by TarikA on March 3, 2014 - 12:00pm
The very first post that I submitted to the NewsActivism website was concerned with the imprisonment of journalists from Al-Jazeera, in Cairo. Though it was indeed my first piece, I invested some effort into writing it as the issue of civil rights, and how they are flatly ignored in certain regions of the world, has always been something of utmost importance and frustration to me. Though there a plethora of organizations that concern themselves with other incredibly valiant and important causes, but my interest has always been biased towards those groups who focus their time, money and effort into preventing and resolving civil rights abuses, both domestically and internationally.
The first organization that I considered researching is one that I’ve heard a great deal about for years – Amnesty International. One of the most prominent human rights groups, the organization has been around since 1961 and has tried, with the aid of millions of volunteers, to promote and defend human rights globally. According to the website of Amnesty International Canada, the organization has the mission of conducting “research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for whose rights have been violated.” With that said, the organization aims at assuring that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other human rights instruments, are adhered globally. The organization also emphasizes its impartiality on its website, stating that it is “independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.”
Major Projects: In 2014, Amnesty International Canada will hold a “Yoga Day” on April 26 in order to raise money and promote awareness of the organization’s work in protecting and promoting human rights across the world. Yoga Day will see the participation of “yoga studios, schools, workplaces and community centers nationwide” who will independently roll out their own events, which in turn will be advertised and consulted by members of Amnesty International Canada. To add to this, Amnesty International will also be having its annual Human Rights Day Write-a-thon, where letters are written to political prisoners, out of sign of solidarity, or to governments in order to press them into helping stop human rights abuses.
Volunteer Opportunities: There are two distinct volunteering opportunities offered by Amnesty International Canada. The first is that of a Fieldworker, who are essentially trained Amnesty volunteers that help “promote human rights at the grass-root level” by supporting individuals or groups within the organization. Secondly, there is the possibility of being a “Country and Theme Coordinator” wherein a person is considered an expert on a certain country or topic (i.e. the death penalty) and play a role in supporting members understand more about issues or regions where human rights are of a concern.
1) At AI Canada’s National Office: 312 Laurier Ave E., Ottawa, ON, K1N 1H9
Tel: (613) 744-7667.
2) For AI Downtown Montreal Office (Group 16): email@example.com