For those who are well aware that Amnesty International is the largest grassroots human rights organization, it’s known that Amnesty International is all about human rights and providing a voice for people who otherwise wouldn’t have one. However, I’ve been asked many times in my life what Amnesty International is, and what it’s all about, and I’m here to tell you that the organization, and our St. Louis chapter, are about investigating and exposing abuses, educating and mobilizing the public, and helping to transform societies to create a safer, more just world.
One of our main ways of advocating for justice and creating a safer, more just world is to write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and others violated around the world. Some might say that writing letters doesn’t work. However, Amnesty USA has had four major victories in the past two weeks alone, including the abolition of the death penalty in Connecticut. Our chapter has even had recent victory regarding several prisoners of conscience in Burma. None of these victories would’ve happened without the consistent pressure and hard work of human rights activists such as ourselves. These problems are not solved overnight, but through months, even years, of making the statement that these people and these issues are important and worth solving.
Although the work of Amnesty started by focusing on those who were imprisoned for expressing their basic human rights, our work has grown over the past 50 years to to include those who have been, or are being violated. This would include those who are unlawfully evicted from their homes, those who don’t have access to healthcare and education, and those who have immense trouble seeking justice for human rights abuses (i.e. rape victims, refugees etc.). A human rights abuse or violation doesn’t necessarily involve imprisonment, despite it being a common correlation in the real world.
Amnesty International is about doing the right thing, and standing up for what’s right. What are you about?