Monday, 21 November 2011

Write for Rights 2011

I am writing this short post to urge everyone to participate in Amnesty International's Write for Rights 2011 campaign in celebration of the organization's 50th anniversary and to mark International Human Rights Day on Saturday 10 December.

Millions of people around the globe take all forms of action for Amnesty’s campaigns, from online petitions and other methods of digital communication to public rallies and demonstrations. But in the organisation’s 50th year, the humble hand-written letter is being championed once again, in a “penaissance”.

Sending a card with a simple, personal greeting is a powerful way to show support for someone facing human rights abuse.

Every card matters. For prisoners of conscience, for families whose relatives have disappeared, for people in danger for defending human rights, the cards bring comfort and hope; they offer encouragement and support, and raise spirits. Above all they are a sign that people care.

The cards can also make an impression on police officers, prison staff and political authorities - and that can help to improve the way they treat individuals at risk.
AI hopes that more people than ever before will write a letter demanding action on one of the ten cases in the Write for Rights campaign. The cases illustrate the diversity of Amnesty’s work; from people facing the death penalty to communities facing forced eviction and women who are challenging the impunity which allows soldiers in Mexico to avoid justice for rape.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said:
“In 1961, when Amnesty was started, our founding members had no idea whether ordinary people writing letters to Heads of State and other people in power would make any difference. It turns out that it did, and it still does.
“These days, we Tweet the President of Azerbaijan, or e-mail the head of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles – and we will continue to deploy every weapon in our arsenal - but the humble, classic letter is a uniquely formidable tool.
“A letter has the power to embarrass, persuade, protect, coerce and force people to alter their behaviour, and ultimately to change the world. If you want to right the wrongs, write about them.”
The ten individuals and groups who feature in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign, include; Jabbar Savalan, a 20 year old history student in Azerbaijan who is serving a prison sentence for anti-government comments he posted on Facebook; 75 year old Hakamada Iwao, believed to be the world's longest serving death row inmate who has spent the last 43 years awaiting execution in Japan and Inés Ferndández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú, two rape survivors in Mexico who have tirelessly campaigned to have the perpetrators of the attack brought to justice.
It is simple to take part.  Just follow the advice given with each case and you can be sure that your message of warmth, care and support will make a real difference.

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