By Dibya Rawal
Guest Contributor, Wesleyan’s Amnesty International
Since its inception in 1961 as a small, letter writing organization working to free prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International has gradually adopted all principles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in order to work for the political, economic and social rights of all people. Recently Amnesty has focused several campaigns specifically targeting women’s rights issues, which are often ignored by governments and underrepresented in the media globally.
Under the slogan “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” Amnesty launched several campaigns to protect women’s right to security specifically. Examples of these campaigns include the Stop Violence Against Women, which focuses on ending the global epidemic of abuses against women in times of war and peace, and the Maze of Injustice campaign, which seeks justice and protection specifically for Native American women, who are up to three times more likely to be raped than other American women. Amnesty believes that “living free from violence is a human right” and the numbers attest to the abuse of this right for women. Each year millions of women and girls are tortured through rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, acid burnings, honor killings and other forms of gender-based violence. Even worse, there are innumerous cases when the perpetrator of these heinous crimes is not held responsible for the crime.
Wesleyan women may wonder; how can this situation continue to exist? In my own personal search for answers, I came up with two possible reasons. One is; a) lack of awareness about the suffering of these women, the other; b) lack of concern on behalf of the people in general. As a member of Amnesty on campus, I believe that being aware of human rights will help us identify and defend the rights of all people. It will help pass on information on the corrective measures that can be taken. As a community, we can act by signing petitions and submitting letters online, so that foreign governments, and our own, can be urged to punish perpetrators and put an end to this cycle of violence against women.
You may notice that I did not write yet another article on just stories or data of women and girls who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or any other forms of gender-based violence simply because I believe action and solutions are better than problems. Visit www.amnesty.org and sign a petition today.