I first came across Amnesty Australia at a meetup film gathering organised by an area coordinator from Amnesty. After a few films, I was really impressed with the quality of the documentaries, and found myself wanting to learn more about human rights and how I could contribute.
I grew up in China, a country known for its human rights issues. I remember how visiting Tibet really changed my mind about whether Tibet should be independent. I remember learning about the Tiananmen Square Incident in Australia because it was never taught to me in China. It is hard to overcome years of prejudice as a result of teaching that was forced upon me. Sometimes I still find myself not wanting to believe certain things.
Amnesty International is a non-political and non-religious human rights organisation. It helps to raise awareness of human rights issues, organises petitions, sends experts to help victims, monitors media etc. It has a record of achievements since the 1960s.
We are lucky that we live in Australia, because Australia has pretty good human rights record. But we can do better. We can treat refugees with more compassion. We can stop violence against women. We can reduce the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. We can also protest against overseas human rights issues. Our very own Peter Greste is still behind bars in Egypt and we should be angry about that.
I encourage you to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To me, it’s like bible.
When I think about it, I have been a human rights activist for two years now, because I founded Oz Fair Trade to help people who are living in extreme poverty to live a dignified life through fair trade. To me, dignity is the most important part of human rights. The world trade system is far from perfect, and many people are forced to work long hours for little pay. That’s not right. Fair trade aims to change that.
You can learn more about fair trade here.
You can click here to join Amnesty Australia online and/or sign one of their petitions. Remember, every voice counts.