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Millions of letters, texts and tweets sent to free ten individuals from human rights abuses

 

People across the UK join the world’s largest letter writing action to support individuals who have been attacked, jailed, harassed or disappeared

Those supported will include Turkish students facing a jail sentence for LGBTI+ activism and a 22-year-old Chilean blinded by police rubber bullets 

Amnesty International has today launched its flagship annual letter-writing campaign, Write for Rights, to help change the lives of people around the world who have been attacked, jailed, harassed or disappeared for standing up for their rights.

During Write for Rights - which takes place between November and December each year - 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, or write letters putting pressure on those in power to stop the abuses being committed against them. 

This year, the campaign - which is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery - will support ten individuals who are suffering abuses, including:

  • Germain Rukuki from Burundi, who is serving a 32-year prison sentence for his peaceful activism;
  • Chilean Gustavo Gatica, a 22-year-old psychology student who was protesting against rising prices and inequality when he was struck in both eyes and blinded by police firing rubber and metal ammunition;
  • Nassima al-Sada, a prominent Saudi Arabian activist detained for over two years for defending women’s rights; and
  • A group of Turkish university students known as the ‘METU Pride Defenders’, who are facing trail and a prison sentence for organising a peaceful sit in to protest the cancellation of their annual LGBTI+ pride march on campus.

During last year’s campaign, more than 6 million messages of support were sent. Each letter made a huge difference to people who had put their lives and liberties on the line.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, said:

“This year, a global pandemic has shown that in times of extreme difficulty, solidarity is crucial. When people come together and support each other, we gain the strength to carry on.

“This simple principle can change people’s lives, which is why Amnesty International has been writing messages of support to individuals facing human rights abuses for decades. We know that when millions join together, our voices and words have power.

“A simple text, email, tweet or letter can help free individuals from great injustices - from a group of Turkish students facing jail sentences just for protesting the banning of their LGBTI+ Pride march, to a Burundian human rights defender serving a 32-year prison sentence for his peaceful activism.

“Together, we can make enough noise so that those in power will have no choice but to listen and act.”

Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign

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.

Letters written during previous Write for Rights campaigns have:

  • helped support Chelsea Manning, the US army whistle blower who was freed in May this year after outgoing US president Barack Obama cut short her 35-year sentence;
  • helped push Peru to drop charges against Máxima Acuña who was attacked by the police for standing up to one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines when it evicted her family from their farmland;
  • helped put pressure on the US to release Albert Woodfox, who was freed in February 2016 after being held in solitary confinement for over 40 years.

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