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)
Pro-democracy activist and mobilization coordinator for National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué) has been on hunger strike since 25 December 2020, in protest of his detention and demanding that his trial be speedily organized. On 4 December 2020, his charges were changed to "participation in a gathering likely to disturb public order". He is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Mahira Yakub was sent back to Yining Detention Center in China’s Xinjiang region in late November 2020 and is still without access to her family and a lawyer of her choice. A Uyghur who worked in an insurance company, she first went missing in April 2019 and was indicted in January 2020 for “giving material support to terrorist activity” after transferring money to her parents in Australia. She was temporarily released from custody on 4 September 2020 and subsequently hospitalized for unknown reasons. There are grave concerns for Mahira Yakub’s condition and wellbeing, especially as she suffered from liver damage during a previous detention.
On 29 December 2020, Moroccan academic and human rights defender Maati Monjib was arrested while having lunch at a restaurant in the capital Rabat and has been held in arbitrary detention since then. He had been under investigation since 7 October 2020 on accusations of money laundering against him and members of his family. The investigation is the latest attempt to intimidate Maati Monjib and retaliate against him for his critical stance towards the authorities and his work promoting the right to freedom of expression in Morocco following years of harassment and unlawful surveillance. Maati Monjib is a prisoner of conscience. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Saïkou Yaya Diallo, the legal coordinator of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), was freed from Conakry prison on 11 December 2020 after having served seven months in prison. He was sentenced in November 2020 to one-year imprisonment with five months suspended on fabricated ‘assault, violence, threats and public insults’ charges.
Political activists Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo and Gérard Yaovi Djossou were released from detention on 17 December 2020 and are now under judicial supervision. At the end of November 2020, they were arrested and charged for ‘criminal conspiracy’ and ‘undermining the internal security of the state’ after calling for a demonstration to denounce the results of the February 2020 Presidential election. Following their release, they thanked Amnesty International’s members for campaigning for their release.
In November, Paraguayan authorities opened an investigation and provided protection to Bernarda Pesoa, leader of an indigenous Qom community, after she was attacked in late October. We continue to monitor the situation closely as the land conflict related to wood exploitation on Qom lands persist.
Hundreds of peaceful pro-democracy protesters, including children, may face decades of or even life imprisonment for taking part in mass, pro-democracy demonstrations, as the crackdown on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and of expression further escalates in the country. At least 220 persons, including six children, face criminal proceedings. Thailand must amend or repeal the repressive laws it is using to suppress peaceful assembly and the expression of dissenting opinions.
Ten of the 12 Hongkongers arrested by the Chinese coast guard in August 2020 were formally charged on 16 December. Two have been charged with allegedly organizing people to cross the border between Hong Kong and China and the other eight for allegedly crossing the border, charges that hold a maximum of seven years and one year imprisonment, respectively. The procuratorate will hold a closed-door hearing to decide whether to prosecute the other two who were children at the time of their detention. Detained since 23 August 2020 without access to their families and family-appointed lawyers, the 12 individuals remain at imminent risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
On 1 December, Mehmet Sıddık Meşe was allegedly subjected to a severe beating by guards in a prison in the Turkish city of Dıyarbakır. He was denied access to urgent medical care and to examination by medical forensic staff. On 9 December, the prosecutor decided not to prosecute the suspected perpetrators based on the prison doctor’s report. Mehmet Sıddık Meşe requires access to adequate medical care and a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be launched.
On 3 December 2020, Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer, directors at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), were released and are now safely home with their families and loved ones.