International Human Rights Day

I joined other Members of Parliament and staff and campaigners from Amnesty International to appeal to Iran to protect the rights of Nazanin Radcliffe as part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign.

This year one of the people Amnesty is campaigning for British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Nazanin was arrested at Tehran’s airport and has been sentenced to five years in prison on unspecified ‘national-security-related charges’. Amnesty is calling for Nazanin’s immediate and unconditional release.

Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe attended Amnesty’s human rights reception, where he appealed to MPs and Amnesty supporters to continue to support and campaign for his wife.

Also featured in this year’s campaign are:

  • prominent Egyptian photojournalist, Mahmoud Abu Zeid, popularly known as “Shawkan”, who has been in detention in Egypt for more than three years.
  • Uighur academic Ilham Tohti – a prominent critic of the Chinese government’s policies in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region – who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014.
  • Annie Alfred – an 11-year-old girl with albinism living in Malawi.  Malawi and thousands of people living with albinism in Malawi are in danger of being abducted, mutilated or killed because of erroneous beliefs and superstitions
  • Refugees Welcome – following the recent rise in the number of people living their homes because of conflict or persecution, Amnesty is urging the UK government to show international leadership and share responsibility for supporting and hosting refugees.


As a Member of Parliament, I know all too well the power of the pen, and the impact that can be achieved when many voices rally around one call. I am hoping that my message, and those of others sent during Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, will send a clear message to governments that the world is watching and human rights must be respected.

Former Al Jazeera foreign correspondent Sue Turton, who had been charged and tried in absentia in Egypt, after being falsely accused with eight of her colleagues of aiding and abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, spoke at the reception.