This Sunday I forced my friend to write some letters with me. She wasn’t too happy about it but I also said I will make dinner for her and one friend afterwards.
She became less reluctant when I explained her that the letters are for good cause. Hands up if you ever heard about Letter Writing Marathon organized by Amnesty International?
Writing letters to and in behalf of victims of human rights abuses has always been an integral part of actions take up by Amnesty International, since 1961.
I have taken personally part in this action only twice until now, but I hope to do be better in future, first time I was one of the volunteers at the Marathon, when I was a member of Poznań Amnesty International Team, and second time, this year I just went as a normal human being to one of the places in Warsaw, where people were writing these letters.
Many times I had to answer, how does this help? How does this work? There are many reasons why you should sit down and write such a letter!
- To bring hope and support to people who are fighting for their rights
- To show the abuser that he is not anonymous that he is being observed, this way his actions are not a secret and nobody wants his face or name around worlds news with a tag: ‘human rights offender’
- The person/hero of the marathon is being given an international recognition, this means that his rights are internationally supported and he is given a power of visibility as an individual case
- People in prisons are not able to receive SMS or email, but they are likely to receive post and it may be letter from you that will bring hope to his life, maybe even save him/her from depression.
- Give them a feeling that they are not alone in their struggles and that there are people out there knowing and believing that you are innocent.
- A government or authority that will receive such letters from all over the world with demands to release someone from prison or to take someone’s case to court- may feel the pressure to actually do it, I mean come on, you cannot just ignore thousands of letters addressed to you that are piling on top of your desk. Unless you are Putin.
- You may stop tortures, illegal imprisonment, you may give an access to doctor…
- For the pure act of solidarity that always scares the shit out of governments.
- You are writing in behalf of someone who is not able to speak for him/herself, you are giving this person a voice with your letter! Sometimes the letter is for person who was killed and Amnesty is trying to bring the murderers to justice.
And if this is not enough for you I strongly recommend you to read stories of people who were saved thanks to letter writing campaign of Amnesty International, among thousands of them there is: Roxana Saberi, Dr Sen, Intisar Sharif Abdallah, also 2 men were found guilty of murdering lawyer Dionisio Diaz Garcia and this years ‘case’: Yorm Bopha was already released after Cambodian government received 90.000 letters, she was one of the heroes from 2013 campaign.
1 340 793 letters worldwide.
214 472 letters written in Poland.