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)
Javier Tarazona, Director of local NGO FundaREDES, was arbitrarily detained on July 2, 2021 after attempting to report harassment from security officers at the Attorney General’s Office in the city of Coro (Western Venezuela), and charged with inciting hatred, treason and “terrorism”. His pre-trial hearing took place on December 16, 2021, after more than five months of delays. Javier Tarazona is a prisoner of conscience, having been arbitrarily detained for his human rights work. Tarazona’s health has seriously deteriorated due to lack of medical treatment. We urge the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.
Three Eritrean nationals, Mohamed Nour Ammar, Samar Mohamed Nour Ammar and Salem Tawlidi Adhanom, have been arbitrarily detained in Egypt without legal basis or access to asylum procedures since 2019. They are facing forced return to Eritrea, where they are at real risk of persecution. Since October 31, 2021, the Egyptian authorities have deported at least 15 Eritreans. The authorities must immediately halt any plans to deport the three individuals and other Eritreans arbitrarily detained in Egypt and grant them access to asylum procedures.
On December 9, 2021, Steven Donziger, a human rights lawyer and environmental rights defender, was released from jail to spend the rest of his sentence under house arrest. On October 1, 2021, he was sentenced to six months in prison on a politically motivated ‘contempt of court’ charge. Before that, he had spent more than two years under house arrest in a process that United Nations experts found lacked any legal basis, was in violation of numerous fair trial standards, and was in retaliation for his work as a lawyer. Authorities must ensure his immediate and unconditional release from house arrest.
Arbitrarily detained Egyptian human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoniem is standing trial by the Emergency State Security Court on bogus charges stemming from her human rights work. On October 11, 2021, Hoda Abdelmoniem told the judge and her family during a court session that she suffers from a heart condition, for which she must undergo a cardiac catheterization, but that prison authorities are refusing to transfer her to an outside hospital for treatment.
On August 3, 2021, José Eduardo Ravelo died from multiple internal injuries, after telling his mother the police had tortured him in detention days before in Mérida, state of Yucatán. The prosecutor’s office carrying out the investigation of Jose Eduardo's death has publicly stated that torture or ill treatment did not occur during his detention, even before concluding the investigation, raising serious doubts about the seriousness and impartiality of the prosecutors. We urge the Attorney General to ensure an independent and exhaustive investigation into all possible crimes committed against José Eduardo, and to guarantee full access to justice and reparations for his mother.
Activists Claude Lwaboshi Buhazi (32), Faustin Ombeni Tulinabo (26) and Serge Mikindo Waso (33), members of the citizen movement, Jicho la Raiya (The Eye of the Citizens) were arrested on February 18, 2021, in Kirotshe, in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, as they were preparing to take part in a peaceful protest against “illegal road taxation” and allegations of mismanagement at the Kirotshe health district. They were accused of defamation and jailed at the police station in Kirotshe before being transferred to Goma Central Prison on March 2, 2021. On November 26, 2021, their request for release on bail was rejected by a military magistrate in Goma. Amnesty International calls for the three activists’ immediate and unconditional release.
Tibetan monk Rinchen Tsultrim was sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment in a secret trial for “inciting secession” after expressing political views on his WeChat account. Held incommunicado since August 1, 2019, his family members only learned of the trial, his crime and whereabouts through a response from the Chinese authorities to the United Nations human rights experts in August 2021. According to international human rights law and standards, no one should be imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression. Without access to family and legal representation, there are grave concerns for Rinchen Tsultrim’s condition and wellbeing.
On November 15, 2021, Moroccan security forces broke into the house of Sultana Khaya, Sahrawi woman activist and defender of Sahrawis' right to self-determination. They raped her and sexually abused her sisters and 80-year-old mother. This is not the first time Moroccan forces have committed acts of torture and other ill-treatment against Sultana Khaya and her family, who have been under de facto house arrest since November 2020.
Dipti Rani Das, a 17-year-old girl from the Hindu minority community in Bangladesh, was arrested by the police for a Facebook post and has been held at a correction facility for more than a year, since October 28, 2020. Booked under the country’s draconian Digital Security Act on vague charges of “hurting religious sentiment” and “advancing to deteriorate law and order”, she could face up to seven years in jail. She should be released immediately.
On November 9, 2021, the Minister of the Interior in El Salvador presented the legal initiative “Ley de Agentes Extranjeros”. The proposed law, which would prohibit "foreign agents" from carrying out activities that have "political or other purposes, with the objective of altering public order, or that endanger or threaten national security, social and political stability of the country", will restrict and hinder the operations and activities of civil society organizations working in the defense of human rights and independent journalism. The bill establishes requirements that will have a disproportionate effect in those NGOs that receive funding from abroad. If passed, the law would affect funding, operations, and freedom of association for those who protect human rights in the country and/or disagree with the government.