By Lucy Macnamara, Demand Dignity Campaign Co-ordinator at Amnesty International
Amnesty International has rejoined U2 on their 360° tour! Having travelled with them through Europe, this time round we’re down under, here in Auckland, New Zealand for a couple of shows before heading to Australia.
Of course, the biggest and most fantastic news since the last show in Rome is that Aung San Suu Kyi has been released! Amnesty members, together with many people and organizations around the world have played a big part in building pressure for this to happen, as have U2 themselves.
The band has championed the cause of the people of Burma for many years, highlighting Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention at their shows. Last night the band rejoiced at her release before dedicating their song Walk On to the 2,200 remaining political prisoners in Burma. After a hard day’s campaigning, Amnesty New Zealand volunteers took to the stage with pride, carrying their Amnesty torches aloft.
Yesterday was International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, so our volunteers were collecting signatures for their petition focusing on the situation in the Pacific region, which has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world.
A recent shocking survey in Papua New Guinea revealed that 67 per cent of married women have experienced physical abuse by their husbands. We’re calling on Pacific leaders to take action. We want them to put laws in place to prevent violence and punish offenders and to sign and ratify human rights conventions.
Over 2,500 U2 fans supported our campaign last night. Today we’re hoping to engage yet more people as we have beautiful sunshine and even more fabulous volunteers on site. Check out our Art for Amnesty Facebook page to see what some of our volunteers had to say about their experience.
These concerts are a unique opportunity for our small team at Amnesty New Zealand to get more people involved with human rights. Out of a population of 4.3 million, they have 8,000 members. So, with around 100,000 people coming to the concerts, hearing Bono’s endorsement of Amnesty, seeing our logo and feeling the passion of our volunteers, the potential is huge.
We’re off to Melbourne tomorrow, so stay posted to find out what our lovely Amnesty Aussies have got planned – Demanding Dignity down under.