Club News - Amnesty International: Write for Rights
Members of the HFCC chapter for Amnesty International recently hosted “Write for Rights”. A national Writathon event held to bring attention to atrocities of human rights throughout the world. For those taking an interest, it was a simple matter of selecting individual cases that appealed to the students. Once selected from the provided flyers, students could post personal or form letters to the respective authorities around the world.
According to their mission statement, Amnesty International researches and takes action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of human rights. They support physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote human rights. Amnesty International is independent of any government, political ideology or religious creed. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.
Geraldine Grunow, HFCC Advisor to the club, states that “We have more work, than people”. This is the primary purpose for these Write for Rights events. While informing the public of these cases, those who follow up with letters of support can make a difference. Here are some success stories cited by the organization:
Raped in Mexico
Ines Ortega and Valentina Cantu, indigenous Me’phaa women, were raped by Mexican soldiers in 2002. Instead of taking steps to carry out full and impartial investigations, military investigators tried to disprove the allegations. After thousands of letters were written on their behalf, the Mexican government finally took responsibility for the rape and abuse of Valentina through two Public Acts of Acknowledgement on December 15 and March 6, respectively. Amnesty continues to campaign for further progress on their case.
Jailed in Azerbaijan
Youth activist Jabbar Savalan was arrested the day after he posted on Facebook calling for a “Day of Rage” in Azerbaijan, inspired by protests in the Middle East and North Africa. He was convicted and given a two year prison sentence on false charges, despite the fact his confession was extracted under duress and he was denied access to a lawyer. Jabbar Savalan was released on December 26, after more than 130,000 actions were sent to the Azerbaijani authorities. Amnesty International continues to work on Jabbar’s behalf.
Unfortunately for many people around the world, they are imprisoned or killed for expressing themselves, especially when the views are contradictory to those in power. In America, we take for granted the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. Remember, “the more you pay attention, the less others can get away with”, said Lizzie Hines, President of the HFCC Amnesty International Chapter.
For more information, contact Amnesty International at www.amnesty.org or Geraldine Grunow at (313)845-6421.