Campaigning using the internet
I am lucky, living in the UK and having a great amount of freedom; many people are not so fortunate. The internet is now one very powerful way of finding out what is going on and taking action too. Governments that flaunt human rights do not like the power of the internet. Many years ago when I was visiting India I met a young man who said that he had been tortured in another Asian country – he showed me wounds on his arm. I told him to contact Amnesty International but it was not until years afterwards that I got round to giving my support to Amnesty as a member. I tend to work on my own, not being very keen on joining groups and going to meetings.
What have I done recently?
I have sent e-mail appeals using the Amnesty website and that is a cheap and easy way to do it. Also I have sent letters to embassies in London or by airmail. The magazine sent to members of Amnesty always has about six worldwide appeals, cases that cannot be ignored. I rarely have any replies from embassies or government officials. I have tried writing to my MP, asking him to sign a motion (he refused) or to contact a minister. Amnesty International says that letters should be written as though the recipient is a reasonable and rational person. The way certain countries keep on offending it is obvious that they are not trying hard enough. I have been looking at the United Nations websites such as the one of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/ The UN has Special Rapporteurs on various topics and one is Torture. There are detailed reports of that Rapporteur's missions, such as recent ones to Georgia, Mongolia, Nepal and China. I think that these reports are useful ammunition for campaigners.
Amnesty on the first page of their newly designed website give us a link to irrepressible. info and a chance to sign up in favour of freedom of information on the internet. 5444 people had signed before I did so on May 28 2006 and now a few days on the count is already 18003.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.