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Amnesty International Letter-Writing Campaign Shines Spotlight on Women Fighting for Human Rights

    November 29, 2018
    • Write for Rights also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Whether they face vitriolic harassment online, intimidation for demanding equal services or death threats for protecting their land, women around the world are increasingly under attack for peacefully advocating for human rights.

    That’s why Amnesty International is focusing this year’s Write for Rights campaign on women who are fearlessly working to improve the lives of those living in vulnerable, marginalized communities.

    Every year, around International Human Rights Day on December 10, Amnesty International supporters across the globe write millions of letters and take action for people whose rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights campaign.

    Write for Rights participants send messages of solidarity to those fighting for human rights. They also send letters to government officials responsible for or complicit in human rights violations, urging them to take action.

    This year’s Write for Rights event is remarkable; not only is Amnesty International shining the spotlight on women human rights defenders, but this December 10 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The Universal Declaration pronounces rights that each and every one of us possesses, by the very fact that we are human. Every year since 1948, progress has been made towards every person enjoying all those rights. More and more people are living lives free from want, fear and discrimination.

    But, as this year’s 10 Write for Rights cases demonstrate, the fight for universal human rights is far from over.

    This year, Amnesty International is writing letters to:

    • Brazil’s presidentelect, Jair Bolsonaro, urging him to bring Marielle Franco’s killers to justice, including those who ordered the crime. Marielle was a young, black, bisexual human rights defender and city councillor in Rio de Janeiro who was shot dead last March.
    • Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, asking him to release Atena Daemi, who was unjustifiably jailed for criticizing Iran’s death penalty on social media.
    • Republic of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, urging him to protect human rights defender Nonhle Mbuthuma, who has faced death threats and survived a murder attempt while courageously defending Indigenous land rights from titanium mining. Fortunately, the North Gauteng High Court ruled the government cannot issue a licence for the proposed Australian company’s mining project without the consent of Indigenous communities. While this is news worth celebrating, we must still support Mbuthuma and the amaMpondo Indigenous people.

    These are just a few of the cases Amnesty International is focusing on this year. Visit www.writeathon.ca to review all the cases and join a Write for Rights event in your community.

    Background:

    Amnesty International’s first Write for Rights campaign took place 15 years ago in Poland.  Canada joined the letter writing campaign in the 2nd year. Since then, millions of actions have been taken by activists from over 80 countries around the world. Every year, these actions lead to real change. People wrongfully imprisoned are released, torturers are brought to justice, and people in prison are treated more humanely.

    For more information please contact:

    Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations (Toronto) 416-363-9933 ext 332; bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca  

    Lucy Scholey, Media Relations (Ottawa) 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca