Last Sunday was Human Rights Day, where charities like Amnesty International have been working hard to make sure those in need have their voices heard.
Amnesty International is a human rights charity based in the UK that stand up for human rights.
Anne Walker, 65, has been working with Amnesty International for 47 years, after joining the group when she was in University at the age of 18.
Walker has been working with Amnesty International in Manchester in the run-up to Human Rights Day, and in her own words, the group has been very busy!
“We’ve been concentrating on the Write for Rights campaign, which is sending messages of support to human rights defenders.
“It’s a national campaign that all the groups get involved with, and we’ve been running stalls doing it; by the end of tomorrow we’ll have run eight stalls- we’ve been busy,” said Walker.
Write for Rights connects those who need help when their rights have been taken away from them with people who can send them kind letters and cards of support.
Walker explained: “It is an international campaign, it has a very positive effect on the individuals who are usually in prison, or being harassed, or they’ve received death threats.
“It’s really important to them to understand that there is a big international community supporting them,” she said.
The group has been running many stalls in the past week encouraging people to get involved in Write for Rights.
“We had a big get together in Whalley Range at St Margaret’s church.”
The Whalley Range group has been meeting for over 15 years, with a huge turnout.
“It’s a lovely event. There must have been over a hundred people there, and I’m not sure how many cards they got out, but it must be hundreds.”
Amnesty International was working all over Manchester last week in pop up stalls to encourage people to take part in Write for Rights.
“We also had a stall at Birch community fair, and at Acoustic Amnesty at Sacred Trinity in Salford.
“The Salford City Council organised a Human Rights Day Vigil at Eccles Cross, and we also had a stall there,” said Walker
On Human Rights Day last Sunday, the group gave a talk at the Sunday assembly. The theme of the event was giving light in dark times, which was fitting for Amnesty International as their logo is a lit candle.
Walker said: “our vice chair Hazel gave a talk at the Sunday assembly in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, where Amnesty was the main speaker, we did the keynote talk there surrounding the Amnesty logo, it was a lovely event!”
Walker described how Human Rights day is important, as it exposes people to the terrible injustice going on around the world who may not otherwise know.
“I’m so used to reading Amnesty material, and how people are treated in different parts of the world, but a lot of people are never exposed to that.
“I think because I’ve been a member of Amnesty for 47 years, you get used to it, but a lot of people don’t know,” said Walker.
“They come and they read the case sheets and they’re shocked, and I think while it is awful it’s pretty normal.”
Walker believes Human Rights Day is useful as it can make awareness about these issues focussed into one day, meaning people are more likely to take notice: “I think Human Rights Day is good because it’s more focussed, and it helps us focus our activities and raise awareness around that date.”
To learn more about Amnesty International or to donate, visit their website.