WRITE FOR RIGHTS 2016
The Write for Rights campaign is an annual event held in November / December where people across the world are asked to take the time to send a card with a friendly greeting or message of solidarity to individuals and community groups suffering human rights abuses. (It was previously known as the Greetings Card Campaign.)
In December 2016 our group once again teamed up with the Enfield & Barnet AI Group to host an event at St. James Muswell Hill. Some 140 greetings cards and pre-paid postcards were sent to those featured in the campaign plus 195 letters to authorities on their behalf - exceeding the number of cards and letters signed in 2015. Among those stopping by to participate was local MP Catherine West.
Nationally the campaign in 2016 was very successful with over 80,000 messages of support sent to people around the world suffering human rights abuses. On 7th December AIUK once again marked Human Rights Day – commemorating the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights – with its annual Parliamentary Reception in the Speaker’s House of Westminster Palaces. Ministers, MPs and Peers joined Amnesty activists, staff, volunteers and special guests in participating in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign by writing messages of support, hope and welcome for the individuals highlighted in this year’s cases.
The very act of sending these cards offers hope and comfort to those receiving them – and the letters remind authorities that we have not forgotten the people they persecute.
The effect these actions are best summed up by Albert Woodforx, who described what it meant for him to receive messages from our Write for Rights actions last year, including at the Parliamentary event 2015: “I can’t emphasise enough how important getting letters from people around the world was. It gave me strength. It gave me courage. It made me more determined. But more than all that, it gave me a sense of self-worth.”
Albert was freed in February 2016 after serving 43 years in prison for allegedly killing a prison guard. Twice in decades of legal battles, his murder conviction was thrown out of court, yet Louisiana state prosecutors were preparing to try him a third time. Although maintaining his innocence, he accepted the lesser plea of manslaughter in exchange for freedom due to his age and poor health. He was the longest-serving prisoner to be held in solitary confinement in U.S. history.
Please watch the video, which highlights the Group’s then Greetings Card Campaign event of 2010, held in conjunction with the Haringey Green Party, and makes clear why this campaign is so important.