November 29, 2017
The family of an LGBTI activist hacked to death in Bangladesh, the sister of a young man gunned down by Jamaican police, and 11 human rights defenders in Turkey are among those who will be receiving letters of support from Amnesty International supporters this December, as the organization launches its fifteenth global letter writing campaign, Write for Rights.
Every December, Amnesty International supporters across the globe write millions of letters and take actions for people whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights campaign. Last year at least 4.6 million actions were taken.
“For 15 years Write for Rights has given people hope in their darkest moments. Imagine being ill in jail and receiving thousands of letters of support and solidarity; or finding out that people all over the world are behind you in your quest for justice for a murdered relative. Writing letters really can change lives,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“All over the world human rights defenders are under attack, treated like criminals simply for expressing themselves online or protecting the environment, and it’s more important than ever that we show them they’re not alone.
“Write for Rights sends a powerful message to the authorities that we are watching them. Though they may be able to harass, censor or jail individuals, they cannot silence the millions of people around the world who stand in solidarity with them.”
This year, for the first time, those receiving letters include two Amnesty International figures, who are on trial on baseless ‘terrorism’ related charges in Turkey on account of their human rights work. The chair of Amnesty Turkey, Taner Kılıç, was arrested on 6 June 2017 and remains in jail. Amnesty Turkey’s Director İdil Eser, and one of its founding members, Özlem Dalkıran, were among 10 human rights defenders detained while attending a human rights workshop on 5 July. They were released in October after almost four months in jail but are still facing charges.