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    July 11, 2016

    With a new trial set for 12 July, Saman Naseem – who featured in Amnesty’s global letter-writing campaign Write for Rights in 2015, sends a message to his supporters.

    Last year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world showered Iran’s authorities with appeals for a fair retrial for Saman Naseem. He had been sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was just 17 and scheduled for execution in February 2015. He was, however, spared execution after Amnesty launched a worldwide campaign on his behalf. Saman was granted a retrial, which is due to begin on 12 July. In the days leading up to this, and with another possible death sentence looming, Saman wrote this message to everyone who has taken action to save his life.

    Hello and greetings to you all,

    I was born in a village surrounded by snow-capped mountains, forests and deep and winding valleys. It could be said that one of the most beautiful spots in the world is my village Vasneh, near the city of Marivan [in Kurdistan province, north-west Iran].

    February 04, 2016

     

    THANK YOU to all Write for Rights participants for creating amazing momentum on December 10th, International Human Rights Day! 

    We could actually feel the wave of energy from east to west as thousands of Canadians gathered from coast to coast to write letters, tweet and even draw pictures for our annual global letter-writing marathon.

    Supporters of all ages organized a record-breaking 1,700 public and private events in homes, schools, cafes, workplaces and more to send strong human rights messages to world leaders and to stand in solidarity with people facing human rights abuses. 

    December 10, 2015
    10 Ways you can change a life on December 10

    On International Human Rights Day, a wave of human rights activism is spreading across the globe.  Get yourself inspired, and make your own ripples, to bring hope and justice to people whose rights need protecting today, on the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

     

    1. See what it's all about in 60 seconds
    Watch “Write like someone’s life depends on it”, a one minute video narrated by television host George Stroumbouloupolous.
    Watch video


     

    December 07, 2015

    “Write for Rights, Toronto!” successfully concluded on December 5th, 2015. We will discover the number of messages penned when all the letters and cards are sorted. But more important was the number of people participating.

     

    Watch coverage of the event on CityTV News

    This year’s event was incredible because of the record attendance. We had to squeeze in three more tables. We ran out of paper and food! Our organizers were pleasantly shocked at having to make runs to nearby stores for more snacks and writing supplies. Amnesty International is made strong through the support and enthusiasm of its supporters and activists and this event was a testimony to that strength!

    December 07, 2015

    FIND AN EVENT NEAR YOU

    Hundreds of Write for Rights events have been organized in communities across Canada in the days leading up to International Human Rights Day, 2015.

    See the map of all public events on the Write for Rights webpage, or check out some of the major events here:

     

    City

    Location

    Date

    Time

    Organizer

    Aurora

    The Rectory, Trinity Anglican Church
    79 Victoria St
     

    December 07, 2015

    By Ann Douglas
    Writer, Amnesty International supporter

     

    I believe that writers can change the world.

    We have the power to tell stories and share ideas that can fuel social change. It’s both an extraordinary privilege and a daunting responsibility. And it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously, which is why I am participating in Amnesty Canada’s Write-a-thon for human rights.

    I suppose I should give credit to my Grandma Rea. She’s the one who first made me aware of the power of the pen as a tool for political persuasion. She was a long-term supporter of the work of Amnesty International. I remember her writing letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and the wrongfully accused back when I was a teenager—an idea that had a powerful impact on me as a young person and an emerging writer. 

    December 04, 2015

    Did You Know That Your Social Media Has the Power to End Human Rights Abuses?  

    These days, many government bodies and heads of states have Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Some of these state authorities are the same once who have the power to end the human rights abuses at hand in this year’s Write for Rights cases.

