The Power of Urgent Actions in 2014

It is not all doom and gloom. Because of you people have been freed, lives have been saved and justice has been done. Urgent Actions are at the heart of what we do and it is great when we can see what a difference they can make. Applying pressure to authorities has made a positive difference for many people in 2014.

This is what Urgent Actions are all about, by writing letters and emails to authorities demanding justice for human rights violations: the voices of supporters are loud, clear and difficult to ignore. By speaking on behalf of individuals, authorities soon realize there is a huge amount of international pressure coming from members of our Urgent Action Network, this way we can easily see what steps the authorities are taking to address certain issues.

Below are just some good news stories that show what a difference we can make.

Meriam Ibrahim- Sudan

Six weeks after she was sentenced to hang, Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year-old mother of two young children who was facing execution for refusing to renounce her Christian faith was freed from Sudan's death row.

We launched a high-profile campaign for Meriam’s release that saw over a million people around the world call on the Sudanese authorities to release Meriam. The authorities heard those calls: they released Meriam from death row and dropped the charges that led to her death sentence.

Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community- Paraguay

The Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community have lived in harsh conditions on a narrow strip of land by the side of a busy road for over 20 years. The Sawoyamaxa is formed of 146 families and were not be able to have full rights over their land until formally returned to them, as required by an international judgement. The Paraguayan state failed in May 2009 to meet a three-year deadline to return the traditional land to the community.

Thanks to international pressure, including that of Amnesty International supporters, the President of Paraguay enacted a law which would see the return of 14,404 hectares of traditional land to the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous community.

Abdallah Elshamy- Egypt

Reporting the truth is regarded a crime in some countries and Journalists are often persecuted for their work and regarded as affiliating with ‘banned groups’. After 10 months detention without charge, much of it in solitary confinement and without access to family or a lawyer Abdallah Elshamy- an Al Jazeera Arabic Journalist who was reporting on a protest by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo- was realised without charge. He told reporters that he was grateful to all those who had campaigned for his release.

This is not the end of our struggle though, Al Jazeera English staff, Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed are serving between seven and 10 years in prison. They are prisoners of conscience and we will continue to campaigning for their release.

Elena Klimova- Russian Federation

The work of Elena Klimova’s online project “Children 404” aimed to support LGBTI teenagers led to a case under the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. After a strong defence it was ruled the case was closed and means that her work can continue.

Pressure from Amnesty supporters shows the Russian Authorities that freedom of opinion and sexual rights are important Human Rights issues which must be addressed.

Your support is vital to make sure we can go on getting more stories like these. Join us today and you will be helping to fight human rights abuses and injustice across the globe. Find out more about our Urgent Action Network and how to join.

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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