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Write for Rights

    April 20, 2020

    Nazik Kabalo is the founder of the Sudanese Women Human Rights Project. She fled to Egypt in 2011 after being detained for her human rights work. There she continued to face harassment and threats for her activism, and faced years of limbo as she sought refugee resettlement in the US. During Write for Rights 2018, Amnesty activists from around the world spoke out for her safety. Nazik was finally resettled to Canada recently. Here is her story. 

    Being a refugee is, for me, a matter of personal identity. Being a refugee is a statement of my struggle and the struggle of millions of other people around the world forced to leave their homes. Being a refugee is a reminder of the different global crises that drove us from our homes—conflicts, poverty, inequality, injustice, climate change, or sexual violence.

    April 06, 2020

    The people of Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishnabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) are now one step closer to justice. More than 50 years after untreated mercury was dumped into the English and Wabigoon Rivers, causing widespread mercury poisoning and loss of cultural traditions, the community has finally signed a deal with the federal government for a mercury care home.  

    In 2017, the federal government committed to building a mercury care home for community members suffering from the impacts of mercury poisoning. After years of delay, a $19.5 million dollar agreement to build a care facility was finally signed on April 2nd. This agreement is an important step forward for justice, but long-term funding for the operation and services of the facility still needs to be secured.  

     

     

     

    February 19, 2020
    Students from Amnesty International at York joined Toronto's biggest annual Write for Rights event at the Centre for Social Innovation.

    Thanks to you, Write for Rights 2019 was our biggest campaign yet! In December and beyond, more than 8,500 people across Canada gathered at 367 public and private events in homes, schools, cafes, places of worship, workplaces and more, to send 78,000+ letters, emails, petitions, cards and tweets in solidarity with the young human rights defenders we supported this year. Around the world, Amnesty International supporters took more than 6.5 million actions - our highest total ever! Check out photos from across Canada and around the world.

    January 24, 2020

     

    We are a collection of stories. As a writer, I try to capture narratives in a way that suspends time while still staying within its boundaries. Some have told me that it is difficult to create new stories, that the current ones have already been reused, and that they are tired of reading. But on a chilly December afternoon, I wove through the narrow streets of Toronto and joined a group of people who care, love, and treasure the numerous narratives still beating on this planet.

    I stumbled into the registration area, a few minutes shy of 1 pm. Strings of fairy lights and quiet bright lamps illuminated a set of posters on issues such as unjust sentences, unreasonable jail terms, and tragic deaths. Flash. A photo: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Flash. National Youth Organizers showing support for cases that resonate with them. Flash. Flash. Flash. These moments must be remembered. I vow to help people remember.  

    December 27, 2019

    The youth of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation are demanding the Canadian government keep its promises to finally address the mercury crisis in their community. Because of government inaction for 50 years, generations of young Indigenous people have grown up with devastating health problems and the loss of their cultural traditions like fishing and time on the land.

    To help amplify their urgent call, the youth-led campaign for mercury justice was one of the focal cases of last month's global Write for Rights campaign, marking the beginning of a year-long campaign to mobilize Amnesty members and supporters in Canada and around the world. Grassy Narrows youth were one of ten global cases focused on young human rights defenders leading the charge for change in their communities. More than 400,000 letters of support from around the world called for justice for Grassy Narrows and contributed to the successful signing of an agreement to build a mercury care home. 

    Highlights from the Write for Rights 2019 campaign:

    December 17, 2019

    My name is Nora Sneaky. I’m 15 years old and I’m from Grassy Narrows. Grassy is the only home I've ever known, and it’s a home I love. Grassy teaches me so much: it teaches me about the land, animals, and our Anishinaabe culture. But being from Grassy Narrows has also taught me that life can be unfair at times.

    From 1962 until 1970, a pulp mill dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon-English river upstream from my community. That mercury still sits in the river to this day and it has come with many health effects like numbness, difficulties breathing and standing, inability to feel in areas in the body, muscle weakness. The list goes on and on. Most often it affects people physically, but it also affects people emotionally and mentally. I myself suffer from migraines, depression, anxiety, and other things that come with the effects of the poisoning.

    Because of mercury, I grew up with a lot of fear in my life, and this fear only grew as I got older and learned more about the impacts of mercury.

    December 09, 2019

    Join activists around the world this Human Rights Day for a letter-writing marathon on Twitter and Instagram.

    Write for Rights is the world’s largest human rights events and on Human Rights Day we want the world to see how far and wide the campaign reaches, and all the great work we do to change lives.

    On or around December 10th, 2019 we will be using Twitter and Instagram to show that people all over the world are writing letters for young people around the world fighting for human rights. You can find more information on Write for Rights cases here.

    Let’s show the world that human rights matter, by making the 2019 Write for Rights hashtags #Write4Rights and #W4R19 appear in conversations online throughout the day!

