Dear CUAI college reps and members, thank you and well done!

As we start a fresh term in Cambridge and welcome a new Executive Committee, it seems appropriate to take a look back at what CUAI’s college reps and members have managed to achieve throughout the past year.

Number of Letters Written = 1 340

Money raised by CUAI reps for Calaid and CUCRAG (Michaelmas 2015): £388

 Money raised by CUAI reps for SSSK and CHOP (Lent 2016): £692.24

Although it is easy to succumb to cynicism and become disillusioned with the state of human rights campaigning in today’s world, it is important to remember that we can make a difference.

Through the power of letter writing, Amnesty International has achieved some phenomenal success stories – achievements that CUAI college reps and members throughout the Cambridge have made a crucial contribution to. If the following good news stories seem familiar, this is because college reps throughout Cambridge have organised letter writing campaigns to address these issues. So, on behalf of CUAI’s ex-College Reps Coordinator, thank you and well done!

Cuba: Artist Danilo Maldonado was released on the 20th of October 2015 – He spent almost 10 months in prison without trial following accusations of “aggravated contempt” after being arrested on 25 December 2014 for transporting two pigs with the names “Raúl” and “Fidel” painted on them.

USA: Ernest Johnson Issued Stay of Execution – The United States Supreme Court issued a stay of execution in the case of Ernest Johnson shortly before he was due to be put to death in Missouri on the 3rd of November 2015.

Argentina: Relmu Ñamku was absolved on the 4th of November 2015 – This Indigenous leader was charged with attempted homicide on 26 October for hurting a policewoman in 2012, when her community resisted eviction from their ancestral land, in Argentina’s Neuquén Province.

Tunisia: Marwan Released – A Tunisian student jailed for engaging in homosexual relations was freed after his sentence was reduced on appeal on the 17th of December 2015.

USA: Albert Woodfox was released on the 19th of February 2016 – He had been in solitary confinement for 4 decades.

China: Peter Dahlin and Pan Jinling Released – A Swedish national who had been held in secret detention since the 3rd of January 2016 on suspicion of “endangering state security” has been released and deported to Sweden.His girlfriend has also been released, although she remains in China.

Singapore: Kho Jabing Issued Stay of Execution – He was not executed on the 6th of April 2016, as had been planned.

Greece: Refugees Allowed Access to Transit Camp–  A large transit camp with facilities appropriate for cold weather at the Greek border with “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (Macedonia) is now working at its full capacity providing relief and emergency assistance to refugees arriving in the area with the aim of crossing the border.

If you ever wondered about the actual, tangible outcome of your letters, hopefully this encouraging list of success stories has managed to convince you of their value! Remember –  the cause is always worth fighting for.

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