Good morning. I’m Ted Wood and I’m a member of Amnesty International.
Amnesty International is a global movement of over 7 million people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities, who protect and promote human rights. We believe each person can make change happen by working with others to end abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated. Over the past year our Amnesty group has acted to free prisoners, protect women and children, LGBTI rights defenders, Indigenous environmental defenders, and journalists, and to support the launch of Amnesty’s report on the Mariupol Theatre bombing in Ukraine.
Today we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year Amnesty International marks the occasion with its annual Write for Rights campaign. Letter writing has always been at the heart of Amnesty International’s work. Our Write for Rights campaign is the world’s largest human rights event. Each year millions of people from over 200 countries and territories send letters, emails and tweets and sign petitions that have the potential to change peoples’ lives.
This year Amnesty’s global letter writing marathon is all about the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, featuring people whose lives have been negatively impacted by governments that crackdown on those who exercise these rights through peaceful protest. Protest has the power to protect human rights and reduce inequalities. It provides all of us with the means to make our opinions known and demand that we are treated as equals.
We are supporting people who’ve been harassed, threatened and jailed just for who they are, and we are putting pressure on governments, leaders and decision-makers. We started our Write for Rights campaign in November when we sent 42 letters on two cases. Today we have an additional 4 cases calling for the release of protesters: Joanah Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecillia Chimbiri in Zimbabwe, Dorgelesse Nguessan in Cameroon, Chow Hang-tung in Hong Kong, and Vahid Afkari in Iran. They were all arrested and imprisoned for peacefully protesting.
There is also a special offering today to support the work of Amnesty International Canada. A donation in any amount is greatly appreciated. Donations can also be made on the congregation’s Canada Helps page by electing Amnesty International in the drop down menu.
World Human Rights Day is the day when our collective voices are heard around the world. Participating in Amnesty’s Write for Rights is the perfect way to push back against those trying to diminish the role of human rights in our world and protect and defend those suffering human rights abuses. Please join us at our Amnesty table to sign a letter to free these prisoners of conscience.