Tom Brake writes for their rights

December 24, 2012 10:46 AM

To celebrate international Human Rights Day, Tom Brake urged authorities in Russia to respect the rights of Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk-rock collective based in Moscow, as part of Amnesty International's Write for Rights Campaign.

Joining other MPs in Westminster on Monday 10 December, Tom Brake 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 popular festive 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."

Tom Brake said:

"In a country like the UK where our basic human rights are respected, it's easy for days like International Human Rights Day to pass us by unnoticed. But in places like South Africa, Afghanistan, Honduras, and Syria where thousands of people are at risk of having their rights violated on a near daily basis, it's so important to celebrate and recognise human rights.

"As a Member of Parliament, I know all too well the power of the pen, and the impact that can be had when many voices rally around the same call. I am hoping that my message to President Putin will send a clear message that the world is watching and that the rights of this band must be respected."

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

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