Here in the Amnesty press team we posted our greetings cards yesterday. Just in time to arrive just before Christmas I think. Yet as I was signing them, I realised just how little I’d done so far to prepare for the festive season. As one of my colleagues today reminded me, there are just ten days before 25th December.
Suffice to say I’ve not bought a single present, and nor is my tree anywhere near close to being up in my home! In spite of all that, still on my 'to do' list is the need for me to add an extra card to my list to take part in Amnesty’s Greetings Card Campaign.
Each year, Amnesty encourages card-writers across the UK an opportunity to add an extra name to their list and send a message of solidarity and goodwill to people around the world who have faced human rights abuses.
Human rights defenders including Park Rae-gun and WOZA are featured, as are people such as Troy Davis - who is currently facing the death penalty in Savannah, Georgia, USA and Patrick Okoroafor – a young man who has been imprisoned for half his life in Aba state, Nigeria after undergoing a flawed trial. The impact which these cards can have is really incredible. It can lift the spirits of those whose rights are being abused. It can also send a clear warning signal to those who are persecuting them that the world is watching.
There have also been occasions when we have seen the impact the campaign has made in previous years. Last year Palestinian student from Bethlehem Hamdi al-Ta’mari had been held without charge from July to November 2008. Shortly after Amnesty featured Hamdi’s case in its Greetings Card Campaign, he was released from detention. Hamdi told Amnesty: “I showed the cards to my friends and explained to them about Amnesty… I would like to thank all the people who remembered me and sent me their good wishes, and I send them my greetings from Bethlehem."
Whenever I hear about the impact that these cards can make, I am compelled to send a card. It really doesn’t take long, but it’s a card which can have incredible impact. For more info, visit www.amnesty.org.uk/gcc
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