Amnesty's MENA Campaign - A short introduction
Amnesty UK's Director speaks at our Global Day of Action in London, February 201 Amnesty UK's Director speaks at our Global Day of Action in London, February 2011. © Guy Smallman

I figure before I do any “proper” blog posts I should say a little about the campaign I manage here - Crisis & Transition in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). It’s fair to say it is an ambitious, labyrinthine and long term campaign but when I am asked what it is really about I say “Solidarity with people peacefully demanding change – Defiance against those trying to stop them”.

To expand on that a little, we want Human Rights Defenders, peaceful protesters, Governments and opposition groups across the MENA region to know that Amnesty stands in solidarity with people in and from the Middle East & North Africa peacefully demanding change. In particular those demanding an end to poverty, corruption, discrimination and repression and campaigning for basic human rights and immediate reforms.

Solidarity on its own is not enough however - just like good intentions are never enough when it comes to effective campaigning. This is not to be dismissive; it’s just to recognise that we as an organisation need to be more actively involved in the region, with people from across the political and social spectrum. This is why we want these key constituencies to know that Amnesty UK stands in defiance against anyone, in the region or in the UK, who tries to suppress this growing movement of people seeking to bring about a human rights revolution.

Our campaigning has to be forward looking - focusing on a vision for the new MENA region in transition as enshrined in our Agenda for Change programme. For example this is our Agenda for Change on Egypt (PDF). Furthermore our campaigning aims to secure the “human rights narrative” in the plans, programmes, manifestos, constitutions, laws, policies and practices of these key constituencies and stakeholders where relevant.

We at Amnesty know that a real human rights revolution will not come about in a year or even 10 years – this is a long term process which is as much about institutions and laws as it is about the way people think about themselves, their fellow citizens and their relationships with the world around them.

Labyrinthine? Yes. Ambitious? Yes. Challenging? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

And you can help - find out more about the campaign and take action

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