Amnesty International presents on human rights

Robby Enright, Distribution Reporter

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Basic freedoms are often taken for granted in American society and many people around the world will never know what it is like to feel comfortable and safe. Amnesty International is a global organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of people of all races, genders, sexual preferences, religions and nationalities. Stillwater’s branch preached the importance of appreciating human rights and doing the most to ensure others can obtain theirs in the main forum room as a part of Human Rights Day, Dec. 10.

Amnesty International reached Stillwater in 2002 and was involved in creating rules that prohibit the district from being involved in any way with the violation of human rights. Amnesty International held a Human Rights Day Speaker Forum and raised funds to donate to the American Refugee Committee and Children First.

Amnesty International organized a day for students and guest speakers to present to students about the importance of basic human rights for all people and what Amnesty International is doing to change the world and give people a better life.

“I think it was very effective,” said senior Matthew Treacy. “The purpose of the event was to inform students of ongoing violations of human rights and provide a general education of the universal declaration of human rights.”

Throughout the day, six guest speakers told stories of violated human rights in less fortunate places. The guest speakers represented different organizations and spoke of violations regarding things from lack of education to children being sold into slavery.

“There were many presentations throughout the day and we had two rooms with different presentations going on at the same time. They presented on a huge array of violated human rights,” said junior Isabel Day.

During the presentations, students were asked to sign any or all of eight petitions that each asked for some sort of change in the world. By signing the petitions students helped oppressed voices be heard.

The Amnesty International Club chose eight different topics or subjects to petition for,” explained senior Ali Raddatz. “Each petition was related to a specific group of people or a specific person whose basic human rights are being violated. When a student signs, they are petitioning for that law to be changed, government to be reformed or to help a specific group of people, country or government.”

Although the majority of the speakers gave presentations about far off lands, some issues were surprisingly close to home.

“We are so incredibly blessed to live the lives that we do! But one of the speakers made an excellent point. Although the U.S. is considered to be a very safe place to live, in the sense that our constitution works to protect our human rights, it also isn’t perfect. We have plenty of hunger and homelessness along with the rest of the world so there is always room for improvement. That’s exactly what Amnesty Club is about. We work to improve the lives of others by making sure no one’s human rights are being abused. No matter where they live,” Day said.

Amnesty International works hard to raise awareness for good causes, and the students involved with Amnesty International are doing their part to change the world while encouraging their classmates to do the same.