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)
The eviction of the PIKPA refugee shelter in Lesvos was carried out on the morning of 30 October. Unaccompanied minors had been transferred to mainland Greece ahead of the eviction. The 74 remaining at the shelter, including adults and families with children, were transferred to the small camp at Kara Tepe, run by the Lesvos municipality.
In March 2020, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez publicly committed to present a bill to Congress to legalize abortion before the year’s end. On 17 November 2020, he fulfilled this commitment by tabling a bill for the legalization of abortion before the Argentinian Congress. The bill is now subject to congressional debate and voting, which is expected to take place between November 2020 and February 2021. Amnesty International will continue to actively and decisively campaign to ensure both chambers vote in favor of the bill and abortions are finally legal in Argentina.
On 16 November, Saïkou Yaya Diallo, the legal coordinator of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), was sentenced by Dixinn Court to one year imprisonment with five months suspended on fabricated ‘assault, violence, threats and public insults’ charges. He must be immediately and unconditionally released as his conviction stems from his peaceful protesting against President Alpha Condé’s running for a third term in office.
Human rights lawyer Chang Weiping, known for defending the rights of people facing discrimination, was taken away by police officers in Baoji City, Shanxi Province, on 22 October 2020. He is being held incommunicado under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL) on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. The arrest came six days after Chang posted a video on YouTube sharing details about his experience of torture during the 10 days he spent in RSDL detention in January 2020. The fact that Chang was subjected to torture before and is being denied access to his family and lawyer increases the risk that he might be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
Azerbaijani human rights defender Elchin Mammad was sentenced to four years in prison on 14 October. He was arrested on 30 March on trumped up charges of theft and illegal possession of weapons and has remained behind bars since. Elchin Mammad is appealing the conviction. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally.
As COVID-19 runs rampant in USA family detention centres, immigration authorities continue to lock up and endanger nearly ninety families who came to the US seeking safety from violence and persecution in their home countries. One family from the previous UA, Marilin* and Yunior*, was finally released from detention, but others remain locked up. Authorities must release all families together to protect them from the pandemic while maintaining their family unity. The alternative – releasing children but continuing to detain their parents – would constitute family separation, a practice that in some cases can constitute torture under US and international law.
Two men and one woman convicted under USA federal law face execution in November and December 2020. After a hiatus of 17 years, the Trump administration resumed federal executions on 14 July 2020, putting to death seven men over ten weeks. Their cases reflected concerns on arbitrariness, racial bias and unfairness that have long affected the US death penalty system, as well as contempt for international law restrictions on the use of the death penalty. We urge the US Attorney General to withdraw any pending death warrants and abandon any plans to pursue further executions.
A year has passed since Ali Jaseb’s abduction by armed men suspected of belonging to the Popular Mobilization Unit. Despite the Prime Minister’s promise to investigate his whereabouts, there continues to be lack of progress in his case, now compounded by repeated threats to the family.
Massud Mossaheb, a 73-year-old Austrian-Iranian dual national, is serving a 10-year prison term imposed after a grossly unfair trial for vague national security offenses. He is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison and has serious medical conditions, including heart failure and diabetes. He is at heightened risk of severe illness or death if he contracts COVID-19.
On 30 August 2020, the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) interrogated arbitrarily detained journalist, Solafa Magdy, on new unfounded charges including "joining a terrorist group" as part of the recently opened case (No.855/2020). She is already under investigation by the SSSP over trumped-up “terrorism” related charges in a separate case.