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.
Sign up to receive Urgent Action emails. You can choose to receive all emails or a more limited number. You can also choose to receive emails on specific issues or regions.
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 trial against Yana Antonova, a human rights defender from Krasnodar, southern Russia, started on 7 November. She has been targeted for her peaceful activism and charged under the “undesirable organizations” legislation. If convicted, she will face up to six years in prison.
Four Iwacu journalists and their driver were arbitrarily arrested on 22 October in north-western Burundi, as they arrived to investigate reports of clashes between the security forces and an armed group in Bubanza province. Charged with undermining state security, the five remain in prison after the Council Chamber of the Bubanza Tribunal decided to keep them in detention on 31 October. They have appealed this decision.
On 2 November 2019, Iraqi activist and medic Saba Mahdawi was abducted by armed and masked men at around 11:20 pm on her way home from Tahrir Square in Baghdad. Saba’s family has raised her case with the local authorities, but no progress has been made to date. The Iraqi police and other security personnel involved in the investigation confirmed to her family that her whereabouts remained unknown, with no additional information with regards to the perpetrators’ identities.
Kasymberdi Garaev was summoned by police and went missing on 24 October after the publication of an online article in which he was cited describing the problems he faced as a gay man in Turkmenistan. On the evening of 6 November, he contacted Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to say he had been able to return home.
Sixteen refugees and asylum seekers, fourteen men and one woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one man from Ethiopia, have been arbitrarily detained in Pemba, northeast Mozambique, for more than ten months in appalling conditions. They still have not been notified of the reason for their detention or of any criminal charges against them and are being continuously harassed to sign repatriation requests.
Professor Muhammad Ismail, a prisoner of conscience charged with “hate speech” and “cyber terrorism”, was denied bail on 4 November. If convicted, he will face up to seven years in prison. A vocal critic of the country’s armed forces and their treatment of his daughter, woman human rights defender Gulalai Ismail, he is also facing trumped up charges under Pakistan’s draconian anti-terror laws. The Ismail family has endured invasive surveillance and threats and intimidation since May 2019 – with their home raided multiple times. Detained solely for peacefully exercising his human right to freedom of expression, Professor Ismail must be immediately and unconditionally released.
On 31 October 2019, detained journalist Rabie Lablak ended his 45 day-long hunger strike, which he started in protest of the alleged torture and ill-treatment he has suffered at the hands of Moroccan security officials. The prison administration claimed that Rabie never informed the administration of his hunger strike and that his activities proved he was in good health. In April 2019, Rabie Lablak was transferred to Tanger 2 prison after being detained in Casablanca prison in May 2017 for his involvement in the Hirak El-Rif protests.
Human rights defender Server Mustafayev from Russian-occupied Crimea has been in detention since May 2018, under false terrorism-related charges. On 12 September he was transferred from Crimea to southwest Russia. He is awaiting further transfer from Krasnodar to Rostov-on-Don where he will face military court. His detention in a shared four-square meter cell, with appalling sanitation, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment. He has been targeted solely for his human rights activism.
Five members of the Peacock Generation, a Thangyat or a satirical poetry troupe, have been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, after being detained for over six months, for their performance criticizing the military. They are facing further charges in different townships where they have also performed, including for livestreaming their performances. If found guilty of all charges, they face up to eight additional years in prison.
On 24 October 2019, Palestinian photojournalist Mustafa al-Kharouf was released after spending nine months in an Israeli prison. He still does not have legal status and is at risk of being separated from his family again. A new preliminary request to give him legal status has been submitted. Israeli authorities must grant him permanent residency status in East Jerusalem.