Photojournalist Shawkan was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for taking photos of a protest in Cairo, Egypt in August 2013. He is a prisoner of conscience.
Respected university professor Ilham Tohti spent his life working dilligently to bridge the gap between ethnic communities in China. His messages in his lectures and writings were always uplifting - they encouraged cooperation and mutual understanding. Accused of causing ethnic hatred, he is serving a life sentence in jail. He is a prisoner of conscience.
These are just two of the twelve cases we are focusing on this year for Amnesty International's Annual Write for Rights Campaign. Every year in the months of November and December, hundreds of thousands of people around the world send a letter to or on behalf of someone they've never met, as part of Write for Rights. Our messages not only help convince government officials to free a prisoner of conscience (someone imprisoned for peacefully expressing their beliefs), but they support human rights defenders, stop torture, abolish death sentences, and end other human rights abuses.
Writing a letter may seem like a small step in accomplishing these actions, but through 55 years of human rights campaigning Amnesty International has proven that it really works. Just check out our successes page!
Through our experience in human rights advocacy, we know that volume is everything. The more letters and emails we generate, the more increased is our impact on government officials, and the more likely we are to end these human rights abuses!