This year has been like no other: with a global pandemic, world politics in chaos, and a climate emergency, it’s no surprise if you’re feeling anxious about the future. But there is hope. There are many, many people standing up for change and striving to make tomorrow’s world a better one. But some of them need your help.
This month Amnesty International is supporting four cases of individuals and groups battling injustice or facing harassment or torture just for speaking out. But if you and I put pen to paper or send an email, these human rights abuses could be stopped.
On 10 December, Human Rights Day, Guardian readers can become part of the biggest moment of action for human rights across the world.
All you need to do is to send a message – telling those in power that human rights abuses are wrong, and showing those affected that they’re not alone – that there are people around the world standing up for them.
And we know this simple action makes a huge difference. When emails fill up the inboxes of government ministers, or when letters pile up at the doors of embassies, those in power have no choice but to take notice. When people facing intimidation or prison sentences receive messages of support, it gives them hope and can often be a lifeline, helping them to get through periods of great adversity, fear and loneliness.
Last year, 22-year-old psychology student Gustavo Gatica was protesting against rising prices and inequality in Chile when police fired ammunition into the crowds. Gustavo was struck in both eyes and blinded. An internal police investigation after the shooting failed to find anyone in the police force responsible. It even suggested that the demonstrators themselves injured Gustavo. Those who allowed the attack on Gustavo remain unpunished – he is still waiting for justice.
In Burundi, Germain Rukuki is serving a 32-year prison sentence for his peaceful activism. In 2017 Germain was arrested and transferred to Ngozi Prison where he has been held ever since. This year he was found guilty of sham charges including ‘rebellion’ and ‘threatening state security’. His previous association with the charity Action by Christians for Abolition of Torture was used against him. Just weeks after Germain’s arrest, his wife Emelyne gave birth to their third son. That little boy has never met his father.
Most of us have experienced loneliness over the past year because of short-term Covid-19 lockdowns, but for the people we are campaigning for, they have no hope of seeing their family or friends any time soon.
The festive season is often when we spend time with our loved ones, but it’s also a time to do a bit more to help those in need. So why not make this your way of showing solidarity with those facing unimaginable hardship and uncertainty – and all because they stand up to bullies, hold governments to account and strive for equality.
Together we are stronger, and our voices are louder. Together, we can help to make the world a better place.
- Vick Hope is an Amnesty International Ambassador
Here’s how you can take part in Human Rights Day just by sending a letter
Last year more than 6.5 million people sent Write for Rights messages to authorities and individuals across the planet – making it the world’s biggest human rights event.
Magai Matiop Ngong (Write for Rights 2019) was just 15 when he was sentenced to death in South Sudan. Supporters sent more than 765,000 messages to President Salva Kiir urging him to commute the sentence. On July 14 this year, Magai’s death sentence was lifted and he was removed from death row.
With Amnesty’s support over 170 unfairly imprisoned people have walked free since 2018, and Write for Rights is one of our biggest campaigns for individuals at risk.
Join millions sending emails or letters and signing petitions to hold people in power to account
To take action today visit amnesty.org.uk/write
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