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Kiwis Write for Rights this Human Rights Day

Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ

Media release

For immediate release

4 December 2009

Kiwis Write for Rights this Human Rights Day


New Zealanders are joining the global efforts of thousands of people next week putting pen to paper to speak out against human rights abuses.

Amnesty International’s Write for Rights is the world’s largest letter-writing marathon, taking place between 5-13 December to mark International Human Rights Day.

Amnesty International groups around the country will be hosting events for local communities to write letters to governments demanding that the rights of individuals are protected, and letters of solidarity to victims of human rights abuses.

“The idea is powerful and simple - by putting pen to paper you can liberate Prisoners of Conscience or lessen their isolation,” says Amnesty International’s Activism Support Manager, Margaret Taylor.

“Amnesty was founded by ordinary people struggling to win the protection of human rights for individuals just like them, and it is ordinary people who must speak up when these rights are denied.”

“Write for Rights offers the people of New Zealand a unique opportunity to uphold human rights by signing and sending a card or letter alongside those greetings they traditionally send at this time of year,” adds Taylor.

This year, Amnesty International is highlighting six appeal cases of Prisoners of Conscience and other individuals or communities at risk of human rights abuses in countries such as Greece, Nepal, Colombia and Ethiopia.

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Mutabar Tadzhibaeva, an Uzbekistani activist, was imprisoned for eight years for her human rights work. Mutabar received letters of solidarity during the 2006 Write for Rights. She told Amnesty International:

“I spent 900 days on a ‘torture island’; 700 of those days I spent in solitary confinement. I endured only because of the support of people who were concerned about my fate. Only this gave me strength.”


Last year, over 250,000 letters from around the world were written for Write for Rights, almost doubling the total from 2007.

For more details for local Write for Rights events, please visit www.amnesty.org.nz/get-involved/events

To see more about Write for Rights and the six appeal cases, please visit www.amnesty.org.nz/our-work/individuals-risk/write-for-rights

ends

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