"Write for Rights Event" Comes to Rossland

Rossland Telegraph
By Rossland Telegraph
December 2nd, 2008

On December 10, 2008, to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, the Rossland Secondary School Amnesty International Group and the Rossland Interact Club (under the aegis of teacher/sponsor Marilyn Nelson) will host a community event to write letters to governments worldwide for people suffering from grave human rights violations.

“Write for Rights”, Amnesty International’s write-a-thon, is growing each year. Last year, Canadians wrote over 21,000 letters at over a thousand events in schools, community centers, faith institutions, cafes and living rooms across the country. “Write for Rights” is a global event and provides a unique opportunity for Canadians to connect with people holding write-a-thons in over thirty countries.

The point of these letters, according to the Amnesty International’s Canadian website, is “to mobilize thousands of people around the world on Human Rights Day. The main goal is to use the power of letter-writing to help bring about the release of people who have been wrongfully detained and to influence world leaders to protect individuals or people whose human rights have been denied, addressed to government officials in countries…”.

These letters achieve tangible results every year. The case of Rehab Abdel Bagi Mohamed Ali is a case in point. In September 2002, Ali, a Sudanese x-ray technician, was returning home to Khartoum from a holiday in Eritrea when she was arrested by Sudanese security forces. Fearing that she may have been in danger of imminent danger of torture or “disappearance” Amnesty issued an Urgent Action on her behalf.

“The appeals sent by Amnesty members definitely had an effect on my case,” Ali is quoted as saying. The 31-year-old thanked members for their help during a recent visit to Amnesty headquarters in London: “They [the prison guards] said ‘Do you know that your name is all over the Internet?’ After that, I was treated better by the guards before being released. The appeals sent by Amnesty members definitely had an effect on my case.”

There are many other examples on the Amnesty site.

Participation in this event is free and open to everyone. The main writing will be done on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 12:30 in the RSS library. Those unable to attend will get a second opportunity on Sunday, December 14, at 5:00 in the Rotary Health building, beside the Minors Hall.

Find out more at www.amnesty.ca/Write-a-thon.

–submitted by Kailyn Nelson with additional material from Amnesty International.

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