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    December 01, 2016

    Amnesty supporters across the country are taking action for Write for Rights. 

    Every year on December 10th, Amnesty International celebrates International Human Rights Day with the world's largest grassroots human rights event. Last year, we sent 3.7 million letters and messages for human rights from 200 countries. 30,000 participants in Canada contributed over 35,000 actions to the worldwide total. Our activists make all this possible. 

    Want to join in? 

    1. Start your own event 

    There's still time to organize your own event for Write for Rights. 

    Hold a potluck with friends or gather at a local coffee shop to write letters. 

    Check out our tips for organizing a great event and register now! 

    December 01, 2016

    By Yaridbel Licón and Victor Molina, Amnesty International Venezuela

    “I often woke up believing my strength was running out, believing I couldn’t keep going, and then I received photographs of Amnesty International human rights activists from all over the world requesting my freedom, respect for justice and for life. Infinite thanks, friends, without you I wouldn’t be here!” - Rosmit Mantilla, ex prisoner of conscience, unjustly detained in May 2014 and released in November 2016.

    On May 2, 2014, a delegation of more than 20 members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) burst into his apartment in Caricuao, a modest neighbourhood in west Caracas, where Rosmit Mantilla lived with his grandparents. A student, member of the opposition Party “Voluntad Popular” and a human rights activist, he never thought he would spend two and a half years of his life behind bars awaiting a trial against him that would never happen.

    November 28, 2016
    Write for someone's life: SIGN UP TODAY FOR WRITE FOR RIGHTS

    Last year Amnesty supporters across the world wrote an astonishing 3.7 million letters, messages, emails, tweets and much more as part of Write for Rights. From Afghanistan to Zambia, dedicated campaigners, students, school kids and loads of others got on board. In Canada, Amnesty supporters took action in more than 1000 locations across the country, taking over 30,000 actions. Together, we demanded change on behalf of people and communities suffering appalling human rights abuses.

    And guess what? It made a massive difference. Here are five people whose lives were transformed by the power of the pen.
     

    November 23, 2016

    Join Amnesty International supporters around the world on International Human Rights Day for our global campaign Write for Rights, and protect Indigenous rights in the Peace River valley!

    The proposed $8 billion plus Site C hydroelectric dam would flood more than 80 km of the river valley, stretching west from Fort St. John. The severe impact on Indigenous peoples is beyond dispute. A joint federal-province environmental impact assessment concluded that the dam would “severely undermine” use of the land, would make fishing unsafe for at least a generation, and would submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historical sites.

    Here are some ways you can stand with Indigenous peoples of the Peace River valley against the Site C dam:

     

    1. Send a solidarity message or photograph

    Rising Waters photo action:

    November 18, 2016

     

    Prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, Member of Parliament, human rights activist and prisoner of conscience, Rosmit Mantilla has been released following 2 years in prison!

    Thank you to Amnesty International supporters who took action on his case!

    Rosmit send these personal words of thanks:  

    "I am a human rights activists borrowed by politics to humanize Venezuelan politics, to get some rights in the Venezuelan politcs.

    I am very thankful for all the activism voices everyone has raised for me. My commitment right now is human rights for everyone."

     

    The release of Rosmit, who was unfairly imprisoned since 2014 as punishment for his human rights work, must mark a profound shift in the government’s approach to dissent and freedom of speech. He was released after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention at the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas.

    September 08, 2016
    Congolese activists Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala walked free last week – another success for Amnesty’s global letter-writing campaign Write for Rights.

    A massive thank you to the 170,000 of you who stood up for Fred and Yves and demanded their release. Your solidarity and activism kept hope alive for the many youth activists at LUCHA (Lutte pour le changement or “fight for change”) – the organization that Fred and Yves belong to. LUCHA, which shared Amnesty’s Ambassador of Conscience Award this year, was instrumental in securing the men’s release, having met President Joseph Kabila just days before the two men walked free. 

    “I am happy to finally be free after more than 17 months of imprisonment,” said Fred. “I thank Amnesty International and all those who fought in one way or another for my release. I look forward to seeing my family and friends to continue the fight for democracy and freedom in my country.” 

    July 21, 2016

    By Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada's Campaigner for Iran

    Where would you spend a Sunday in July?

    On Sunday July 17, the members of Amnesty International’s TriCities Group in Coquitlam BC chose to stand in solidarity with Iranian prisoner of conscience, Narges Mohammadi

    Narges Mohammadi is a human rights defender who received a 16-year prison sentence after she was convicted, following an unfair trial in April 2016, of the charges of “founding an illegal group”, “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system”. She is already serving a six-year prison sentence from a previous case. Her convictions are based solely on her human rights work.

