Welcome to Amnesty’s Write for Rights (‘W4R’) activist toolkit. In it you’ll find everything you need to join in with the Write for Rights 2023 campaign. Write for Rights brings millions of compassionate people together around the world – because when we challenge injustice, we change lives.
What is Write for Rights?
Sometimes a letter can change someone’s life. That’s the idea behind Write for Rights, our global letter-writing campaign. Twenty-one years ago, a small group of activists in Poland decided to run a 24-hour letter-writing marathon for 10 December – Human Rights Day. The idea took off and today, Write for Rights has grown into the world’s biggest human rights event.
Every year, supporters across the globe sign petitions and write millions of letters and solidarity cards for those whose basic human rights are being attacked. These supporters form a vibrant community of people like you, continuing a long tradition of writing letters to right some of the world’s biggest wrongs.
Real change happens because of your letters and actions. People wrongfully imprisoned are released. Abusers are brought to justice. And people in prison are treated more humanely. You can read more about our wins here or check out this inspiring video about Bernardo Caal Xol, an Indigenous rights activist from Guatemala who was one of our Write for Rights cases in 2021. Bernardo as thrown in jail without any evidence for protecting rivers sacred to his people, the Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ in north-central Guatemala. On 24 March 2022 Bernardo was released and reunited with his family after more than four years of imprisonment.
Right now, all around the world, human rights are under attack. This year we’re taking action for individuals and communities from 10 different countries who are courageously speaking truth to power.
Uncle Pabai (he/him) and Uncle Paul’s (he/him) ancestors have lived on islands of the Torres Strait for thousands of years. Now their whole way of life – which as Indigenous Peoples is deeply connected to land, sea and sky – is at risk because of climate change. If the islands become uninhabitable, they will be forced to break these connections and leave their homelands.
Call on Australia to take urgent climate action.
Rocky Myers (he/him), a Black man with an intellectual disability, has spent three decades on death row in Alabama for murder. Assigned ineffective legal representation Rocky was convicted following testimonies blighted by inconsistencies and alleged police pressure.
Sentenced to death by a judge who imposed a death sentence against the jury’s wishes, Rocky was abandoned by his post-conviction lawyer, meaning he missed key dates for his appeal.
Tell the governor of Alabama to grant clemency to Rocky Myers.
Activist Justyna Wydrzyńska (she/her) felt compelled to help a woman in an abusive relationship access a safe abortion. But it is a crime in Poland to help a woman access an abortion outside the two remaining legal grounds, in the case of pregnancy resulting from an illegal act such as rape or incest, or danger to a woman’s health or life. Now Justyna has been convicted, setting a dangerous precedent and making access to safe abortion even harder for those who seek one.
Demand the prosecutor general take all necessary measures to ensure that Justyna’s unjust conviction is overturned.
Ahmed Mansoor (he/him) is a father and husband. He’s a poet, blogger and human rights defender. Before his arrest, Ahmed regularly raised concerns about the detention, torture and unfair trials of dissenting voices in the UAE. He spoke about problems within the justice system and of domestic laws that breach international ones. Now, he too is locked away, held in an isolation cell without a bed.
Demand the UAE immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor.
Pedro Henrique (he/him) organized “Walks of Peace” in Tucano, Bahia, Brazil, bringing people together to speak out against police abuses. His activism was met with threats and violence from the police. In December 2018, Pedro Henrique was shot by hooded men. He died, aged 31. The police officers suspected of the killing are still working and a trial has yet to begin. Despite her grief, Pedro Henrique’s mother, Ana Maria (she/her), is bravely fighting for justice for his death.
Support Ana Maria in her fight for justice.
Thulani Maseko (he/him) was a loving father and husband who dedicated his life to the people of Eswatini, a country ruled by a wealthy absolute monarchy and where approximately 60% of the population live under the poverty line. Openly critical of the country’s use of repressive laws and state violence, on 21 January 2023 Thulani was shot dead in front of his wife. To date no one has been held accountable.
Demand justice for Thulani Maseko.
Rita Karasartova (she/her) loves yoga, travelling and sewing traditional Kyrgyzstani jackets with her daughter. Now she is under house arrest, having spent months detained in a cramped cell unable to see or speak to her family. Worried about her people’s access to water, Rita peacefully opposed a border agreement giving control of a freshwater reservoir to Uzbekistan. She has been charged with attempting to “violently overthrow the government” and faces 15 years’ imprisonment.
