1. Write in a reasoned and respectful tone. Yes, many human rights abuses are outrageous. But your aim is to be listened to. Assume your reader is open
to reason and a respectfully-worded appeal. Sign your name with a closing such as, “Yours respectfully,” or “Yours respectfully and sincerely.”

2. Carefully follow the facts as highlighted in each case sheet. The “facts” help your reader identify the case about which you are writing. The “Take Action!”
section is your guide to what Amnesty International wants to see happen so that the individual’s situation will improve.

3. Base your appeals on international law, no political opinions. Human rights are based on international laws, agreements and obligations. Effective letters are based on these obligations. Political judgments or jargon are not effective and can sometimes do harm.

4. Use your personal voice. Appeals gain strength when they are seen to be coming from many concerned individuals. Include a personal reference, for example: “As a mother of two children …,” “As a student….” Express key points of the “Take Action!” section in your own words.

5. Write in English, unless you are completely fluent in the language of the country concerned.

6. Try not to solely focus on what the country is doing wrong, and instead offer ways the country can support human rights. Where possible, point to a country’s traditions or ideals that have supported human rights in the past.

7. Repeat the individual’s name throughout the letter. This helps to ensure that the official will recognize the name and remember the letters sent on their behalf.

8. Express your personal interest in the country. If relevant, include a brief reference to your personal experience with the country, such as travel experience or studying the country’s history.

9. Be brief. Most letters can easily fit on one side of a single page and are more likely to be read when kept short.

10. You can refer to Amnesty International as your information source, but it may be more effective to simply state that you have learned about this person’s plight and are therefore concerned.

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