The Co-operative Bank urges its customers to “Write for Rights” and support young activists in partnership with Amnesty International

The Co-operative Bank is urging its customers to take part in Amnesty International’s “Write for Rights” human rights campaign this December. The Bank is calling for customers, colleagues and members of the public to join together in a ‘Day of Action’ and write letters in support of young human rights activists around the world.

Amnesty International’s global “Write for Rights” project is the world’s largest letter writing campaign, and this year encourages people to write letters in support of 12 young people faced with human rights abuses, or bravely standing up for the rights of others.  

Following a launch event at The Co-operative Bank’s Manchester head office on Tuesday 3rd December, in which Director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen, spoke passionately about the difference this campaign makes, The Co-operative Bank is promoting a ‘Day of Action’ – on Human Rights Day this December 10th 2019.

The aim is to highlight Amnesty’s campaign and encourage bank customers, colleagues and members of the public to write letters in support of young people who have suffered in some cases horrifying human rights abuses. Co-operative Bank branches and offices across the UK will provide special Amnesty letter writing stations and will be welcoming anyone who wants to take the time to write a letter to support to the 12 young people whose cases are the focus of this year’s letter writing drive. In particular the Co-operative Bank has chosen to highlight three cases – detailed below.

Andrew Bester, Chief Executive of The Co-operative Bank said:

“We know defending human rights is important to our customers, and I’m immensely proud that The Co-operative Bank is taking action to support young people here in the UK and around the world who are facing human rights abuses, in partnership with Amnesty. We firmly believe it is important to raise awareness of this successful and powerful campaign with our customers and the general public, and we are encouraging anyone who wants to get involved to come into one of our branches to write or to drop off their letter in support of one of these incredible young people. Every letter really makes a difference – Write for Rights has an impressive track record of bringing about real change. Amnesty is one of our longest-standing charity partners and we are thrilled to be working with them on this important campaign.”

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK said:

“The simple act of writing a letter can have a huge impact on people’s lives. Messages of support can be a lifeline to people behind bars or for those facing intimidation. And when letters pile up at the doors of the authorities, they have no choice but to take note.

“With the Co-operative bank’s support, we hope that this year’s Write for Rights will be the biggest yet and we urge all Co-operative bank colleagues, customers and members of the public to visit a branch and help change lives for the better.”

The three cases that The Co-operative Bank will focus on in its campaign are:

Support for migrant women

Migrant women find it virtually impossible to access protection if they experience domestic abuse.The UK government has promised to reform the law on protection from domestic abuse, but its draft legislation fails to protect migrant women. Amnesty is campaigning with the Step Up Migrant Women coalition to ensure that migrant women affected by domestic abuse have equal access to protection and support.

Support for Marinel Ubaldo – Climate change activist

Marinel Sumook Ubaldo was 16 when she faced the devastating impact of climate change at first hand. In 2013, Typhoon Yolanda, one of the most powerful on record, destroyed her village, Matarinao. The typhoon killed 6,300 people in the Philippines and millions lost their homes. Since the typhoon, Marinel has become a leading youth activist, dedicated to ensuring governments around the world confront climate change and its impact on communities like Matarinao.

Support for young trans people

The 2004 Gender Recognition Act (GRA) was a milestone for the human rights of trans people in the UK. Fifteen years on, however, it is clear that the law does not go far enough. Amnesty International UK campaigns alongside the charities Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence for the rights of trans children and young people. Together, we are calling for a reformed GRA based on self-determination, recognition of non-binary gender identities, and for this to be available to children and young people.

The launch event allowed attendees to hear first-hand about the experiences of one of the young people whose case is featured in the Write for Rights campaign. Seán Binder spoke passionately to a gathering of more than 100 people about the work he and others have been doing to ensure the safety of refugees entering Europe at Lesvos in Greece. Despite his efforts to help save the lives of those most in need, Seán is facing charges of spying and people smuggling, and could face up to 25 years in prison.

To read more information about Write for Rights and to view the details of the 12 young people that are featured as well as how you can take action please visit:

For more information on The Co-operative Bank’s campaign please visit our website

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