    Amnesty International is asking activists from all around the world to use their social media channels for human rights. Below you’ll find sample social media posts that you can use to #Write4Rights:
     

     

     

    Albert Woodfox

    Facebook:

    Albert Woodfox has spent over 40 years in solitary confinement- 23 hours a day alone in a small cell even though no physical evidence links him to the crime the state says he committed 43 years ago. Demand his release NOW: http://bit.ly/1m04yFS

    Twitter:

    November 27, 2015
    Phyoe Phyoe Aung with husband Lin Htet Naing

    By Lin Htet Naing

    In March, Phyoe Phyoe Aung was locked up for helping to organize a student protest in Myanmar. After eight months in hiding, her husband Lin Htet Naing was also arrested in November. Before his arrest, he told us about his partner and their fight for justice.  

    My favourite day is April 11, 2007. It’s the day we fell in love. I love my wife because she is simple, honest and very kind to me. I think she loves me because I am a little bit bad :D. We just want a sweet home and a family together.

    I met her at a student book class in 2006. I thought she looked like a boy. And she wasn’t afraid of anyone. She was always debating with our classmates, and talking about why globalization is good.
     

    November 12, 2015

    By Catherine Brunelle, Write for Rights Support Team

    Have you ever wanted to make a difference, but then felt totally overwhelmed by that massive idea? We all have the potential to impact our world for good, often by simply supporting a cause already in motion. 

    Amnesty International is inviting you to help change lives on December 10, International Human Rights Day, with the world's biggest grassroots event for human rights: Write for Rights! Last year we sent 3.2 million letters and messages for human rights from 143 countries. Here's a list of 10 ways you can get involved:

     

    1. Start with the simple stuff

    November 10, 2015

    by Catherine Brunelle, Write for Rights Support Team

    Amnesty Canada campaigner Hilary Homes has seen many events during her work with Amnesty activists. As we approach Amnesty International’s biggest global activism day of the year, Write for Rights on International Human Rights Day, December 10, we’ve asked her to share some favourite organizing takeaways. Haven’t signed up yet? Join Write for Rights at writeathon.ca!
     

    1. Hold your event in a fun public space

    Partner with a coffee shop or library! Or hold it in a university campus common space,  an art gallery, or at the market. Think of spaces that naturally have a lot of people. It’s an easy way to boost your numbers!

    October 27, 2015
    Moses Akatugba invites you to Write for Rights on Human Rights Day
    My name is Moses Akatugba. For 10 years I was on death row in Nigeria.
     

    I was arrested, tortured and imprisoned when I was just 16 years old. I was sentenced to death.

    Police officers beat me with machetes and batons. The pain I went through was unimaginable. 

    This May, my execution was halted and I walked free. Your Write for Rights letters saved my life. Thank you.

    Please, help others who are being subjected to human rights abuses, as I was. Sign up for the 2015 Write for Rights campaign.

    I am proof your Write for Rights letters work.

    Without the thousands of letters sent in support of my case, I might never have been granted my freedom. Three other people were pardoned with me.

    Amnesty International activists like you are my heroes. You’ve inspired me to become a human rights activist – to fight for others.

    Will you join me? Will you fight to free the unjustly imprisoned as a participant in this year’s Write for Rights?

    August 21, 2015

     

    Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. Two years after she was first sentenced, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

     

    Q. Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? 

    These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

    January 23, 2015

     By Sevag Kechichian, Researcher on Saudi Arabia at Amnesty International.

    The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has, once again, focused international attention to the oil-rich Middle Eastern country’s human rights record.

    “What will be King Abdullah’s legacy?” everybody seems to be asking.

    The answer is not simple.  

    Since taking the throne in 2005, King Abdullah initiated some positive reforms.

    Women, for example, have slowly been included in the Shura Council, a powerless consultative body to advise the King, and incorporated into the workforce – with some being allowed to work in courts as lawyers.

    The late King is credited for opening a dozen new universities and providing thousands of Saudi Arabian citizens with generous scholarships to study abroad. He also initiated seemingly ambitious judicial reforms that have not really gone anywhere.  

    He even decreed the founding of a formal National Human Rights Commission and allowed the establishment of a supposedly independent human rights organization.

