07/12/16: International Human Rights Day being celebrated in Parliament today


International Human Rights Day being celebrated in Parliament today

London, 07.12.2016

Ann Clwyd MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG), is delighted to be co-hosting, with Mr. Speaker and Amnesty International UK (AI UK), an International Human Rights Day reception at Speaker’s House today, featuring AI UK’s Write for Rights letter-writing campaign, focusing on five key individual cases linked to China, Iran, Egypt, Malawi and the UK.

At the event, Ann Clwyd MP will be speaking about the work of the PHRG and encouraging more of her Parliamentary colleagues to work together in support of human rights victims and defenders all over the world.

The sad reality is too many people worldwide continue to face serious and systematic human rights violationsand need to be acknowledged and given a voice so their suffering can be brought to an end and the perpetrators held to account.

She looks forward to hearing from the other speakers:

  • The Rt Hon Baroness Anelay, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – discussing the importance of the Day and the FCO’s work;
  • Kate Allen, Director, AI UK – highlighting the cases featured and championing the activism undertaken by AI activists all over the UK;
  • Richard Radcliffe, husband of British Iranian dual national, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained in Iran – whose case is featured in the Write for Rights campaign and one which the PHRG has been lobbying on; and,
  • Sue Turton, TV Journalist – sharing her personal experience and explaining why taking action for individuals is so important.

The PHRG has backed AI’s Write for Rights campaign for years because it means so much to those receiving messages of solidarity, by keeping their hopes alive for a better future.

As Albert Woodfox, who spent 44 years in solitary confinement in the US and received hundreds of thousands of letters as part of an AI’s ‘Write for Rights’ campaign, has said:  ‘Your messages from beyond the prison walls have become an enormous strength for me.’   

The letters to authorities can also spur them into action – when they know the eyes of the world are watching, they may be moved to do the right thing.

Albert Woodfox is now a free man – thanks in no small part to the many letters sent by AI UK activists to the Louisiana authorities.  The PHRG were honoured to host him and fellow Angola 3 survivor, Robert King, held in solitary for 29 years, recently in Parliament.

Ann Clwyd MP, along with her PHRG colleagues, therefore calls on fellow Parliamentarians to act today, in support of those including:

  • Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker held in Tehran since April having been accused of plotting the ‘soft overthrow of the Islamic Republic’;
  • Ilham Totti, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s policies in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, sentenced to life in prison; and,
  • Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, a photojournalist, arrested and beaten in Cairo in 2013, who could face the death penalty if convicted of trumped-up charges including ‘joining a criminal gang’ and ‘murder’.


Contact office of Ann Clwyd MP at clwyda@parliament.uk

or the PHRG Co-ordinator at pichen@parliament.uk.