Wins: Impacts of the Write for Rights campaign

Challenging injustice and changing lives

Write for Rights is the world’s biggest human rights event. Started by Amnesty International over 20 years ago, this annual campaign brings together millions of compassionate people from around the world to make a stand for freedom, justice and equality. By collectively challenging injustice, we change lives. And every time we secure justice for one individual, we move closer to a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.

Every year in the lead up to World Human Rights Day (10 December), Amnesty supporters and activists from more than 200 countries and territories take action – writing letters, signing petitions and much more – urging governments to uphold justice and right wrongs. This year we’re taking action for individuals and communities from 10 different countries who are courageously speaking truth to power.

Your actions make a real difference

In 2022 more than 5.3 million people worldwide took action for individuals from 10 countries whose human rights were under attack.

We run Write for Rights every year because it works – real change happens when ordinary people come together to take action. Here are just a handful of the people and communities Amnesty supporters have helped over the years.

1. Magai Matiop Ngong

Magai was just 15 years old when he was sentenced to death by hanging in November 2017. A secondary school student, Magai was convicted of murder, which he says was an accident.

Magai caught global attention through Write for Rights 2019, with over 750,000 letters, emails and petitions calling for his death sentence to be commuted. In Australia, almost 18,000 actions were taken for Magai.

On 22 March 2022 the High Court of South Sudan finally freed Magai Matiop Ngong.

2. Yasaman and Monireh

In 2019 Yasaman Aryani and her daughter Monireh Arabshahi were sentenced to 16 years in prison for speaking out against Iran’s forced veiling laws. The two women’s rights advocates were accused of “inciting and facilitating corruption and prostitution” by promoting “unveiling”.

As a part of Write for Rights 2019, Amnesty started a petition calling on Iranian authorities to release Yasaman and Monireh. An incredible 100,000 supporters in Australia and over one million supporters around the world took action to demand their freedom.

In February 2023, after nearly four years in prison, Iranian authorities released Yasaman and Monireh.

3. Nassima al-Sada

In 2018 Saudi Arabian authorities arrested women’s rights activist Nassima al-Sada. Nassima had been campaigning for women’s right to drive and had called for an end to the country’s repressive male guardianship laws. She was held in solitary confinement for one year and subjected to ill treatment.

As part of Write for Rights 2020, over 40,000 Australians took action calling for Nassima’s release. On 27 June 2021, she was finally released from prison.

4. Melike and Özgür

Student activists Melike and Özgür were taking part in a peaceful Pride march for LGBTQIA+ rights at their university in Ankara, Turkey, when they came under attack from police, who used pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas on the protesters. Melike and Özgür, along with 17 others, were then charged with “unlawful assembly” and “failing to disperse despite being warned,” and they faced three years in prison.

During Write for Rights 2020, 445,000 people from over 43 countries demanded the activists’ acquittal. After two years on trial, all 19 activists were acquitted on 8 October 2021.

5. Bernardo Caal Xol

In 2018 Bernardo Caal Xol was thrown in jail without any evidence for protecting rivers sacred to his people, the Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ in north-central Guatemala.

Bernardo’s case caught the attention of Indigenous rights activists far beyond Guatemala. During Write for Rights 2021, over half a million people globally took action to support him. This included 20,000 in Australia of which 1,200 emailed the Guatemalan embassy demanding his release from prison.

On 24 March 2022 Bernardo was released and reunited with his family after more than four years of imprisonment.

6. Cecillia Chimbiri and Joanah Mamombe

Zimbabwean activists Cecillia Chimbiri and Joanah Mamombe were arrested and abducted in 2020 following a peaceful protest about the government’s failure to provide social protection during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of Write for Rights 2022, 10,000 Amnesty supporters in Australia and over 500,000 globally took action demanding justice for Cecillia and Joanah and defending their right to protest. Amnesty International Zimbabwe further supported the women through trial observation and by mobilising local and international solidarity for them.

On 4 July 2023 Cecillia and Joanah were acquitted of publishing falsehoods about their abduction by the High Court.

Joanah Mamombe and Cecillia Chimbiri embracing each other joyously
Joanah Mamombe and Cecillia Chimbiri © Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Amnesty International

7. Mohamed Baker

In 2019 human rights lawyer Mohamed Baker was arrested by Egyptian authorities for defending the human rights of Egypt’s most marginalised people. He was locked up in a maximum-security prison under cruel conditions and subjected to discriminatory and punitive treatment.

During Write for Rights 2021, over 300,000 actions were taken by Amnesty supporters calling on the Egyptian authorities to end Baker’s unjust imprisonment.In July 2023, he received a presidential pardon and was released from prison after 45 months of arbitrary detention.

Activists from Morocco take action for Mohamed Baker © Amnesty International Morocco

All over the world, there are many other cases where your words have changed lives and challenged injustice through the Write for Rights campaign. Paing’s arrest for peaceful satirical protests in Myanmar, Germain’s conviction for his human rights work in Burundi, and Teodora’s prison sentence of 30 years due to anti-abortion laws in El Salvador are all examples of human rights injustices that you helped resolve.

People power works – how you can help

Every year, real change happens because of Write for Rights.

Since Write for Rights started in 2001, more than 50 million actions have been taken, while over 100 people featured in our campaign have seen a positive outcome to their case.

Together, our voices are powerful enough to challenge injustice and change the world. Our 2023 Write for Rights campaign focuses on women’s rights, climate justice, Indigenous rights and local community empowerment, unjust police brutality and overall supporting individuals who have been convicted unjustly due to standing up for human rights.

Learn more about how Write for Rights has the power to change lives through your words and get involved now!

For over 20 years, our Write for Rights campaign has effectively freed people from human rights abuses and changed lives. Real change happens because of the actions taken by compassionate supporters like you. Learn more about Write for Rights. Write a letter, change a life and drive lasting change.