    Here are some sample tweets for each 2019 case. Just click the link to tweet the text! Each will come with a link to the action.

    December 05, 2019
    On June 20, 2019, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation travelled 1,700 km from their homes in northwest Ontario to Toronto to protest against the devastating mercury crisis that has persisted for decades in their lands.

    In the coming weeks and months, Amnesty will be doing everything we can to support the people of Grassy Narrows to finally achieve the justice they deserve. The youth-led campaign for mercury justice is one of the focal cases of this year’s global Write for Rights campaign, marking the beginning of a year-long campaign mobilizing Amnesty members and supporters in Canada and around the world. Sign up for Write for Rights now.

    The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwest Ontario have been hard-hit by mercury poisoning, after the government allowed a pulp mill to dump 10 tons of waste into a river in the 1960s. The damaging effects are still seen today.

    Next year marks 50 years since the public first became aware of mercury poisoning at Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows). In all this time, the people of the Grassy Narrows First Nation have never received the help they need to deal with the devastating, and still ongoing, consequences of the poisoning of their river system and the fish on which they depend.

    November 29, 2019

    From calling out climate injustice to calling for women’s rights, tackling homelessness to exposing police brutality, children and young people are a leading force for change.

    At 3.1 billion, they account for 42% of the world’s population – many of them in the Global South. Too often, they are the worst affected by the world’s greatest injustices, experiencing first-hand their blistering effects. They see their own communities ripped apart by poverty, inequality, discrimination, corruption – and are compelled to stand up to these forces.

    This year, Amnesty International’s largest human rights campaign, Write for Rights, throws its might behind these children and young people who are overcoming the odds – to support them, give them strength and make it possible for them to continue to dare where adults in authority are failing. 

    >> Sign up for Write for Rights to support these young defenders on December 10th, Human Rights Day

    Grassy Narrows Youth, Canada

    November 26, 2019

    *This blog is written in honour of the late Gary Ockenden, an Amnesty International Canada Board member who tragically and suddenly passed away on November 18, 2019. Gary was a lifelong champion of human rights and was always the first person in any room to find ways to engage, empower, and defend youth advocates. The NYAAC hopes to channel Gary’s fighting spirit and caring disposition in all our future endeavours.*

    Young people around the world are leading the charge against oppression, poverty, climate change, colonialism, sexism, racism, inequality, and repression. But they are also disproportionately vulnerable to persecution and violence. This year, all 10 cases for Write for Rights champions cases of young people across the world - including Canada - who fight for justice and have had their human rights attacked. 

    November 08, 2019
    Amnesty International is inviting you to help change lives on December 10, International Human Rights Day, with the world's biggest grassroots event for human rights: Write for Rights! 

    Last year we sent 5.9 million letters and messages for human rights from more than 200 countries. Here's a list of 10 ways you can get involved:

    1. Start with the simple stuff

    Sign up at Writeathon.ca! From here you can take action online, watch videos about cases, download materials for letter writing, and stay in the loop on cases to be featured on December 10th. 

    October 24, 2019
    Each year, the world’s biggest human rights event just gets bigger. Write for Rights 2018 was no exception, with people writing millions of messages that transformed the lives of women activists worldwide.

    They came in their dozens, hundreds, even thousands. They were students, parents, teachers, friends – ordinary people who took a moment to tweet, type, draw or write a message of support for someone they’d never met. They did this an astonishing 5,911,113 times as part of Amnesty’s 2018 Write for Rights – an annual letter-writing marathon on or around International Human Rights Day (December 10th) that has become the world’s biggest human rights event.

    Sign up for Write for Rights 2019 >>

    October 01, 2019

    So you've signed up to host a Write for Rights event. THANK YOU! Your time and enthusiasm means more people are taking action for human rights on December 10! (Haven't signed up yet? You can still sign up HERE!)

    Planning to write on your own? Register to view our online webinar here >> 

    We've put together a few tips to help you make the most of your event, whether it's just a few people in your living room or a big event downtown!

    October 01, 2019

    Can writing letters actually change things? We know it can. That’s why we run the biggest human rights event in the world every year. 

    Write for Rights 2019 is fast approaching – and we’re excited to have you on board. If you haven't already, sign up at www.writeathon.ca >> 

    Thank you for joining our growing community! We need your help to amp up the volume and get as many people to participate in Write for Rights as we can because more letters mean more power. Social media is a fantastic way to get your message out far and wide.

    Here are some ways you can take the lead online:

    November 26, 2018

    Anielle Franco is an English teacher, former competitive volleyball player, parent of an energetic toddler, and a powerful grassroots advocate for the rights of black women in Brazil.

    She also happens to be the sister of renowned Brazilian women human rights defender and politician Marielle Franco, who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year. Jackie Hansen, Amnesty’s Gender Rights Campaigner, reports on Anielle’s human rights work including her ongoing campaign for justice for Marielle.

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