Alison Thewliss MP calls for justice for International Human Rights Day

To celebrate International Human Rights Day (Saturday 10th December), Alison Thewliss MP took part in Amnesty International’s largest annual letter writing campaign at a reception in Speakers’ House in Westminster Palace.

Alison Thewliss MP joined other Members of Parliament and staff and campaigners from Amnesty International to appeal to Iran to call for the immediate release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign.

Amnesty’s Write for Rights encourages people around the world to send personal messages of support to people behind bars, or whose lives are in serious danger.

Alison Thewliss MP said:

“As a Member of Parliament, I know all too well the power of the pen, and the impact that can be achieved when many voices rally around one call. I am hoping that my message, and those of others sent during Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, will send a clear message to governments that the world is watching and human rights must be respected.”

Former Al Jazeera foreign correspondent Sue Turton, who had been charged and tried in absentia in Egypt, after being falsely accused with eight of her colleagues of aiding and abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, spoke at the reception.

Sue Turton said: “Locking up a journalist who is asking too many questions can scare others into self-censorship clearing the way for further abuses to be committed with impunity.

“There has never been a greater need for balanced, well-researched journalism….But those of us who go into conflict and war zones need to know someone has our backs. That someone for (imprisoned Egyptian photographer) Shawkan is all of us.

Year after year Amnesty sees successes from its global letter-writing campaign. Last year thousands of people across the world wrote messages of support for Albert Woodfox – the longest-serving isolated prisoner. Albert had spent a staggering 43 years in solitary confinement. In February this year, after thousands of letters of support Albert was freed!”

For more information on Write for Rights visit:

MP in “certainty” plea to Government over Yemeni asylum seekers

Alison Thewliss MP sitting at her desk in Parliament

Scottish National Party MP, Alison Thewliss, today pressed the UK Government to provide “safety and certainty” and grant refugee status to asylum seekers from Yemen.

Taking part in an exchange with Foreign Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood, regarding breaches of humanitarian law in Yemen, the Glasgow Central MP said the Government was failing woefully to help provide certainty to Yemeni asylum seekers.

With most of the debate between MPs and the Minister focusing on British arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Ms Thewliss seized on recent figures from the Home Office which show that in the second quarter of 2016 alone thirteen Yemenis were refused asylum in the UK and a further fifty-seven applications were still showing as pending. She called upon Foreign Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood, to help provide certainty to Yemeni asylum seekers.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“It beggars belief that the Foreign Office are aware of the awful humanitarian crisis in the Yemen, yet the Home Office – in their characteristically obtuse manner – still have their heads in the sand.

The most recent Home Office statistics show that they’ve rejected asylum claims from thirteen Yemeni asylum seekers. Where exactly do they expect them to go if they don’t want to give them refugee status? Are they seriously suggesting they should return to Yemen which is quite literally a war zone?

“Equally as bad is the fact that the Home Office have kicked another fifty-seven asylum applications into the long grass with no decision. These people urgently need certainty; people are lying awake at night worrying whether they will be forced to return to a country suffering brutal conflict and severe humanitarian disaster.

“Ministers need to show some humanity and grant Yemeni citizens status in the UK, not leave them in fear of being returned to a war zone”.