Millions of Amnesty International supporters from around the globe are set to take part in the world’s largest annual human rights campaign launching on 3 December.
Write for Rights, a two-week-long campaign, is calling on activists to take action on behalf of 10 activists and two communities suffering brutal human rights abuses including arbitrary detention and torture.
Activist from all corners of the world will be signing petitions, writing letters, organizing events and posting tweets calling for, amongst others:
• The release of Chelsea Manning, the US whistler-blower who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified government material to the website Wikileaks.
• Proper compensation and medical assistance for the victims of Bhopal who still await justice after the 1984 gas leak disaster which killed more than 22,000 and left half a million injured.
• The release of Raif Badawi, who was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 2012 for posting pro-democracy messages on the internet.
“Write for Rights epitomizes what Amnesty International is all about – individuals helping other individuals, wherever they might be. It is a unique and extraordinary event that brings together millions of people in a bid to secure justice for men, women and children around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“The campaign is a great demonstration of the power of peaceful protest. A single voice may be stifled, but thousands of voices coming together can ensure they are heard.”
Write for Rights was first launched in 2001. Since then, a number of activists featured in the campaign have been released from prison while others saw their conditions improved. Investigations have also been initiated into dozens of cases of arbitrary and unfair imprisonment, torture and other human rights abuses.
After last year’s campaign, three activists were released in Cambodia and Russia after authorities received tens of thousands of letters and petitions from activists participating in Write for Rights.
One of them was Cambodian housing rights activist Yorm Bopha. She had been imprisoned in 2012 after protesting against forced evictions in her community.
After her release, Yorm Bopha said: “Thank you to Amnesty International’s supporters! Your campaign has been successful, as my release shows! We can achieve the most success when we all work together.”
Russian activists Vladimir Akimenkov and Mikhail Kosenko were also freed from prison in 2013 and 2014 respectively after pressure from Amnesty International activists.
They had been detained, along with a third activist Artiom Saviolov, and charged with participating in “mass riots” after peacefully protesting in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in May 2012. Saviolov remains in jail but is due to be released later this year.
“Write for Rights clearly shows that concrete change can take place when people are determined to make it happen. Every year our activists empower and strengthen individuals whose human rights are under threat. In 2014 we are determined to challenge injustice and change lives,” said Salil Shetty.