Write for Rights 2020: You're already changing lives!

In 2020, Amnesty International Australia supporters took over 185,000 actions as part of Write for Rights. Around the world, nearly 4,500,000 actions were taken as part of Write for Rights to challenge injustice. Check out the full report from our International Secretariat here.

Our collective actions are already making a difference and changing lives.

Challenging injustice and changing lives

Melike and Özgür were taking part in a peaceful Pride march at their university when they were met with police who used pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas on the protesters. They and 17 others were then charged with “unlawful assembly,” “failing to disperse despite being warned” – and faced 3 years in prison.

After 2 years on trial, all 19 were acquitted on 8 October 2021! 445,000 people from over 43 countries demanded their acquittal during Write for Rights 2020.

On 1 July Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki was released after serving more than four years in prison. Germain’s release comes after the appeal court reduced his sentence from 32 years to just one in June. He should never have been imprisoned in the first place – Germain was arrested, prosecuted and convicted simply for his human rights work.

During Write for Rights supporters from around the world took more than 436,000 actions calling for Germain’s freedom. Germain’s wife Emelyne Mupfasoni shared her thanks with all those who took action.

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you all to have mobilized and made it possible for Germain to reunite with us soon.”

Emelyne Mupfasoni

Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist Nassima al-Sada was released from prison on 27 June 2021. She was imprisoned for campaigning for the right for women to drive and to end the repressive male guardianship laws in 2018. Over 40,000 Australians took action calling for her release.

Paing Phyo Min was released from prison in Myanmar on 17 April 2021! Paing was sentenced to 6 years in prison in Myanmar following his arrest in April 2019 for peaceful satirical performances.

“I just wanted to say as a parent thanks so much for helping my son.”

Paing Phyo Min’s father

On 19 February Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni, imprisoned for covering protests, was released!

Khaled Drareni following his release. © Getty Images

“I want to thank everyone who supported me and who supported the prisoners of conscience because your support is essential for all of us.”

Khaled Drareni thanking Amnesty supporters following his release.

On Monday 8 March, International Women’s Day, the South African Police Service committed to investigating Popi and Bongeka’s case. The commitment followed a meeting where Amnesty South Africa, along with Popi’s sister Lihle and mother Nomsa, handed over 316,796 actions taken by Amnesty supporters during Write for Rights.

(C) Amnesty International

The direct commander of the police who injured Gustavo Gatica has now been questioned by a court in Chile. Gustavo was blinded after being shot by the police during a protest in November 2019.

The authorities in Pakistan admitted to Idris Khattak’s whereabouts and arranged a meeting between him and his daughter. They have also allowed Idris to be represented by a lawyer of his own choosing. Idris, a human rights researcher, was disappeared in November 2019.

In Australia, tens of thousands of Amnesty supporters and activists stood with survivors and took action calling on governments to ban conversion practice. On 4 February, Victoria passed world leading legislation to ban harmful conversion practices.

Australia writes for rights

In Australia, activists organised an incredible 60 events, both offline and online. At these events, they sent more than 5,000 letters, solidarity messages and tweets! Activists also held the inaugural 10 Days of Activism, bringing together hundreds of people to hear from speakers, including poets and protesters, about human rights and take action for Write for Rights.

In February 2021, activists in Canberra handed over all the actions taken in Australia to Embassies, and met with Embassy representatives.

Sending solidarity

Supporters also wrote thousands of solidarity messages, which are being posted to people right now, reminding them they’re not alone in their fight for justice

On February 12, Amnesty International Netherlands handed over thousands of solidarity messages for women’s rights defender Nassima to her son Mousa.

Later in February, Amnesty International South Africa also handed over solidarity messages to Popi’s sister Lihle and Bongeka’s cousin Mdu.

On Earth Day 2021, April 22, environmental defender Jani Silva shared her thanks for your continuing solidarity.

“From the bottom of my heart I can say that this campaign is what has kept me alive, because I’ve been very close to death but it’s never happened. In spite of everything, today we are alive and that’s what counts.

Jani Silva

What now?

We will continue to campaign for the immediate and unconditional release of Idris, and all those unfairly imprisoned. We will continue to call for justice for Gustavo and for Popi and Bongeka, for all Australian states to ban conversion practices, and for governments everywhere to combat injustices and respect human rights.

Want to get involved in a movement that makes a difference? Find out how here.

Want to make headlines?

Stand with surivors of conversion practices