On 19 March 2003, the Urgent Action technique reached its 30th
anniversary. Over the years tens of thousand of Amnesty International
supporters have sent letters, faxes or e-mails on behalf of those in
immediate short-term danger of human rights violations.
When Amnesty International issues an Urgent Action, we keep track of
the case and pass on the latest information to our letter-writers.
Although the news is not always good, in an significant number of cases
we receive evidence that Urgent Actions do have an effect. Here are a
few of the most recent examples:
"When the Urgent Action letters began to arrive, it was the first time the postal services entered our favela."
When Urgent Action letter-writers sent messages of support to a family
of a man killed by military police in Brazil, it obliged the
authorities to acknowledge the existence of their community.
"I have boxes and boxes of appeals sent on our behalf by Urgent
Action letter-writers… I have no doubt those letters saved our lives."
Urgent Action appeals helped to protect Colombian human rights
defenders Astrid Manrique and Yolima Quintero after they received death
threats. Yolima Quintero added, "Urgent Actions are a powerful way to
hold our government accountable… Your support is the oxygen that keeps
"We cried and laughed for days and nights out of joy. We are so happy and want to thank everybody who made this possible."
The grandmother of Evgeny Gugnin, after she heard in April 2004 that
his death sentence had been commuted by Uzbekistan authorities.
"Amnesty International’s support was like a candle that lit the
darkness of the cell and left the spark alive and vivid in our souls."
Urgent Action letter-writers sent thousands of appeals to protect
Syrian prisoner of conscience Riad al-Turk from torture and
ill-treatment, and to secure his release.
"The appeals sent by Amnesty International members are effective and important - I have seen first-hand how important they are"
Sevim Yetkiner, a human rights defender in Turkey, attributed her swift
release from prison in August 2003 to Amnesty International's