Activists and volunteers hold day of activism and education, gather for peaceful actions in front of consulates and permanent missions
MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Simon, [email protected]
(NEW YORK, NY) – Human rights activists of all ages traveled to New York City on Friday, April 8, for Amnesty International’s 21st annual Get on the Bus tour. Spearheaded by activists and volunteers from Amnesty’s Northeast region, more than 500 participants held peaceful actions in front of a select group of consulates and permanent missions as part of the effort to highlight country-specific human rights violations. This year’s demonstrations focused on Syria, Sudan, China, Sri Lanka, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
“For 21 years, Amnesty International’s dedicated activists have been coming to New York to visit foreign consulates and stand up for human rights,” said Margaret Huang, Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. “We don’t just get on the bus to New York to let these governments know that their violations will not be tolerated in silence – we also gather together on this day to let victims of human rights abuses know that no matter how far away they may be, they are never alone.”
“Get on the Bus brings together students, local group members, Amnesty staff, allied organizations, and community members to work together to elevate human rights issues and to stand up for what is right, whether it is a very well-known human rights case or a lesser known human rights abuse,” said Kelly Turley, co-coordinator of Amnesty International Group 133 from Somerville, MA.
The event kicked off with a Speakers’ Panel held at The Cooper Union where participants heard from speakers for each of the highlighted actions, including Ali Barazi, whose brother Adel Barazi is among the many people who have experienced enforced disappearance in Syria.
Following the panel, activists and volunteers organized around the city, taking part in peaceful actions in front of the Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations, the Saudi Arabian Consulate General, the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UN and more.
“Supporting human rights means taking action,” said Rick Roth of Amnesty International Group 133. “The Get on the Bus Tour was created as a way for local chapters like ours to use the means at our disposal to protect human rights. More than two decades later, this annual tradition is as urgent an ever and we are proud to continue raising our voices at the United Nations and beyond.”
For a full schedule of the actions and causes, click here.
Amnesty International Group 133 from Somerville, MA first organized the event 21 years ago and continues to maintain its grassroots beginnings: largely driven by volunteer community organizers who will mobilize via busses, trains and cars to arrive in NYC the morning of the event.