2012: Your human rights year in pictures

What a year 2012 has been. We've seen astounding courage from peaceful protesters in Syria and from individuals like Malala Yousufzai, continuing to call for education for girls despite the dangers. We've seen a punk band stand up to the full might of Putin's Russia, and a blind human rights lawyer perform a daring escape from house arrest in China. We all watched with dismay as the first ever global Arms Trade Treaty was almost in our grasp, only to be snatched away at the last-minute.

And through all of this, you've been there, in your thousands, helping us pressure governments, showing solidarity with prisoners of conscience, and raising money to help us do our work. Quite simply, we can't do it without you.

So here are some of the highlights of your year in human rights. And here's to 2013 - let's hope you can acheive even more. Not least finally getting that Arms Trade Treaty. 


There are over 100 Amnesty student groups across the UK and thousands of students working with us to stand up for human rights. Their creativity and committment to the cause is astounding! This is Edinburgh University marking 10 years of Guantanamo Bay in January. They were one of many groups who helped gather over 35,000 signatures for our petition reminding Obama of his promise to close the base. 


Our supporters are amazing when they come together to support a cause. These are just some of the 3,000 of you who braved the cold  to mark a year since peaceful protests in Egypt brought the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. Together we showed our support to those still protesting in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya and elsewhere. 


We've given a shout out to our amazing student groups, and here's one of the 530 equally fantastic Youth Groups celebrating International Women's Day by putting pressure on the Saudi government to allow women to drive. 


In April hundreds of Amnesty members from around the country came together in Manchester for our Annual General Meeting and you called for the release of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and other prisoners of conscience in Bahrain. At this point, al-Khawaja was close to death having been on hunger strike for nearly three months. 


Defending human rights? Piece of cake! Across 2012 hundreds of you held an AmnesTea to raise money to support our work - this amazing six-tier candle cake was the work of pupils at Royal Grammar School Newcastle.


Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng scaled a wall to escape his illegal house arrest. As he waited in the American Embassy in Beijing awaiting his fate, we headed to the Chinese Embassy in London to demand his freedom. Thousands of you did the same onlline, and left voice messages of support.

We made sure the Chinese authorities knew that the world is watching, and Chen was granted permission to travel. He is now living in New York with his family, and sent a personal message to thank you for all of your support. 


We've mentioned our student and youth groups but we're yet to say a big thank you to all of our incredibly dedicated local groups. Here's the Manchester group staging a 'die-in' to stop shoppers in their tracks and raise awareness of the millions of lives lost each year as a result of the irresponsible arms trade. As groups across the country did the same, we sent a strong message: the world needs a robust Arms Trade Treaty!


Across the UK you came together, writing to your MPs and the party leaders to demand the UK Government did us proud in the negotiations for the world's first ever Arms TradeTreaty. In case it wasn't enough, we took to the streets with Oxfam. In a tank. We turned heads and stopped traffic but most importantly we sent a message to key governments to stand strong at the negotiations and support a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

As the negotiations drew to a close at the end of June we might not have acheived the Treaty, but thanks to you the UK government did us proud. And they were influential in ensuring it was top of the agenda at the UN General Assembly in October - securing a final series of negotiations next March, when we are confident we can finally get the Arms Trade Treaty we've all worked so hard for.  


Amnesty activists in Bern, Switzerland gave Aung San Suu Kyi a special welcome as she arrived for her first visits to Europe in decades. 


So many of you sent messages demanding that the Russian authorities release Pussy Riot that the prosecutors turned off their fax machines! So we went to the embassy in person to deliver your messages. Without your appeals, the band members would almost certainly have been given far harsher sentences.  


When Malala Yousufzai was shot by the Taliban because she dared to speak out for her right to an education, your response was unprecedented. Over 5,000 of you sent messages of support in just a few days, including these pupils at Amesbury School!


This wonderful band of volunteer translators used Human Rights Day to turn your texts of support into postcards in Russian for photojournalist Mehman Huseynov, at risk of 5 years in jail for trumped-up charges. He posted a thank you message on facebook the same day, moved by your support. 


Here are just some of the runners who helped cap off an amazing year by braving the cold, donning Santa suits and raising money for human rights! Between them, they're on track to raise over £20,000 for our work.

A huge thank you to all of you who have helped make 2012 such a great year, and for proving that when we get together we can achieve amazing things!

A bigger, better 2013

We hope 2013 will be even bigger and better. Helping human rights defenders on the ground in Afghanistan is big on our agenda next year, and we hope this short video from our Student Conference 2012 inspires you to get ready to help!

About Amnesty UK Blogs
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.
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2 comments

I REALLY FIND THIS GAY

camero2 5 years ago

SOME PEOPLE DONT KNOW THAT WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS GAY REALLY GAY

camero2 5 years ago