Most people join Amnesty because they want to make a difference. However, being an Amnesty activist can also be fun too. Whether its meeting new people with a shared interest, being creative or organising amazing social events campaigning is often an enjoyable experience. In my time with the Central Birmingham Amnesty International I have met wonderful people, done things I never thought i’d be doing (such as TV interviews) and learnt so much about inspiring people in this amazing world we live in. From old to young the vibrancy of Amnesty campaigners and the smiles they have on their faces whilst working creatively and passionately to defend vulnerable people from the most appalling violations of their human rights never fails to amaze me. Its a serious business defending human rights but we can have fun at the same time.
I support Amnesty because there are so many ways for people to take part. As an Amnesty activist myself I have done a huge variety of volunteer roles. I’ve been a group chair, group secretary, campaign coordinator, letter writer, organised events, lobbied my MP, worked on stalls, blogged, organised group socials, been first person new members have met, issued press releases, given training to local groups, and much, much, more. The truth is with Amnesty you can usually do what you want to support human rights especially as part of a local group. I have had a fantastic time, made many good friends and even added some skills to my CV. You can do this most easily as part of a local group but you can also do a lot as an individual. If you are already doing something with Amnesty please leave a comment below and share your experience.
I support Amnesty because they stand up for human rights not political parties. I enjoy being part of Amnesty International because they stand up for human rights without picking political favourites. They advocate for human rights and challenge all parties to support them. With a General Election coming up in this country I believe it is important to take advantage of this strength to take our message to all candidates standing. Human rights does resonate across the political spectrum demonstrated by a lobby for an arms trade treaty I attended a few years ago where all three of the main party leaders in the UK came out in support. If you want to find out how to lobby your election candidates do see www.amnesty.org.uk/election
Amnesty campaigns on individuals and communities that are often away from the glare of media publicity. They campaign for prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders who aren’t known by most people. They campaign for Justine Bihamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other human rights defenders there who are harassed for their work. They shine a light into places and people others seem to have forgotten about – for example yesterday’s report on harassment of former political prisoners in Tunisia. So I support Amnesty because they stand up for those that have been forgotten.
To find out more about the report on Tunisia see http://bit.ly/bmJYOx and to take action in support of human rights defenders in the DRC see http://bit.ly/9BT8EH
I support Amnesty International because they focus on human rights violations across the globe. They don’t select a few countries and ignore all others. They don’t just highlight the fashionable country or the best known examples of human rights abuses. If you visit the international website (www.amnesty.org) you can find information on human rights violations on every country round the world. If you go the UK website there are 65 actions from a wide range of countries across the world (see www.amnesty.org.uk). I believe like Amnesty does that no nation has a monopoly on human rights and each and every one can do better. What do you think?