By Zainab Khan and Sophia Chiappa
Injustice is a word that has unfortunately entered our daily vocabulary due to its sheer prominence. Everything we see at the moment is an ‘injustice’, such as the price of Marmite going up post-Brexit. However, there are people in the world who are really familiar with the word, as they sit in prison for having waved a flag or toasted to freedom. That is true injustice. There are people all over the world who are currently sitting in prison for unjustifiable reasons; there are families who are missing them.
Amnesty International is a global organization that dedicates itself to fighting against injustice, seeking to change laws and protect the basic human rights and freedoms of everyone, everywhere. They were involved in a number of high-profile successful campaigns, one such example being the release of Shaker Aamer, and they continue to work tirelessly to both protect those who have legal rights, and demand protection for those who don’t.
Every December there is a letter writing campaign in which everyone is welcomed and encouraged to participate in, known as ‘Write for Rights.’ You can both send a card to a family or prisoner, and write an appeal letter to the government urging them to take action in releasing someone. I happened to come across them because of Brunel’s new Amnesty International group, which was briefly set up in the library on Thursday. I wrote a card to the family of Giulio Regeni, an Italian student doing his PhD in Cambridge University. Whilst in Cairo doing research he was captured, tortured for days before being left dead on the side of the highway. The Egyptian government refuses to collaborate with the Italians, and his family remains to this day without closure. I also wrote a letter to the government, urging them to make their findings regarding the case public, and cooperate with the Italian government so that this family may be at least able to move on in their grief.
The website allows you to read their yearly reports on their campaigns and actions. Last year the ‘Write for Rights’ campaign enjoyed tremendous success. The sheer size of the campaign continues to astound, and is something that everyone can be a part of. Our letters truly make a difference, with it lifting the spirits of prisoners and showing them that they are not alone: it is invaluable. December the 10th is Human Rights Day, a brilliant time to get involved.
Though this article will go up too late this year, it is definitely a date for next year’s calendar and there is so much one can do in the meantime. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Volunteer – From phone banking, to helping to organise lobby efforts, Amnesty offers a variety of volunteer roles to suit anyone looking to get involved
- Sign up to the Amnesty International newsletter – this is a great way to keep yourself informed and also to find causes you want to lend your voice to
- Attend Amnesty events – this is a great place to find like-minded people who care about the same causes, and can also provide you with inspiration for your own events
- Sign a petition – lend your signature to a cause that you care about in order to make a difference to someone’s life.
Brunel is also creating its own Amnesty International group, which should be fully up and running after the Christmas Holidays. Without this group being in the library for a few hours, I would not have known about the suffering and the injustices that some people face, just for speaking out in the name of freedom, or like Giulio Regeni, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Take action these holidays- go to amnesty.org.uk/write-rights-2016, where you’ll be provided with a guide to writing your letter of solidarity. Over the holiday period, it is important to remember those in need of our help, and I urge you to lend your time to write to a victim of injustice to let them know they are not forgotten, or to contact a grieving family to give them support.
Go to https://www.amnesty.org.uk for more information on Amnesty International.