Next Monday, hundreds of Amnesty members and supporters will meet with members of Congress to speak out for refugees, humanitarian aid, and the importance of fighting for human rights around the world. Over 300 people from 40 states across the country are set to participate in delegations for Amnesty’s first national lobby day in over a decade.
This concludes a weekend of programming as part of Amnesty International USA’s Annual General meeting from February 23 – 25. The meeting will bring together hundreds of human rights activists from across the country for three days of training and workshops. Members will also have the opportunity to help shape the policies of the organization.
“It has never been more urgent for Congress to hear directly from human rights supporters,” said Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government affairs at Amnesty International USA. “Whether it’s helping refugees and displaced people receive international aid, calling on the U.S. to take action to pressure the Myanmar military to halt the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya, or asking Congress to protect human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, together we can make a difference.”
Below are some of the issues activists will discuss with their leaders:
- Over 65 million people have fled their homes, escaping persecution, torture, and violence. As the single largest donor of international humanitarian aid, the United States must maintain robust funding to protect displaced populations worldwide and support for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
- Since August, over 688,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar in terror as security forces have waged a campaign of ethnic cleansing, systematic murder, rape and mass burnings. Amnesty members are asking Congress to pass the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2018 (S. 2060) and the BURMA Act of 2017 (H.R. 4223) to ensure the U.S. pressures the Myanmar military to halt the atrocities against the Rohingya.
- Human rights defenders fight for everyone’s fundamental rights. Yet because of their work, they have been jailed, tortured, and even killed. In both the Senate and House, resolutions have been introduced that would support human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, respectively. Both resolutions should be passed swiftly.