Design, Film, Human Rights, Politics

Amnesty Shines a Light on Human Rights

by David Cumpton

Citizen Group was proud to welcome Amnesty International USA to San Francisco earlier this month as the world’s largest human rights organization held their Annual General Meeting at the historic Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. 

More than 1,000 movement leaders and activists gathered to commemorate Amnesty’s 50th anniversary, and hear the moving first-hand stories from prisoners of conscience on whose behalf we have all worked to help release, including a live satellite link-up with Aung Sung Su Kyi – recently released after living under house arrest by government authorities in Burma for the past 14 years. Attendees also enjoyed a concert performance and moving tribute to Joan Baez, a life-long Amnesty activist.

The conference was themed “SHINE A LIGHT ON HUMAN RIGHTS.” Citizen developed the theme and designed many of the supporting event and communication materials. Most gratifying however was hearing the results from December’s annual global Write-A-Thon campaign and web activities, which Citizen also helped develop. The 2010 Write-A-Thon mobilized more people than ever. People in more than 50 countries took part in the campaign, which generated more 636,000 appeals globally (with an “appeal” meaning a letter, card, fax, email or SMS sent, or a petition signed, either to the authorities on behalf of an individual, or directly to the individuals in solidarity).

Amnesty’s work was founded on mass letter-writing in 1961 when one man, Peter Benensonhad an idea – to defend the basic dignity and human rights of all those imprisoned, tortured, or “disappeared” simply because of their race, religion, gender, or beliefs. His simple idea – transformed into direct action – was to shine a light on injustice,  wherever it occurs.   It understood that human rights belong to each of us, but they must be defended by all of us. 

Fifty years later, that legacy is alive and well, as is the freedom of Aung Sung Su Kyi, Bu Dongwei, Femi Peters, Jenni Williams, and countless others will attest – as they did this weekend.

Categorized under: Design | Film | Human Rights | Politics