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Cllr Francis Timmons – Independent Voice

Letter from Amnesty International

Dear Francis,

I am writing to say thank you.

The last year has been one of the most historic in recent memory. The changes sweeping the Middle East and North Africa – the collapse of brutal dictatorships in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya – have the potential to change the world to a scale not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Through it all your support, help and generosity has helped Amnesty International keep human rights on the agenda, reporting on violations and protecting human rights defenders.

Prisoners you took action for including Emadeddin Baghi in Iran, Linan Abu Ghulmeh in the West Bank, Israel’s Gilad Shalit and Mao Hengfeng in China have been freed.

Here in Ireland we have collected nearly 16,000 signatures in support of a right to health in this country, while also tackling prejudice and discrimination against people with mental health problems.

We successfully worked to get comprehensive legislation banning FGM in Ireland into the Oireachtas and expect it to become law very soon.

The Irish Government also produced a new plan for helping women affected by conflict in countries around the world. We could not have campaigned for that without your help.

This year was also Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary. We started, as many of you know, with an article in the Observer newspaper by a man called Peter Benenson asking people to take action on behalf of the ‘forgotten prisoners’.

He wrote:

Open your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government.

Despite how far weve come in five decades, despite the spread of democracy in the former Soviet bloc and the Americas, despite the end of dictatorships in Europe; Peter Benenson’s word remains true.

Its happening in prisons in Syria and re-education centres in China, in labour camps in North Korea and on the streets of Gaza, Harare, Tehran, and countless other places around the world.

While this continues, while people remain in prison because of what they say or believe in, while theyre denied their fundamental rights and freedoms, with your help, we continue too.

Until they are all free. Every single one.

We wish you and your loved ones peace and joy at this time of year. Thank you most sincerely for your wonderful support.


Colm O’Gorman Amnesty International Ireland