We have a right to be human. For starters. But today, as we celebrate Amnesty International Day, it’s time we went deeper especially when many around the world are being deprived of their basic rights as fellow humans.
But what is amnesty exactly? It’s more than this definition for sure.
What else I learnt
“Human rights have been a hot topic in local and international politics since the 1960’s. Whether fighting for the right to marry the person of our choice or to end abuses like child labor all over the globe, Amnesty International has been in the trenches trying to make the world a better place. Amnesty International Day works to promote human rights and raise awareness of their abuses and how our choices affect them every day.” Source
I got married in 1995 of my own free will. For sure I did not have to fight to do so and even had the right per se to become a divorce statistic. I am pretty much the queen of my own little kingdom. I am not prevented from working at any job I accept (as long as it’s legal I suppose), wearing my own style of clothing, driving a car or furthering my education. I can speak my mind in any forum without fear of ridicule or abuse. I can have as many children as I want. I do not have to run for safety from machine gun fire, overhead missiles or suicide bombers. My home and my country come together to make up my castle. I am blessed.
I knew very little about Amnesty International or its true role as a wicket keeper on the world affairs pitch and honestly never felt a burning need to read up on them until recently. For starters, their website, www.amnestyinternational.org says this:
“Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. We investigate and expose the facts, whenever and wherever abuses happen. We lobby governments, and other powerful groups such as companies. Making sure they keep their promises and respect international law. By telling the powerful stories of the people we work with, we mobilize millions of supporters around the world to campaign for change and to stand in defence of activists on the frontline. We support people to claim their rights through education and training.”
See for yourself
I was impressed but even though 7 million bodies represent a lot of willing hands, there is still so much more to be done. For example, the latest report speaks to a deplorable state of human rights where the strong and mighty continue to victimize the poor and less fortunate. Isn’t it obvious yet that wars turn homeowners and families into nomads, children into orphans (slaves or soldiers too) and vibrant cities into desolate smoking heaps of rubble burying centuries of traditions, history and dreams?
Obviously not and after reading the paragraph below certain words burned right into my brain. Words like ‘unrelenting misery and fear’ being imposed by ‘governments and armed groups’ who continue ‘torture’ and ill treat others. I suggest you check it out for yourself but here’s a warning: this report contains 409 pages of tears, of feeling your heart tightening in your chest, of wishing there were quicker ways of offering hope in the face of what seems so totally hopeless.
“The Amnesty International Report 2016/17 documents the state of human rights in 159 countries and territories during 2016. For millions, 2016 was a year of unrelenting misery and fear, as governments and armed groups abused human rights in a multitude of ways. Large numbers of people continued to flee conflict and repression in many regions of the world. Among other pervasive issues, this report documents continuing torture and other ill-treatment, the failure to uphold sexual and reproductive rights, government surveillance, and a culture of impunity for past crimes.”
When all is not lost
So how do we celebrate this important day? What can we do differently in our lives that would make some impact, no matter how small? How can we realistically contribute and participate? Here’s how:
“The best way to celebrate Amnesty International Day is to help raise awareness among your friends and family about the struggles of the world’s downtrodden. The place to start would be with educating yourself by learning about the places in the world where Civil Liberties are most at risk. You can also seek out events sponsored by Amnesty International, including benefit concerts and fundraisers seeking to keep the organization going and to help support its efforts. Amnesty International has done a great deal of good work over the years, but the challenges it faces are never-ending, and new allies are needed with every passing year. So get out there and work to help make the world a better place!”
Our next steps
In a nutshell and as Amnesty International tells us: “Sign a petition, volunteer for us, become a member… Whatever you want to do, take action today and be part of a global movement standing together for human rights across the world.” Let’s do this!
Did you learn anything new today? Is human rights or rather the lack of a hot button topic for you? I’m starting a conversation here; join me.