A BLOG FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S WRITE FOR RIGHTS CAMPAIGN BY BENEDICT ROGERS, DEPUTY CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

09 December 2016

Every year Human Rights Day, which commemorates the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reminds us of how important universal rights are. For everyone, everywhere. But sadly so many people all over the world still have their rights abused and violated.

As the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, I work with others in Parliament, in NGOs and in the media to promote the value of human rights around the world. We highlight individual cases of prisoners of conscience, thematic issues such as torture, rape as a weapon of war, violations of freedom of religion or belief, abuses faced by lawyers and journalists, child soldiers and modern day slavery. We hold hearings and inquiries, publish reports, and provide recommendations for how human rights can be better promoted at the centre of foreign policy.

Yesterday I attended Amnesty International’s annual Human Rights Day Reception. The reception is part of their Write for Rights Campaign, where supporters all over the world write messages of hope to people whose rights have been abused; or messages to those in authority, urging them to stop the abuse.

I took action on the cases of Ilham Tohti, a Uighur academic from China who is a prominent critic of the Chinese government’s discriminatory policies in Xinjiang. The Uighur people are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority which faces widespread discrimination in their employment, education and housing, as well as restrictions on religious practice. Ilham Tohti’s “Uighur Online” website has regularly reported on human rights violations but has been repeatedly shut down. He has consistently opposed violence and sought reconciliation and dialogue, but faced constant surveillance and interrogation, and eventually was charged with “separatism” – even though he has called for dialogue – and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014.

Here in the UK we take so many rights and freedoms for granted, but Human Rights Day provides us with an opportunity to remember that people all over the world are still fighting for their rights – we must stand in solidarity with them and do all we can to promote and protect human rights, both here in the UK and across the world.

Join me in taking action here: https://write.amnesty.org.uk/write-for-rights/campaigns