The Activism Guide is your roadmap to the work you will do as an AIUSA group.
You’ll find important dates, calls to action, and resources that will help you have human rights impact. Use these resources to plan events that will educate and activate your community.
|Annual General Meeting, Washington D.C.|
|Lobby Day, Washington D.C.|
|International Women’s Day|
|Taner Kılıç’s birthday|
|International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination|
|Get on the Bus (GOTB)|
|Anniversary of human rights defender Xulhaz Mannan’s death|
|World Refugee Day|
|Torture Awareness Month|
|Launch of Pride Festivities|
The Rohingya Crisis
The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. For decades, they have been oppressed by state-sponsored, institutionalized discrimination and persecution. Since late August 2017, the Myanmar military has waged a devastating campaign of ethnic cleansing and violence against the Rohingya minority. An unknown number have been killed in mass shootings, women and girls have been raped, and entire Rohingya villages have been burned to the ground. These crimes against humanity have been documented in a recent Amnesty International report.
Attn: AIUSA Campaigns – Rohingya Crisis
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite #500
Washington, DC 20003
Imagine how you’d feel if you lost your home, your parents and your friends and had to flee your country. What if you needed the help of total strangers? That is the situation that millions of people around the world are facing. They are refugees – people fleeing war, violence and persecution. Right now, there are 22.5 million refugees – the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. More than half of the world’s refugees are children. Take action to free kids growing up in “baby jails” through #TheBerksKids campaign, and help us build an America that welcomes refugees through the #IWelcome campaign.
Every year, tens of thousands of people come to the U.S. southern border and ask for asylum. When people seeking asylum arrive at the U.S. border, including children and their parents, some are locked up.This isn’t new, but the government is looking to further expand it and enact more policies to deter, punish, and criminalize these families.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detains families seeking asylum at three family detention centers in Pennsylvania and Texas. These “baby jails” hold as many as 3,000 kids and parents every day and have kept some families locked up for years. Last year Amnesty campaigned for the release of four of the families jailed at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania, and with your help, all four were freed. Although the four Berks families are free, the battle is far from over. DHS is trying to put them back in jail, and new families continue to be locked up. We must continue to fight to free families in detention like #TheBerksKids, and end the policy of detaining families once and for all.
President Trump has slashed refugee admissions for 2018, and we fear that only a trickle of refugees will actually get in due to his “extreme vetting“ policies, leaving many people in terrible danger. Though the vast majority of refugees are living in countries neighboring the crisis they fled, a tiny percent of the uniquely vulnerable refugees needs to resettle abroad in places like the US. They include torture survivors, people with severe medical conditions, orphaned children, at-risk women and children, and LGBTI individuals. It’s these people who are affected by Trump’s decision to close our doors to refugees.
Together with many organizations, we are working to build a wave of communities and campuses that welcome refugees, and force Congress and President Trump to end these anti-refugee policies. Anything you do to show solidarity with refugees – and send that message to your member of Congress – will make a difference.
Human Rights Defenders
Can you imagine our world without people standing up for human rights? At this moment, people all around the world are risking their safety and freedom in order to defend human rights. They are facing harassment, surveillance, attacks, imprisonment, and even death simply for standing up for what is right. These people – human rights defenders – are ordinary people who take a stand against injustice. In 2016, at least 281 human rights defenders in 22 countries were killed for peacefully standing up for human rights. They were targeted with smear campaigns, arrested or detained because of their activism, and attacked or threatened. With your help, we can fight back.
The Director of Amnesty International Turkey, Idil Eser, and nine other human rights defenders were arrested while attending a human rights workshop in Turkey – and then baseless charges of terrorism were leveled against them. We’re demanding that all charges against them and Taner, the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, are dropped immediately. They are each facing up to 15 years in prison for their peaceful human rights work. We need your help to generate a global outcry to demonstrate that the world is watching. The Turkish government has to understand that as long as Taner, Idil and other human rights defenders are persecuted, the world will not continue “business as usual” with Turkey.
Stop Unlawful Killing By Police
According to The Washington Post, at least 987 people were killed by police in 2017. No one knows exactly how many because the United States does not count how many lives are lost. African Americans are disproportionately impacted by police use of lethal force, and the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and countless others across the United States have highlighted a widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers and an alarming use of lethal force nationwide. Amnesty International reviewed US state laws – where they exist – governing the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials and found that they all fail to comply with international law and standards.
Many of them do not even meet the less stringent standard set by US constitutional law. We are calling for state laws to be thoroughly reformed to ensure that police are not permitted to use lethal force except where it is necessary as a last resort to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious injury.
Learn more about our work on use of force by police, and contact us at [email protected] to find out how you can get involved in your community. We especially need activists in Washington State to join our effort to pass a reform law.
Abolish the Death Penalty
The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. Amnesty International opposes it in all cases – and works to abolish it. Today, 19 states in the U.S. and two-thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty, and many more states have not carried out an execution in 10 years or more. However, a few outlier states continue to aggressively pursue executions, disproportionately applying the death penalty to people of color, poor people, and people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. Learn more about the death penalty.
End Gun Violence
Later this year, Amnesty International will launch a new report and campaign addressing the issue of gun violence in the United States as a human rights crisis. More than 30,000 men, women, and children are killed with guns each year in the United States. Among high-income countries, the U.S. accounts for 80% of all gun deaths in the world, 86% of all women killed by guns, and 87% of all children younger than 14 who are killed by guns. Fueling this epidemic, laws on guns in the United States are inconsistent and weak – and federal, state, and local governments are not meeting their obligation under international law to protect people’s safety.
Stop Online Violence Against Women
Rape threats, death threats, and racist and sexist abuse are happening to women on Twitter, making it a toxic place for them – all because women dare to have opinions in the public sphere. Violence against women online is a serious human rights issue, and we’re calling on Twitter to do more to end this abuse. Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, Amnesty is launching a global report on online violence against women detailing the ways that online violence and abuse violates women’s human rights and the ways that Twitter can help end this violence.
Justice for Indigenous Women
Native American and Alaskan Native women in the United States face the highest rates of sexual assault in the country, and at least 86% of reported cases are by non-Native men. Many Native women can’t depend on basic post-rape care, as Indian Health Service – where most Native people get their healthcare – has yet to fully implement standard sexual assault protocols across all its facilities. Without access to a rape kit or someone who can administer it, a rape case can’t go trial, as it is lacking critical evidence.
Security & Human Rights
Immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress nearly unanimously passed a short “blank check” resolution authorizing the use of military force, and then-President Bush announced a so-called “Global War on Terror.” President Obama abandoned that term, but he carried the “global war” theory forward – and President Trump appears to be doing the same. This dangerous paradigm of endless war has included policies that threaten human rights, including torture, indefinite detention, discriminatory surveillance, anti-Muslim hate, and lethal strikes that create chaos and fear all over the world. Find out more about security with human rights.
Individuals at Risk
Around the world, people are imprisoned simply because of who they are or what they believe in. Amnesty calls these people “prisoners of conscience” and we take action for their immediate release. They are people like Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes because he wrote articles critical of Saudi officials and clerics. Read more about Raif’s story.