In, Prince George, Amnesty International is standing up for human rights and inviting the community to join its annual Write for Rights campaign, which is highlighting youth in the northwestern Ontario Indigenous Anishnaabe community of Grassy Narrows First Nation.
Write for Rights is a global letter-writing campaign offering the public the opportunity to write on human rights issues and bring meaningful change to people and groups who need support to uphold their human rights.
The Write for Rights event will be held Tuesday, December 10, from 6:30-9 p.m. at Artspace above Books and Co. at 1685 Third Avenue.
Last year, more than five million messages were sent to world leaders demanding human rights progress. This year, activists are aiming to replicate that success, focusing on 10 critical human rights cases in 10 countries where peoples’ rights are being violated and action is urgently needed.
In addition to letter writing we will be celebrating human rights with a candle lighting ceremony and music from a children’s choir.
This year, all ten cases focus on young people under the age of 25 leading the way for human rights. Write for Rights will celebrate and acknowledge these incredible youth who are a force for change in their respective communities. In Grassy Narrows, youth are fighting for a healthy future.
Starting in the 1960s, the Ontario government allowed a pulp mill to dump 10 tons of mercury into the English and Wabigoon Rivers, contaminating fish and the waterways. Fishing is central to Grassy Narrows’ way of life, and used to provide food and jobs for community members before mercury. Today, 50 years later, mercury continues to impact the health, cultural traditions, and wellbeing of the community, harms perpetuated by continued government inaction. Youth are leading the way in demanding the Canadian government keep its promises to address the crisis, which includes providing specialized health supports for all those impacted.
Write for Rights, the world’s largest letter-writing campaign, is now calling on people across the world to join Grassy Narrows youth and take action.
“When hundreds of thousands of people around the world get together and send a clear message demonstrating they will stand by a person or group whose human rights are being violated, the impact is huge. It gives people the strength to keep going.” said Diana Mould, in a news release. “It also sends a message to those who are violating human rights that they cannot keep their crimes secret because the world is watching. Every letter, email and petition signature chips away at the problem.”
A full list with more information about the ten cases featured in this year’s Write for Rights campaign is available at writeathon.ca.