NI: Belfast schools launch UK-wide refugee assembly initiative

Two Belfast schools were among the first of over one thousand in the UK staging special assemblies for Amnesty International’s ‘Protect The Human Week’ (from 17-23 October).

Pupils from Knockbreda High School and Our Lady & St Patrick's College, Knock held a special joint school assembly at Parliament Buildings, Stormont in the presence of a cross-party groups of MLAs and representatives of local refugee groups.
Protect the Human Week launches a range of events and activities over the coming months under the Protect The Human banner, all aimed at giving people new and easier ways to show support for humanity and human rights

In the biggest project of its kind ever conducted by Amnesty International, more than 1,700 schools - including nearly 100 in Northern Ireland - will stage the assembly ‘Refugee Voices’ in the coming weeks. Refugee Voices focuses on refugees and asylum-seekers from across the world – one of Amnesty International’s key areas of work.

The assembly is designed to humanise the issues concerned, with students and/or teachers telling the stories of several refugees, some of them well known, like Portsmouth footballer Lua Lua and music star Gloria Estefan, and some of them ordinary people.
Says Patrick Corrigan, NI Programme Director of Amnesty International: "An estimated 300,000 students - including 15,000 in Northern Ireland - will see the Refugee Voices assembly. The initiative has been a runaway success, providing an innovative way of addressing important issues through individual stories that students can identify with."

MLAs joined the pupils at the event in signing a petition to Home Secretary Charles Clarke about the detention of asylum seekers at jails and detention centres in Northern Ireland and elesewhere.

Background

All the schools presenting ‘Refugee Voices’ were approached by Amnesty International and provided with detailed materials to enable them to stage the assembly and to follow it up afterwards.

There are more than 20 Amnesty International groups in NI schools, many of which will also stage the assemblies or be involved in them.

Amnesty International also provides regular information about teaching human rights in school through its TeachRight Scheme.
Schools interested in setting up a group or teachers wishing to join TeachRight should

Email: student@amnesty.org.uk
Or call: 020 7033 1596

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