What is Write for Rights?

Fifteen years ago, a young man named Witek met a young woman named Joanna at a festival in Warsaw, Poland. Joanna had just returned from traveling through Africa, where she’d seen activists organising 24-hour marathon events to protest government’s abusing human rights.

Witek invited Joanna to a meeting of his local Amnesty action group, and they decided to organise their own 24-hour marathon.

Every year since, tens of thousands of Amnesty supporters, all around the world, have taken millions of actions to combat injustice.

In 2018 we will take action for women persecuted because they stood up and spoke out for human rights; women in prison because they attended a peaceful protest in Iran, attacked with acid because the stood up for LGBTQI rights in Ukraine, and murdered because the stood up for human rights in Brazil.

Your words make a difference.

The good news is that when tens of thousands of people take action during Write for Rights, we know we can create change. That’s because every year, real change happens as a result of Write for Rights.

Mahadine was thrown in jail in Chad just because he wrote a Facebook post critical of the government. As part of Write for Rights in 2017 690,000 people called on the Chadian government to release Mahadine, including 12,000 Australians. Then, in April 2018, Mahadine walked free.

“I want to express my gratitude to you all. I appreciate you, I love you, I respect you.”

Teodora Del Carmen was sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering a stillbirth under El Salvador’s total ban on abortion. She was released in 2018.

“International support is the most powerful tool that women like me can get. Every single signature for the petition to get me free, made a difference. Now I’m free. I’m no fairy tale, I am a true story.”

Phyoe Phyoe Aung the Secretary General of one of Myanmar’s largest student unions, was arrested and detained for peaceful demonstrations. Over 20,000 Australians took action for her during Write for Rights in 2015 and she was freed on April 8, 2016.

“Thank you very much each and every one of you. Not just for campaigning for my release, and the release of other prisoners, but for helping to keep our hope and our beliefs alive.”

Albert Woodfox spent more than 43 years in solitary confinement in a Louisiana state prison. More than 650,000 actions were taken for his release during Write for Rights in December 2015. After all that time, he walked freed on his 69th birthday in February 2016.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important getting letters from people around the world is … It gave me a sense of worth. It gave me strength.”

How you can help

Luckily, to get involved in Write for Rights, you don’t need to organise an all-night event like Joanna and Witek. You simply need to sign a petition or share an action on your Facebook.

Whatever you do for Write for Rights, your words will help free people from human rights abuses worldwide.

These women demonstrate exceptional courage every single day of their lives, they continue to stand up for human rights even though they face imprisonment, harassment, discrimination, and even death.

The world would be a poorer place without women like these standing up for human rights.

So let’s stand with them.

Questions? Ideas? Feedback?

Reach out to your community organiser or activism support coordinator at your local action centre.