Peter Kerr has been participating in the Write for Rights since it began.

Writing to make a difference

Kelowna residents set to use words to free prisoners around the world

Kelowna residents are looking to make a difference around the world.

On Thursday, December 10th, the 12th annual Write for Rights will take place.  Write for Rights is a world wide initiative organized by Amnesty International where people from countries throughout the world gather to do two things.  First, they write letters to governments around the world asking prisoners of conscious be freed, torture be stopped, missing people be investigated and many other similar things.  Secondly, they write letters of support to prisoners of conscious and human rights defenders.

Peter Kerr is the secretary for Amnesty International in Kelowna, and he has been involved with Write for Rights ever since it began.

“Lots of people have been freed, or their sentences have bee reduced,” Kerr described of the results the annual initiative.  “When governments get a lot of mail like that, they usually respond.  Not always, some governments don’t respond.  It depends how hardline they are, but it’s been very effective.  There were 3.2 million messages sent last year, from I think 143 countries.  It’s been very effective.”

The Kelowna chapter has traditionally seen about 20 people show up to write letters, which last year resulted in 112 letters sent from Kelowna.  The recipients of the letters re chosen beforehand by Amnesty International, and no experience or registration is required, participants simply need to show up.  As a 12 year veteran of the Write for Rights, Kerr has received a few responses from governments, which lets him know he’s making a difference.

“It’s great when you get a reply, even when it’s just an acknowledgement of the letter,” he explained.  “Sometimes it’s an explanation, or sometimes they say, ‘Since you’ve written, we’ve freed this person.’ It’s not often, most cases you don’t hear at all and some contras you won’t ever hear from, but some countries tend to respond.”

The Write for Rights will take place from 7pm to 9pm at room H-115 at Okanagan College.


Just Posted

City budget 2019: Kelowna council settles on 4.43% tax hike

Proposed tax hike includes controversial 1.95 per cent levy to address infrastructure “deficit”

Scholarship smooths road ahead for Okanagan College transfer student

27 students from Okanagan College received awards from the Irving K. Barber Society

Crash stalls traffic on Benvoulin, vehicle flipped on its side

Early reports from the scene note traffic is backed up in both directions along Benvoulin near Byrns Road.

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Okanagan lawyer honoured by appointment to Queen’s Counsel

Only seven per cent of practising B.C. lawyers are appointed

Missing man last seen in Shuswap

Red Deer RCMP would like public’s help locating elderly man with dementia last observed in Sicamous

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Most Read