Amnesty International Club: Passionate Advocators

Amnesty International Club: Passionate Advocators

Do you ever think about your fundamental human rights? Have you ever thought about what they mean to you? Many of us take our basic rights such as right of speech or right of assembly for granted, for we are fortunate in this regard. Canada is a nation that nurtures these fundamental rights and ensures equality of rights for all of its citizens. In many other parts of the world, however, basic human rights are spurned and abused to a horrific degree. Luckily, however, there are those who are trying to end these atrocities. Amnesty International is a worldwide organization whose main objective is to raise awareness for and advocate against the infringements of human rights around the world. This is achieved primarily through letter writing campaigns and awareness raising projects that go on in Amnesty clubs globally. At Saints, a group of dedicated students driven to make a change meets every Friday to organize campaigns and discuss human rights issues.

Most recently in honour of the annual Write for Rights week, the Amnesty International club organized a letter writing campaign during lunch in the socials commons, the purpose of which was to protest against the unjust imprisonment of Liu Ping. Liu is a social activist in China who recently attempted to gather people together to fight corruption in the Chinese government. For this peaceful act, she was mercilessly tortured and now faces a six-year jail sentence. A fair amount of students came out that day to show support for this cause, much to the delight of those few organizing the event.

In our contemporary era of digital media and the internet, letter-writing may seem archaic and useless, however Brian Riback, a leading member of the Amnesty club, had this to say about letter-writing:

Letter writing is a relatively old medium for advocates, but it is timeless. The fact that someone took the time to hand-write a letter voicing his or her concern for an issue shows that he or she really cares. The more people that write a letter, the more it seems that people are indeed concerned about an issue and want something to be done about it.

Amnesty International as a whole is also involved in a plethora of other human rights issues as well. Thousands of people and organizations around the world participate in local letter-writing campaigns and many of their efforts see fruition. Countless people have been released from the cruel hands of injustice thanks to the support and efforts of Amnesty International. As Brian says, when you join Amnesty, you are “joining a worldwide network of human rights advocates that are working towards a common goal of universal human rights”.