Saturday the 1st of December, we enjoyed the annual Amnesty International student day. A lot of members of Amnesty International student groups gathered in lively Groningen.
First we got a short introduction and had a chance to get to know each other and the student groups from the different cities (Nijmegen, Utrecht, Amsterdam & Groningen; check out the other student groups if you are interested!).
After the round of introductions, Ouimama Badri and Youssef Mnaili, two Moroccan Amnesty members on exchange in The Netherlands, told us about the situation in their country. Quimama is specialized in children’s rights and gave a fiery and interactive lecture on the situation of children in Morocco. She stressed that education is the best way to empower the children and enhance their future opportunities in Morocco. Youssef Mnaili focused on democracy in Morocco and argued that rights should be brought back to the people.
Quimama and Youssef also provided some information about the exchange between Amnesty International students in the Netherlands and Morocco. More information about the exchange program will follow soon.
Later that day Juke Fluitsma told us something about Amnesty International in general and handed out our first handbook! This manual contains all the information you need: contact information, Movies that Matter, the internal workings of the Amnesty headquarters and much more. Migiel de Lange (member’s council) explained the structure of Amnesty in more detail and gave us some insights in future involvement in the organization.
Then it was time for a nice long lunch! In het Pakhuis in Groningen we enjoyed little Kaiser Breads with an assortment of spreads and traditional ‘Groningen’s mosterdsoep’! After lunch we listened to two informative lectures to get background information prior to the street action of the day.
Anna Arian showed us some videos of women fighting for their rights in Iran. Over the past decades Iran has gone through some turmoil due to their different regimes. Right now Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Irani lawyer and human rights activist is in prison because of ‘propaganda against the state’ and Amnesty is taking action to get her released.
Christie Miedema gave the second lecture. She told us about the situation in Belarus, with a specific focus on Ales Bialiatski. He is the founder of the human rights movement Viasna. However, because of Belarusian politics and his work as an activist, he was arrested and sentenced to four and a half year in prison!
After the two lectures we went out on the streets to collect signatures to free Ales and Nasrin. Along with the members of the other student groups we brought a small ‘prison’ to raise awareness for the two prisoners. This prison had a special door, which would only open if you finished the ‘electric game’.
Sinterklaas joining our action on the streets for Ales Bialiatski and Nasrin Sotoudeh!
We ended the day with a tasteful dinner in one of Groningen’s many nice restaurants. When the fun was over we made the long journey back to Amsterdam and we can now look back to an inspiring day with a lot of opportunity to learn and socialize.