    Narges is critically ill. She suffers from a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs) and a neurological disorder that has resulted in her experiencing seizures and temporary partial paralysis. She needs ongoing specialized medical care, which she cannot receive in prison, as well as daily medication.

    July 11, 2016
    July 19 UPDATE: Saman Naseem’s new trial has been rescheduled to September 7, 2016

    With a new trial set for July 12, 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 July 12. 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,

    June 08, 2016
    We want to send our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who demanded justice & freedom for Yecenia Armenta. You helped change a life. Every letter, email, action & phone call you made helped unlock the prison doors. After four years of injustice, Yecenia is finally free and with her family. 

     

    THANK YOU!

    PHOTO: Yecenia reunited with her family

    A judge´s decision to acquit mother of two Yecenia Armenta Graciano and release her from prison today in northern Mexico brings an end to four long years of injustice. 

    Yecenia sent a THANK YOU message to all who have taken up her case and campaigned for her release:

    "Right now I am overwhelmed by feelings that I am still coming to terms with. I feel joy, and so much emotion. "

    April 14, 2016

    “We are inspired and deeply honoured to have the support of so many individuals in our fight to stop the proposed Site C Dam."  - Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations

    West Moberly is one of the First Nations in the Treaty 8 region of northeastern BC that vigorously objected to the Site C dam through the environmental assessment review process. The report of that independent review set out a clear case against the dam, including the irreversible harm that it will cause to one of the few remaining areas where West Moberly and other First Nations can exercise their rights, the destruction of hundreds of cultural sites, and the province's failure to properly other, less harmful alternatives. 

    April 13, 2016

    We're still celebrating the release of scores of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, on April 8!

    And now we get to take a moment to reflect on how amazing March was for human rights – activists were released, unfair laws were changed, and people who committed serious human rights abuses were brought to justice. We’ve picked out 15 successes, wins and pieces of good news, and they were all made possible thanks to your support.

    >> For the latest good news stories, click here!

     

    March 22, 2016

    By Ann Douglas

    Know a young person who is passionate about social justice—who is eager to make the world a better place, starting right now?

    Let that young person know about the Lifesaver program. Lifesavers are free monthly actions for kids aged 9 and up. The actions involve writing letters on behalf of an individual or group whose human rights are in jeopardy.  https://www.amnesty.ca/get-involved/youth-activism/lifesaver

    Recent Lifesaver actions have offered support to:

    March 10, 2016

    To mark the World Day Against Cyber Censorship, Edward Snowden talks to Amnesty about how governments are watching everything we do online, and why we must bring mass surveillance back under control. Follow Ed on Twitter @Snowden

    Today, the government is granting itself the power to police every citizen’s private life. Every man, woman, child, boy, girl. It doesn’t matter who you are, how innocent or not innocent you are, they are watching everything you’re doing. They’re intercepting it, analyzing it and storing it for increasing periods of time.

    The fact that we’ve got agencies like the GCHQ looking through webcams into people’s bedrooms, into the four walls of their homes, is terrifying. The NSA is collecting billions of phone location records a day, so they know where you got on the bus, where you went to work, where you slept and what other cell phones slept with you. We have to ask: “Do we want to live in a society where we live totally naked in front of government, and they are totally opaque to us?”

    March 09, 2016

    Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (known as “Shawkan”) has spent nearly 1,000 days in jail after photographing the violent response of security forces to a sit-in protest in Cairo. He has been tortured in detention and now faces trumped-up charges which could lead to life imprisonment. Ahead of his trial on 26 March, he sent Amnesty this letter about his experiences in prison.

    At 7:45am, a tall, hard-hearted and thick-minded informant with barely recognizable facial expressions shows up; his accent betrays his countryside origins. His mission and assignment inside the prison, like his other “team” members of informants, are to stand near your head and shout the following: “Stand up buddies, all of you; it is inspection time”. 

    March 08, 2016
    Pictured above: Girls who are victims of early and forced marriage as well as early pregnancy at the FOCEB shelter admiring solidarity letters and postcards sent as part of Write for Rights 2015. Amnesty International Burkina Faso volunteers prepared the wall display for the girls, most of whom have been disowned by their families.

      Burkina Faso's Ministry of Justice, Human Rights, and Civic Promotion has affirmed the government's commitment to eradicating early and forced marriage.

    The ministry plans to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 years and to ensure that forced marriage is clearly defined in Burkina Faso's criminal code.

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