- Shreyasi Paudel
Write For Rights Edgemont Event
Shreyasi Paudel with consultation from the Amnesty International Club.
If the pen is mightier than the sword, can it work to undo the damage done by it? Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, answers this question with a resounding yes as it furiously churns out letter after letter for its annual Write for Rights campaign.
Write for Rights is an event in which branches of Amnesty International write out or sign pre-written letters demanding justice for those who have been unfairly incarcerated, arrested, or detained. These letters are then sent out globally to the political leaders with the authority to release them. This is commonly done by high school branches of Amnesty International, and on December 8th, Edgemont held their own version of Write for Rights. This was done in collaboration with Chanticleer, the literary magazine of Edgemont.
There is a list of usually 10-12 people or organizations that Amnesty deems most in need of support, and the two people the Edgemont Amnesty International Club chose are as follows:
Zhang Zhan. Zhang Zhan is an independent journalist from Wuhan, China who was incarcerated for reporting on the COVID-19 outbreaks in that region
Sphere. Sphere is an NGO (non-governmental organization) dedicated to advocating for LQBTIA+ and women’s rights in Ukraine, where hate crimes are on the rise. It was founded in 2006 by Anna Sharyhina and Vira Chernygina.
Right after school on December 8th, tables were set up in the cafeteria with pens, pins, flyers, donuts, and two different types of letters to sign: one for Zhang Zhan in white, and one for Sphere in yellow. Some club members also went around the school with letters and pens to collect signatures. Overall, the two clubs were able to collect over one hundred signatures for each cause.
While it is easy to get lost in the buzz of the feeling that justice is being achieved, it is also just as easy to raise an eyebrow at the efficacy of this event. It is often a mixed bag: for Zhang Zhan, whether the letters will make an impact is hard to determine, as reports say that her conditions are only getting worse as she gets force fed and kept in restraints and may not survive the winter.
However, there are many success stories as well: another Write for Rights candidate this year, Germain Rekuki, will be returning to his family after a flood of more than 400,000 letters demanded justice for this human rights defender. From last year’s Write for Rights, 15 year-old Magai Matiop Ngong was sentenced to a death penalty in South Sudan despite the law making it illegal to sentence a minor to death. After a flood of around 765000 letters, the sentence was canceled.
To learn more about Write for Rights, visit this website:
Passionate about human rights? Join the Amnesty International club. Meetings generally Friday mornings in D-1.
Interested in creative writing? Join the Chanticleer. Meetings Wednesdays after school in A-4