultural exchange is the cornerstone of our public diplomacy. Alumni of international exchange programs include 565 current or former heads of foreign governments, 82 Nobel Prize winners, 58 ambassadors to the United Nations, and 26 heads of international organizations. We learn from others and we share our culture. It makes us better and stronger as a nation. The loss or elimination of this program would have a devastating effect on America’s public diplomacy and cultural relevance. Please join us in showing your support!