Write for Rights 2014: Case #3 – Women and Girls of El Salvador

Join us in Pittsburgh for our 28th annual Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival on Dec 8th: http://amnestypgh.org/?p=34969

Women and Girls of El Salvador


In El Salvador, it doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant as a result of rape, or whether the pregnancy is a risk to your life: abortion is banned in all cases. If you have a miscarriage, you could be jailed for up to 50 years for aggravated homicide because the state suspects you of having a clandestine abortion.

María Teresa Rivera was a 28-year-old single parent working in a garment factory when she experienced the brutal impact of El Salvador’s abortion ban. In November 2011, unaware that she was pregnant, she felt the urgent need to use the toilet. Her mother-in-law found her bleeding on the bathroom floor and rushed her to the hospital where a member of staff reported her to the police. María Teresa had miscarried – but rather than being treated or counseled, she was arrested and charged. Deeply flawed evidence was presented by the prosecution, yet Maria Teresa was still convicted of aggravated homicide. In July 2012, María Teresa was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment.

With no proper education on sex and relationships and obstacles to accessing contraception, El Salvador has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Latin America. Furthermore, suicide accounts for 57 per cent of the deaths of pregnant females aged 10 to 19, though it is likely many more cases have gone unreported. All of the women imprisoned for abortion or miscarriage come from the poorest sectors of Salvadoran society.

There’s no denying it: El Salvador’s abortion ban is torture. It has no place in a modern El Salvador.



Write for Rights 2014 – Case #2: Liu Ping

Liu Ping


Liu Ping became an activist at 45 years old when she was forced to retire from her work at the state-owned Iron and Steel Plant. She first advocated for workers’ rights, then began promoting various other human rights issues, including anti-corruption activism. As a result, she has been frequently intimidated, beaten, and illegally detained.

Now Liu Ping has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for publicly calling on the Chinese government to step up the fight against corruption. She is a Prisoner of Conscience. Liu Ping is one of many people who have been persecuted and detained for their links to the New Citizens’ Movement, a loose network of activists who aim to promote government transparency and expose corruption in China.

Liu Ping has tried to tackle corruption by pushing for government officials to make their assets public. She was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place,” and even “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement.” Liu Ping stated in court that she was tortured in pre-trial detention. She remains at risk of torture and there are serious concerns for her health.

Liu Ping’s case highlights the hypocrisy of Chinese government officials, who claim to be clamping down on corruption yet persecute those who try to expose it.


Write for Rights 2014 – Case #1: Jorge Lázaro Nunes dos Santos

Each week, we’ll post information about the Amnesty International cases we’ll be writing letters for at Pittsburgh’s 2014 Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival on December 8.

Jorge Lázaro Nunes dos Santos


Two of Jorge Lázaro Nunes dos Santos’ seven children were shot to death. He has been struggling for justice ever since.

Ricardo Mattos dos Santos, a talented circus acrobat, was gunned down in January 2008 while playing soccer with his friends in the Bahia state of Brazil. Ricardo died begging for his life and insisting that he was not who the attackers were looking for. In March 2011, the public prosecutor charged three military police officers with his execution. Six years after Ricardo’s death, the case still has not gone to trial and no one has been brought to justice.

Five years later, his 19-year-old brother Enio was abducted from his home and killed. Almost nothing is known about the context of his death. In 2011, his father had applied for his inclusion in Brazil’s National Program for Children and Adolescents Threatened with Death (PPCAM). The program refused to include him, arguing that he was not at-risk.

Ricardo and Enio were young black men. Every year, thousands of young black Brazilians die in gun related homicides. Hundreds are killed by military police, death squads or militias with links to the police. In a climate of pervasive racism, impunity is the norm. Some commentators refer to this phenomenon as the “extermination” of black youth in Brazil. Now is the time to stand up and affirm that Ricardo and Enio’s lives matter.



Amnesty WAT Flyer 2014 Word

Amnesty International Pittsburgh’s Annual Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival

Amnesty WAT Flyer 2014 – design by Andrew Mrkva

Check out highlights from 2013:  https://vimeo.com/110789623

Join Amnesty International Pittsburgh and many other awesome Pittsburgh rights groups and community leaders on December 8, 2014 for AI Pittsburgh’s annual Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival.

Held from 6-9 pm at Calvary Episcopal Church, this year marks the 28th annual gathering and we hope to meet our goal of 1,000 letters written for rights cases.

Stop in and stay as long as you can.

Check out information tables about local groups working in Pittsburgh on local, national and international issues.

Candlelight Ceremony and City Council Proclamation at 7:30 pm.

Refreshments provided, as well as all writing materials.

To view this year’s cases: write.amnestyusa.org/cases/

For more information or questions, email Ayres and Chris: amnesty39@gmail.com