As someone that once did a short internship with human rights organisation Amnesty International, I was particularly intrigued to hear about their latest initiative, ‘The Human Rights Defenders’ which supports their ‘#SendBackUp’ campaign.
Staying on brand, the powerful and timely campaign aims to raise awareness of the people around the world who fight for the rights of everyday people, defending their right to live and work freely without the threat of abuse or in extreme cases death.
‘The Human Rights Defenders’ are inspired by the Marvel / DC universe which are in the forefront of pop culture at the moment. The release of Marvel’s Avengers: End Game, has been the most anticipated film release of this quarter.
Amnesty explain that every day Human Rights Defenders face serious harm, from campaigns of intimidation and misinformation, to fabricated criminal charges, forced disappearance, imprisonment, torture and murder.
In their words, the #SendBackUp campaign is intended to raise awareness of these threats. They ask the UK public to show their support by writing to their local MPs, to encourage the UK government to adopt a clear and coherent strategy to support and protect them.
To bring the stories of the Human Rights Defenders to life, Amnesty has drawn inspiration from the world of superhero comics. The charity has put together a comic book strip, toy figures complete with packaging, as well as Hollywood style film posters and a superhero movie trailer that features a voiceover by actress, activist and writer Gillian Anderson OBE. Actors Patrick Stewart and Paul Bettany, known for their roles in Marvel films, are also said to have endorsed the campaign.
Ms Anderson, known for her role in ‘The X-Files‘ and more recently, hit Netflix show ‘Sex Education‘, explained why she had decided to get behind the movement, stating that “[she] believes it’s our duty to defend those who defend human rights.” She went on to query “who it is that will protect our rights, if they don’t? And who will protect them if we don’t call on our governments to make the protection of human rights defenders a priority.”
To put it simply, in her words, “if we don’t, who will?”
Each Human Rights Defender’s story is purported to be inspired by a real-life activists’ story in the UK and abroad – you can check out the full line up below and read more about the campaign here.
The Fight Against Climate Change
Laila (Saudi Arabia)
Li Wei (China)
~ Aji Ayorinde // @ajibolajosiah