Category Archives: Updates

Thank you – the Write to Witness event was a great success!

Thank you to the volunteers of Amnesty International Pittsburgh, City of Asylum staff and writers-in-residence, the writers who shared their works and thoughts, and all of the attendees who made Write to Witness such a great event and great way to raise awareness about the issues facing writers around the world.  In addition to supporting the event, attendees wrote at least 25 letters and wrote lovely messages of support for Raif Badawi.

Please check to stay up to date on current cases and ways you can take action and stay involved.

Pittsburgh’s Group 39 will host our largest annual event, the Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival in December.  Stay tuned for further updates about that and other events and actions on, on Twitter @amnestypgh and on Facebook: Amnesty international Pittsburgh Group. You may also join our Google Group “Amnesty International Group 39” to receive email updates as well.

Feel free to email us at with any questions, feedback or ideas for more events.
We’re specifically interested in volunteers to help restart our Sunday Human Rights Cafe, where we set up some letter writing at a local cafe or tea shop once or twice a month for 2 hours.

Some pics from the event.  See you at the next one and thank you for your support!

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Human Rights events in 2015!!!!

Stay tuned: on March 3rd, our ad hoc planning committee is gathering to get started on some events and activities in 2015!!!

We’ll post possible events and calls for help in making them happen!

Things like speaker panels, film screenings/talks, poetry readings, music events and MORE!

If you have a great idea for an event OR a group we can partner with on something, email Ayres or Chris:

We are not big on capacity right now (let’s hope that changes in the warmer months!), but big on IDEAS and we’d love to do events that offer a local + international connection.

Reading the Names of the Missing in Ayotzinapa

Brenda Sólkez reads the names of the 46 Mexican students, who were killed or missing from Ayotzinapa, during Amnesty International Pittsburgh’s Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival.

Not enough investigation was done, and the government has closed the case. However, human rights groups are demanding answers and justice for innocents killed or disappeared.



Write for Rights 2014 Case #8: Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning


Transgender US Army Private Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013, after leaking classified US government material to the website Wikileaks. Some of the documents pointed to potential human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law by US troops abroad, the CIA, and Afghan and Iraqi forces operating alongside the US army.

Chelsea says she was trying to spark a meaningful debate on the costs of war and raise awareness of US military conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. She believed that that she was exposing abuses by releasing the information, but she wasn’t allowed to present evidence that she was acting in the public interest. In fact, Chelsea couldn’t even explain her motives until the sentencing phase of her trial. What’s more, she was overcharged with offenses including ‘aiding the enemy’. It seems that her prosecution was meant to send a harsh warning to other potential whistleblowers seeking to expose U.S. Government wrongdoing.

Chelsea spent three years in detention, awaiting trial. For eleven months she endured conditions described by a UN expert on torture as ‘cruel and inhumane’. These included isolation in solitary confinement – 23 hours a day in a small cell with no window to the outside.

The US has spent far too long punishing Chelsea for revealing potential human rights abuses. She should be shown clemency and government officials should focus their energies on investigating the alleged abuses she exposed.