A multi-national organization has made its way to Temple’s campus. With the recent formation of a campus-based branch of the Amnesty International organization, concerned Temple students now have a chance to take part in a global fight against human-rights violations on the local level.
“I think that there has been an increase in the political interest of college students,” said Amber Breiner, a junior Anthropology major who serves as the group coordinator. “This mentality was demonstrated on campuses in the 2000 presidential election, when students were wearing their politics on their sleeves.”
“I was motivated to establish this campus chapter by reasons of conscience,” Amber Breiner continued. “I think that apathy on the part of society is the root of all lingering problems in the world today.”
The Amnesty group stands unique among many Temple organizations, because the motives of the organization incorporate a variety of different goals and objectives.
Those goals include the intention to free all prisoners of conscience, eliminate political killings and ensure trials for political prisoners are prompt and just.
Amnesty International also wishes to abolish the death penalty and torture of prisoners worldwide. Finally, they desire to promote greater awareness and compassion for human rights through action and education.
The organization bases its work on the standards established in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The declaration, which was proclaimed the common standard of achievement by the United Nations General Assembly, includes resolves such as freedom from slavery, the right to equality, freedom of belief and religion and freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
The group was formed by the efforts of a few Temple students who expressed significant concern about issues such as the death penalty, women’s rights and environmental issues.
The organization began its quest to inspire the activist spirit in others by publicly expressing their stand on different issues, along with opportunities for individuals to work for reform. They began this process with a tabling effort at Temple’s Spring Fling.
By developing a campus segment of the well-known Amnesty International organization, students now have a broad base of informed researchers and activists to turn to for guidance and inspiration.
“I joined Temple’s Amnesty because I wanted to broaden my political knowledge,” Mike Pitale, a freshman Music major said. “I want to make society aware of the wrongs of the world, and try to contribute myself to make things better.”
The Temple group recently received a visit from Jonathan Pearson, the Deputy Director of Amnesty International in the mid-Atlantic region. He informed students of current projects that are being undertaken, as well as opportunities for students to get involved in letter-writing and congressional lobbying.
“If you look around our nation and our world, you will see that students are often at the center of change,” Pearson said. “This has been exemplified in historic events such as the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. Taking action is the first means of change.” Amnesty International intends to work for improvement through the perusal of a clearly defined mandate.
Amnesty International consists of more than one million members in over 140 countries and territories. Temple’s new organization is on the way to becoming a well-established movement for motivation in its efforts to change the afflictions against human beings all over the earth.