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Photo by Sally-Ann Goodman

Amnesty International

Penny Howes and Piper Dixon —

This was an awesome year for Burnside’s Amnesty International group. We met every second Thursday to discuss human rights issues and fight against current human rights grievances that were happening, through writing letters to prisoners and government officials and spreading awareness through posters and slideshows.

We participated in the annual freedom challenge in August where we focused on a particular issue and spread awareness throughout school. This year the campaign was called “Brave”, focusing on three individuals who had been wrongly imprisoned for fighting for human rights: Tep Vanny, Azza Soliman and Tashi Wangchuk. We also included three other individuals who we had previously looked at earlier in the year, including Razzan Al Najjar who was killed while saving others' lives in Gaza when she protested against the oppressive conditions she was living in, Ilham Tohti who was imprisoned for fighting for the rights of the Uighur minority group in China and Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old girl who was imprisoned for punching an Israeli soldier after her younger cousin had been shot and family members had been wrongly imprisoned. 

To contribute to freedom week we all brought some homemade goods for a bake sale and we also hosted a human rights - themed quiz. We raised $275 for Amnesty International NZ which will be put to good work in funding research, creating awareness for human rights issues and providing resources to human rights workers around the world. 

We received over 300 signatures petitioning for the release of Azza Soliman and Tashi Wangchuk which will help put pressure on the governments for their release. Each form class also wrote messages of hope and support on the Amnesty yellow candles, displayed in the library. A big thanks to everyone who came to support our Amnesty international group this year, whether it be by attending a few of our meetings, buying some baked goods or signing petitions. Your involvement goes a long way in helping the human rights of others.