Nobody wants to get stoned
I have spent most of the day loitering outside the Iranian embassy. It is not illegal but it is frowned upon. From a great height, through an open window, by burly looking security officials.
I was there with 20 school children from Eastlea school, East London. They were carrying huge letters spelling END STONING and chanting: “End the killing in Iran, we demand a stoning ban.” Which was very catchy.
The pupils were numbered 1-14 because Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, is, shockingly, one of 14 people awaiting the carrying out of a stoning sentence in Iran. At Amnesty we have documented 77 stonings since the Islamic revolution in 1979, but the true figure is likely to be higher.
It was great to see the children so passionate in their campaigning and we were able to hand in a petition, which we hadn’t thought the embassy would accept. We were also joined by a photographer from The Times, so the students are eagerly awaiting seeing their letters in print. If an extra half a million Times readers also get to readf about their action in tomorrow’s papers, that would be a real bonus.
The message was simple: stoning is cruel, and inhumane, and Amnesty members are not prepared to stand silently by. I thought it was summed up well by the words of one student who had signed the letters. They wrote: have you never heard of human rights?
No, is probably the answer. And on the eve of our Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year award ceremony, this day underscored how important human rights education is.
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.