Answer the call to defend people under immediate threat of grave human rights abuse.
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, like Mehman Huseynov, pictured on the right.
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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)
At least 15 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)—including two children—are suffering from gunshot wounds and need urgent medical attention. The IMN members were injured when police used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse a peaceful protest they were participating in. They have been denied access to medical care and to their lawyers or family members since their arrest on 22 July.
In July and August, following the disqualification of opposition candidates from local elections in Moscow, tens of thousands of people participated in largely peaceful protests. Participants chanted slogans, held placards and briefly interrupted traffic on several streets. The protests remained peaceful until the authorities responded by attacking the crowds, arbitrarily beating and arresting people. The authorities brought unfounded charges against more than a dozen individuals, mostly youth, that carry lengthy prison sentences. All peaceful protesters must be urgently released, and charges against them must be dropped.
Journalist Amade Abubacar’s pre-trial hearing at the Cabo Delgado Provincial Court ended on 25 July. The court referred his case back to the Public Prosecution. The prosecutor will now decide whether to bring a case against Amade or withdraw the charges against him.
Human rights defender Serikzhan Bilash is facing charges of “incitement of social, national, clan, race, class or religious hatred” which carry a penalty of up to seven years in prison. The first hearing was held on 29 July in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital city, and it was decided that the case would be transferred to the city of Almaty. Serikzhan Bilash, who had been under house arrest since 10 March in Nur-Sultan, was transferred on 15 August to his home in Almaty where he will remain under house arrest. Serikzhan Bilash is the leader of the human rights organization Atajurt and is being prosecuted simply for defending the human rights of ethnic Kazakhs in China. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released.
Fifteen refugees and asylum seekers (14 men, one woman) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one male refugee from Ethiopia have been arbitrarily detained for more than seven months. They have not been notified of the reason for their detention or of any criminal charges against them. According to Article 308 of the Criminal Procedural Code, a person cannot be held in pre-trial detention for more than 90 days after their arrest. They were arrested on 17 January at the Maratane Camp, in Nampula province.
Human rights defender Joaquín Elo Ayeto is in urgent need of medical assistance while in detention at Black Beach Prison. According to our sources, for the last couple of weeks, he has been experiencing severe diarrhea and high fever. On 5 August, Joaquín’s lawyer wrote to the judge asking for his client’s immediate transfer to a hospital. There has been no response. He has been detained since 25 February and has had no access to his family or lawyers for several weeks.
The sentence against Danish Jehovah’s Witness Dennis Christensen was upheld on 23 May. After that he was transported to the correctional penal colony No 3 in Kursk region, some 200 km away from Orel, the city in western Russia where he lived with his wife. Dennis Christensen is a prisoner of conscience, serving six years in prison for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of religion.
Gökhan Türkmen and Mustafa Yılmaz have been missing since 7 and 19 February 2019 respectively and are suspected to have been abducted and forcibly disappeared. The authorities have so far been denying that they are being held in official custody. On 29 July four men who had been missing since around the same time resurfaced in detention at the Anti-Terrorism Branch of the Ankara Police Headquarters. The authorities must promptly investigate to determine the whereabouts of Gökhan Türkmen and Mustafa Yılmaz and urgently inform their families.
Critically ill prisoner of conscience and human rights defender Arash Sadeghi is being tortured through the intentional and purposeful denial of his access to cancer treatment, causing him severe pain and suffering. A serious post-operation infection has developed in his right arm due to lack of care in prison, leaving it swollen, paralyzed and without sensation. He has also been denied critical bone marrow tests to monitor if his cancer has spread. His life is being put at risk.
On 6 July unknown men broke into Danelly Estupiñan’s house while she was not at home. Various human right organizations reported that unknown people made a payment to kill her. The Black Community Process and other organizations alerted the Prosecutor’s Office about the attack and the information about Danelly’s life being in danger, requesting immediate action. We are urging national authorities to swiftly and fully investigate all of these security incidents to identify the attackers and stop them from further threatening Danelly’s physical and psychological integrity.