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Monday, October 3

Amnesty’s Secretary General urges New Zealand to continue the fight for human rights

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty has asked the New Zealand public to continue in their role as champions of human rights.

At public meeting in Auckland this evening Salil told the audience that they should be proud of the work they have carried out in making changes to human rights worldwide.

“New Zealand in many ways has historically been a leader, as one of the oldest sections in the Amnesty International movement, it is a country that is a champion in human rights,” said Salil.

“The people here have played a very enlightened role, you have been vocal in your support, and that is something you should be very proud of.”

However Salil asked that it doesn’t end here, that New Zealand should not become complacent but use their position to challenge governments to do the right thing.

He urged that the people here continue to play a role in Pacific and be a voice for those who have none, in particular he urged that the fight to stop violence against women in the region continue.

Salil also encouraged the New Zealand Government to ensure human rights are at the forefront of the agenda at home, and to take economic, social and cultural rights seriously.

As part of Amnesty International’s 50th birthday celebrations Salil used the event as an opportunity to reflect on the history of Amnesty International.

“If you look back through 50 years of human rights, it’s hard to think about the changes without thinking of Amnesty International,” said Salil.

“Amnesty International is deeply committed, the organisation provides a voice and campaigns and challenges governments to do the right thing, we are grateful to all of you, our members and supports who have helped make such a contribution.”

“Don’t leave the room without realising the appreciation of your contribution, all of this adds up to make Amnesty’s voice a very powerful one, and goes a long way to promoting human rights worldwide.”

In looking to the future Salil reflected on the revolutions that may happen with Twitter, Facebook and mobile phones, but he maintained that we shouldn’t forget the human spirit that is what Amnesty is all about.

The meeting is the first of two public speaking engagements that Salil will speak at during his visit to New Zealand.

The next will take place in Wellington tomorrow :
When: Tuesday 4 October- 1.00pm to 2.00pm
Where: Spectrum Presentation Theatre, Ground floor BP House, 20 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
Contact: RSVP to Renee Moore- campaigns.intern@amnesty.org.nz