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How does it work?

The Urgent Action Network receives
Urgent Action appeals every week from
Amnesty's International Secretariat in
London, and asks members of the network
to write appeals on behalf of the situations
concerned.
Urgent action is based upon a simple idea:
when someone is in immediate danger of
serious abuse, the government
responsible for perpetrating or failing to
prevent that abuse will receive thousands
of faxes, telegrams, emails and mailed
letters from every part of the globe. Those
messages tell the authorities that the world
is watching, and create pressure to stop
the abuse.

The Urgent Action Network consists of
165,000 people around the world who are
outraged by injustice and prepared to act
swiftly at critical moments to stop it.

For 40 years the network has protected
people from torture and ill treatment,
obtained the release of people who were
wrongly (and sometimes secretly)
detained, and secured access to medical
treatment or legal counsel for prisoners.
Sometimes it has even saved lives.

Las Vegan Letter Writing Event

As some of you may be aware last month
we held our very first Urgent Action
Network Letter Writing Event. Our
volunteers took over Las Vegan for a night
spent in Fitzroy sending out an abundance
of hand written letters and appeals all over
the globe.

This was a fantastic opportunity for us to
meet some of our most loyal and long-
standing letter writers. Importantly it was
also a chance for us to engage with a
bunch of new friendly volunteers and
welcome them into our ever-expanding
global network of human rights activists.

The event was a great success and we
were very happy to have 12 new sign ups.

Most importantly however we sent out 46
appeals that night thanks to the dedication
of our volunteers, new and old.
Congratulations on this wonderful
accomplishment Urgent Action
Networkers!

A big thank you to Las Vegan for hosting
us, as well as providing some scrumptious
food to keep us motivated throughout the
evening. As the network continues to
expand we are anticipating this as the first
of many events to come. We encourage
you to provide us with your feedback and
any ideas you may have so that we can
make our next event even more
successful.

Some of the
Urgent
Action
Team!

July 2014






Stall event at the ANZ
Corporate Event

At the beginning of July, ANZ invited
Amnesty International to set up a stall in
the foyer of its corporate headquarters. As
the office building housed some 6000
employees, this was a fantastic
opportunity for the Urgent Action Network
to engage with a large number of people
and to promote Amnesty International’s
ongoing campaign against human rights
abuses around the world.

We decided to publicise two urgent cases
–first, the recent conviction of Australian
journalist Peter Greste in Egypt as part of
the “Al-Jazeera Three”, and secondly, the
arrest and imprisonment of Chinese
human rights lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, for
involvement in the commemoration of the
Tiananmen Square massacres.

With boxes of Amnesty-logoed cupcakes
on hand and goodies and merchandise to
offer, Jane and the UA team spent the day
meeting, talking and engaging a constant
flow of people who came through the foyer
- despite the (un)expected interlude of a
fire drill evacuation!

There were many questions and
discussions about the two urgent cases,
about Amnesty International’s work in
general, and about the effectiveness of
letter-writing. By the end of the day, we
had garnered 484 separate signed letters
to send off on behalf of the two urgent
cases – the largest number of petitions
done at a stall in recent years.

Many thanks to ANZ for inviting us and for
the encouraging reception from its staff.
On our part, we had the opportunity to
learn about ANZ’s corporate responsibility
program, its human rights policy and its
volunteering program for staff – so, we
hope that this successful beginning will
grow to become a valuable relationship in
years to come.




How many people send Urgent Action
appeals?
The Victorian UA team sends UA case
sheets to 315 people, 281 by email and
34 by post. This number is up from 292 at
the start of this year. 12 new Urgent
Actioners signed up at our letter-writing
event at Las Vegan Cafe last month. The
total number of letter writers is higher
because some on our mailing lists
convene groups who might send a dozen
or more appeals each time they meet.

How many individual appeals are sent?
Since the beginning of April the number of
letters, faxes and emails you have
reported to the office each week has
varied from 48 to 141. The number varies
partly because the number of cases each
week varies and partly because some
Urgent Actioners have asked to receive
cases every week, some fortnightly and
some monthly. Also, responses to recent
UAs will continue to come in for a few
more weeks.

How many people are in need of
urgent action?
Over the last three months the number of
cases we've sent out each week has
varied from 5 to 18. This includes a few
follow-ups where changing circumstances
have necessitated a fresh appeal. As well,
most weeks we send out at least one and
up to five Stop Actions. Mostly these are
good news–a prisoner has been released,
charges have been dropped, draconian
laws have been changed. Unfortunately,
sometimes we have to send a Stop Action
because a prisoner has been executed.
Thank you all and
please keep up
the great work!
Rob, Haylea, Kai
& Shakira
www.facebook.com/urgentactionsvictoria