Amnesty International Okanagan hosts letter writing campaign

The group hosted a writing workshop to write letters of support for activists

People the world over are writing letters of support for youth activists.

That’s according to Terry Bridges, an instructor at Okanagan College and a member of Amnesty International Okanagan.

He said every year the group hosts Write for Rights, which gathers people together to write letters of support for activists. They also write petitions to governments to release individuals they deem unjustly imprisoned.

It’s the first time the Okanagan chapter is hosting Write for Rights at Okanagan College and Bridges said they hope the fact that youth activists are involved would resonate with students and staff at the school.

“This year, all the ten cases are youth activists. Often, that’s not the case. But they’re from all over the world: Mexico, the Philippines, South Sudan, Egypt and Iran,” Bridges said.

“But we also have a Canadian case: Grassy Narrows. We’re hoping that will resonate with people as well.”

Bridges said what they’re trying to do is call on the Ontario provincial government to do something for the Grassy Narrows First Nation.

The First Nation suffered from mercury contamination starting in the early 1960s

“In 2017, the (provincial) government promised that they would clean up Grassy Narrows and of course help the people who have been affected, but there hasn’t been action,” Bridges said.

“So we’re calling on the government to fulfill its obligation to deal with the problem once and for all.”

The Ontario government pledged $85 million for the cleanup, but mercury was never removed. A provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change report recommended no dredging should be done so as not to put the rest of the Wabigoon River system at risk of contamination.

A number of staff and students came out to the petition writing event on Monday morning.

Amnesty International Okanagan is hosting another Write for Rights event at the downtown library branch on Dec. 10 starting at 4:30 p.m.

READ MORE: Canada must do more to help jailed Saudi women: Amnesty International

READ MORE: B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley


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