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)
Professor Md. Morshed Hasan Khan faces trumped-up sedition charges and has had his professorial position at Dhaka University terminated for publishing an opinion editorial in a national newspaper. Professor Morshed has received multiple death threats from unidentified people, and is being denied access to his campus residence, where his wife – who is a cancer patient – resides. In 2019 alone, at least 1,325 people were detained in 732 cases filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA). If found guilty, Professor Morshed could face life imprisonment.
Yemeni LGBTI rights defender Mohamed al-Bokari who has been detained in Malaz Prison in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh since 8 April 2020, attended his first trial session on 20 July. Al-Bokari was charged with violating public morality, promoting homosexuality online and imitating women. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison after which he is to be deported back to his home country, Yemen, where his life is at risk by armed groups. He has had no legal representation throughout his detention and trial.
Steven Tendo is a 35-year-old pastor and asylum-seeker who fled from torture and other severe human rights violations in Uganda and requested asylum in the USA. Since December 2018 he has been held in immigration detention. He was at imminent risk of being deported back to danger in Uganda until global campaign efforts stopped his deportation on 7 September 2020. His health is deteriorating from inadequate medical care for diabetes amidst a COVID-19 outbreak in the detention facility. Authorities should immediately release him on parole while he continues to fight for the right to seek asylum.
On 24 January, Baradine Berdei Targuio, a Chadian human rights defender, was arrested at his home in N’Djamena by masked and armed individuals. Amnesty International was informed that he was being kept at the National Security Agency (ANS), but nobody was able to see him. Although the Minister of Justice declared in February that Baradine Berdei Targuio’s arrest was legal and under the supervision of a prosecutor for “subversive activities on social media”, it wasn’t until 21 August that he was eventually presented to a prosecutor and an investigative judge. He was charged with breach of national security, illegal possession of weapons, assault and battery. Amnesty International is concerned that Baradine Berdei Targuio is being detained and prosecuted in connection with his work as a human rights defender.
On 4 September, the Kursk Regional Court quashed the decision of the Lgov District Court to release imprisoned Danish Jehovah’s Witness Dennis Christensen and sent the case back to the lower court for a new hearing. Dennis Christensen may remain in prison until May 2022. He is a prisoner of conscience persecuted solely for his faith and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
The Slovak Parliament is currently debating a bill that, if passed, will impose new barriers on abortion care, endangering the health and wellbeing of women and girls, and all people who could be seeking an abortion, and violating their human rights. If enacted, the bill will create a dangerous and chilling effect on the provision of lawful abortion care in Slovakia, and increase the harmful stigma surrounding abortion. The Slovak Parliament must urgently reject this bill.
On 30 August 2020, the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) interrogated arbitrarily detained human rights lawyer and activist, Mahienour el-Masry, over charges of "joining a terrorist organisation" as part of the recently opened case No. 855/2020.
Maiwulani Nuermaimaiti, an internet technician, was sentenced to nine years in prison for “separatist activities” in August 2017. Taken away in January 2017, his family members only found out about the sentencing in December 2019. No evidence against him or information about a trial has ever been made public, but his family members believe that he was charged merely for having visited Turkey to study Turkish between 2012 and 2014. There are grave concerns for Maiwulani Nuermaimaiti’s wellbeing.
Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué), who was in charge of the mobilization efforts of the opposition coalition group, Front for the Defense of the Constitution, was freed from Conakry prison, in the Guinean capital, on 27 August after the judged dismissed all charges against him and ordered his release. He had been arbitrarily detained for 132 days in an attempt to obstruct his work as a pro-democracy activist.
As of the beginning of August, payment was given to all 46 workers who had been fired from the Industrial Park Temporary Hospital in Guatemala City in June. They all have been paid after a complaint initiated by the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman's Office.