By: Darcy Alexander

Brunel University hosted a Write for Rights campaign event in the Library last month to celebrate Human Rights Day.

Every year on December 10th, Amnesty International celebrates with hundreds of thousands of people around the world by sending letters and signing an online petition on behalf of political prisoners; otherwise recognised as ‘Writeathon’.

With aims to convince government officials to release people imprisoned for expressing their opinions (“prisoners of conscience”) by supporting human rights defenders, stopping torture, commute death sentences, and end other human right abuses.

Letter writing is at the heart of Amnesty International’s human rights campaigning, and 55 years of human rights activism boasts success. However, Amnesty stress that “volume matters”; the more writers and participants, the more letters, the more emails, the more influence is generated on government officials.

In July 2012, Yecenia Armenta was taken into police custody in Mexico and brutally tortured. The police beat and raped her for hours and threatened to kill her children. In spite of independent medical evidence that torture took place, the ‘confession’ was used to charge Yecenia with no proof at all.

In 2015 Yecenia Armenta, said, “Right now I am overwhelmed by feelings that I am still coming to terms with. I feel joy, and so much emotion. To everyone who has stood by me, I give my heartfelt thanks. Without this support, my freedom would have been almost impossible. I want to thank you and to urge you to continue your efforts, don’t stop the beautiful work you are doing for the human rights of others. Sometimes justice is delayed, but it comes.”

She is now free.

This year, there are 12 cases ranging from a photojournalist to an albino being hunted for body parts. By getting involved, you could help these people fight for their justice.

How do I get involved?

The three step process is simple, by using case sheets and sample letters, you construct your letters digitally however, hand written letters prove most effective as it ‘demonstrates a deeper level of concern for the case’. Following this, you send to the address listed on each case sheet and report your letters.

Ioanna Skoura set up Brunel Amnesty group as she finds it “exciting to bring a positive change and impact on people’s lives.”

To find out more information and get involved, click here