By Shiromi Pinto
Amnesty supporters around the world outdid themselves this Write for Rights 2016. Together, you wrote an amazing 4,660,774 letters, emails, tweets and much more. Among those messages were words of support that made all the difference to the many whose rights we were writing for. Here are just a few of their personal thank you notes to you.
“Received this package of letters and post cards from Amnesty today, a small bundle of love and encouragement from the WriteAthon highlighting Site C and it’s impacts… People are waking up around the world and they care. Made me smile ❤️ #unity #nositec #peace #amnesty #global #indigenous #waterislife”
– A post shared by Helen Knott, Prophet River First Nation
“It brought me to tears to see all the letters that Amnesty International had collected. It makes me feel stronger when I know there are so many people who trust in me, my father, and my family.”
– Jewher Tohti, whose father Ilham remains in prison in China
“You do not know us, we do not know you, but you have been with us from the beginning and you fight for our liberation. What Amnesty International does, even our relatives did not. We will be forever grateful to you for that. You give us the strength to continue day after day and not to give up. It’s not easy but we’re holding on. May God bless you and continue to assist you in all that you do. Thank you for everything.”
– Azah Levis Gob, who along with Fomusoh Ivo Feh (pictured) and Afuh Nivelle Nfor, was jailed for 10 years in Cameroon for sharing a joke text. The young men received high profile support, including from celebrities such as Richard Branson and Patrick Mboma, a former Cameroonian football striker.
“I am grateful that I am not alone. I have the support of so many people from all around the world, from many different countries. Keep on supporting, helping, and not just me, ok? Because in different areas of Peru there are many women suffering from this kind of ill treatment, all kinds of abuse. Support them all. The position I am in, as a humble peasant farmer woman, there are others in this position in other places. Thank you for everything.”
– Máxima Acuña of Peru, who continues to be attacked by police as she awaits a court decision on her right to remain on the land she says is hers. We gave Máxima all 150,000 of your solidarity letters when we visited in February. The Peruvian Minister of Justice and Human Rights also visited her, later echoing Amnesty’s calls on the government to ensure Máxima’s safety.
“The moral support from Amnesty International has helped us gain confidence in our fight.”
– APAM, a Malawian organisation dedicated to protecting people with albinism. Amnesty supporters took an incredible 566,000 actions for Annie Alfred (pictured centre), with renowned world musician Salif Keita, who also lives with albinism, joining in. In December 2016, the government launched a handbook to help investigators, prosecutors and magistrates deal with offences committed against people with albinism better.
“I want to thank you, humbly and with a full heart, for your unwavering advocacy and support. More than a million of you came together to say in one voice that the truth matters. My gratitude is beyond expression.”
– Edward Snowden (pictured) is still living in exile after exposing the shocking extent of mass government surveillance. Alongside our US-based partners: the Pardon Snowden Campaign, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch (HRW), CREDO and Demand Progress, we handed over a total of 1,101,252 signatures to the White House calling on President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden.
As these heartfelt thank yous show, your words touched – and, yes – changed lives, too. Thank you!
Shiromi Pinto is the Creative Manager at Amnesty International