Last night at JustSpace a small group of us gathered to write letters for Amnesty International. For the last 6 years we have met every two months, and sat down and put pen to paper. We listened to stories of death sentences in Iraq and disappearances in Sri Lanka, then held silence for political and faith related prisoners everywhere.
The importance of the work of Amnesty International cannot be underestimated. It has changed the way the world has looked at human rights. Though it is working with political leaders and dealing with international bodies, I think it is successful primarily because it works from the grassroots up. The letter writing connects individuals and small groups to the realities of human rights abuses around the globe, and empowers them to do something about it.
Tonight there will be a meal at the Treehouse Cafe to celebrate Amnesty at 50. But more important than the fundraising and delicious meals, will be another opportunity to write letters and press governments to stop torture and abuse. Amnesty helps the people tackle the powerful, and stops governments thinking they can get away with murder. Happy birthday Amnesty, now, lets get writing!