Top Ten Reasons to Write for Rights

Fall is my favorite time of year: the air is cooler, the leaves are pretty, Amnesty International student groups are back together again, and people start signing up for the Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon.

In this—the world’s largest human rights event—we use letters, cards and more to demand the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering abuses and work to improve people’s lives.

Those are some pretty amazing reasons to participate, but in case you need more, here are my top ten reasons to Write for Rights: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

GOOD NEWS on June 26! Odaini Going Home from GTMO

We have great news to share today on June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture:

Mohammed al-Odaini will be released from Guantanamo back to his home country of Yemen. He has been held without charge by the US government for over 8 years, since the age of 18. He was cleared for release in 2005.  Check out this Washington Post story for more info.

For years, Amnesty International members have taken action for Mohammed–writing countless letters and emails, holding vigils and demonstrations, organizing film screenings, meeting with elected officials and gathering petition signatures.

THANK YOU for taking action.

From Mohammed’s lawyer, David Remes:

“Mr al-Odaini’s release is cause for celebration. After Judge Kennedy ruled in his favor, it was by no means clear that the government would release him, when the government would release him, or where the government would send him. We had an uphill fight. But with Amnesty International’s support–and your support–we persuaded the government to return Mr. al-Odaini to Yemen and reunite him with his family. Only the kind of broad public support Amnesty brings to bear could ensure such a happy ending. I cannot thank you enough.”

From Matthew Alexander, former senior US military interrogator:

“I want to personally thank you for your help in securing the freedom of Mohammed Odaini. Your actions help keep America safe by ensuring that we live up to our principles — a critical part of long term strategy to counter violent extremists.  We can take pride in Mr Odaini’s release, but while we pause to appreciate this accomplishment, let’s not forget that justice still escapes others.”

Amnesty International’s Counter Terror With Justice Campaign will of course continue to call on President Obama and Congress to:

  • Provide Mohammed al-Odaini with access to effective redress and remedy for his time held in US custody.
  • Immediately release anyone held in Guantanamo who is not to be charged and tried in accordance with international law.
  • Ensure accountability for US torture and other human rights violations, as required by law.

Please know that your actions DO make a difference in the lives of individual people.