We couldn’t have done it without you...
In the year that Amnesty celebrated its 50th anniversary, we have seen revolutions taking place, prisoners released, thousands of signatures collected and global activism on a grand scale. So as the year draws to a close we wanted to stop and share some of the extraordinary human rights victories Amnesty International has been a part of in 2011!
We couldn’t have done it without you.
Scroll down for some of the highlights of 2011...
|Egypt uprising, Tahir Square, Egypt 2011. (c) Maggie Osama|
2011 saw millions of people take to the streets to demand change in theMiddle East and North Africa. The ‘Arab Spring’ has caused much suffering and sadness, yet it has also seen ordinary people stand up and demand action, realising that they do have the power to make a difference. Amnesty International has been there too: documenting violations; calling on authorities to respect human rights; and standing in solidarity with the people of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen.
|Patrick Holmes, AIANZ’s Chief Executive hands over the 21,000 signatures to Kiribati’s President Anote Tong on 8 September 2011.|
This year we collected 21,000 signatures to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Pacific, showing that this is an issue New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders alike are deeply concerned about. In September we asked Pacific Leaders to “Change the Lights on Women’s Rights” as Pacific Island Leaders met in Auckland. We were also able to proudly present our petition to Kiribati leader, Anote Tong, who accepted it on behalf of his country.
|Martina Correia, in support of the Troy Davis campaign in Dublin, Ireland. © André Corvin Photography|
On 21 September, in the state of Georgia in the US, Troy Davis was executed. Troy's story became known around the world and while we weren’t able to save his life, we can be proud of the way people came together around the world to take on this campaign.
We have transformed the debate on the horrific practice that is the death penalty and our fight to abolish it will never again be the same.
The campaign to save Troy’s life also caught fire on Twitter in a last-minute effort to save his life; Troy Davis became #2 on Twitter's top tweets for 2011, with 7,671 Tweets per second on 20 September.
In early October Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty made a flying visit to New Zealand. While Salil strongly recognised the role NZ has played in the protection of human rights worldwide, he urged us not to become complacent and continue to “Be a voice for those who have none”.
On October 12, nearly 200 political prisoners were released in Myanmar. Amongst them were Zaw Htet Ko Ko, Zarganar and Su Su Nway. For years Amnesty International campaigned for their release and finally we were able to celebrate the success of all those letters and petitions.
At the time of writing, the global total of the 2011 Write for Rights Letterwriting Marathon was almost at one million! That’s one million letters being sent from individuals like you. From New Zealand we’ve popped a total of 1,471 letters in the post. It is a good effort and we thank everyone who took part in making this year’s Letterwriting Marathon the biggest yet. You can check out the photos from around the world here.
And just this week the death of Kim Jong-il has presented an important opportunity for improving North Korea’s catastrophic human rights record. Amnesty International will continue to call on the North Korean authorities and the new leader of North Korea to make immediate improvements in human rights including: Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, including family members, held in all political prison camps.
We couldn't have done it without you, if you'd like to help further our work in 2012, please click here to donate now.