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)
Egyptian-British prisoner of conscience and prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has spent most of the last nine years arbitrarily detained, is in critical condition after more than seven months of hunger strike. His family raised concerns about his physical and mental state, after he told them during a visit on 17 November about his ordeal since he started a water strike on 6 November, which involved self-harm, being restrained by security officials, and being fed intravenously. On 20 December 2021, he and human rights lawyer Mohamed Baker were convicted on bogus charges and sentenced to five and four years in prison, respectively, following a grossly unfair trial. They are prisoners of conscience, solely targeted for their peaceful activism, and should be immediately and unconditionally released.
Activists Oumar Sylla, Ibrahima Diallo and Saïkou Yaya Barry were arrested by the Guinean authorities on 30 July, solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo are still detained at Conakry prison, waiting for their trial after they called for a protest on 28 July. On 12 October, Saïkou Yaya Barry was provisionally released under judicial control and evacuated to Tunis after his health deteriorated during his detention. The Guinean authorities must drop all charges and immediately and unconditionally release Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo.
Belarusian human rights defender Nasta (Anastasia) Loika remains arbitrarily detained serving her fourth 15-day jail sentence since September. The authorities continue targeting Nasta Loika with fabricated charges in retaliation for her human rights work. There are serious concerns for her safety and wellbeing following reports that she has been subjected to torture or other ill-treatment. She must be immediately released.
Egyptian-British prisoner of conscience and prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah is held incommunicado, amid the authorities’ refusal to allow his family or lawyer to see or contact him. In his last letter to his family on 31 October, he announced escalating his prolonged hunger strike by stopping any calorie intake on 1 November and water consumption on 6 November. After days in agony waiting for a letter from him at the gates of Wadi al-Natrun prison, on 10 November, a security officer told his mother that he is undergoing a “medical intervention”. He provided no further details about his location and wellbeing and instructed her to no longer come. On 10 November, security officials denied Alaa’s lawyer access to see him despite a visit authorization by the public prosecution.
Sri Lankan student leaders Galwewa Siridhamma Thero and Wasantha Mudalige, have been detained by the Sri Lankan authorities since 18 August 2022. On 21 August, authorities issued a Detention Order under the draconian anti-terror law, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to detain them for 90 days, amidst an ongoing crackdown on protesters by the authorities. Their families are concerned about their safety and worsening health as they continue to be detained without charge or trial under suspicion of acts of “terror” for over 75 days. All anti-terror charges must be dropped against Galwewa Siridhamma Thero and Wasantha Mudalige and stop the detention order from being extended.
Detained veteran internet radio host “Giggs” Edmund Wan, who had been remanded in custody for over 19 months, was sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment on sedition and money laundering charges on 7 October. Wan is imprisoned for criticizing the government in his radio shows and fundraising for the education of young Hong Kong protesters now in Taiwan. Wan was targeted merely for exercising his right to freedom of expression through peaceful means. He must be released immediately.
French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri remains held without charge or trial in Israel after suspending his 19-day-long hunger strike in protest at the renewal of his administrative detention. The human rights defender has faced persistent harassment by the Israeli authorities since 2002, including action to revoke his Jerusalem residency status and ongoing administrative detention since March 2022. He spent 15 days in solitary confinement in a dirty, small, and windowless cell without contact with the outside world as punishment for going on hunger strike, together with 29 other Palestinian detainees. The Israeli authorities must immediately release Salah Hammouri unless he is promptly charged and ensure that he is allowed to keep his residency status in Jerusalem and continue his human rights work without fear of reprisals.
Lawyer Hoda Abdelmoniem has been arbitrarily detained for four years and is on trial by an Emergency State Security Court on bogus charges stemming from her human rights work. The Egyptian authorities continue to deny her access to her family and adequate healthcare despite her serious health problems including kidney failure and a heart condition, and her history of hospitalization. She must be immediately and unconditionally released.
The State of Missouri is set to execute Kevin Johnson on 29 November 2022. He was sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of a police officer in 2005. Kevin Johnson, aged 19 at the time of the crime, had experienced a lifetime of deprivation and sexual and physical abuse. The crime occurred hours after the sudden death of his younger brother. Despite Kevin Johnson’s history of psychiatric disorders, the jurors never heard any expert testimony of the effect of his brother’s death or his own traumatic history and mental disabilities when they decided whether to spare his life.
On 9 September, the Casablanca judicial police questioned Rida Benotmane, a member of the Moroccan Association for the defense of human rights (Association Marocaine des Droits Humains) about several social media posts and YouTube videos he released in 2021, in which he denounced the authorities for ignoring demands for social justice and warned against the potential use of Covid-19 vaccine passes in Morocco as a tool of repression. He has since been held in Arjate 1 prison in Salé, a city in northwestern Morocco, on bogus charges that violate his right to freedom of expression. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.