YOUR VOICE IS POWERFUL

For over 20 years, Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights campaign has transformed the lives of people whose rights have been wronged. Using the power of their words, Write for Rights supporters have united behind a common purpose: together, we can change lives for the better.

Letter writing has always been at the heart of Amnesty International’s work and over 60 years of activism shows us that words have power. Last year, we took over 4.6 million actions and our members hosted events in more than 200 countries, including 133 events across Canada. Together, we wrote millions of letters, emails and Tweets and signed petitions.

If you’re a teacher looking to incorporate Write for Rights in your classroom, we have created special materials just for you and your students. You can review and download them from our Educator Resources page here.

REPORTING YOUR ACTIONS

Whether you’ve already taken action or are participating soon, thank you for participating in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights 2023/24!  We’re celebrating what you’ve achieved so far: More than a hundred and fifty national events and thousands of people across Canada taking action online, in schools, homes, workplaces and more. Let’s keep growing that number. You can help us track our global impact by reporting your letters, petitions and solidarity actions.


SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
hands holding person icon
Send support to people who’ve been harassed, threatened and jailed just for who they are and what they do.
COLLECTIVE ACTION
three people icon
Put pressure on governments, leaders and decision-makers. Tell them the world is watching.
MAKE CHANGE
chains breaking icon
Release activists and journalists, fight injustice and protect people who advocate for change

VIDEO: WHAT IS WRITE FOR RIGHTS?

Learn more about Amnesty International’s annual letter writing campaign, Write for Rights

HOW DOES WRITE FOR RIGHTS WORK?

Whether you want to write a letter, join an event or organize something of your own, there are many ways to participate in Write for Rights.

HOST AN EVENT
calendar icon
Sign up to host an event in your community or classroom.
host event
ATTEND AN EVENT
three people icon
Find an event near you and connect with others.
attend event
WRITE LETTERS
letter and exclamation point icon
Get everything you need to write letters.
write letter

MEET THIS YEAR’S CASES

Real letters can bring hope to people in the direst of situations. When letters arrive in huge numbers, they are also an unmistakable reminder to prison authorities and others that the world is watching. For every case, there are two types of messages you can write – one to the person in authority and one to the person we are fighting for, or their family, so they know we will never forget them.

Here are some resources to get you started:


FIND EVENTS NEAR YOU

Find an in-person event or join a virtual event with others in your community below. Events are being added to this map on an on-going basis. Please check back frequently for updated listings.


VIDEO: JOHN LEGEND “I WRITE BECAUSE…”


LESSON PLANS FOR TEACHERS

Are you a teacher or educator looking for resources to share Write for Rights 2023 with your students? We’ve prepared some helpful lesson plans and other educational materials below. Please also visit our Educator Resources page for the full list.


VIDEO: HOW WRITING A LETTER CHANGED A LIFE


FAQS FOR LETTER WRITERS

How do I join Write for Rights?

You can participate on your own, join an event — or you can host your own event! We’re here to help. If you have any questions, please contact the Write for Rights team at writeathon@amnesty.ca.

What is the main goal of Write for Rights?

The purpose of the Write for Rights is to mobilize millions of people around the world on International Human Rights Day, December 10th. The main goal is to use the power of letter-writing to influence world leaders to protect individuals or communities whose human rights have been denied.

Who can participate?

Everyone! You don’t need to have previous experience with human rights or Amnesty International to participate. Amnesty welcomes all those who are keen to keep shining the light on human rights. Whether you plan to participate as a letter-writer, event organizer, event attendee or donor, you’ll be making a difference!

How can I participate?

You can register above as an individual letter-writer or join a letter-writing event in your community. Check out our map of events currently organized in Canada (and be sure to watch for more as we get closer to December 10th). Organise your own Write for Rights Event – big or small – and invite friends, family, or colleagues to participate. You can even register to host a private event at your own home. Every event helps change lives!

Does letter-writing work?

Yes, it does! We’ve learned that it takes persistence. Some countries can be more responsive than others and some high profile prisoners of conscience face repeat arrests. You can check out some of our past cases and success stories.

Who am I writing letters for?

Every year, Amnesty International identifies people and communities at risk of human rights abuses worldwide who urgently need solidarity and justice. This year we’ve picked 11 cases where Canada-wide and global activism can make a huge difference, right now. We write letters for the individuals and communities whose human rights are being abused. These letters are typically addressed to the state authorities who have power to end the human rights abuses at hand. All the information that you need concerning case background, content, letter-writing, and address are available on this page. If you choose to write letters on your own, please register here and we will send you helpful information to get you started. You can choose to write a letter for any, some, or even all of the Write for Rights cases.

Do I have to write on December 10th?

Most people are planning to write on December 10th to mark Human Rights Day. However, some events may take place earlier or later. We will be collecting letters until the end of February.

If I don’t register, can I still participate?

Of course! However, we strongly encourage you to register here because it allows us to keep you in the loop, and helps us track the impact of participation across Canada! Registration is available online until the end of February.

