Amnesty International asks Quebecers to ‘Write for Rights’

The non-profit wants to put people to work in its annual write-a-thon.

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Amnesty International is asking people to put their hands and pens to use for those who can’t as part of its an annual letter-writing initiative.

The focus this year is on 10 women who are imprisoned or persecuted because they defend human rights in their communities. The hope is the letters sent will pressure government officials to free those women imprisoned for speaking out.

The non-profit’s French Canada outpost once again tapped Cossette’s Montreal office for a Quebec-wide campaign, in both French and English. The agency has worked with the French Canadian arm of the global human rights group since 2011. For this year’s write-a-thon, which runs internationally throughout the month of December, the agency focused on creating an image that could easily be used across platforms and languages, says Philippe Brassard, a writer at Cossette.

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The stark image shows a pair of bound hands that is meant to mimic the shape of a pen or pencil, and the ads read: “Write for Rights. Write a letter. Change a life.” in English and “Écrire, ça libère. Participer au marathon d’écriture.” in French.

The print campaign ran in top Quebec news publications, including: Le Devoir, Journal de Montréal and Journal de Québec. A web banner version was deployed on, in addition to wild postings in Montréal. And a 30-second French radio spot aired in the regions of Montréal, Québec City, Ottawa, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières in early December.

Over the years writing for rights has worked. Since 2000, 124 of the 161 imprisoned people that Amnesty International advocated for were freed. And Cossette’s 2012 write-a-thon campaign hit a chord and was ultimately translated and deployed in five other countries.

In 2017, Amnesty International French Canada contributed close to 67,000 cards to the global movement (a total of 5.5 million card were sent worldwide). This year’s goal is to raise that number to 80,000.