The concept is simple: Take Action, Change a Life.
Urgent Actions ask our community of volunteers to flood the mailboxes, inboxes, phones and social media of authorities when someone is in imminent danger of human rights violations. Your letters, emails, phone calls, faxes and Tweets have helped to halt executions, support human rights defenders and free prisoners of conscience—people jailed solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs and identity.
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Urgent Action emails specify the case, local and international government officials to contact, their contact information and suggestions about what to write, say or Tweet. Learn more about writing effective letters and emails.
Are you an educator looking for ways to engage your students in human rights? Find out how your students can show their power through letter writing!
In many cases, your action on these cases leads to better conditions for prisoners and their eventual release. Those individuals at the center of these Urgent Actions often send their thanks to Amnesty International, citing that these messages serve as a source of hope.
“The reason we could resist the ban and move forward was the international support and solidarity by Amnesty International activists around the world. We could not have gone further without your support” – ODTÜ/Student Organized Pride March in Turkey (UA 83.18)
“My case once again showed how important solidarity and attention are in protecting the freedom of speech and human rights. I admire your noble work and boundless courage, dear activists” – Bobomurod Abdullayev, POC from Uzbekistan (UA 232.17)
“I am very grateful for all the support I received while I was in prison. Life in prison was very difficult and I was treated badly, but the support of those who believed in me made me strong.” – Munther Amira, Palestinian Human Rights Defender (UA 26.18)
On 8 April 2020, 29-year-old Yemeni national Mohamed al-Bokari was arbitrarily arrested from his home in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and detained incommunicado at Malaz prison. Following his arrest, al-Bokari was accused of “perversion” and “imitating women” after he published a video stating his belief in personal freedoms of LGBTQI+ individuals.
There are credible reports that long-standing Belarusian political opposition activist, Paval Sieviaryniec, is being ill-treated in detention following his arrest on 7 June. As a prisoner of conscience, he must be released immediately and unconditionally and his safety and security until then must be guaranteed.
On 23 April, the Mexican government suspended funding for different programs to attend the COVID-19 pandemic, including that of the Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Women Shelters (CAMIs). These shelters provide direct support to victims of violence and undertake prevention work. The government has not been transparent about how these cuts could affect other programs that support and care for women victims of violence. We call on the government to ensure all programs protecting women against violence have access to resources to continue their vital work.
Steven Tendo is a 35-year-old pastor and asylum-seeker who fled from torture and other severe human rights violations in Uganda and requested asylum in the USA. Since December 2018 he has been detained at an immigration detention facility in Los Fresnos, Texas. He is at risk of being imminently returned to danger in Uganda while his health is deteriorating from inadequate medical care for diabetes amidst a COVID-19 outbreak in the detention facility. We demand authorities stop Pastor Steven’s deportation and release him immediately on parole while he continues to fight for the right to seek asylum.
Li Qiaochu, an active defender of the rights of women and workers, has been released on bail and returned home on 19 June 2020. Detained incommunicado since 16 February 2020, her arrest is suspected to be related to her activism against gender violence and the fact that her partner, Xu Zhiyong, attended an informal gathering of lawyers and activists in Xiamen in December 2019.
Five activists were arrested on 7 February 2020, after an alleged illegal raid of their offices. Despite no substantial investigation made by the authorities into the activists’ allegations, on 23 June, the court denied their motion to quash the search warrant. Amnesty International calls on the Philippine Department of Justice to promptly, thoroughly, impartially and effectively investigate these allegations and, if proven, to drop all charges against the activists and ensure their release.
Peaceful protesters, who had gathered to demand government aid during the COVID-19 community quarantine, were violently dispersed by the police on 1 April 2020, resulting in 21 protesters being arrested & detained. The protesters, who have since been released on bail, will be informed of the charges against them and expected to enter their plea on 28 August. We continue to call on the police to drop all charges against them as these are either contrary to international human rights law or carry penalties that will disproportionately affect the group and that the authorities investigate the police’s use of force at the protest.
Kamal Hassan Ramezan Soulo, a Syrian Kurd arbitrarily detained in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, has been at risk of arbitrary execution for three years because ministry of intelligence officials refuse to acknowledge his real identity and instead are torturing and otherwise ill-treating him to make false “confessions” that he took part in an armed attack. They continue to seek his execution by claiming that he is a different man, despite two court rulings dismissing the claims. He must be released immediately.
Maury Carrero, detained arbitrarily in April 2020 by officers of the Directorate for Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) in Caracas, was indicted on 19 May by the prosecution. She is accused of ‘concealing firearms’ and ‘association to commit crimes’, both under counterterrorism laws. With almost no contact with her attorneys and family since 1 May, she remains at risk of torture. We demand Maury’s release, protection for her integrity while in custody and respect for all due process guarantees during her trial.
The trial of Yana Antonova, a human rights defender and pediatrician from Krasnodar, southern Russia, resumed on 23 June. She faces up to six years in prison for commemorating a slain activist and other peaceful activities as a member of the “undesirable organization” Open Russia.