Write for Rights 2020: You’re already changing lives!

On or around December 10th, International Human Rights Day, Amnesty International supporters around the world take part in our biggest global day of action, Write for Rights, in solidarity with individuals and communities whose human rights have been denied.

Despite the challenges with COVID-19 restrictions, thousands of supporters across Canada made their voices loud this year. They organized an incredible 206 virtual and household events or took action on their own, and sent more than 75,000+ letters, emails, solidarity messages and tweets from Canada alone! 

You’re already changing lives – thank you! Here are some recent updates from Write for Rights 2020, as well as one from 2019: 

AFP via Getty Images

Khaled Drareni, Algeria

Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni, jailed for covering protests, has been conditionally released! He’s shared his thanks to you:  

I want to thank everyone who supported me and who supported the prisoners of conscience because your support is essential for all of us.

We continue to call for all charges against Khaled to be dropped. A hearing to have his file examined by the Supreme Court was scheduled for February 25 but rescheduled to March 25.  

Thank you so much for your dedicated efforts and support for Khaled’s freedom during Write for Rights 2020! 

Nassima al-Sada, Saudi Arabia 

In January, women human rights defender Nassima al-Sada received a prison sentence of five years with partial suspension of two years. This means that she should be released in early June 2021, but we are continuing to demand her immediate and unconditional release. She’s a peaceful activist and shouldn’t be behind bars in the first place.  

On Friday, February 12 our colleagues from Amnesty Netherlands handed over letters of solidarity received so far for Nassima to her son Mousa. He asked to share his thanks with you: 

“I am overwhelmed. My mom will love all the letters, it will mean so much to her and she will be amazed by all the efforts put into this. I was also surprised that some letters are addressed to me too. One woman wrote ‘And for you I send a mother’s love’, so sweet. I thought first that I would make a selection of them to read to my mom but seeing these bags I realize she will want me to read each single one of them! A huge thanks to all of you for your solidarity.” 

Popi Qwabe and Bongeka Phungula, South Africa 

Earlier this month, Popi’s sister, Lihle, and Bongeka’s cousin, Mdu, visited the Amnesty South Africa office to receive your solidarity letters. Our colleagues reported that Lihle and Mdu appeared completely overwhelmed with gratitude and support. You can watch the thank you video below!

You can also hear more from Popi and Bongeka’s families in this VICE video released in early February. 

Jani Silva, Colombia 

Jani was forced into hiding in early December following increased threats to her and her family. In late December, she and her family were forced again to move to a new undisclosed location for their safety.  

We are continuing to campaign in solidarity with Jani and other earth defenders under attack in Colombia. Please stay tuned for next steps in the campaign this spring. 

Idris Khattak, Pakistan  

On January 28, 2021, the appeal for Idris to be tried in a civilian court instead of a military court was denied. Military courts in Pakistan notoriously shun transparency, due process and human rights. Very little information has been shared with his lawyers or family about his case. His whereabouts remain unknown; however, it has been recently disclosed that the espionage charges against him relate to a meeting between Idris and a diplomat in June 2009, well over a decade before his abduction. 

Idris remains at risk of an unfair trial, a lengthy prison sentence or even the death penalty. 

ACT NOW: We’ve issued a new Urgent Action for Idris’ case here.  

METU Pride defenders, Turkey

The December 10, 2020 trial for the METU Pride defenders was postponed to April 30, 2021. Please watch for updates as we get closer to the date.  

José Adrián, Mexico (Write for Rights 2019)

José Adrián, who at age 14 was arbitrarily detained, beaten and mistreated by police in Mexico, has signed an agreement with the government for him and his family that includes supports such as medical care, psychological care and scholarships. Thank you to all everyone who has been part of the struggle to achieve justice for José Adrián!  

We will continue to share Write for Rights updates as we receive them. In the meantime, if you wish to continue to change lives right now, check out our current campaigns in the Winter Activism Guide!