Friday, December 31, 2010

Together we have changed people’s lives

It’s been quite a year! We’ve worked together on so many issues that it’s difficult to know where to start. Together we’ve helped to improve people’s lives around the world; we couldn’t have done any of this without your support, actions, messages, events and signatures.
Next year we want to do even more, and we want your help too, so please take 5 minutes to let us know what human rights issues we should fight for - have your say on our campaigning for 2011!
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader was finally freed this year. She acknowledged AI supporters’ contribution to her freedom, but we still have a lot of work to do; there are over 2,200 people unfairly imprisoned inside Myanmar This has been a long-standing action for Amnesty International supporters, many who have been working to see her free for several decades. So far, over 106,000 Amnesty supporters have signed the petition to demand three basic freedoms for the people of Myanmar and many more have uploaded their photo in solidarity with the people of Myanmar. We will continue to work for the unfairly imprisoned who remain..

Aung San Suu Kyi had previously been detained from 1989 to 1995, and 2000 to 2002. © APGraphicsBank
Raúl Hernández: A Mexican indigenous rights activist was released after being imprisoned for over two years following a fabricated murder charge in January 2008. For the last two years, Amnesty activists, members and supporters have been campaigning for his release. In April 2010, International Members of AI around the world held events in their local communities, sent solidarity photos and collected signatures for the petition demanding his release. In August 2010, as a result of this long-standing pressure, Raúl was released!

Raúl Hernández was wrongfully arrested and charged with murder in January 2008 © Amnesty International
The communities living in Orissa, India were protected because India's Ministry of Environment and Forests were convinced to reject a six-fold expansion of the refinery finding that the project violated the country’s environmental laws. Amnesty International’s campaign saw more than 30,000 members writing to the Indian authorities while the organization briefed government experts and engaged in lengthy talks with the company. The protests by the community members along with the joint campaign by Indian activists and international organizations helped stall the refinery expansion plans and changed people’s lives!

Residents argued the expansion would further pollute their land and water © Sanjit Das
10 December 2010: People in over 50 countries celebrated International Human Rights day this year by participating in the Letter Writing Marathon. So far, we have counted over 280,000 letters from Amnesty activists and members around the world demanding that the rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled, and that's just the beginning! AI’s International Members organised letter-writing events in their communities in Bangladesh, India, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Nigeria and many more countries. Check out some of the best photos here.

Activists and International Members from North Bengal celebrate International Human Rights Day © Amnesty International
We’re also delighted to share the news that Femi Peters, a jailed member of the opposition United Democratic Party in Gambia, was released from jail last week! Femi was one of the cases included on the Letter Writing Marathon, so it’s great to see evidence that letters do work and our activism changes people’s lives! Watch the interview with Femi Peters Junior, talking about how he feels to have his father back.

Femi Peters was arrested during a peaceful demonstration organized by his party in 2009© AI

Have your say on our campaigning in 2011!
Take action Now
It’s been a great year and we hope that you have felt proud to be a part of Amnesty International. We’ve certainly felt proud to work alongside all of you.
Happy holidays and thank you for standing up for human rights this year, and finally, don’t forget to have your say for next year!
See you in 2011!

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