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)
One month after his release, pro-democracy activist Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, has once again been arrested and arbitrarily detained. He was riding a motorbike with a friend to mobilize protesters on 29 September when he was arrested by police officers in plain clothing in Matoto municipality in the Guinean capital, Conakry. He refused to follow the police officers because they failed to present an arrest warrant. Nevertheless, they brutally carried out his arrest which resulted in him sustaining injuries to his hand and finger. He has since been held in Conakry prison on fabricated charges. Oumar Sylla is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Azerbaijani Turkic activist, Abbas Lesani, arbitrarily imprisoned in Ardabil prison, Ardabil province, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by an appeal court after a grossly unfair trial. The appeal proceedings were presided over by a judge who had filed the charges against him in his previous capacity as prosecutor. In July 2020, the Supreme Court rejected his request for a judicial review.
On 22 October Dmitrovgrad Town Court, in Ulyanovsk Region, western Russia, will consider the parole application of youth human rights defender Yan Sidorov. Both he and his friend Vladislav Mordasov are prisoners of conscience, serving sentences of over six years, simply for trying to organize a peaceful protest in November 2017 in support of dozens of Rostov-on-Don residents who had lost their houses in mass fires.
Twelve Hongkongers arrested on 23 August 2020 by the Chinese coast guard were formally arrested on 30 September – two for allegedly organizing people to cross the border between Hong Kong and China and the other 10 for allegedly crossing the border. Having been detained for more than 45 days without access to their families and family-appointed lawyers, the 12 individuals remain at imminent risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
On 29 and 30 September, a Niamey Court senior judge granted the provisional release of activists, Maikoul Zodi, Moudi Moussa and Halidou Mounkaila. However, the fabricated charges against them – which are in connection to their demands for accountability in a protest in March 2020– are still pending. They therefore remain at risk of wrongful conviction and arbitrary detention. Amnesty International urges the Nigerien authorities to immediately drop all charges against them.
Detained Algerian political activist Abdallah Benaoum’s life is at risk as he is in urgent need of heart surgery. Benaoum, 55, has been detained since 9 December 2019 for Facebook posts in which he criticized the contested 2019 Algerian elections and the repression of the Hirak pro-reform movement. He is currently detained in Oran prison. Due to his vulnerable health, he has not been physically capable of meeting his lawyers or family. The judges unjustly rejected multiple requests for provisional release filed by his lawyers despite his deteriorating health. His next trial session is scheduled for 27 October.
Political activist Serge Branco Nana is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for ‘mutiny’ in Mfou Prison, southern Cameroon, after having been accused of inciting a riot while in pre-trial detention in 2019. He has now been granted access to a doctor and his family have been allowed to visit him in detention.
Following her detention on 17 September, woman human rights defender Marfa Rabkova was charged on 25 September under Article 293(3) of the Belarusian Criminal Code and faces imprisonment of up to three years if convicted. She is a prisoner of conscience, targeted solely for her peaceful human rights work and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Greek authorities intend to close the open, self-organized refugee shelter PIKPA on 15 October. PIKPA has been operating in Lesvos since 2012, hosting and assisting thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers among the most vulnerable. Greek authorities must revoke the decision to close PIKPA, let the organization operate freely, protect its around 100 residents, and ensure and promote open and safe spaces for asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece.
As COVID-19 runs rampant in USA family detention centers, immigration authorities continue to lock up nearly ninety families who travelled to the US seeking safety from violence and persecution in their home countries. As of 6 August, at least 130 detained family members and facility staff tested positive for COVID-19. In July, a judge ordered authorities to release children because of COVID-19, but she did not have jurisdiction over parents. Authorities refused to release them together. Releasing children but continuing to detain parents constitutes family separation. We demand authorities release all families together immediately to protect them from the pandemic.