This Year's Stories - Why We Write

Look at their faces. Read their stories. Write #4Rights because your words can make a difference.

Each year, we shine a light on individuals from around the world who are in need of protection -- and hope. They represent the imprisoned, the abused, the silenced, the discriminated and all of those whose rights have been denied. Your actions can help these individuals.

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Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain
Nabeel Rajab was initially jailed for a tweet, but is imprisoned today for organizing protests in the streets of Bahrain.

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Pussy Riot

Russia
Three members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot were found guilty of "hooliganism" after performing a peaceful protest song at a Moscow Cathedral. Two of the women were sent to notoriously brutal penal colonies far from Moscow to serve their 2-year sentences. They are prisoners of conscience.

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Noxolo Nogwaza

South Africa
In the early hours of April 24, 2011, 24-year-old Noxolo Nogwaza was raped and murdered on her way home from a night out with friends, apparently because she was a lesbian. More than a year later, no progress has been made on her case and her killer(s) remain at large.

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Mónica Roa

Colombia
Mónica Roa is a human rights defender and the Program Director of Women's Link Worldwide (WLW), an NGO promoting Gender Justice worldwide. Because of their work advancing Colombian women's rights to access safe and legal abortion services, Mónica and WLW have been attacked and intimidated.

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Reggie Clemons

USA
Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death in St. Louis as an accomplice to a 1991 murder. Since his conviction, allegations have arisen of police coercion, prosecutorial misconduct, a ‘stacked' jury and inadequate representation. Reggie's case illustrates many of the flaws in the U.S. death penalty.

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COFADEH

Honduras
The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) works on a broad range of human rights issues including impunity, protection, land rights, & prison conditions. They have suffered an increasing level of threats, attacks and surveillance in retaliation for their work.

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Gao Zhisheng

China
Gao Zhisheng is one of China's most respected human rights lawyers. Because of his work, he has been subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, illegal house arrest and detention. He is currently imprisoned in Shaya County prison in northwest China.

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Girifna

Sudan
Girifna is a Sudanese youth group calling for non-violent resistance to the government. Authorities attempt to silence members with arbitrary arrests, torture, sexual assault and numerous other abuses. Despite this, the group continues to organize and call out "Girifna!" or "We're fed up!"

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Hussain Salem Mohammed Almerfedi

USA
Hussain Salem Mohammed Almerfedi has been held at Guantánamo Bay since 2003. He has never been charged with an offense or brought to trial. A federal judge ordered Almerfedi's release in 2010, but the Court of Appeals overturned the ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear his case.

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The People of Bodo

Nigeria
The people of Bodo in the Niger Delta were devastated when a Shell Oil pipeline spilled thousands of barrels into their local creek. For hundreds of years the community made a living from fishing and farming - now the land and water remain polluted and unproductive.

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