Demand Rita Karasartova’s freedom.
In the two years since President Kais Saied’s power grab, human rights in Tunisia have crumbled, many courts lack independence, and freedom of expression is under assault. Anyone who criticizes the president risks arrest and detention. But Chaima Issa (she/her) is a woman who will not be silenced. After publicly opposing Kais Saied’s actions, Chaima was arbitrarily arrested and detained for over four months. She faces decades in prison for her peaceful political activism.
Demand Chaima Issa’s full freedom.
Thapelo Mohapi (he/him) loves listening to jazz and supporting his favourite football teams. But since 2021 he has been in hiding because of threats to his life. He is being targeted because he is a leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a grassroots movement working to improve the lives of people in South Africa, including eKhenana – a community which suffers from many challenges, including economic insecurity, lack of access to adequate housing and police brutality. In 2022 alone, three AbM members were killed in eKhenana.
Tell the police to thoroughly and effectively investigate the harassment and killings of AbM members.
Maung Sawyeddollah (he/him) was 15 when Myanmar’s military unleashed a campaign of killings and violence against people from the Rohingya ethnic group. Incitement circulated on Facebook and amplified by the platform’s algorithms, fed into these attacks. Fearing for their lives, Sawyeddollah and his family fled to Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh. Now, Sawyeddollah and others from his community are calling on Meta, owner of Facebook, to pay reparations for its role in the atrocities, including funding for educational programmes in Cox’s Bazar.
Demand Meta provide an effective remedy to Sawyeddollah and Rohingya communities.
How does Write for Rights work?
- Thursday 5 October 2023 – National Write for Rights Campaign Launch. Slides here.
- Monday 9 October 2023 – Get Active: Intro to Write for Rights Activism webinar. RSVP here.
- Wednesday 1 November 2023 – Get Active: Intro to Write for Rights Activism webinar. RSVP here.
- Wednesday 8 November 2023 – Start of Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul’s trial. If you are based in Melbourne / Naarm, RSVP here to join us as we stand in solidarity with Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul on the first day of the trial.
- Wednesday 22 November 2023 – Handover of solidarity messages in person to Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul at the end of their trial. If you would like your solidarity message to be included in this event, use this yam leaf template (the yam leaf is a symbol of peace on the Torres Strait) and mail your message to us before Wednesday the 22 November to ”Amnesty International Australia, Wurundjeri Country, Suite 7 134 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066, Australia”. Solidarity messages that we receive after this deadline will still get sent to Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul at a later date.
- Monday 4 December 2023 – Get Active: Intro to Write for Rights Activism webinar. RSVP here.
- Sunday 10 December 2023 – Human Rights Day!
- Wednesday 31 January 2024 – Deadline for all offline actions to be sent back to us at ”Amnesty International Australia, Gadigal Country, Locked Bag 23, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia”
- March 2024 – Handovers and Stunt in Canberra
Check out this interactive map to find events near you:
Want your event added to the map? Submit it through the Host an Event form!
WRITE FOR RIGHTS EVENTS 2023
Join an event in your local community and take action for those whose rights have been abused.
Organise your own Write for Rights event!
Increase your impact this year by organising your own Write for Rights event! Whether it’s coming together with friends and family to write letters and solidarity messages, hosting a film screening or setting up a stall to gather petition signatures, Write for Rights is a great time to come together to take action and celebrate a year of human rights wins.
You can organise a general Write for Rights event and take action for all ten cases, or focus on one or two cases that particularly resonates with you and your group. You could aim for something big and ambitious like a screening of a film or documentary that strongly relates to one of our Write for Rights cases, followed by an action taking blitz by all attendees. Or you could plan something simple like a gathering of friends and family at the local library or at your favourite café to collectively take action together.
The key thing for any Write for Rights event is taking action. Your event can focus on gathering petition signatures, writing letters calling for justice for our 2023 Write for Rights cases or writing solidarity messages of hope for our 2023 Write for Rights cases, or any combination of these actions!
You can host your event anytime between now till the end of the year. Just remember that any offline actions collected like petitions, letters and solidarity messages need to be sent back to us by the 31st of January 2024 so that it can be counted as part of our March 2024 Handover event.
