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)
Prominent human rights defender, Thin Thin Aung is facing three years in prison over materials published and broadcast by the media outlet she co-founded. She is among hundreds facing similar charges and thousands arbitrarily detained since the February 1, 2021, coup simply for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The Myanmar military must immediately and unconditionally release Thin Thin Aung and all others in arbitrary detention and drop all charges against them.
Chow Hang-tung, a human rights lawyer and an organizer of the annual Hong Kong vigil commemorating the Tiananmen crackdown, was charged for “advertising or publicizing unauthorized assembly”. The arrest came after Chow posted messages on social media asking people to individually commemorate China’s Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989, as the public vigil was banned. This is yet another example of the chilling effect on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Hong Kong as authorities increasingly use the Public Order Ordinance to target activists and human rights defenders.
On June 23, 2021 the Moscow District Court in Nizhnii Novgorod extended Mikhail Iosilevich’s arbitrary detention until August 28, 2021. His trial may start in September. He is accused of cooperation with an “undesirable” organization, a “crime” punishable by up to six years’ imprisonment. Mikhail Iosilevich is being targeted for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association. Charges against him must be dropped and he must be immediately released.
Viachaslau Rahashchuk is a taxi driver from the Belarusian city of Pinsk who was arbitrarily detained, tortured and later sentenced to six years in prison. He has remained behind bars since August 10, 2020 and remains in need of urgent medical treatment as a result of torture and other ill-treatment in detention.
Azerbaijani Turkic human rights defender Alireza Farshi DizajYekan is arbitrarily detained in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary for advocating for mother tongue rights, posting online about imprisoned activists and other peaceful activities. The Iranian authorities are denying him access to the health care he needs, including for his eye condition and high blood sugar. He is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Vannesa Rosales is a teacher and women and girls’ rights defender in the state of Mérida (West). On October 12, 2020, officers from the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations Unit (CICPC) broke into her home without a search warrant and detained her, violating due process guarantees. She is now accused of assisting a 13-year-old girl, whose life was in danger, for the interruption of her pregnancy resulting from rape. Vannesa has been under house arrest since January 11, 2021 and her pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 21, 2021. The Attorney General should drop the charges against Vannesa and release her.
Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent Sri Lankan lawyer, was arrested on April 14, 2020 and has since been detained on trumped-up charges under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Hejaaz Hizbullah has been targeted for his work, and his advocacy for the rights of Muslim minorities in the country. He is a prisoner of conscience and must me immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against him dropped.
Egyptian women social media influencers Hanin Hossam and Mawada el-Adham were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms by Cairo’s Criminal Court on June 20, 2021 for inciting “indecent” content, human trafficking and other offences. Amnesty International believes that the young women are being punished for the way they dance, talk, dress and attempt to “influence” the public on social media and calls for their immediate release.
Seengar Noonari, Labour Secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) and lifelong activist, was abducted from his home at 3am on June 26, 2021 in front of his wife and three young children. 15 men in plain clothes ransacked his house before blindfolding and taking him away. The abduction came the day before a National Day of Action was being organized by AWP to protest alleged illegal land grabs by private property developers. His wife has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court demanding the disclosure of his whereabouts and for him to be presented in a civilian court, in lieu of an immediate release.
Twelve death row prisoners are at imminent risk of execution after Egypt’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, upheld their death sentences on June 14, 2021 following a grossly unfair mass trial. They were convicted and sentenced to death for their involvement in protests related to the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi from power in July 2013. Their death sentences must be commuted immediately, and their convictions quashed.