Monday 2 February 2015

Standing up for human rights

Every couple of days another horrific human rights abuse makes it's way into the headlines.  You feel powerless to do anything about it.  Is there nothing we can do?

The photo is of Raif Badawi, imprisoned for 10 years, and has had the first 50 of 1000 lashes:
'Raif Badawi established Liberal Saudi Network, a now-closed online forum that sought to encourage debate on religious and political matters in 2008'
He was due for his second set of 50 lashes last week, but this has been delayed on health grounds - unusual in that 1000 lashes would more typically kill a man anyway.  Does pressure from groups like Amnesty International, who have led calls to free Raif, have some influence?

As a regular letter writter and petitioner, I'm not always sure how much influence it does have, but it's got to be worth a try.  Our group meets the first of the month, mostly, and is quite a social thing, between horror stories of human rights abuses.  1st December we take a month off writing/emailing to MPs, dictators and ministers of justice to send a card directly to those prisoners of conscience who might receive them.  Occasionally we get letters/ emails back, which can be quite touching when they come from the prisoners themselves.

If you're concerned about human rights and want to act either as part of a group or as an individual, Amnesty International could be the way to do it.  Please see useful links below:

Facebook: Birmingham Uni Amnesty International 
Twitter: @UoB_Amnesty

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