Together, we can secure justice for people whose human rights are under threat, Amnesty International USA said today as it launched Write for Rights, the world’s largest annual, grassroots letter-writing campaign.
Every year around Human Rights Day on December 10th, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide write letters, emails, text messages, faxes and tweets on behalf of prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders and others at risk of human rights violations.
“We say, ‘write a letter, change a life,’ and that’s exactly what happens. By participating in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign, ordinary people across the United States have helped free dozens of individuals worldwide who were imprisoned solely because of who they are or what they believe,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
In 2015, hundreds of thousands of people called for action on 12 cases involving individuals and communities experiencing human rights abuses. They sent 3,714,141 messages pressuring authorities to put an end to human rights abuses, leading to the release of Congolese pro-democracy activists and prisoners of conscience Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, who were once facing the death penalty; Albert Woodfox, subjected to over four decades of solitary confinement in Louisiana; Yecenia Armenta, a survivor of rape and other torture by police in Mexico; and Phyoe Phyoe Aung, a prisoner of conscience and student leader in Myanmar.
The 2016 Write for Rights campaign calls for government officials to free prisoners of conscience, support human rights defenders, and end other urgent cases of abuse:
China: prisoner of conscience and human rights defender Ilham Tohti, a professor serving life in jail for fighting discrimination
Egypt: prisoner of conscience Shawkan, a photojournalist jailed for doing his job
Malawi: Annie Alfred, a child with albinism hunted for her body parts, and other people with albinism in Malawi
United States: Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist who has been imprisoned for more than 40 years despite serious concerns about the legal processes leading to his conviction
“Across the globe, people are being tortured or unfairly imprisoned for speaking out against injustice. It is up to us to make sure they are not forgotten,” said Zeke Johnson, director of the Individuals at Risk Program at Amnesty International USA. “Human rights supporters in over 200 countries are writing letters this year to protect our fundamental freedoms and bring miscarriages of justice into the light. Our letters send a clear message—we will not stand by while anyone’s human rights are violated.”
Learn more about Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign and the cases here: http://write.amnestyusa.org/