The family of an LGBTI activist hacked to death in Bangladesh, the sister of a young man gunned down by Jamaican police, and 11 human rights defenders in Turkey are among those who will be receiving letters of support from Amnesty International supporters this December, as the organization launches its fifteenth global letter writing campaign, Write for Rights.
Every December, Amnesty International supporters across the globe write millions of letters and take actions for people whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights campaign. Last year at least 4.6 million actions were taken.
“For 15 years Write for Rights has given people hope in their darkest moments. Imagine being ill in jail and receiving thousands of letters of support and solidarity; or finding out that people all over the world are behind you in your quest for justice for a murdered relative. Writing letters really can change lives,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
Write for Rights is one of the world’s largest human rights events and on Human Rights Day we want the world to see how far and wide the campaign reaches, and all the great work we do to change lives.
On or around December 10th, 2017 we will be using Twitter and Instagram to show that people all over the world are writing letters for those whose rights have been abused. You can find more information on Write for Rights cases here.
Let’s show the world that human rights matter, by making the 2017 Write for Rights hashtag #WriteforRights appear in conversations online throughout the day!
Last year we sent 4.6 million letters and messages for human rights from more than 200 countries. Here's a list of 10 ways you can get involved:1. Start with the simple stuff
Sign up at Writeathon.ca! From here you can sign e-petitions, watch videos about cases, download materials for organising and letter writing and stay in the loop on cases to be featured on December 10. *Note: If you register to organise an event we'll mail out a Write for Rights kit to you at the address you provide.
So you've signed up to host a Write for Rights event. THANK YOU! Your time and enthusiasm means more people are taking action for human rights on December 10! (Haven't signed up yet? You can still sign up HERE!)
Are you a first time Write for Rights organiser? Why not join our short online training for new organisers on Wednesday 22nd November, 2017. You can register for the training here!
We've put together a few tips to help you make the most of your event, whether it's just a few people in your living room or a big event downtown!
Letters to a Prisoner will provide a fun and engaging way for young people (ages 6 and up) to participate with and promote human rights and the Write for Rights campaign.
Erkin Musaev was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2007 after a series of grossly unfair trials – he was accused of spying for an unnamed NATO member-state and of misusing UN funds. His conviction was based on a confession he was forced to sign after security service officers threatened his family.
Outraged at the injustice of his detention without a fair trial thousands of Amnesty International supporters sent 427,000 messages of solidarity for Erkin Musaev, demanding his release as part of Write for Rights 2014.
Now free, he has written a letter offering his personal thanks to Amnesty International activists who spoke up for him:
By Shiromi Pinto
Amnesty supporters around the world outdid themselves this Write for Rights 2016. Together, you wrote an amazing 4,660,774 letters, emails, tweets and much more. Among those messages were words of support that made all the difference to the many whose rights we were writing for. Here are just a few of their personal thank you notes to you.
"Received this package of letters and post cards from Amnesty today, a small bundle of love and encouragement from the WriteAthon highlighting Site C and it's impacts... People are waking up around the world and they care. Made me smile ❤️ #unity #nositec #peace #amnesty #global #indigenous #waterislife"
- A post shared by Helen Knott, Prophet River First Nation
Amnesty International USA Release
The Pardon Snowden campaign delivers signatures to White House; prominent supporters call for President Obama to pardon whistleblower before Jan. 20
(New York) - Today the Pardon Snowden campaign delivered more than 1 million signatures to President Barack Obama, urging him to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden before he leaves office on January 20. The signatures delivered to the White House, totaling 1,101,252 in number, were collected by the campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Demand Progress and CREDO Action.
“People from all over the world have come together to show their support for Edward Snowden and thank him for the public service he performed in standing up for their human rights. Edward Snowden is a hero, not a traitor, and that he remains in limbo years after sparking such an important global debate about surveillance and privacy is a gross injustice. He deserves better than a life in exile,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release photojournalist Mohammed Abu Zeid, popularly known as Shawkan, who has spent more than three years in detention and whose court hearing takes place on Saturday 10 December, Amnesty International said today. The authorities must also drop all charges against him.
“Mohammed Abu Zeid was simply doing his job when he was arrested, taking photographs of the violent dispersal by security forces of a sit-in at the Rabaa al-Adaweya Square in Cairo in 2013 that led to horrific mass killings. His detention by the Egyptian authorities is clearly politically motivated and he should not be held for another day – taking pictures is not a crime,” said Najia Bounaim, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Tunis Regional office.
Máxima Acuña is a water and land defender in Peru. She has survived years of harassment, intimidation and vicious beatings by police and mining company security personnel over her right to defend the environment and her home from a massive gold and copper mine.
Her property shares a watershed with 4 lagoons that, if the company gets its way, would be drained and turned into tailings ponds. She has been forced into court to defend her family’s property rights to the land where they live and grow crops –and she has won. In September, she was beaten severely. It is staggering to comprehend the level of violence she has endured to defend her rights.
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:Australia: Refugees on Nauru
Target: Peter Dutton, Minister of Immigration and Border Protection – @PeterDutton_MP
I'm writing to @PeterDutton_MP to Tell #Australia to end the abuse of #refugees on #Nauru. #W4R16 #Write4Rights
Target: President Ilham Aliyev – @presidentaz
Check out the *FULL list of social media mobilizing ideas HERE*, including our Twitter Party at 4 pm EST on December 10!Write for Rights is just around the corner — now's the time to spread the word!
Like and Share our Write for Rights posts that you see on the Amnesty Canada Facebook page and Twitter feed OR post your own message using #Write4Rights and www.writeathon.ca!
Narges Mohammadi is a prominent human rights advocate in Iran campaigning for justice and gender equality, and against the death penalty. She has been targeted and imprisoned by Iranian authorities before for her peaceful activism and has spent the last decade in and out of prison. Narges has spent the last year in Iran's notorious Evin prison, and has been sentenced to 16 years in prison following an unfair trial for trumped up national-security related charges.
Her only 'crime' is standing up for human rights--including the rights of women and girls--amidst Iran's crackdown on women's rights and those who advocate for women's rights. Narges remains in prison because of peaceful human rights work. Iran needs to know that it is not acceptable to persecute peaceful activists. And Narges needs to know that the world is watching and advocating for her freedom.
World-renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is joining forces with Amnesty International to mobilize hundreds of thousands of supporters around the world to inundate the White House with messages in support of Edward Snowden, as part of the world’s biggest human rights campaign, launched today.
The Write for Rights campaign, from 2-16 December, is also taking on 10 other human rights cases, including a jailed Egyptian photojournalist “Shawkan” at risk of execution, Azerbaijani activists tortured after graffitiing a statue, and an Indonesian teacher imprisoned for the simple act of waving a flag. (See annex for full list of cases.)