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)
Arbitrarily detained Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi is being tortured and otherwise ill-treated in Shahr-e Rey prison in Varamin, outside Tehran, including by being intentionally denied the specialized healthcare she requires in reprisal for her human rights work. She is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.
The trial against Yulia Tsvetkova, an artist and activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East, is coming to an end. On June 14, 2022, the prosecution requested a jail term of three and a half years under the absurd charges of “production and dissemination of pornography” for posting online her body-positive drawings of women’s bodies. The final hearing is expected to take place on July 12, 2022. Yulia Tsvetkova will make her final statement and the sentence will be published soon after.
Abdullah al-Huwaiti, who was arrested when he was 14, is at imminent risk of execution in Saudi Arabia. On June 13, 2022, the Appeals Court upheld his death sentence after a grossly unfair trial. During his time in detention, he was held in solitary confinement, denied access to a lawyer, and forced to “confess” under duress. On March 2, 2022, he was re-sentenced to death by a Criminal Court in Tabuk on charges which included armed robbery and the murder of a security officer. Amnesty International calls on the Supreme Court and the King to not ratify Abdullah al-Huwaiti’s death sentence, quash his conviction, and re-try him in proceedings that are fully consistent with international fair trial standards, without resort to the death penalty.
At least eight prisoners in Greater Tehran Penitentiary, Tehran province, are at grave risk of having their finger-amputation sentences carried out imminently. At least three of the men were convicted based on torture-tainted “confessions” following grossly unfair trials. One of the three men, Hadi Rostami, was beaten by prison guards on June 12, 2022, and has since been forcibly disappeared.
On the morning of June 5, 2022, Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips, environmental and Indigenous peoples’ rights defenders, were disappeared in the Javari Valley, in the Brazilian Amazon. On June 15, 2022, the Federal Police reported that one of the two people arrested on suspicion of involvement in their disappearances confessed to having murdered them, and that remains found in the forest had been forwarded to forensics. Authorities made stigmatizing statements against Bruno and Dom, issued contradictory information, and conducted a belated investigation without sufficient resources or transparency. We urge the General Prosecutor of the Republic to guarantee a prompt, thorough, impartial, and independent investigation into this case, and bring those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice.
On June 14, 2022, around 0:29 a.m., security forces detained Leónidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, in the province of Cotopaxi. He was held incommunicado and criminally charged with “blockage of public services”, before being released that night. His detention could have been arbitrary and the criminal proceedings against him could constitute criminalization of protest. Human rights organizations have made allegations of more arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force and criminalization against protesters. We urge President Lasso to stop stigmatizing, repressing and criminalizing peaceful protests, to disclose the whereabouts of and charges against all detainees, and to release those arbitrarily detained.
Aisha el-Shater, 41, daughter of Muslim Brotherhood senior leader Khairat el-Shater, and her husband lawyer Mohamed Abo Horeira are on trial by the Emergency State Security Court on bogus charges stemming from their family affiliations and peaceful exercise of their human rights. The Egyptian authorities have subjected Aisha el-Shater to torture by holding her in prolonged solitary confinement, barring any family visits for more than three and a half years and deliberately denying her access to adequate healthcare even though she has a serious and potentially life-threatening health condition.
In the morning of June 5, 2022, environmental and Indigenous peoples’ rights defenders Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips were reported missing, after last being seen in the Javari Valley, in the Brazilian Amazon, near the borders with Colombia and Peru. They had received death threats in recent days, according to local organization Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (Univaja). We are calling the Brazilian President, in addition to the Presidents of Colombia and Peru, to urgently mobilize all necessary efforts to find them alive, including international cooperation.
The trials of Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez, prisoners of conscience, are set to start on May 30 and May 31, 2022, respectively, in Cuba. Otero Alcántara and Castillo Pérez have been in pre-trial detention for nearly a year, after being detained for criticizing the Cuban government. A prosecutor has requested that they be sentenced to seven and ten years in prison. We urge Cuban authorities to grant access to international organizations to monitor the trials and to immediately unconditionally release these prisoners of conscience.
On May 29, 2022, the appeal session for four Yemeni journalists sentenced to death, namely, Akram al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid, and Tawfiq al-Mansouri, will take place before the Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Appeals Division in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital. Since their arrest in 2015, the Huthi de facto authorities have detained the journalists, holding them without charge or trial for over three years and subjecting them to various human rights abuses, including enforced disappearance, intermittent incommunicado detention and solitary confinement, beatings, and denial of access to medical care. Amnesty International calls on the Huthi de facto authorities to quash the death sentences – issued following a grossly unfair trial - and order the immediate release of the four journalists.