Call to pick up pens and write for rights

Wollongong residents have been urged to put down their phones, tablets and laptops and pick up their pens for the Amnesty International letter-writing marathon on Saturday.

The Amnesty International Wollongong group plans to join thousands of people across Australia and the world in an annual Write for Rights campaign against human rights abuses.

This year’s event at Bulli Beach Cafe will focus on seeking justice for Miriam López in Mexico, who was tortured, repeatedly raped by soldiers and imprisoned for seven months after being forced to sign a false statement for drug offences, according to Amnesty.

Group spokeswoman Jane Cipants said she was motivated to keep writing letters after positive outcomes in past campaigns.

‘‘Yorm Bopha, a Cambodian housing rights activist who is one of the cases highlighted this year... was released on bail just over a week ago,’’ Ms Cipants said.

More than 90,000 people globally took action for the activist.

 However, her release was conditional and the charges have not been dropped.

‘‘Taking time out from all our daily worries and focusing on someone else... you sit down and give proper attention to these human rights abuses,’’ Ms Cipants said.

‘‘Everybody meets at the cafe, we all have our pens and paper, and the various files for different prisoners.

‘‘Rather than sign petitions, it’s more meaningful to write letters on behalf of the person.

‘‘Sometimes we put out petitions but this is an opportunity to write, think about the case, and individualise your action to that person.

‘‘There are templates on offer and suggestions for things to include in your letter.

‘‘We provide everything, you don’t need to have come already having researched anything. People will write between five  and  10 letters each, it depends on how long they stay.’’

The event runs on Saturday from 9.30am to 11am at the Bulli Beach Cafe.

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