By Michael O’Reilly, Senior Campaign Director Individuals at Risk
This post is part of our Write for Rights series
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not emailed…but really wrote a letter.
What if I told you that writing a letter could help save a life? We’ve got nearly 50 years of history that proves this fact.
It was a letter of passion written in 1961 by Amnesty’s founder, Peter Benenson, that ignited a movement that’s now more than 2.8 million strong.
It was a letter of solidarity sent by many, but for the cause of one, that just weeks ago helped lead to the release of Ethiopian prisoner of conscience and 2009 Write-a-thon case Birtukan Mideksa from life imprisonment.
It is a letter of thanks signed by a person who has experienced unthinkable human rights abuses that both warms our hearts and fuels our fire.
So it should be no surprise that it’s a letter of hope that I’m asking you to pledge to write now.
In the days surrounding Human Rights Day – December 10 – people from more than 50 countries will unite to write letters on behalf of those in danger of severe human rights abuses.
Our global network of activists, acting independently and in groups of various sizes, will then go to work sending truckloads-worth of letters and postcards to repressive governments and other officials responsible for neglecting human rights.
In the U.S., we will shine our light on 12 specific cases from around the world who are in need your support and solidarity, including:
· Aung San Suu Kyi – democracy icon imprisoned in Myanmar for most of the past 21 years after winning elections by a landslide
· Majid Tavakkoli – a student leader imprisoned in Iran for speaking at a peaceful demonstration marking Student Day.
· Women of Atenco – beaten and raped by police and left without justice in Mexico.
Your words have power. They can bring freedom. They can deliver justice. But most importantly, they can offer hope and let human rights defenders around the world know that they are not alone.
Thank you for standing up to Write for Rights!