Trying to compose my annual Write For Rights post, I thought I would recycle a good one from 2014... only to learn I had already recycled it in 2015! And here it is again -- slightly edited, with new cases linked below.
Tomorrow, December 10, is Human Rights Day. The date commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the first document of its kind.
Every year on December 10, Amnesty International holds a global letter-writing event: Write For Rights (in Canada). Thousands of people around the world write letters and sign petitions calling for action for victims of human rights abuses, and offering comfort and support to political prisoners.
Here are 10 reasons you should participate in Write For Rights.
1. It's easy. Amnesty makes it really easy to participate. Read, type, send.
2. You can do do it from any device. No meetings to attend, no schedule to keep. Just more of something you do all the time anyway: typing.
3. It's free. No need to donate money. The most this will cost you is postage.
4. You'll feel good about yourself. You know that warm buzz you get from helping other people? Get more of it.
5. You can choose how much to participate. Write one letter, write two letters, write three. Spend 10 minutes writing or spend an hour. (This year I am challenging myself to take one action for each of the 11 cases.)
6. You can choose what to focus on. Write about an issue in your own country. Write about an issue in your country of origin. Write for children, or for women, or for LGBT people, or for workers, or for environmental activists, or for another issue that you care about.
7. You're busting stereotypes. We supposedly live in a selfish age where all we care about is entertaining ourselves and consuming. Prove them wrong.
8. It works globally. Every fight against injustice begins with someone shining a light in a dark place. Be that light.
9. It works locally. When political prisoners are released, they often attest to the difference letters from strangers made in their lives -- how knowing they were not forgotten helped them survive.
10. You enjoy your own human rights every day. You can use them to help someone who can't.
Here are 10 more reasons. They're not cute and cheery. They are why we write.
For each, I have linked to the online action. If you go here, you will find links to more information and instructions for a more significant action.
1. Homophobic murder without consequences in Bangladesh.
2. Torture and a life sentence for a Facebook post critical of government policies in Chad.
3. Beatings and other violent harassment of a defender of evicted people in China.
4. Imprisoned for searching for her husband, who was "disappeared" for political opposition in Egypt.
5. Humiliated and prohibited from gender expression in Finland.
6. Arrested and jailed for defending human rights in Turkey.
7. Violence and threats against people who defend land and water from private development in Honduras.
8. Harassment and arrests of peaceful protesters in Israel/Occupied Palestine.
9. Intimidation and harassment for speaking out about murder by police in Jamaica.
10. Arrested and jailed for defending the rainforest [video] in Madagascar.
It doesn't take much time. It's not difficult to do. And it works.
Spend 15 minutes of your day writing a letter or two.
Write like a life depends on it.
Write for Rights in Canada
Write for Rights in the US
Write for Rights internationally.