The Pen is Mightier than the Sword: Amnesty International

By | ♥ My Community Blog

“These things happened because we picked up our pens, wrote letters and stood together for human rights.”
– Dorothy, Amnesty International volunteer

Dorothy & Salil Shetty - Secretary General Of Amnesty International

For the past two years, long-time Amnesty International volunteer Dorothy has encouraged fellow members of her church to take part in our annual worldwide letter writing marathon – Write 4 Rights.

Each year the event sees millions of letters around the world sent on behalf of prisoners of conscience and people at risk for human rights violations.

Together the group has contributed more than 650 letters to a range of cases including that of Moses, who had been sentenced to death aged 16 for stealing three phones. In early 2015 the Governor of the Niger Delta responded to pressure from Amnesty supporters and granted him a full pardon.

Moses told Amnesty: “While before I felt all hope had gone, the story changed when Amnesty International came in. The messages I received overwhelmed me. I regained hope.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines police announced that letters sent by a “human rights organisation” – which we are confident is Amnesty International – prompted them to investigate the shocking torture of Write 4 Rights case Jerryme, who was electrocuted, punched and threatened with death.

And in Norway the government said it would amend the law to establish an open and accessible process for legal gender recognition following our campaigning for John Jeanette, a transgender woman who was unable to change her legal gender without compulsory medical treatment.

“To all my new supportive Amnesty friends: I wish to meet every one of you to express my gratitude! You are wonderful people. … This is everything I have dreamt of and hoped for. It was worth the fight. It took a long time, but when the results of our work finally came, it felt great,” said John Jeanette.

“When we send a letter for someone who has been denied justice, not only do we make governments sit up and notice, but we offer that person a glimmer of hope that they have not been forgotten,” Dorothy said

“These things happened because we picked up our pens, wrote letters and stood together for human rights.”

Introducing the ♥ My Community Blog

By | ♥ My Community Blog

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day then to head into the city for the Multicultural Festival, eat delicious food, listen to funky music and celebrate the organisations and groups that contribute to our community?

Each year at the Multicultural Festival, CONTACT Canberra showcases community groups and services. This year we are embracing the Valentine’s Day theme by celebrating the ways these organisations ‘share the love’ by supporting the Canberra community.

In conjunction with the 2016 National Multicultural Festival and with the support of 2XX 98.3 FM, CONTACT Canberra is especially proud to be curating the ♥ My Community blog. Each day in the 10 days leading up to the Sunday of the Festival, we will publish one story from a community organisation that has a stall. Each story recounts how an individual’s life has been enriched through the support of a community group*.

If these stories have inspired you to get involved in the community, come to the CONTACT Canberra Community Showcase, Sunday 14 February 2016 at the National Multicultural Festival to find out more about your local organisations.


*Views expressed are not those of Volunteering and Contact ACT