What is Write for Rights?
How it works:
• Amnesty identifies cases—including Prisoners of Conscience, human rights defenders, torture survivors, and communities at risk—where global activism can make a huge impact
• People like you sign up to organize letter writing events, join events, or write on their own in order to generate as many letters on those cases as possible
• Letters and online petitions arrive at government offices, and are sent to prison cells and to families all over the world
• Change happens. Hope grows. As messages flood mailboxes, prisoners’ conditions improve or they are released. Human rights defenders are better protected. Torture stops. Executions are halted.
Participants like you let us know how many letters they sent on each case. We use that information in our advocacy, and share it with the cases themselves—and with you.
History of Write For Rights
Write for Rights – also known as the Write-a-thon – may be the world’s largest human rights event, but it has humble origins. Over 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 organizing 24-hour events to write protest letters to governments.
Witek invited Joanna to join a meeting of his local Amnesty group. Together, they decided to write Urgent Action appeals for 24 hours, beginning at noon on Saturday. When they emailed their idea to all the other Polish groups, it turned into something much bigger, bringing together activists across the country. Then, their idea went viral.
Witek and Joanna emailed Amnesty offices across the world, and people started sending back pictures of themselves writing letters – by Niagara Falls, in Japan, in Mongolia. It was a spontaneous, grassroots initiative that grew and grew.
Every December since, Write for Rights has inspired thousands of people to write letters to distant governments. Some still do it Polish-style, over a hectic, sleepless 24 hours. No matter where Write for Rights is taking place, it is driven and sustained by Amnesty’s grassroots human rights activists.
Over 55+ years after the first call to action that inspired our movement, a hand-written letter is still one of the most powerful tools we have as activists.