Big or small, Write for Rights event are an amazing way to increase action and, ultimately, increase our impact. They raise community awareness about important human rights issues happening around the world, and demonstrate just how much of a difference collective action and solidarity can make. Last year there were just under 50 Write for Rights Events happening all around the country. With your support we can reach that target again, or even knock it out of the park!
No matter what kind of Write for Rights event you decide to host, we’re here to support! Submit your event through our Host an Event form so we can add it to the interactive map above and provide additional support and resources.
Inspiration from previous years
In 2022, the Amnesty Chermside Group held a Write for Rights event at their local library where they hosted a screening of the documentary ”The Troublemaker” which looked at the international wave of civil protest that has emerged in response to the unfolding climate crisis. They had a speaker from Extinction Rebellion come along to speak at the event and took action together for two of the 2022 Write for Rights cases focused on climate justice and environmental activism.
In 2021, the Victorian Activism Leadership Committee celebrated Amnesty’s 60th birthday and Write for Rights with a project called #LightUpYellow. They arranged for major landmarks across Victoria to be lit up in yellow on Human Rights Day.
These are just a few examples to get you started. Be creative, and think of a fun and engaging way to take action for Write for Rights in your community! If you have any questions, please reach out to the Organising team at firstname.lastname@example.org—we’d love to help! If your group has done something creative and impactful for Write for Rights in the past, please share it in our National Activist Facebook group.
- Write for Rights Generic Leaflet
- Write for Rights Successes poster
- Creative ideas for your letters and solidarity messages
- Cover Sheet – if you and your group are planning to write several letters you can use this handy Cover Sheet to save time
- Letter Templates for all cases
- Blank Letter Writing Template – We have two version for you to choose from, Design One and Design Two
- General Blank Solidarity Message Postcards. We also have a special template for all solidarity messages for Uncle Pabai and Uncle Paul here that is in the shape of a yam leaf, a symbol of peace in the Torres Strait.
- Host an Event Form – Use this form to let us know about your event and to request any resources you’ll need for your event. We can also share your event on our website!
- Activist Comms Team Brief – Get in touch with our amazing Activist Communications Team that can help with promotion for your event!
- Use our handy Events & Tactics Checklist when organising your Write for Rights event!
- Campaigning for human rights can be difficult. Burnout and vicarious trauma can happen and it’s important to keep a look out for the signs in yourself and your friends. You can check out our Sustainable Activism & Self Care guide and workshop here. It examines how we can better take care of ourselves as activists and what you can do to make sure your activism is sustainable!
Young Activist’s Guide to W4R
Are you a passionate young person looking to get involved in our Write 4 Rights Campaign but not sure where to begin? We have created a Young Activist’s Guide to Write 4 Rights just for you!
No matter how much time you have to give, there is something in here for everyone! No action is too little – every signature, every letter and every conversation counts.
- Click HERE to download your own FREE guide to learn how to take action for Write 4 Rights this year!
- Are you interested in receiving a Write 4 Rights Schools Pack? Submit this EOI Form and we’ll send you one to your email inbox!
- This School Pack makes it easy for teachers and students to coordinate Write 4 Rights activities in their school. This opportunity will provide you with resources, materials and activity ideas for your students to take action in this campaign and learn about human rights through our human rights education materials.
- And… are you interested in joining our movement as a Youth Member going forward? We offer a FREE membership to 16 and 17 year olds which includes many exclusive opportunities such as:
- Skilling up through workshops and trainings on youth activism, leadership and empowerment
- Networking with other members through in-person events and on our Online Members Community
- Participating in Amnesty’s governance through voting in Annual General Meetings to progress human rights
For more information about how to get involved as a young person, email our Youth Engagement Coordinator at email@example.com.
Let us know how it went!
- Please fill out the Event Evaluation Form to let us know how your event went—evaluations enable us to report on events, recognise your work and address any issues.
- Share your pictures and success via the National Facebook group for activists.
- Send all your letters and petitions back to the Sydney action centre at: Amnesty International, Locked Bag 23, Broadway NSW 2007 OR scan and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them to the target, include them in the handover in March 2024 and ensure that your solidarity messages are delivered!