Keane drummer hits rights beat to help launch Amnesty's new education pack at Crystal Palace School

Richard Hughes, drummer with the hugely popular British band Keane, was on hand to help pupils at Harris Academy Crystal Palace launch Amnesty International’s new education pack, entitled A Matter of Life and Death, earlier today.

The pack is Amnesty’s flagship education resource and focuses on the death penalty – a topic Richard Hughes cares passionately about and has campaigned on.

Richard Hughes said: “It’s vital that Children's rights are given the chance to debate complex issues – and Amnesty’s pack does exactly that.

'It provides information from both sides of the argument and encourages people to reach their own decisions.

'On a personal level, I find it astonishing that nearly 60 countries across the world still retain the death penalty.

'I’ve been campaigning against it for years now. The bumper sticker says: ‘Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing is wrong?’ And I agree with that.'

Michael McCann, head of social sciences at the school, delivered a lesson from the pack as part of the launch. Afterwards he said: 'We were delighted to be asked to launch Amnesty International’s pack here at Harris Academy Crystal Palace.

'It is great to encourage pupils to grasp the opportunity to learn about events and issues outside their own sphere of experience.

'The pack has helped develop their views and you could see clearly that it went down really well.'

Tom Fyans, Amnesty International UK’s head of campaigns, who was also present at the launch, added: 'Amnesty has a very strong commitment to education and helping teachers. Human rights have an important part to play in a child’s education.

'All Amnesty’s education resources use real-life case studies to help bring to life global issues. We strive to provide a balanced approach and encourage pupils to develop, challenge and inform their own opinions.'

The pack contains a script for a short play, presentations and lesson plans to inspire young people – aged 14 plus – to learn more about real events around the world and real people facing the reality of the death penalty.

It also includes films featuring Jeremy Irons, Sister Helen Prejean and Mirza Tahir Hussain, a British man who spent 18 years on death row in Pakistan.

Amnesty International has a wide-range of education resources available for teachers to download and use in the classroom at www.amnesty.org.uk/education.

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