“When hundreds of letters from Amnesty International members began arriving our lives started to improve — the children could return to school, we could walk out to the market without being threatened. Life became safer,” said Issa Ebombolo, a Congolese Peace Studies student at Selkirk College.
The Nelson chapter of Amnesty International will be sponsoring the annual Amnesty International Global Write for Rights letter writing event on December 7 and 8, as part of International Human Rights Day.
People all over the world will write letters supporting human rights defenders identified by Amnesty International.
“Imagine — the power of simply writing a letter! On receiving the letters, the offenders realized that thousands of people around the world knew what was going on in the Congo (DRC) and were watching and urging the UN to put a stop to it,” said Issa.
He described how, while he was living in a refugee camp in Zambia, he was interviewed by Amnesty International workers gathering information about the situation in DRC, where he was born and raised.
The information contributed to a report Amnesty published in 2003 about the horrific human rights violations in DRC.
The report was sent to the United Nation and the International Criminal court, which then sent envoys to Congo to verify the findings.
Amnesty members throughout the world were informed and began a global letter writing campaign urging these two bodies to act.
This year Write for Rights will take place at the Nelson Public Library on Saturday, December 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, December 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oso Negro.
All information and letter writing materials will be supplied.
The public is invited to join in — a simple letter can make a huge difference.