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.
Sign up to receive Urgent Action emails. You can choose to receive all emails or a more limited number. You can also choose to receive emails on specific issues or regions.
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)
From March 24, 2021 members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic’s Congress will begin to discuss a reform of the country’s criminal code, including the possibility of decriminalizing abortion in three circumstances. Hundreds of human rights activists are currently camped outside the National Palace demanding that their Congress people take advantage of this historic opportunity and vote in favor of decriminalizing abortion in these circumstances. We demand the Congress approves these reforms to meet their human rights obligations to respect, protect and fulfil women and girls’ rights, lives, health, dignity, and autonomy.
Sahrawi woman activist Sultana Khaya, and several members of her family, have been held under a de facto house arrest for months in their home in Boujdour, Western Sahara. The authorities have yet to present any charges against her. Security service agents are regularly stationed in front of their home, preventing the family from leaving the house and people, including relatives, from visiting them. On numerous occasions, Sultana Khaya and her family have been physically attacked by police when they tried to leave their home, resulting in serious injuries to Sultana Khaya and her sister. The authorities must immediately lift the arbitrary house arrest of Sultana Khaya and her family.
Punk musician, Ihar Bantsar, has been on a hunger strike since March 3, 2021 to protest against his prolonged detention on trumped-up criminal charges. He has been imprisoned solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and he must be immediately and unconditionally released.
On March 3, 2021 the Nizhnii Novgorod Regional Court, in Central Russia, upheld the decision to detain activist Mikhail Iosilevich. He is accused of cooperation with an “undesirable” organization, Open Russia, a “crime” punishable by up to six years in prison. 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.
For the first time since he went missing in April 2016, Uyghur businessman Ekpar Asat was able to communicate with his family. During the short three-minute video conversation in late January 2021, he told his family members that he had been held in solitary confinement and his health was declining both physically and mentally. His family confirmed that he had lost significant weight and that he looked pale with lots of black spots on his face. Convicted without any known trial on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination” and sentenced to 15 years in prison, there are grave concerns for Ekpar Asat’s condition and wellbeing.
Kilwe Adan Farah, a freelance journalist, has been in detention in the Puntland regional state of Somalia since 27 December 2020, when he was arrested after covering protests against government mismanagement of the local currency. He was charged with five offences, including “publication of false news and bringing the nation or the state into contempt”. Five days later, on 3 March, he was sentenced by a military court to three months in jail, despite the court noting that no evidence was presented before it to prove any of the allegations. The authorities must drop all the baseless charges against Kilwe Adan Farah and immediately and unconditionally release him.
Cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore and writer Mushtaq Ahmed were detained in May 2020 for posting on Facebook satirical cartoons and comments critical of the Bangladeshi government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Denied bail six times, Mushtaq Ahmed died in prison on 25 February 2021. Released on bail a week after Mushtaq’s death, Ahmed Kabir Kishore has suffered injuries allegedly caused by incidents of torture while in custody. Charged under Bangladesh’s draconian Digital Security Act, Ahmed Kabir Kishore and nine others in the same case could face up to 10 years in prison solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression if convicted.
Following a long defamatory and intimidatory campaign against Bishop Lisboa and his human rights work in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, the Pope Francis announced the transfer of Bishop Lisboa to Brazil in February 2021. His relocation to Brazil will ensure his safety and cease the smear campaign against him.
Prominent human rights defender Li Qiaochu was taken away by police on 6 February 2021, shortly before the Lunar New Year. According to a detention notice her parents were asked to sign, she might be facing charges related to subversion. Li’s detention is suspected to be related to her efforts to publicize the torture and ill-treatment at Linshu County Detention Center. Detained incommunicado for a month, there is concern that Li Qiaochu is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, as she remains without access to her family or a lawyer of her choice.
Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel face execution for allegedly sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric from a phone containing a sim registered in Shagufta’s name. The couple have consistently denied all allegations and believe Shagufta’s National Identity Card was purposely misused. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014. Their appeal was due to be heard in April 2020, six years after they were sentenced, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At their last two hearings in 2021, the judges left the court as they were due to hear the appeal against their death sentences, citing court hours having concluded for the day.