- Try to keep the letter to one page.
- Try to address one issue per letter.
- Be polite and respectful.
- Use the proper title when addressing the government official.
- If you are writing to an elected official, state that you are a constituent, but do not threaten that your vote depends on his or her response to your letter.
- Give the full name of prisoners or victims and other relevant facts such as the date of the arrest and place of detention.
- Emphasize important information such as names, places, and dates by writing them in capital letters or underlining them.
- Type your letter, or write the letter in clear legible handwriting.
- Do not mention Jubilee Campaign or any other organization.
- You can CC: other relevant government officials.
- You can draft a letter and have multiple persons sign it, i.e., church members, your bible study group, your classmates, members of an organization, family, friends.
- If you mail the letter, mail it by certified mail, return receipt requested (in the U.S.) or by another means through which you have proof that the office received it.
- Respond to the government official’s response/help with a letter of appreciation.
- Please mail or fax a copy of the government official’s response to Jubilee Campaign.
- Review our sample letter below for guidance.
- Paragraph 1: Identify yourself (optional), the case, and the issue.
- Paragraph 2: Give additional information and details about the case; make sure to clearly state important information such as names, dates, place of detention, etc.
- Paragraph 3: Make your request, i.e., medical treatment, release from detention, fair trial, contact another government official regarding the case, etc. State that you are closely following the case.
- Paragraph 4: Encourage a reply in a short paragraph and a copy of any correspondence the government official may make to others; express appreciation for his or her attention to the matter.
- Salutation, signature, name, and return address.
- CC: Name, Title, Office, Address.
How Do I Find a Government Official’s Contact Information?
U.S. Elected Government Officials
- On the internet go to: http://capwiz.com/townhall/home/
- Next to “Elected Officials” enter your zip code in the box and click “Go”
- This website will provide you with the contact information of the President, Senators of your state, and the Congressman of your district.
- For the House directory go to: http://clerk.house.gov/members/index.php
- For the Senate directory go to: http://www.senate.gov/
Click on the triangle to make the drop down menu appear and choose your state.
- You can usually write to a foreign official through his/her country’s embassy in the U.S. Go to: http://www.embassy.org/
On the left side of the web page, click on “Foreign Embassies of Washington D.C.” and choose an embassy by country name.
- To find the specific foreign address for a government official, you can call the country’s embassy to the U.S. and request for the foreign address.
Feel free to contact Jubilee Campaign if you need help finding addresses or writing a letter.
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
I am writing to express my concern about the imprisonment of Catholic priest Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly who is currently imprisoned in Nam Ha province
Father Van Ly was arrested in 2001 as he prepared to serve Mass at An Truyen church, Phu An commune, in central Thua Thien-Hue province. The church was surrounded by hundreds of armed security guards who frightened the small group gathered to worship. Father Van Ly was tried without a lawyer or public audience and was sentenced to 15 years solitary confinement followed by 5 years probation.
Despite the official explanations, it is well known in the international community that Father Van Ly was jailed for speaking out in favor of religious liberty and social change. It is not coincidental that Father Van Ly was imprisoned soon after providing testimony to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and before the United States Congress regarding the wretched state of religious liberty in Vietnam.
Furthermore, I am alarmed and appalled by his prison conditions. Kept in solitary confinement, Father Van Ly is denied guests and barred from speaking even to the guards who bring him his food and drink twice a day.
In addition, I am concerned about the arrest and subsequent conviction of Fr. Van Ly’s niece and nephews. Nguyen Thi Hoa and her brothers Nguyen Vu Viet and Nguyen Truc Cuong were detained in June 2002 for informing the international community about the inhumane treatment of Fr. Van Ly. They were recently given sentences ranging from 3 to 5 years
I would like to applaud the recent court decision by a court in Ha Nam province reducing Father Van Ly’s sentence by 5 years. However, it is unjust that he has spent even a day in prison.
Thank you for personally considering his case.
Raymond F. Burghardt
U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam
7 Lang Ha Street,
Ba Dinh District
Leader Name 2