Amnesty International’s Most Successful Ever Letter-writing Campaign Results in Freed Prisoners
By Sarah Ford on February 11, 2014
Source: Amnesty International USA
In December 2013, more than 2.3 million letters, emails, SMS messages, faxes and tweets were sent in the “Write for Rights” campaign, beating last year’s record of 1.9 million actions.
Messages pressuring authorities led to the release of two prisoners of conscience: the Cambodian housing rights activist Yorm Bopha and the Russian peaceful protester Vladimir Akimenkov.
“It shows that when ordinary people stand together and send a clear message demanding governments fulfill their duty to protect and uphold people’s human rights we can achieve fantastic results,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“It was a truly global moment as hundreds of thousands of our members and supporters came together with one voice to take action against oppression and injustice.”
The Write for Rights campaign focused on the cases of prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Russia, Bahrain and Tunisia; individuals victimised by the state in Cambodia, Mexico, Turkey and Belarus; and harassed communities in Nigeria, Palestine and Honduras.
Throughout December members and supporters came up with a host of original and creative ideas to show their support for the campaign.
Flash-mobs interrupted wintry streets in Canada, others collected signatures while running marathons in Guinea, and sang their hearts out at concerts in Portugal and Italy. Workshops and sit-ins were held in Morocco, with demonstrations in Nepal.
Activities included creative light projections near the Eiffel Tower in Paris and in central Istanbul. In Iceland, more than 50,000 signatures were collected, twice the number achieved last year – meaning a third of the total population of Reykjavik took part in this global human rights event.
Even in Democratic Republic of Congo, after decades of civil war, volunteers organised events to support those at risk in other countries. Barrister Grégoire Kauli Moket collected more than 1,800 letters after he organised Write for Rights debates at university faculties and high schools in Lubumbashi, Katanga.
“It has been moving to see how this...