The Shadow Foreign Minister for Human Rights, Kerry McCarthy MP, has celebrated international Human Rights Day by urging the Afghan Government to respect women as part of Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Campaign.
Joining other MPs in Westminster on Monday 10 December, Kerry McCarthy supported Amnesty’s campaign which encourages people across the UK to send a message of hope to men and women around the world whose human rights and freedoms have been denied.
In previous years the campaign has been particularly successful in improving the situation for those featured. Valentina Rosendo Cantú is an indigenous woman from Mexico who was raped when she was just 17 by Mexican soldiers. For several years she campaigned for justice. Following years of increased pressure from Amnesty supporters who sent messages of solidarity to her and on her behalf to the authorities in Mexico, the Mexican government finally took responsibility for her rape. Valentina said: “Without your letters, your action and your solidarity, we would not have achieved this moment.”
Speaking after the event, Kerry McCarthy MP said: “During our busy everyday lives it is easy to forget that we are incredibly lucky to be living in country where basic Human Rights and individual freedoms are respected. However in many countries throughout the world, the situation could not be more different. People are at risk of having their rights violated because of their gender, sexuality, religious beliefs, and many face persecution. But people can help challenge these injustices by speaking out and writing a letter. As the Shadow Foreign Minister for Human Rights I know the pressure Governments feel when many voices rally around the same call. I hope my message to the Afghan Government will send a clear message that the world is watching and the women’s rights must be respected. I would urge people in Bristol to send their own messages, via Amnesty International, as it will make a difference.”
Amnesty’s annual Write for Rights campaign takes place from 1 November to 31 December. Participants send messages of support to men, women and children whose rights have been abused, and also to the relevant authorities calling for protection of basic rights.
In addition to writing letters and cards, supporters can also post a photograph of themselves or submit messages of solidarity via Facebook.
Fifteen cases are highlighted in this year’s campaign. This includes Reggie Clemmons, who is on death row in the USA despite his claim to innocence and after what appeared to be an unfair trial. It also features the Pussy Riot duo, who have recently been transferred to serve their two-year sentence in labour colonies after being found guilty of ‘hooliganism’ – a charge Amnesty believes was politically motivated, and an abuse of their right to freedom of expression.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.amnesty.org.uk/write