Support the defenders of human rights as Amnesty International marks milestone in Sunderland
Wearside supporters of Amnesty International are urging you to get writing in honour of a special anniversary.
Get writing as part of campaign to support defenders of human rights as a significant anniversary is being marked today by Wearside members of Amnesty International.
It has been 70 years since the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were penned, following the horrors of another World War.
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains as relevant today as it was on the day that it was proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly” says Wearside Amnesty’s secretary Steve Newman.
“Now available in more than 360 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world — a testament to its global nature and reach. It has become a yardstick by which we measure right and wrong.
"It provides a foundation for a just and decent future for all, and has given people everywhere a powerful tool in the fight against oppression, impunity and affronts to human dignity”
The committee that drafted the declaration was drawn from different parts of the world. Its driving force was Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of the US president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Amnesty members and friends attended a candlelit vigil at Sunderland Minster, a practice that was inaugurated by the local United Nations Association in 1989 and continues today with the organisation.
This year’s meeting was also attended by Civic dignitaries and MP Julie Elliott, who represents Sunderland Central.
How you can help
Once again at this time of the year, the public are invited and encouraged to support Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign.
A simple message of solidarity in a letter or card means so much to women around the world who do extraordinary things to defend human rights.
They challenge state violence and corporate abuse, defend rights of LGBTI people, of indigenous communities, of people with disabilities and of youth, and seek gender equality.
For these women, standing up for freedom, justice and equality has come at a price: they face humiliation, imprisonment, violence – even death.
Sending a letter or card shows them and those who would silence them, that we value their courage and share their hope of building a fairer world.
This winter, millions of letters and cards will be sent by Amnesty supporters. When people unite for what is right and fair, humanity wins and every action counts.
Gulzar Duishenova fights for the rights of people with disabilities in Kyrgyzstan to live with dignity and move around freely.
This is a cause close to her own heart, having lost the movement in her legs after a car accident involving a drunk driver in 2002. The next year her husband died suddenly, leaving her as the sole carer for her two young children.
Gulzar has campaigned for rights of other people living in the capital, Bishkek. She still faces barriers and daily discrimination in a society where women are not meant to speak out and people with disabilities are seen as “invalids” with an incurable disease.
It is hoped that people will take time to learn about these campaigns this Christmas - and some students at Sunderland University have taken the organisation's message on board, arranging a large illustrated display of the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights/ This work was carried out by the university's newly-formed Students Union H R Society.
The Write for Rights campaign runs til the end of December.
To see your human rights and get involved - download the human rights passport.
For further information please see