Due to staffing changes, Urgent Actions might not be issued as regularly the next couple of weeks, and replies to emails will be delayed a bit. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience during this transition
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 April 12, 2021, President Ivan Duque signed decree 380 allowing the spraying of glyphosate for the eradication of illicit crops to resume. This policy, which was stopped in 2015 due to its detrimental effect on human rights and the environment, could negatively affect the health and other related rights of hundreds of campesino farming communities and have further environmental impacts in the country. We urge the National Narcotics Council to ensure the immediate suspension of aerial spraying with glyphosate.
Jamshid Sharmahd, a 66-year-old German-Iranian political dissident, is at risk of being convicted in a grossly unfair trial and sentenced to death. He has been arbitrarily detained in Iran for over eight months, at times in circumstances akin to enforced disappearance, without trial and access to an independent lawyer of his choosing and consular assistance. State TV broadcast his forced “confessions”, in breach of his right to a fair trial. There are fears that he is not receiving adequate health care for his serious medical conditions.
At least 41 Sri Lankan women migrant workers have been detained in Saudi Arabia for as long as 18 months. Three women have young children with them, and one woman is known to be in urgent need of medical care. None of the women have been informed of any charges against them, nor have they been granted any legal support to better understand the length or reason for their detention. Sri Lankan authorities must proactively take measures to ensure their immediate repatriation so that these women are able to return home and reunite with their families.
In March 2021, the Court of Appeals in Riyadh upheld the verdict of Saudi Arabian woman human rights defender Nassima al-Sada, confirming the final sentence of a five-year prison term followed by a five-year travel ban. Nassima al-Sada had appealed the sentence handed down to her on November 25, 2020, which was based on cybercrime laws but failed to specify the exact crimes allegedly committed by the activist. Nassima al-Sada is detained simply for her peaceful activism for civil and political rights, and for her advocacy for women’s rights and the end of the repressive male guardianship system.
Any day from April 14, 2021 on the National Congress could vote a requirement to process the bill nº 6.764/2002 on National Security Issues as an urgent matter and without public consultation while Brazil faces its worst moment of COVID-19 pandemic with more than 350,000 registered deaths. This bill proposal, based on the former national security doctrine from the military dictatorship, has the potential to threaten human rights. We demand a public consultation, analysis and public debate around the impacts deriving from this bill.
The health of Shafqat Emmanuel, who faces execution, along with his wife Shagufta Kausar, is rapidly deteriorating. Shafqat’s lower body is paralyzed, which means he relies on the help of prison guards, which is not readily available, for mobility. He has multiple bed sores, which according to his lawyer, are not being given adequate treatment, and his pain is worsening every day. In March, his family alleges, he was in a coma for three days and was not taken to the hospital. The Christian couple were sentenced to death for sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric and have consistently denied all allegations. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014.
On March 24, 2021 the Santander’s (North) Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS in Spanish) received a threatening call from a unknown man self-identified as member of the Magdalena Medio Block of the armed group FARC- EP saying “stop making publications and being toadies, CREDHOS´ Staff is a military objective, you have 48 hours to leave Barrancabermeja”. Minutes later the President of CREDHOS received a threatening voice message. We urge authorities to fully guarantee their protection as per their collective reparation plan granted in 2016.
Quinn Moon and Tang Kai-yin, two of the 12 Hongkongers arrested in August 2020 by the Chinese coast guard and sentenced on December 30, 2020 without a fair trial, have been held without access to their families and family-appointed lawyers for nearly eight months. All requests from their families for direct communication with them have so far been denied. There are grave concerns for their condition and wellbeing, as both need medical care for chronic conditions.
Prominent Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny was arbitrarily arrested on January 17, 2021 after recovering from being poisoned. He was subsequently sentenced to two and a half years in prison for “violating the terms of a suspended sentence”. In prison, he is being ill-treated and denied adequate medical assistance despite serious deterioration of his health. In protest, he continues a hunger strike that began on March 31, 2021. Aleksei Navalny’s detention is unlawful and politically motivated. He must be immediately released.
On 18 February, Chad’s Criminal Court sentenced human rights defender Baradine Berdei Targuio to three years in prison and a fine for ‘breach of the constitutional order’. He was arrested on 24 January 2020 and spent nearly seven months in incommunicado detention before being charged in August 2020 with breach of national security, illegal possession of weapons, assault, and battery. Two days before his arrest, the human rights defender shared a Facebook post on the President’s suspected ill-health and penned an open letter to the President, expressing concern for the human rights situation in the Tibesti region in Chad. Amnesty International is concerned that Baradine Berdei Targuio’s detention is a sanction against his work as a human rights defender and therefore calls for his immediate and unconditional release.