Amnesty International – Making a Difference!

By on December 18, 2011 in Reportages

The fight for freedom of speech continues, as all over the world people are continually being tortured, imprisoned, oppressed or even murdered for expressing their opinions publically, against corrupt regimes and tyrants. Amnesty International1 has continuously worked for the rights of those in need, and has been a voice for those who cannot openly speak.

Between the 3rd of December and the 17th of December, Amnesty International organizes their annual campaign Write for Rights, with the Human Rights Day falling in the middle of this period, on the 10th of December. Kungsholmens Gymnasium took part of this campaign, hosting it at school on Friday the 9th of December. Greeted by a group of hard working Amnesty members, I was presented 10 cases on violations of human rights to read about. 2

These 10 cases were of people who were oppressed for trying to make their voices heard in societies where the working class and the poor are looked down on by those in power as insignificant beings. These cases vary in numbers of victims involved and sort of mistreatment. One case is that of Sri Lankan Ragihar Manoharan who was shot dead by the Sri Lankan security forces in 2006, and as his family mourns until today, no thorough investigation has been conducted and no one brought to justice! Another case is that of a Yodok political prison camp, North Korea, where there are an estimated 50,000 people held in captivity. They face forced labour, torture and lack of food. They are imprisoned without trial or with unjust trial.

Here comes the part full of action, letters were written by Kungsholmen students to those responsible for making a change in each cases respective country. Students were presented two options, by fellow students and Amnesty members, on how to take action:

  1. For those in a hurry there were letters already written just waiting for a signature, showing that you are for Human Rights and strongly against the violation of human rights in the specific case of your choice.
  2. For those with more time there were empty papers that one could use to write personal letters for those responsible, urging them to make a change.

You might wonder if writing a letter could ever make a difference. The answer, although possibly unexpected, is “yes”! Egyptian Human rights activist Musaad Abu Fagr was released from Abu Zaabal Prison, Cairo on July 13th, 2010. Gambian opposition politician Femi Peters was released after being charged with the cause of “control of procession and control of use of loud speakers in public”. Many more3 have been released thanks to Amnesty’s campaign.

This international campaign is one which everyone needs to support, as by doing so one is supporting millions of oppressed world-wide. Amnesty International and Amnesty International- Kungsholmens Gymnasium continue to fight for freedom of speech and continue to be the voice of those who cannot openly speak. Only hoping that with the whole world participating, one can create harmony and peace.

“Action expresses priority”- Mahatma Ghandi

1 For general information on Amnesty International’s activities visit: http://www.amnesty.org

2 To read more about the cases visit: http://www.amnesty.org/en/individuals-at-risk/case-sheets

3 Many more cases of people liberated from false charges thanks to the Amnesty campaign can be found on: http://www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/successes.php


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