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.
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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)
Ernest Johnson faces execution on October 5, 2021. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1995 for the 1994 murders of three employees of a convenience store in Missouri. A jury sentenced him to death despite a claim of intellectual disability in violation to international law. Johnson had surgery in 2008 to remove a brain tumor which has left him with seizures. Medical expert testified that the lethal injection drugs may trigger violent and painful seizures. State and federal courts have denied his claims for relief. We urge Governor Parson to halt the execution and commute his sentence.
Talalelei Pauga is a vocal critic of the Samoan government’s policies and is known for protesting the former Samoan Prime Minister’s 2018 visit to Australia by presenting him with a pig’s head. Accused of conspiring to assassinate the former Samoan Prime Minister, Amnesty International believes these charges are politically motivated and that Pauga will not receive a fair trial in Samoa.
Saiful Mahdi, a university lecturer at the Syiah Kuala University in Aceh Province, was sentenced for defamation to three months in prison and a fine of Rp 10 million (approximately USD $690) for writing in a WhatsApp group chat a message criticizing the university’s hiring process of the candidates of civil servants. On September 2, 2021, he was escorted by the prosecutors to serve his prison sentence after the Indonesian Supreme Court rejected his cassation appeal. Amnesty International is calling on the President to grant Saiful Mahdi an amnesty, as he has been jailed solely for peacefully expressing his opinion.
32 Afghans are stuck at the Polish-Belarus border following pushbacks by Polish authorities to Belarus in August. They have been stranded for weeks without adequate shelter, food, water, and medical care. Polish and Belarusian border guards have kept them in a strip of land at the border, limiting their access to lawyers, humanitarian, and healthcare workers. While the European Court of Human Rights has ordered Poland to provide the group with food, water, clothing and adequate medical health care, Polish authorities have so far failed to comply with this request. Instead of denying asylum-seekers entry and pushing them back to Belarus, Poland must immediately admit them into its territory, allow them to seek protection and urgently provide them with adequate shelter, food, water, and medical care.
On July 7, 2021 a local civil society organization received confidential information about a plan to kill journalist José Alberto Tejada. Since April 28, 2021 he has faced more than 14 security incidents including surveillance by unidentified men and a security forces official had treated with killing him. José Alberto Tejada’s work has been crucial in denouncing human rights violations and crimes under international law by the security forces during the Colombian National Strike, in the city of Cali (West). We urge the National Protection Unit of the Ministry of Interior to provide him with appropriate protection measures with his agreement.
Prisoner of conscience Maryam Akbari Monfared has been held in cruel and inhumane conditions in a distant prison in Semnan province far from her family since March 2021, in reprisal for her open letters condemning the Iranian authorities’ human rights violations and seeking truth and justice for her siblings who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret in 1988. She has been unjustly jailed for nearly 12 years.
Citizen journalist Zhang Zhan’s life is at risk, as her health continues to deteriorate at a dramatic rate. Admitted to hospital due to severe malnutrition on July 31, 2021 she now weighs less than 40 kg and is suffering from swelling in her legs and feet. Allowed to speak to her daughter for the first time since February, Zhang Zhan’s mother urged her to reconsider the partial hunger strike. However, Zhang Zhan remains determined to continue the action as a way to assert her innocence and protest her sentence, despite the grave risk to her health. Without access to family and lawyers of her choice, Zhang Zhan remains at risk of further torture and other ill-treatment by the authorities, especially if she continues her hunger strike.
Burundian lawyer Tony Germain Nkina was sentenced to five years in prison on June 15, 2021 by the High Court of Kayanza province, in northern Burundi. He was arrested on October 13, 2020 while visiting a client in Kabarore commune, in Kayanza, shortly after armed attacks in the area. He was charged with endangering internal state security, and later convicted of “collaborating with rebels who attacked Burundi.” On August 12, 2021 Ngozi province’s Court of Appeal postponed the appeal hearing to September 2, 2021. Evidence presented by the prosecution indicates the charges against Tony Germain Nkina are motivated solely by his former human rights work. Amnesty International calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Victor Yeimo, a pro-independence political activist from Papua and a spokesman for the West Papua National Committee, was arbitrarily arrested on May 9, 2021 and charged with treason for peacefully protesting racial discrimination. Held in solitary confinement, there are serious concerns about his deteriorating health and unrestricted access to health services and facilities must urgently be made available to him. The Indonesian authorities must immediately release Victor Yeimo and drop all charges against him, unless recognisable criminal offence, in accordance with international standards of fairness.
Eight members of the Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Assets (CMDBCP) continue in pre-trial prison in Yoro (North Honduras) after two years for standing up in defence of protected water sources in danger by a mining project. The Attorney General Office requested the Supreme Court the extension of this preventive measure last July 29, 2021, despite the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declaring their detention as arbitrary and asking for their immediate release. We urge authorities to review the preventive detention of all eight defenders and take all necessary measures to immediately release them.