What a weekend! We just wrapped up our 2014 Human Rights Conference in Chicago.
It was one of the largest annual conferences in Amnesty USA’s history, we had an amazing time and we wanted to share 5 highlights with you:
Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. Although 2013 saw more executions than in previous years and several countries resuming executions, there was also progress towards abolition in all regions of the world. Below, see the top 10 things you need to know from our newest report:
In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.
The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer.
There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.
More than three decades after abolishing the death penalty, Canada’s murder rate remains over one third lower than it was in 1976.
On March 19th, 2014, Ray Jasper is scheduled to be executed in Texas. Amnesty International USA is sharing his words below from a letter posted on Gawker where Ray Jasper acknowledges that this letter “could be my final statement on earth.”
Amnesty International USA has issued an urgent action calling on Texas to not execute Ray Jasper on March 19th.
When I first responded to you, I didn’t think that it would cause people to reach out to me and voice their opinions. I’ve never been on the internet in my life and I’m not fully aware of the social circles on the internet, so it was a surprise to receive reactions so quickly.
The images are striking. A woman holds the key to her own body. Another woman’s wrist disappears, gives way to a blister pack of contraceptive pills. A pile of books are embedded in a man’s back.
These are some of the illustrations painted on real bodies by Tokyo-based artist Hikaru Cho to kick-start “My Body My Rights,” Amnesty International’s new global campaign on sexual and reproductive rights.
Video evidence appears to show a group of men violently interrupting Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina’s breakfast in a restaurant near the Nizhny Novgorod train station. Nadya and Masha, who were joined by other members of the new prisoners’ rights NGO “Zone of the Rights,” say they were in the city to inspect a local prison colony.
Their assailants charged into the restaurant, carrying a sign saying “Dirty whores out of our town,” and allegedly attacked the activists with pepper spray, green antiseptic and other projectiles.
Following the incident, Nadya Tolokonnikova tweeted images of medical records showing she received treatment for eye injuries. Masha Alyokhina reportedly needed stitches and suffered from a concussion.
For nearly a decade, Teenie Rogers has been fighting for justice – but not in the way you might suspect.
In 1972 and ’73, three men were convicted of her husband’s murder and placed in solitary confinement following the murder. Together they are known as the “Angola 3.”
In a bizarre turn of events Teenie found herself fighting for justice – not just for her husband – but also for the men convicted of his murder.
The legacy of the Sochi Olympics will be tainted by the numerous human rights violations in the run-up and during the Games, as well as the failure of the International Olympic Committee to confront the Russian authorities over the arrests and beatings that marred this prestigious sporting event.
The Olympic Games are meant to contribute to a peaceful and better world. This goal was not achieved in Sochi. The reason is simple: Russia’s repression continued unabated throughout the Games, and the Olympic movement failed to challenge the host country on its pledge to promote human rights.
One night. One movement. There’s nothing like a stadium full of activists, human rights defenders, former prisoners of conscience, and musicians coming together to Bring Human Rights Home.
Imagine Dragons rocked the house. An amazing performance and heartfelt and humbling call to keep our eyes and hearts open to human rights.
Ms. Lauryn Hill rallied the crowd, keeping us all focused on “Working Hard” for human rights.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya and Masha, with Madonna, read powerful letters from Russian prisoners – and led the crowd in a chant of “Russia will be free!”
Finally, when The Flaming Lips, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and dozens of Amnesty staffers and volunteers took the stage for the final song of the concert, it was more than just an amazing end to a memorable evening: it was the coming together of a powerful community — Amnesty’s network of human rights defenders.
Tonight thousands saw and heard the soundtrack of a human rights movement, led by a new generation of artists. Thousands more around the country and around the world engaged through their activism and through their social media channels. It is a human rights movement in high definition. And it is just the beginning.
Thank you to all the artists, celebrities, activists and volunteers who made this moment possible. Check back with us as this journey continues.
Amnesty International’s Bringing Human Rights Home Concert brought Amnesty’s leaders, musicians, former prisoners of conscience and celebrities together on the red carpet. Learn more at amnestyusa.org/Feb5Concert