8 human rights successes so far in 2015

16 April 2015, 09:54 UTC |
A letter for torture survivor Moses Akatugba in Nigeria from Anna-Lena, a school girl in Germany, sent during Write for Rights 2014. © Amnesty International

1. Brave women are heard in Iran

Ghoncheh Ghavami made history when she participated in a protest in Iran. She was sent to the notorious Evin prison for demanding the right to attend sporting matches. After global pressure from supporters like you, Ghoncheh was freed from prison, and the President of Iran just announced that women can once again attend sports events. There is so much more we can do to demand human rights in Iran, but your activism is making a difference.

2. More than a million of us demanded Saudi Arabia #FreeRaif

Raif Badawi was jailed for 10 years and sentenced to 1,000 lashes last year after setting up a website for social debate. When he received the first 50 lashes in January, a million people like you across the world united in outrage. His flogging has not been carried out since, but he is still not free, so we must keep up the pressure for his release. “To you, free people still standing up for Raif, your protests are making a difference,” said his wife Ensaf Haidar. “Please do not stop until Raif is released."

3. Fiji became 99th country to abolish the death penalty

On 13 February, we woke up to the good news that Fiji had scrapped the death penalty. This brought the number of countries who have completely ended this cruel and inhuman punishment to 99, exactly half of all states in the world. Fiji also took a major step forward, deciding to sign on to the Convention Against Torture. Our work continues across the Pacific to make sure that human rights are protected.

4. Guadalupe, jailed for a miscarriage, is free

Thanks to the hard work of dedicated activists in El Salvador, Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez was finally pardoned and walked free from prison in February. She was just 18 when she suffered a traumatic miscarriage. Suspected of having an abortion – banned in all cases in El Salvador – she was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2007. Her freedom is an important step in our wider campaign to end the attacks on women’s rights.

5. All charges were dropped against torture survivor Claudia Medina

In Mexico, the last few charges were dropped against Claudia Medina, a survivor featured in our Stop Torture campaign. She is now standing up for others and is campaigning to end torture in Mexico.

6. Dr Tun Aung was released in Myanmar

Myanmar’s National Human Rights Commission said our letters prompted them to look further into Dr Tun Aung’s case. He was jailed for 17 years after trying to calm a crowd during riots in Myanmar, but today we celebrate his freedom after two years of hard campaigning.

7. Liu Ping had prison visits in China

After previously being refused permission, her daughter, Liao Minyue, was able to visit Liu Ping in prison last December and again in February 2015. This is a rare and positive development. "I'm very moved by all the action for my mother,” Liao Minyue said. “I want to send my thanks to everyone who has been campaigning on her case.” Together, we will continue to press for the immediate release of human rights defender, Liu Ping. You can take action for Liu Ping now.

8. Shell was forced to pay $108 million for oil spills in Nigeria

After years of campaigning, we helped bring about justice for 15,600 farmers and fishermen in Bodo, a community in the Niger Delta region. In January, Shell announced a $108 million settlement to help rebuild this community devastated by two large oil spills in 2008 and 2009. The fight for an environmental clean-up goes on, but this is an important win for local farmers.

These are just a few of the many examples of how your voice is being heard around the world. When 7 million individuals protect human dignity and defend human rights, great things happen. Thank you for your hope and your activism.