This was our Write for Rights evening, which, as has become customary, we spent writing cards to prisoners of conscience and their families, and letters to the authorities in their countries, pleading their cause.
Letters of solidarity can make a real difference to a prisoner wrongly detained, for family members waiting for news of a loved one who has ‘disappeared’, or for a torture survivor fighting for justice. A letter can also remind an abusive government that the world is watching.
Our monthly action focused on one of the Write for Rights cases: the problems that women in the sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso in West Africa have in resisting early forced marriages, getting access to contraception and other basic sexual health services and information. We wrote to the President urging liberalisation in these matters.
Among others we wrote to Saudi Arabia for imprisoned human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, to Malaysia for political cartoonist Zunar, to Syria for Rania Alabbasi, a dentist, and her six children, ‘disappeared’ since 2013.
The meeting had a lighter side too: members had brought festive food, which we enjoyed while we also made decorations for the Amnesty Christmas Tree at the United Reformed Church’s Christmas Tree Festival (pictured).