What language should I use to write my letters?

Write in any language in which you are fluent and feel most comfortable.

How many letters should I write?

We invite you to set your own letter-writing goal: one, five, ten or more letters. Each letter makes a difference, especially when we remember that thousands of people are also sending letters, emails and tweets. No matter what you have time for, be sure to report your numbers so yours can be added to the global total! Send us an email with your totals at writeathon@amnesty.ca.

Can I keep writing after Write for Rights?

Absolutely! Thousands of Canadians are members of our Urgent Action Network. This dynamic network allows members to receive an appeal from Amnesty as frequently as they choose and on the type of human rights issues that interest them. For example, you could ask to receive one appeal per month for women at risk, about threats of torture or about the death penalty.


FAQS FOR EVENT HOSTS

Where can I host an event?

You can organise a virtual event or an in-person event. Some ideas for locations include private homes, libraries, book stores, schools, colleges, fairs or exhibitions, holiday markets and holiday shopping events, universities, community centres, places of worship, or prisons. If you would like to host a private event, you can hide your address on the registration form. We’re always excited to hear about new ideas for locations across Canada.

What kind of resources are available to promote my event?

Once you register your event, a member of the Write for Rights Team will get in touch with everything you need to promote and organise your event. You can download the case cards (PDF). We can also send you posters, postcards, t-shirts, and other merchandise from our online shop. Please reach out if you would like support with advertising in your community newspaper or other publication. We have a budget to help support these types of expenses. Please email us at writeathon@amnesty.ca with your request.

Do I have to register my event online?

It is strongly preferred that you register your event online. You can set your event as private on the registration form if you don’t want your address to be published on our event map. When you register online, your event will automatically be added to our event management and engagement platform. It’s a great tool to help you organise and allows you to connect with your participants and other Write for Rights event organisers. Registering for Write for Rights is your pledge to participate in the event. It also gives us an indication of how many people are planning on participating and how many letters were written during the campaign. It also helps you stay up to date if there are changes to the cases or campaign materials.


SUCCESS STORIES

Bernardo Caal Xol defended communities affected by hydroelectric projects on the Cahabón river in Guatemala. In November 2018, he was sentenced to over seven years in prison on bogus charges aimed at preventing his human rights work. During Write for Rights 2021, over half a million actions were taken for Bernardo and in March 2022 he was released.

BERNARDO CAAL XOL

In June 2021, NGO worker and human rights defender Germain Rukuki was released from prison after being found guilty of a slew of sham charges and sentenced to 32 years in prison in Burundi. He was jailed before getting a chance to hold his youngest child, born just weeks after he was taken in July 2017. His family fled the country for fear of reprisals. Germain will soon be reunited with his family, after more than 400,000 actions calling for his release.

Germain Rukuki

Magai Matiop Ngong was only 15 when he was sentenced to death. But thanks to the amazing support of people like you, his death sentence was cancelled in July 2020. People around the world wrote an incredible 765,000 actions, including letters and tweets, calling for Magai’s life to be spared –and it worked

Magai Matiop Ngong

Gulzar Duishenova’s campaign for disability rights paid off in March 2019 when Kyrgyzstan finally signed up to the Disability Rights Convention. Supporters wrote nearly 250,000 messages backing her calls.

Gulzar Duishenova

Father of seven and online activist Mahadine was freed in April 2018 after more than 18 months in a Chad prison on fabricated charges. 690,000 people wrote for his freedom.

Mahadine

US whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was freed in May 2017, after her 35-year prison sentence was cut short by outgoing President Barack Obama. More than a quarter of a million people wrote for her release.

Chelsea Manning

Albert Woodfox finally walked free in February after nearly 44 years in solitary confinement in a US prison. “I can’t emphasise enough how important getting letters from people around the world is. “It gave me a sense of worth…[and] strength.”

Albert Woodfox

Moses Akatugba was granted a full pardon in Nigeria after pressure from Amnesty supporters. He had been wrongfully sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was 16. “The story changed when Amnesty International came in.

Moses Akatugba

Ales Bialiatski, a political prisoner in Belarus, was released in 2014 after receiving 40,000 letters. “The huge quantity of letters gave me a powerful sense of optimism. When I received them I was very, very happy.”

Ales Bialiatski

Vladimir Akimenkov was released in December 2013 after being detained following a protest in Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, Russia. “I want to express my deep gratitude. Your letters influenced my release.”

Vladimir Akimenkov

The Mexican government accepted responsibility for the rape by soldiers of Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega. “Without your letters, your action and your solidarity, we would have not achieved this moment,” Valentina said.

Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega

Jabbar Savalan, a youth activist jailed in Azerbaijan, was pardoned and released in 2011 within days of your letters arriving in the country. “The support I received was so great that I did not feel like I was imprisoned.”

Jabbar Savalan

Ethiopian opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa was released from jail in 2010 after featuring in Write for Rights the year before. “Your letters kept hope alive at the darkest hours of need.

Birtukan Mideksa


WRITE FOR RIGHTS NEWS