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Overview: The impact of our work

Eskinder Nega

PEN International has been advocating for human rights since 1921, and our work has resulted in positive changes on human rights issues across the globe since then. Persecuted writers and their families have repeatedly cited the solidarity provided by our international network as being essential for maintaining the strength to continue writing and standing for their beliefs. Our End of Year Report demonstrates the areas of our impact, as well as identifying some of our main challenges. In 2018, we celebrated:

  • The lives of 92 writers at risk being improved through solidarity actions and campaigning, legal interventions and humanitarian assistance.
  • 96% of writers who reached out felt supported by PEN's solidarity.
  • 15 humanitarian emergency grants were given to individual writers at immediate risk, for relocation, essential medicines, and other critical needs.
  • PEN successfully supported five asylum applications for writers threatened with deportation or who were stranded in refugee camps.
  • 27,551 young people, writers, journalists, academics, teachers, parents, community members and human rights activists have participated in PEN Centre projects around the world promoting literature and free expression.
  • Five new PEN Centres formed, three in countries with shrinking civic space, Guinea Bissau, Iraq and Russia.
  • 150 African writers and human rights advocates signed PEN's petition highlighting concerns about the use of defamation laws to silence critics.
  • Positive judgements from the European Court of Human Rights in two cases from Turkey where PEN headed interventions led to the release of writers Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay.
  • PEN Centres in the Global South have become stronger civil society advocates, through the support of the PEN network.
  • The creation of diverse spaces for language, debate, literature, dialogue, ideas and opinions, that have strengthened the voices of participants, through our Civil Society Programme.
  • The launch of Make Space Campaign.
  • Creation of literary platforms such as Ilkyaz for promoting and supporting young writers in Turkey.
  • The launch of Women’s Manifesto - a set of principles, which aims to protect free expression for women.

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