Posted on June 13, 2022
Amnesty International USA continues its fight for human rights, thanks to the support of CREDO members
For over six decades, our grantee partners at Amnesty International have been the premier grassroots organization demanding human rights for every person.
In November 2021, CREDO members voted to distribute $50,235 to help Amnesty International USA expand its membership as much as possible so as to have the greatest possible impact on human rights advocacy.
Here are a few of the organization’s accomplishments thanks to CREDO’s financial support:
Amnesty International accomplishments
- January 10: Ramy Shaath, an Egyptian-Palestinian human rights defender, was released from an Egyptian prison. Ramy had spent two and a half years unjustly detained without trial in Egypt. Many different Amnesty’s sections took part in the campaign, including Spain, Belgium, and Italy, with AI France and Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) leading the efforts. In the U.S., the organization pressured the State Department on Ramy’s case and led a bi-cameral Dear Colleague letter that highlighted his case which was signed by 11 Senators and 45 House members. Amnesty also led an international petition on Ramy that was used by coalition partners across the globe, obtaining over 100,000 signatures.
- March 13: Raif Badawi, a Saudi human rights activist who was imprisoned for creating online forums to promote civic dialogue, was released after ten years of imprisonment. The Saudi authorities falsely claimed that Raif insulted Islam, and subjected him to cruel punishments such as receiving 50 lashes in a public square. In response, hundreds of thousands of Amnesty members around the world campaigned for his freedom for over a decade.
- March 15: AIUSA was pleased to report that due to years of campaigning and advocacy efforts, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was reauthorized by Congress this year and has been signed into law by President Biden. VAWA was established to provide assistance to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, abuse, and stalking.
- April 4: Sufyian Barhoumi was released after being imprisoned for 20 years at Guantanamo Bay without charge or trial. AIUSA hosted a virtual rally, where Sufyian’s family was present, calling for the Biden-Harris administration to return him home. We continue to call for the closure of Guantanamo, an end to the practice of indefinite detention, and the release of the other 37 detainees who are left.
- April 15: The U.S. government designated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon. AIUSA led a coalition effort along with 281 civil society organizations to successfully campaign for this outcome. We collaborated with a grassroots organization, the Cameroon Advocacy Network, to write petitions to the U.S. Congress and the Biden-Harris administration, especially Secretary Mayorkas of the DHS. In the process, Amnesty gathered over 10,000 signatures from activist supporters and delivered those petitions, co-authored a letter with over 280 civil society organizations. AIUSA documented over 40,000 Cameroonians in the U.S. who could be either deported, or face indefinite detention if arrested due to the lack of humane treatment within the U.S. immigration system.
New Initiatives by Amnesty International
- February 23: AIUSA joined efforts with its sections around the world to launch a crisis response campaign to address the unfolding situation between Ukraine and Russia. Amnesty immediately dispatched its crisis response team to the affected areas where they have documented rights abuses by interviewing witnesses and fact-checking digital evidence to verify when violations of international humanitarian law have occurred. Due to its donors’ generous support of projects such as the Crisis Evidence Lab, Amnesty’s monitors have been able to raise awareness of Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on schools, hospitals, and other civilian areas. Its teams were able to confirm when and where the Russian military used globally banned weapons such as cluster bombs, which could be prosecuted as a war crime. In another instance, its researchers acquired 65 photos and videos which showed that Russian forces targeted a preschool where civilians, including women and children, sought shelter in northeastern Ukraine. This body of work and campaign is ongoing as of May 11.
- March 16: Amnesty began holding lobby strategy workshops for AIUSA activists in preparation for a virtual lobby day on May 18 to push for the approval of the Afghan Adjustment Act. AIUSA has been working in close collaboration with its coalition partners on this since the humanitarian and human rights crisis erupted in Afghanistan in August of last year. Its goal is to pressure Congress to pass the Adjustment Act, which would create a permanent path to citizenship for Afghans and assist those wishing to leave the country for fear of their safety.
- May 3: AIUSA launched a crisis campaign when news of the leaked draft, that the Supreme court has voted to overturn both Roe and Casey in their entirety and end the federal right to abortion in the United States, was made public. With a focus on both federal and state level-protections, this campaign will continue to evolve as the situation worsens and the access to safe reproductive healthcare is threatened in the coming months.