Thank you for everything in 2015

We have a lot of work to do in 2016, but for now we thought it'd be nice to reflect back on what we've achieved together in 2015. 

From campaigning successfully for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last UK resident in Guantanamo Bay, and the three imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt; to fighting against the devastating intent to abolish the Human Rights Act and the disgraceful treatment of refugees fleeing conflict, 2015 has been a year of incredible triumphs. 

You did this - by taking action, funding our research or giving up your time to spread the word in your local communities. Thank you. This year, we have seen the extraordinary results we can achieve when we come together.

Here are just some of the ways you made the difference in 2015:

1. Prisoners freed

So many wrongly imprisoned men and women found freedom this year: Three Al Jazeera journalists freed in Egypt; Shaker Aamer home after more than 13 years; and charges dropped against Mexican torture victim Claudia Medina. 2015 saw us work together like never before to ensure justice.

There's more: Moses Akatugba was granted a pardon in Nigeria; Filep Karma finally left jail in Papua after a decade behind bars; and two sisters in India ‘sentenced’ to rape were given protection. Dr Tun Aung and other Burmese activists are now free after years in jail for their work; and in America death row prisoner Reggie Clemons has had his conviction overturned.

You have helped change every one of these individuals' lives forever.

2. Torture challenged

In September thousands of you spoke out against the London Arms Fair, calling on the UK government to stop torture equipment from being illegally sold there. And they listened - agreeing to support proposals to strengthen controls.

Then in October another success: members of the European Parliament voted with a massive majority to close the loopholes in the EU laws that prohibit the trade in torture equipment.

3. Human rights defended at home

Tens of thousands of you took a stand to save the Human Rights Act and the government realised they can’t bin it without a fight. Politicians and the media are talking about it like never before, but we'll be calling on you to take a stand once more in the New Year.

We also won a historic victory against the UK government this year, forcing them to reveal they spied on us.

4. Refugees rescued

Outraged by the refugee crisis we came together and forced the Prime Minister to change his mind - twice!

Because of you he agreed to reinstate search and rescue in the Mediterranean. An operation that, with UK participation, has saved thousands.

Later, he agreed to accept 20,000 more Syrian refugees by 2020.

Despite these successes we need to keep up the pressure – it's crucial we show the government that refugees are welcome here.

5. Corporates held to account

This year we successfully lobbied for the inclusion of a ground-breaking provision in the UK Modern Slavery Act, forcing companies to say what they have done to prevent slavery in their business.

Niger Delta fishing communities also had a long-awaited victory when Shell finally paid out £55 million over oil spills that have blighted their livelihoods for the last six years.

6. LGBTI rights fought for

After years of campaigning there was an historic referendum in the Republic of Ireland in May, where 62% of voters were in favour of equal marriage for same-sex couples. In June we joined with partner organisations to lead an estimated 20,000 people on a march through Belfast to demand Northern Ireland does the same. 

Thank you

You are part of a global movement of people united in standing up for truth, justice and fairness. 2016 will bring us new challenges but we know that if we continue to stand together we can protect people at risk of injustice and abuse, wherever they are.

Thank you once again for helping make all this happen — and please help us continue to achieve great things in the coming years. Here's to 2016!

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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