Write for Rights on Alcatraz: From A Prison to A Fortress of Human Rights

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By: Shaudee Dehghan, Humera Durrani, Lisa Mueller-Dormann, Sarah Rubiaco

Upon disembarking from the ferry it immediately became clear to all of us why Ai Weiwei chose the island to showcase his exhibit. The island’s ominous history as a military fortress, high security prison, and refuge for persecuted indigenous people is steeped in oppression, an emotion that fully engulfed us as we set off towards the @Large exhibit. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

#Write4Rights Brings Human Rights Home

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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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A Discriminatory and Dangerous Law that is Killing Women and Girls in El Salvador

Accused and charged with having an abortion after a miscarriage at 18 years old.

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

10 Appalling Attacks on Human Rights and 1 Powerful Way You Can Help

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty

MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty

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

My Mom is in Prison for Standing up for Human Rights in China

An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, 22-year-old Liao Minyue, tells their story.

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My mother, Liu Ping, was just an ordinary Chinese woman with a kind heart.

We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.

But one night, everything changed. My mom was moonlighting as a street vendor in the evenings to supplement her monthly income of RMB 800 (130 US Dollars) as an iron and steel plant worker.  SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Young, Black, Alive: Breaking the silence on Brazil’s soaring youth homicide rate

The new “Young Black Alive” campaign is aimed at tackling the underlying human rights issues behind Brazil’s soaring youth homicide rate. © Anistia Internacional Brasil

The new “Young Black Alive” campaign is aimed at tackling the underlying human rights issues behind Brazil’s soaring youth homicide rate. © Anistia Internacional Brasil

By Atila Roque, Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil

Earlier this week, many people around the world waited with bated breath for a grand jury’s decision in a case where a police officer shot dead an unarmed young black man on the street. While the 9 August shooting of Michael Brown took place in the US suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, the case has a deep resonance here in Brazil. The tragic course of events leading up to the teenager’s death could just as easily have played out on the streets of our cities orfavelas.

Of the 56,000 homicides in Brazil every year, 30,000 are young people aged 15 to 29. That means that, at this very moment, a young person is most likely being killed in Brazil. By the time you go to bed, 82 will have died today. It’s like a small airplane full of young people crashing every two days, with no survivors. This would be shocking enough by itself, but it’s even more scandalous that 77 per cent of these young people are black. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

One of the World’s Worst Industrial Disasters Exposed on the Big Screen

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Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain releases in the US on November 7th.

My name is Ravi Kumar, director and co-writer of the film Bhopal-A Prayer For Rain. I want you to take a second and imagine what your life would be like today if your parents not only died in an industrial disaster that could have been avoided, but those responsible had evaded punishment for 30 years.

What is an impossible thought for me, is a horrifying reality for the families of more than 20,000 women, men, and children who have died following the 1984 toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

“You were my voice when I had none” – Two million letters for justice

W4RBIRTUKANIn the days surrounding Human Rights Day on December 10, I will be writing letters to people around the world – most of whom I have never met. As my messages begin to arrive in places like Chicago, Brasilia, Tel Aviv and Beijing, they will be joined by hundreds and thousands more. Together, we will speak with one voice to demand justice, cry for change and inspire hope. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

VICTORY!: Russian Prisoner of Conscience Freed As Write For Rights 2013 Reaches 1.4 Million Actions!

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By Louisa Anderson, Amnesty International Global Campaigner

Fantastic news came today as our global letter-writing campaign, Write for Rights, drew to a close: Vladimir Akimenkov, one of the Bolotnaya 3 prisoners of conscience, has been freed!

This fantastic outcome will be celebrated throughout the 83 countries that have taken part in our campaign. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Amnesty supporters have taken action for Vladimir and others at risk of human rights abuses.

So far we have counted an incredible 1.4 million messages voicing support for human rights!

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Sentenced to a Psychiatric Hospital For a Peaceful Protest

Mikhail Kosenko stands in a defendant cage in a court in Moscow (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

Mikhail Kosenko stands in a defendant cage in a court in Moscow (Photo Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images).

This blog originally appeared in the Huffington Post

Mikhail Kosenko was there last year when tens of thousands gathered in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in protest of Vladimir Putin’s re-election. Video evidence indicates that he was protesting peacefully, yet he was arrested days later by the Russian authorities and charged with taking part in a riot and using violence against police officers.

Although many are being prosecuted for their involvement that day, Kosenko has been sent by the courts to a psychiatric hospital, where treatment is being forced upon him. The prosecution asserts that he is a threat to himself and others, yet there is no evidence of this.

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