Since Write for Rights started in 2001, millions of people, just like you, have changed the lives of those whose human rights had been stripped from them. In fact, since 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! Taking just a little bit of time to send, post or write a letter really does make a world of difference to the people we have supported through the campaign – and we’re continuing to make an impact.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER FREE
Bernardo Caal Xol, a Guatemalan teacher and environmental activist, worked tirelessly to defend communities affected by hydroelectric projects on the Cahabón river in northern Guatemala. In November 2018 he was sentenced to more than seven years in prison on bogus charges aimed at preventing his human rights work. During Write for Rights 2021 more than half a million actions were taken for Bernardo and in March 2022 he was released. In a video message to Amnesty International activists, he said:
“I, Bernardo Caal Xol, a member of the Maya Q’eqchi’ people of Guatemala, am grateful to each and every one of you. You have given me hope for the justice, liberty and equality that must prevail in every people and nation.”
Bernardo Caal Xol with his family after his release from the penitentiary centre in Cobán, Guatemala after more than four years of imprisonment.
Picture Credit: © Anny Matzir
CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST ACTIVISTS
Joanah Mamombe, Cecillia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, from Zimbabwe, were arrested in 2020 after leading an anti-government protest. Following their arrest, they were beaten and sexually assaulted by the authorities. Their injuries were so horrific they were hospitalized. While they were recovering, Joanah, Netsai and Cecillia were charged with criminal offenses relating to the protest and later re-arrested and charged with faking their ordeal. While Netsai fled the country, Joanah and Cecillia’s case went to trial. As part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign 2022, our supporters took action for the trio, while Amnesty International Zimbabwe supported them throughout their trials. In July 2023, Joanah and Cecillia were finally acquitted. While reading the letters of support, Joanah said:
“Thank you so much to our Amnesty International friends for writing all these letters. We are now beginning our journey to heal.”
Picture Credit: © Ndumiso J Mabila
FATHER OF THREE REUNITED WITH FAMILY
On 30 June 2021, Burundian human rights defender Germain Rukuki was released from prison, four years into a 32-year sentence. He had been found guilty of a number of sham charges relating to his human rights work. He was jailed before getting a chance to hold his youngest child, born just weeks after he was arrested in July 2017. His family were forced to flee the country for fear of reprisals. Initially unable to leave Burundi following his release, Germain was finally reunited with his family in Belgium in February 2022. Supporters from around the world took more than 436,000 actions calling for Germain’s release. He told Amnesty International:
“Write for Rights really does have a positive impact. Their support has made me, Germain Rukuki, come out of prison even more committed to defending human rights.”
On Saturday February 5, 2022, Burundian HRD Germain Rukuki, was finally reunited with his family in Belgium. After serving more than four years in prison, Germain met his youngest son for the first time, since he was arrested when his wife was pregnant.
Photo Credit: © Private
YOU TOO CAN CHANGE THE WORLD AND HERE’S HOW
Each year, Amnesty International uses the power of words to advocate for people who are unjustly imprisoned and or experiencing human rights abuses by inviting millions of people to write letters, emails, and social media posts directed to those responsible for human rights violations demanding action.
This year, Write for Rights 2023 will take place between November-December and we will highlight individuals from Australia, Brazil, Eswatini, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, UAE, USA, South Africa, Tunisia. This campaign tells the real-life stories of people and provides an opportunity to send messages of hope through our solidarity card action.
One action does make a difference because it is through the power of our collective action that we see results!
If you have any doubts that your words can make a difference, Jani Silva, an environmental human rights defender from Colombia can assure you they do. Jani’s fearless opposition to environmental contamination and human rights violations has had frightening consequences. She’s been followed, intimidated, and threatened with death. Following the 2020 Write for Rights campaign, Jani said: