I can't wait for the day when Amnesty International closes down, says its UK Directorby Serena Kutchinsky / February 19, 2015 / Leave a comment
As world ruler, I would set up human rights education in every school, in every part of the world. And of course if I ruled the world every girl would go to school. I accept that, even with these powers, I can’t just wave a magic wand: change on this scale would take a few generations. It’s about more than sitting in a classroom and memorising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It requires an environment that instils respect between teachers and pupils and is free from all forms of discrimination. Human rights mean learning not just how everybody else should be, but also about how you might be, in order to make the world a fairer, safer place.
Violence against women is endemic in so many different parts of the world. Every time I see another case, or launch a new campaign, I always think that this behaviour takes root at such a young age in both boys and girls through stereotyping, poor expectations and lack of access to education.
A year ago, I was in Sierra Leone, where they are now struggling with the horror of Ebola. The work we were doing focused on teaching women in villages their rights and how to apply them in relationships. We made a film documenting the impact of our work in one particular village. There, in cases of domestic abuse, the women now gather and go to the household where it is happening. They sit the man down and explain the damage he is doing, not only to his wife but to himself and to his children. They warn they will report him to the authorities if the violence does not stop. In El Salvador, where abortion is illegal, Amnesty became involved in the shocking case of Beatriz, a 22-year-old girl whose life was at risk due to complications with her pregnancy and where the foetus would not have survived past birth. We ran a successful campaign and she received life-saving treatment. Now, girls in the schools where we campaigned are aware of the need for better access to abortion.
Another priority would be to stop trade issues dominating relationships between nations. The British government’s response to the plight of the Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi—who was accused of “insulting Islam” and sentenced to 1,000 lashes—…