Take Action to End Child Marriage on International Youth Day

Indian groom puts vermilion on the forehead of his underage bride during a mass marriage in Malda, India 02 March 2006. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Groom and underage bride during a mass marriage in Malda, India. March 2, 2006. Child marriage, which is illegal under international law and prohibited in many countries, still impacts 15 million girls each year. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

By Kaitlyn Denzler, Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International USA

In Malawi, Kalinde* was 15 years old when she was forced to marry due to her family’s poverty. She was told to respect her husband and never to deny him sex. Her husband’s work takes him away from their home for long periods of time, leaving her and their two children with nothing to live on. Kalinde’s husband also physically abuses her and has affairs with other women. As a result, Kalinde contracted HIV. In Kalinde’s words:

Marriage is not good for girls. There is no happiness. I want change for girls and that is why I want my story to be heard by all girls out there thinking of marriage.”


A Social Movement To Be Reckoned With In Africa

Fadel Barro, one of the leaders of Y'en a Marre (We're Fed Up) movement and Oscibi Johann, one of the leaders of Burkina Faso's Balai Citoyen (Citizens Broom) at a press conference in Kinshasa on March 15, 2015 before several activists were detained. (Photo: FEDERICO SCOPPA/AFP/Getty Images)

Fadel Barro, one of the leaders of Y’en a Marre (We’re Fed Up) movement and Oscibi Johann, one of the leaders of Burkina Faso’s Balai Citoyen (Citizens Broom) appear at a press conference in the Democratic Republic of Congp. Youth activists were detained following this event on March 15, 2015. (Photo: FEDERICO SCOPPA/AFP/Getty Images)

We are not plotters or terrorists, we are a new generation of committed young Africans.

We who hold the destiny of the continent in our hands must not be deprived of our freedom.

We are a new civic movement that has just emerged in Africa. We will not be intimidated by long detentions, harassment and repression.


Kazakhstan: Reject Anti-LGBT “Propaganda” Law

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev  (Sean Gallup/Getty Images))

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev (Sean Gallup/Getty Images))

Following in the steps of Russia’s draconian 2013 anti-LGBT law, Kazakhstan’s Senate has passed a similar law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation.”

This new legislation – the Law on the Protection of Children from Information Harming their Health and Development – now awaits President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s signature.

Amnesty International calls on President Nazarbayev to reject this discriminatory law. While the legislation’s complete text has not been made available to the public, and while Kazakhstani authorities have not responded to Amnesty International’s request for a copy of the full law, the local media have quoted members of Parliament referring to provisions that clearly discriminate against LGBT people in Kazakhstan. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

From Ferguson to Hong Kong: Youth on the front lines


By Rafi Hoq, Amnesty International USA Student Activist Coordinator for Georgia

This week, I’ve been reading the latest updates from student-led “umbrella movement” in Hong Kong with a deepened diligence, and continuing to follow the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri with newfound excitement. Youth are leading the fight for human rights around the world, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I’ve spent just a few of my 20 years as an activist, but having recently returned to Atlanta after Ferguson’s Weekend of Resistance, solidarity means something entirely new to me. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Weekend of Resistance: Students Stand in Solidarity with Ferguson

MHC Ferguson Photo ActionBy Gerry Carolina, Northeast Regional representative for the National Youth Action Committee, and coordinator of Amnesty International, Mount Holyoke College

It’s been 2 months since the death of Michael Brown, and even in the face of heavy-handed  tactics by the police, peaceful protesters continue to march.

The community of Ferguson has called for a Weekend of Resistance from October 10-13, and Amnesty International Mount Holyoke College is answering in solidarity. 7 of us are driving from Western Massachusetts to Missouri this week, and our mission is to mobilize students to action, raise awareness, and build bridges between our students and the community of Ferguson. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Iranian American Entertainers Speaking Out

Many Iranian Americans have turned to the arts as a means of critiquing the status quo both in Iran and the US. Among them is Maz Jobrani, an Iranian American  comedian and a part of the “Axis of Evil” comedy troupe. He has been touring with the troupe since 2005; his routine surrounding Iran, racial profiling, and being Muslim in America. His act is so popular that he has appeared on shows ranging from the Colbert Report to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Last week, Jobrani also voiced his support for upholding human rights in Iran and urged his viewers to attend the Global Day of Action for Iran. “Over the last few weeks, we have watched elements within the Iranian regime react with brutality to people who seek to have a voice in their own government,” he said. “Many have been imprisoned and tortured. Some stand to be executed. We cannot simply stand by.”

Nazanin Boniadi is an Iranian born actress who has appeared on the soap opera General Hospital as well as the films Charlie Wilson’s War and Iron Man. When she’s not on set, Boniadi works alongside Amnesty International as an official spokesperson for disenfranchised populations across the world. She has been increasingly involved with Iranian youth and women, bringing attention to many of their unjust convictions and treatments in detainment. Last year, Boniadi wrote a heartfelt entry on Amnesty’s blog about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A bit from Jobrani’s stand-up routine:


Jobrani’s message of support for the Global Day of Action for Iran:


Samah Choudhury contributed to this post