It seems that the more our world becomes interconnected, the more we recognize the injustice present. As humans, it is very difficult to watch others being treated in a way we feel is inherently wrong. Human rights have become one of the most important issues on the global stage. The concept of “human rights” is one that is fluid and difficult to identify in our world of difference, but one group is working to make sure that no human right violation goes unnoticed. Amnesty International works in over 150 countries worldwide to research the forgotten injustices that occur. It was founded by a lawyer named Peter Benenson who wrote an article on two students who were jailed for “raising a toast to freedom”. His article sparked a movement that lead to the major organization it is today.
The way that Amnesty International works is they have an intense team of researchers that look into cases of human rights violations and publicize it so the world knows exactly what is happening. Often, they are on the ground in intense situations taking notes and speaking directly with the oppressed. They give a voice to those who do not have the power or the resources to speak for themselves. But what exactly is a “human right”? According to the UNOHCHR, they are “rights inherent to all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination”.
Amnesty International wants to bring attention to problems like torture, free speech, and the death penalty. They advocate for areas in the world that are in intense conflict such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Palestine. They also advocate for human rights education. They believe “you have the right to know, seek and receive information about your human rights and have access to human rights education. Through education you can empower yourself and others to develop the skills and attitudes that promote equality, dignity and respect in your community, society and worldwide.”
What is so important about this element of their organization is that they’re using their platform not only to make noise about injustice, but they give the world the resources to make change on their own. This bottom-up effort helps to change the mentality of humanity. People will be educated on equality, peace, and tolerance rather than hatred and anger. We need organizations like Amnesty International desperately. I want to live in a world where people are respected and treated with dignity no matter who they are, don’t you?