Hitting the books for Human Rights
A brainstorm about books to feature in the local library has led to what is believed to be New Zealand’s first Human Rights Book Club, which hosts its first meeting in Dunedin on Monday, June 8.
Dunedin North Amnesty Group co-ordinator Betty Mason Parker says Amnesty members are library users and Dunedin libraries are regularly used to host Amnesty events and displays. “And when we started naming books for the Human Rights display our team came up with an endless list of suggestions,” says Betty.
“It included books from biographies of people involved in human rights like Nelson Mandela to books about the issues themselves like genocide or refugees, to novels like the Kite Runner through to Michael Ondaatje’s amazing book on the human cost of the Sri Lankan conflict ‘Anil’s Ghost’”
And then the group started exploring International Days –like International Children’s Rights Day or Refugee Day and came up with other suggestions.
“The reason I think a human rights book club is really good is that you are giving people an opportunity to discuss human rights on quite a different level to what they normally do. It’s quite a social thing but it’s also an opportunity to take something that people like, which is reading, and put an Amnesty spin on it,” says Betty.
“And the other thing was I thought it would be a good opportunity for people to look in their communities for experts with a matching specialty to the chosen topic to lead the discussion,” she adds.
The first focus is ‘Censorship’ and members and members of the public alike can bring along and discuss books relevant to this theme. July’s topic will be decided upon at the June gathering.
Teams interested in emulating this idea can contact Betty Mason Parker for more details on firstname.lastname@example.org