By Florence Stemo
December 10 is International Human Rights Day. On that day, Wednesday of this week, Amnesty International (AI) is again spearheading the largest human rights event in the world, “Write for Rights”
Letter-writing is a part of AI’s work all-year-round, but on International Human Rights Day, the letters become a potent, worldwide force in the struggle for human rights. Last year on December 10th people from 143 countries wrote 2.3 million letters to people in authority: presidents, monarchs, heads of police forces, in countries where human rights are being abused.
What do these letters say?
“Release the prisoners of conscience who are confined (often without a trial) for expressing their opinions about human rights abuses in their countries.”
“Bring those who torture these prisoners to justice.”
“Look again at those laws that deny human rights to the people.”
Do these letters get results?
Yes! Every year positive change occurs as a direct result of letter-writing. People wrongfully imprisoned are released. Many who remain in prison are encouraged by the knowledge that they are not forgotten. Prison conditions are improved. Torturers are brought to justice. One example is the case of Yorm Bopha of Cambodia. She was jailed after protesting against forced evictions in her community. She was released last year after authorities received nearly 253,000 letters from AI supporters
What can we in the Rimbey Community do?
The Rimbey Group of Amnesty International is taking part in this worldwide “Write for Rights” event on December 10th. Members will be at the Rimbey Co-op from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM with information about prisoners of conscience, and written letters seeking their release. You are invited to drop in and sign a letter that could change the life of a fellow human being who is in prison for merely stating his/her political or social beliefs.