Having emerged on the other side of the 2011 Amnesty International ICM with an extensive global Amnesty family, we should never forget how international we are. The strength of our international relationships within the movement, as well as our partnerships, has brought us to where we are today, on our 50th anniversary.
However, we are still in a situation where many countries are still without Amnesty International sections but are facing human rights abuses, not necessarily because they want to be but because it is politically dangerous for people of these countries to demonstrate views that are in opposition to the government’s. As Aung San Suu Kyi stated in her video statement to the ICM, “Amnesty is almost synonymous with human rights,” so we should continue to strive to help empower those who want to fight human rights violations.
On Amnesty International’s 50th birthday, there is still a strong divide between the global North and South. However, with continued work to empower more people in the South, we can aim for an evenly spread Amnesty, all over the world. Despite this hope, the ultimate goal would be for us to no longer need to exist. This must not take the form of growth, but rather, empowerment, impact and activism in local communities, sharing concrete and strategic ideas in order for people to feel inspired and confident enough to take action.
Empowerment comes through skills sharing, and where we need to go next is towards more global skills sharing events. Furthermore, empowerment should not be a one-way process, but a discussion and a dialogue about what is done well already in the global South and North, including countries that would like an Amnesty International section, because everyone has as much to learn as the other.
We have seen that Amnesty International is a human organisation that is dependant on people for its successes and failures. It means that we’re fallible, but that at the same time we can gain strength from any challenges we encounter.