One global conversation on human rights - Blog Action Day
What does 'human rights' mean to you? What inspires you to take an action, or send a tweet or email about our work - or the work of Reprieve, Human Rights Watch, PEN or the many other human rights organisations?
On Wednesday, thousands of bloggers around the world are all going to tackle those questions and more, and post on the same topic - human rights. It's part of Blog Action Day, an initiative aiming to speak conversations about the some issues that affect us all, and we want you to join in.
Freedom of expression is something we often take for granted. But those freedoms online, on Twitter and on blogs, are being suppressed around as Governments very used to controlling tradtiional media struggle to keep the same level of control. We've seen social activists arrrested in Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Iran - just to name a few.
They're using their voice despite the risks. You can support them by using yours.
What could you blog about on Blog Action Day?
You could talk about what inspires you to take action on behalf of those suffering an injustice, such as the first case that inspired you to do more than read. Your story of standing up for human rights could inspire others to do the same! Or you could write about one of the campaigns we're working on at Amnesty - here's some food for thought:
Is the protest song dead? Can we make a difference with a song?
On Monday evening, Radio 1 are broadcasting a documentary about the protest song - Make Some Noise! They're speaking to artists like PJ Harvey, Billy Bragg, Kate Tempest, Scroobius Pip and many more on what makes a protest song and who's doing it well. They also spoke to Amnesty youth groups who entered our Protest Song competition last year, and how you can enter this year.
Do you think the protest song can make a difference? Can we change people's minds about what's right with art? You could publish a review, write your own protest song, or talk about Amnesty's Youth Awards.
To help you, we've got videos of Kate Tempest describing how to write the perfect protest song, and last year's wining songs from our competition
Will you stand up against Putin's crackdown against his critics?
As the Sochi Olympics gets closer, the attention is building on Russia. And Putin seems to have responded with more repression and a bigger crackdown on criticism, dissent and protest. It's not just Pussy Riot (whose two members still in jail are now in separate penal colony's) - the offices of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty have been raided under a new 'foreign agent' NGO bill, and prominent critics or protesters, such as Mikhail Kosenko has been sent to a mental institution for his part in the protest at Bolotnaya Square. A Moscow court has banned Gay Pride for 100 years, and you can be jailed for distributing 'homosexual propoganda', such as leaflets designed to help young people struggling with their sexuality.
You could write about how you've been inspired by activists such as Pussy Riot, or Stephen Fry's open letter to the IOC and David Cameron about the Sochi Olympics and LGBT rights. And you can take action by signing our new petition to President Putin, and encouraging your readers to do the same.
Do you think the Government should tell you how to dress?
In Sudan, the controlling government requires that all women do not wear close-fitting trousers or jeans, and that they cover their heair with a headscarf at all times. Amira Osman Hamed, a civil engineer and womens' rights activist has refused and faces a sentence of 40 lashes if convicted of 'indecent or imoral dress'. The law is intentionally vague leaving local police officers to decide what is 'imoral' and women are much more likely to be singled out under it. And the punishment, well, the punishment is another thing entirely.
Would you dare to be openly gay in Uganda?
Tuesday sees the first part of a new programme from Stephen Fry, 'Out There', who's spent some time searching out some of the most dangerous places in the world to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Places like Iran, where being gay could land you the death penalty. In the first episode this week, he meets activists in Uganda, including a young women who suffered 'corrective rape'.
You could write about your own experiences of discrimination, and look at our latest reports on homphobia across Europe or Russia. You could encourage your readers to watch Stephen Fry's programme, or films such as Call Me Kuchu, and to join our LGBTI network to stand up for gay rights.
Or anything else!
Anything you want, around human rights. That's the beauty of Blog Action Day. Whatever you write on the topic, you're shining a spotlight on a story that needs to be told. Don't be silent.
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.