    But that’s where the good news ends.

    January 17, 2015

    Béatrice Vaugrante, Director General of Amnistie Internationale Canada francophone, gives a snapshot of some of the widespread global campaigning for Raif Badawi. Raif has been sentenced to ten years and 1,000 lashes after starting a website for public debate in Saudi Arabia.

    When the vigil in Montreal ended, we were all frozen to the bone. It was a gorgeous day, but to motivate activists and supporters to stay outdoors for over an hour in -20 degree temperatures, you have to be creative.

    Motivating them to come in the first place wasn’t that hard – I could see the energy and the anger in their faces. They were outraged at what was happening to Raif Badawi, and they wanted to act. Another reason to attend: standing beside me, upright, silent and proud, small in stature but great in spirit, was Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who has taken refuge in Quebec along with their three children. Together, we our determined to reunite this family.

    December 09, 2014

     

    Featured last year in Write for Rights, Jabeur describes how international attention made a difference

    “I have two of them now!” Jabeur Mejri is smiling and pointing at a flick book containing hundreds of photos of support taken by Amnesty International members. They were passed to Jabeur and his family while he was in prison in Tunisia over the last two years.

    Jabeur was jailed for seven-and-a-half years in March 2012, for Facebook posts deemed offensive to Islam and the prophet Mohamed. “Prison was difficult,” he tells us. “The other prisoners used to harass me and beat me because of my views and none of the prison guards did anything to protect me.”

    December 08, 2014

     

    Supporters "Dance for Rights" to raise awareness for Amnesty's global letter-writing event Write for Rights

    This past Saturday on December 6th, supporters of Amnesty International took to the streets in Montreal to be a part of the largest grassroots human rights campaign in the world, Write for Rights! The new flagship event, dubbed “Dance for Rights” brought community members out to dance in solidarity with people fighting injustices all over the world, and to promote and protect human rights. With our music devices in our pockets and headphones in our ears we became a SILENT DISCO, using a flash mob style of street activism to garner attention!

    December 08, 2014

     

    Barrie turns out to mark International Human Rights Day during Write for Rights!

    For the very first time, the Amnesty International Flag was raised at Barrie City Hall and will continue to wave to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th. Mayor Jeff Lehman, students from Barrie Central, Maple Grove E.S., residents of Barrie and members of our local Barrie Amnesty International Action Circle were in attendance.

    December 02, 2014

    An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, 22-year-old Liao Minyue, tells their story.

     

    Kind hearted

    My mother, Liu Ping, was just an ordinary Chinese woman with a kind heart.

    Liao Minyue's mother, Liu Ping, is in jail for trying to expose corruption in China © Private

    We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.

    November 26, 2014

    When we meet Shahzadi Bi in September, she is busy chaining herself to a fence. It’s not just any fence, but the one that surrounds the Chief Minister’s residence in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, where Bhopal is the capital. She is among a group of protesters demanding that the minister keep his promise of providing each survivor of the 1984 gas leak – the more than 570,000 who were exposed – 500,000 Indian rupees (US$8,170) as compensation.

    Shahzadi, aged 60, lives in Blue Moon Colony, one of the 22 slums that surround the old pesticide factory formerly owned by Union Carbide India Limited. This area is blighted by water contamination, caused by chemicals from the abandoned factory site.

    The disaster overturned her and her family’s lives. “Everyone has dreams,” she says. “I too had those. My dream was not about becoming a teacher or doctor… I wished that we would provide a good education to our children… but the gas leak shattered all these dreams.”

    November 26, 2014
    Rampyari Bai is one of Bhopal’s most persistent survivors.

    Now aged 90, she began her struggle in the wake of the disaster. In 1984 she was living with her son and his wife in a shanty near the factory. Her daughter-in-law died during the gas leak.

    INDIA: ACTION FOR SURVIVORS ON 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL TRAGEDY

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