On Human Rights Day, Amnesty International USA and Donda’s House are teaming up for the world’s biggest letter writing event, Write for Rights.
Join in from anywhere in the world as they add their voice to fight injustice and demand human rights for all. Your words have power! Write a letter and change a life by providing hope for a prisoner, demanding justice for families killed and shining a light on horrifying human rights abuses.
Starting at 6:30pm tune-in to the live event in Chicago to hear from artists, musicians and activists about raising awareness about gun violence and police brutality.
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By Munira al-Hamwi, mother of ‘disappeared’ Syrian human rights attorney Razan Zaitouneh
They asked me to write about my daughter, Razan Zaitouneh. I am not a journalist or a writer but I will write what is on my mind. I will not talk about Razan’s work or her achievements as so many others have done so already.
I will never forget those times at the start of the uprising in Syria when she faded out of the public eye in order to avoid arrest. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images
By: Alice Dahle, Co-chair, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist
On December 24, the first ever international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) regulating the sale of conventional arms and ammunition will go into effect. The treaty will require that before authorizing a sale of arms and ammunition across international borders, governments must assess the risk that the weapons will be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law, undermine peace and security, or engage in transnational organized crime. If an exporting country knows there is an “overriding” risk that the arms will be used for these purposes, the sale is prohibited.
In another break-through, the ATT is also the first legally binding international agreement that makes the connection between the international arms trade and gender-based violence (GBV). Only recently has the gendered aspect of armed violence been recognized. During the drafting of the treaty, Amnesty International joined with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the Women’s Network of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), and Oxfam to enlist the support of both governments and civil society for inclusion of a gender dimension in the treaty. As a result of these efforts, Article 7(4) of the ATT makes it mandatory for arms exporting countries to assess the risk that their weapons will be used in the commission of GBV and deny authorization of any sales that present an “overriding” risk. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Accused and charged with having an abortion after a miscarriage at 18 years old.
By Chloe Horsma, Amnesty International USA youth activist
Probably the greatest obstacle I’ve ever faced around my sexual and reproductive rights was a borderline-uncomfortable conversation with my mom when I wanted to look into birth control for the first time. Many of my friends had similar experiences. It seemed to me that this was how it was supposed to be–people making decisions about their own health and reproductive rights without hindrance or fear–and for a while, it escaped my notice that not everyone was so lucky. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
former New York Times Iran correspondent Nazila
Journalists working in Iran face daunting challenges. They are constantly under threat of being suddenly arrested and detained for long periods of time, in inhumane conditions and without knowing the nature of the charges against them.
Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has just earned the dubious distinction of being the longest-held foreign journalist in Iran. Detained in Evin Prison since his arrest in July, it was just announced that Jason Rezaian’s detention was extended another two months in November. This despite the fact that Iran’s top “human rights” official, Mohammad Javad Larijani, said in early November that he anticipated that Mr. Rezaian would be released within one month. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Heather Schultz, Activist
When a woman or girl survives gender-based violence, you would think that she could expect justice. If she survives a rape, for example, you would think she could expect that the perpetrator would be prosecuted for his crime… not that he could marry her to avoid prosecution if she is under 18. Yet, this is exactly the law in Algeria and Tunisia. And in Morocco, the severity of punishment of the rapist depends not on his crime, but on whether the survivor was a virgin or not! SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
11 THOUSAND PEOPLE are victims of gun violence in the United States, each year. On January 29, 2013, fifteen year old Hadiya Pendleton became yet another tragic example of the human toll of gun violence. She died after being shot in the back in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park on Chicago’s South Side. Write a letter to President Obama to honor Hadiya’s memory and call for passage of the Youth PROMISE Act.
10 YEARS and a thousand lashes – the price of blogging for Saudi Arabian Activist Raif Badawi. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Prisoners of Conscience in Viet Nam
By Huong Nguyen, AIUSA Country Specialist on Viet Nam
How did you spend your last birthday? Did you do something fun to celebrate?
On November 29, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, a Vietnamese prisoner of conscience, had to spend his 5th consecutive birthday in prison.
Thuc was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment followed by five years’ house arrest on 20 January 2010 for blogging about political and economic issues in Viet Nam. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Just over a week after a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a grand jury in Staten Island, New York has decided not to indict the officer responsible for the choking death of Eric Garner, despite the existence of a video capturing the incident that took place on July 17, 2014. In the process of apprehending Garner, the officer placed Garner in a chokehold which an autopsy determined compressed his neck and restricted his chest to the point of asphyxiation. These are just two of many cases we have seen this year where black men are dying at the hands of police officers around the country.
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Poor infrastructure, lack of privacy and limited access to health services are only a few of the factors contributing to the devastating maternal mortality rate in South Africa.
There is a rural area in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa where the maternal mortality rate more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Why are women so at risk for dying during childbirth in this province? The reasons are complex and inter-related but many factors can be addressed by the provincial Minister of Health. And we are demanding that he does. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST