Why we’ve published My Little Book of BIG Freedoms
At Amnesty we know that human rights are crucial to a well-functioning society. In our view, all of us should understand, uphold and celebrate them, no matter how old or young we are.
Children should be taught about them as early as possible – and we know that picture books are a particularly effective and sensitive way to communicate difficult issues. Through picture books and stories we develop empathy, which is a skill that we all need if we are to confront prejudice, bigotry and stand up on behalf of others.
In the UK we have a law called the Human Rights Act, which makes us the envy of many less democratic countries. Its wording is rather complex and it’s often reviled in the press, but it is a vital protection. It helps to keep us safe, to have a family, a home, to learn and to play. It also means we can express ourselves freely, we can draw, write and say what we think.
When we found out that the Human Rights Act is under threat, we knew we needed to raise awareness of just how precious it is and that every one of us benefits from having our human rights protected in British law.
So who better to ask to help us than the Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, who knows exactly how important freedom of expression is and who is past master of communicating with children?
In My Little Book of BIG Freedoms, Chris Riddell has created the most beautiful little book of thoughtful, uplifting pictures – each of them celebrating the positive values that lie at the heart of the 16 rights in the Act.
'We all want a good life, to have fun, to be safe and happy and fulfilled. For this to happen we need to look after each other. Here in the United Kingdom there are sixteen different freedoms that help look after us. They are truly wonderful, precious things.
'I’ve drawn some pictures for you. Each of them shows one of our freedoms and how it can help each of us when we need it. I hope you like them. These freedoms didn’t come out of the blue. They were created especially to protect every one of us in this beautiful country, forever. They are part of something called the Human Rights Act. But not everyone understands how precious they are.
'We need to stand up for these freedoms and look after them just as they look after us. Only then can we be sure that we and our children and our children’s children can grow up safe and sure of their protection.'
Chris Riddell, Children's Laureate
It’s our sincere hope that readers of My Little Book of BIG Freedoms, no matter what their age, will come away from it feeling inspired – that they are better empowered to think about deep issues, to lead a happy, caring life and to be part of making the world a better place.
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.