AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS LAUNCHED its flagship annual letter-writing campaign, Write for Rights to support 10 activists from around the world who have been attacked, jailed, harassed or disappeared for standing up for their rights.
Amnesty is calling on members of the public to join the global action which will take place between November and December. People around the world will send millions of cards, emails and tweets of solidarity to individuals or groups of people whose freedoms are being denied, and will write letters putting pressure on those in power to stop the abuses being committed against them.
This year, Write for Rights – which is funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – will be supporting ten individuals, including:
- Imoleayo Adeyeun Michael from Nigeria, who faces years behind bars for joining the #EndSARS protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad last year;
- Janna Jihad, a 15-year-old journalist from Palestine, who faces harassment and death threats for reporting on the racist brutality her community experiences;
- Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist from China who faces four years in prison for attempting to expose the extent of the Covid-19 crisis;
- Sphere, a Ukrainian LGBTI and women’s rights NGO, which is struggling to operate against frequent homophobic attacks, threats and intimidation;
- Mohamed Baker, an Egyptian human rights lawyer denied a trial and put behind bars for his work supporting people who have been imprisoned unjustly; and
- Ciham Ali Ahmed, a US-Eritrean national, who was arrested nine years ago at the Sudanese border when she was trying to flee Eritrea aged 15 and has not been seen since.
Sacha Deshmukh, CEO of Amnesty UK, said: “These individuals have been thrown behind bars, attacked, harassed or disappeared just for standing up for their rights. By coming together, people around the world have the power to raise their profile and increase their chances of protection or release.
“Sending a letter or email might seem like a small act, but when sent in their thousands they can have a huge impact. People in power are forced to listen.
“The Write for Rights campaign – which has been made possible with funding from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – changes the lives of oppressed people every year. We hope to see many people across the UK getting involved to make as big a noise as possible about the injustices these individuals are facing.”
Write for Rights goes back to the very roots of Amnesty International, which was founded in 1961, with Amnesty’s early campaigners writing letters of support to those affected by human rights abuses, as well as letters of concern to governments around the world.
During last year’s campaign:
- More than 360,000 actions were taken for Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni, who was imprisoned for his reporting on the Hirak protest movement. He was provisionally released in February 2021.
- Over 300,000 messages were sent to and on behalf of Paing Phyo Min, a satirical poet and student leader jailed for criticising the military in Myanmar. He was freed early in April 2021.
- More than 777,000 actions were taken for Saudi women’s rights campaigner Nassima al-Sada. As a result, a G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia was overshadowed by international calls to free Nassima and other women human rights defenders. Nassima has since been conditionally released.
* More information for taking part online and offline here
* Source: Amnesty International