One Thousand Young Human Rights Activists From Across Northeast 'Get On the Bus' April 27 Headed for Protests in New York City

Press Release
April 20, 2012

One Thousand Young Human Rights Activists From Across Northeast 'Get On the Bus' April 27 Headed for Protests in New York City

Day of Action by Student Activists Includes Demonstrations at Missions to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China

Contacts: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-509-8188; Thenjiwe McHarris, tmcharris@aiusa.org

(New York) -- Activists from across the Northeast will "Get On The Bus" and travel to New York City on Friday, April 27 to demand justice for oppressed people around the world. More than 1,000 high school and college activists for Amnesty International will participate in the 17th annual "Get On The Bus" event, which features talks and visual performances by leading human rights activists and experts, along with peaceful demonstrations outside the United Nations and the permanent missions of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and China.

The day offers journalists an opportunity to talk to young activists on why they are care so deeply about making a difference on human rights worldwide. Students will hear from former “prisoners of conscience;” from the wife of a current prisoner, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, who was jailed for making a film; and from Chaw Ei Thein, Burmese activist/performance artist; as well as from Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA.

"’Get On The Bus’ is the day where my passion for human rights comes alive," said Samuel Rosenblum, a student at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, NJ who is participating in the event for a second consecutive year. "It's an exhilarating day. Not only do we get the chance to learn about important rights issues around the world, but we also get to speak out against these abuses, providing a youthful voice for change. Amnesty allows our interest in these issues to blossom into full-fledged activism. My fellow participants and I will be on the front lines of grassroots activism from now on thanks to Get On The Bus."

Lillian Harvey, a student at Waynflete High School in Portland, Me. who is organizing the bus from her city, said "Get On The Bus gives us a voice. When I'm out there chanting alongside my peers, I feel as though we are being listened to and can have an impact. The day is an extraordinary opportunity to build the next generation of activists seeking change."

In true grassroots style, students will board buses, carpools and trains from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

The day will begin with a series of speakers and a performance at The Great Hall of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The activists will then make their way to four consecutive peaceful demonstrations around the city. The actions will call attention to the ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China and Myanmar.

Amnesty International Group 133 in Somerville, Ma. began “Get On The Bus” 17 years ago and through the years thousands of students have been participated.

Activists from Mid-Atlantic states will simultaneously take action in a “Get On The Bus” event to Washington D.C.

For more information, please visit http://www.gotb.org/

Schedule of Events:

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Speakers Panel and Performance

Speakers Include:

Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA executive director

J.S. Tissainayagam ("Tissa"), journalist and former prisoner of conscience from Sri Lanka.

Octovianus Mote, close friend of West Papuan activist and prisoner of conscience, Filep Karma

Lhamo Tso, wife of Tibetan filmmaker and prisoner of conscience, Dhondup Wangchen

Chaw Ei Thein, Burmese activist/performance artist

Location: The Great Hall at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 7 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Calling on the Sri Lankan government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the murders of Ragihar Manoharan and the “Trinco Five”

Location: Permanent Mission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, 630 3rd Avenue

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Calling for the release of Khun Kawrio, Ko Aye Aung, and all Prisoners of Conscience in Myanmar (Burma)

Location: 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 1st Avenue

3:45 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Indonesia Action: Seeking the release of Filep Karma, an advocate for the rights of Indonesia's Papuan population

Location: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, 325 E 38th Street

4:25 p.m. -5:00 p.m. Seeking release of Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen

Location: Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations, 350 E 35th Street

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.