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NNSL Photo/graphic

From left to right, Dianne Peckford, Nikki Nephan, Joanne Parsons, Claudine Wells, Helga Harlander and Lorna Jones-Martin gathered with others to write letters of protest on behalf of Amnesty International this past weekend. The letters were sent to leaders of governments and prisons in foreign countries where people are facing human rights violations. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

Letters of support

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 15/06) - Action took the form of words this past weekend, as a group of women gathered to support Amnesty International's annual write-a-thon.

Dianne Peckford was the main organizer of the Inuvik event, which began Saturday morning.

"We are here to write letters of support to people facing discrimination in other countries," explained Peckford.

Each year, Amnesty International posts case files of their investigations on their website for co-ordinators such as Peckford to download.

"There are many people to choose, from a wide range of countries," she said.

In her apartment where the women met to write, posters and letters were posted on the wall as examples.

Pamphlets and other information was also provided for the writers.

"Letter writing is effective," said Peckford.

"We have had feedback that this helps those people in other countries." The letters are addressed to leaders of governments and prisons where prisoners are believed to be suffering.

"We send out letters that are diplomatic and non-threatening," said Peckford.

Peckford has been involved in the project for more than seven years and has written a lot of letters to many nations.

"There are many injustices in the world and bad things happening to people overseas who wish to speak their mind," she said.

Peckford gave an example of a man being harassed by militia because of his fight against AIDS in his community.

"I wrote to the government to provide that man with protection," said Peckford.

"In countries like Colombia, the worst thing you can be is a protester or activist."

Another option for people wanting to express their support for political prisoners is to send them postcards.

"Instead of writing to the governments, you can send non-religious post cards to the people," said Peckford.

Lorna Jones-Martin also wrote letters on Saturday.

"We discovered that there are human rights atrocities going on and we hope our letters will have an effect on the people and their government," said Jones-Martin.

This is Jones-Martin's first letter writing campaign, but she believes this will make a difference.

"Ground-level support is a great way to get involved with international action," she said.

She wrote a letter to the government of Sudan, to ask them to enforce peacekeeping missions there.

"I hope these letters have some sort of positive effect," said Jones-Martin.