Marking International Human Rights Day: A plea from MP Ann Clywd
This year we've teamed up with the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group to mark International Human Rights Day. Here MP Ann Clwyd, who chairs the group in Parliament, reflects on why human rights are so fundamental and asks you to use this day to Write for Rights.
I find it hard to understand the bad press that “human rights” often now gets in the UK press these days. Because for me, human rights are really just about recognising every person’s inherent dignity.
It has always made me angry that so many the world over continue to suffer at the hands of their own Governments: the very people who are supposed to serve the needs of their citizens all too often make their lives miserable, sometimes even intolerable.
Can you imagine going to the police for help because you’ve just been mugged, and then being tortured or raped at their hands – probably just because they can get away with it? Or campaigning for better public services, maybe improved healthcare or housing, and finding yourself and members of your family being followed, harassed and receiving death threats?
Hearing victims' stories
Over the years, I have heard the testimony of hundreds of victims from every corner of the globe and know that many, many people – even whole communities and societies - have had to endure ordeals like that – and much, much worse.
In the UK, we are lucky because we can speak out. As an MP, my colleagues and I have also had the privilege of being elected to represent our constituents - and are given the Parliamentary platform to do so freely.
It is easy sometimes for us to take these freedoms for granted.
Or to think that other people’s suffering has nothing to do with us. Or that we can’t do anything about it.
But by reaching out and using our freedoms, we can help.
We can speak out about the abuses and injustice victims face; generate international solidarity, to lessen their isolation and distress, and urge officials in the countries concerned to take action.
My plea to you
So I am asking everyone in the UK, including my Parliamentary colleagues, to support Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign today
By sending your messages of support to those whose rights have been violated or are at risk, or writing to the relevant authorities to urge them to stop abusing the rights of their citizens, you are reaching out – and keeping hopes alive.
Amnesty International, and all its supporters, has been keeping hopes alive with their campaigning for years.
This year Amnesty is asking you to sustain the hopes of those in Russia who wish to have a greater say in how their country is run; of women in Afghanistan who want to contribute to and be respected within their societies; of the families of the detained and disappeared in Honduras who yearn to be reunited with or find out the truth about the fate of their loved ones; of prisoners in America who do not want to languish on death row any longer because of a miscarriage of justice; and of LGBTI in South Africa who dream of living their daily lives without fear of persecution or attack.
Please sign a card today – it won’t take long and it will make a difference.
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.