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The Stornoway group of Amnesty International is hoping to build back to bigger numbers, following a lull in activities over the Covid period.

Amnesty International is the world's leading human rights organisation, campaigning against injustice and inequality everywhere.

The Stornoway group has been in existence for ten years and has been involved in a variety of campaign and awareness-raising activities.

That included participating in the inter-agency diversity and equality steering group and organising visiting speakers for talks and seminars.

At one well-attended seminar at Lews Castle College, Amnesty International director Kate Allen and children and young people’s commissioner for Scotland Bruce Adamson were among speakers on that year’s campaign theme, the power of words.

Words definitely matter to Amnesty members. During ordinary meetings you might find group members sitting down to write campaign letters as part of the Write for Rights campaign – the world’s biggest letter-writing campaign.

Local co-ordinator Ken MacLennan said: “For the Write for Rights campaign, Amnesty suggests a number of people to write to through their members magazine.

“These are actual postcards and letters, written to highlight issues around human rights in countries around the world – currently there are campaigns running in Kurdistan, the USA, Poland and the United Arab Emirates.

“They can be to support death row campaigns, prisoners or anyone whose rights are being abused or violated.

“Scotland has quite a lot about human rights enshrined in our legislation, but we are very conscious how little people know about their own human rights.”

The last event before Covid highlighted how close to home issues around human rights can be, with Scottish Gypsy Traveller activist, speaker and artist Shamus Mcphee giving a talk in Stornoway for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, shining a light on the issues facing his community.

The Stornoway group have now returned to face-to-face meetings and are starting to plan what their activity will be going forward.

Ken said: “What we tackle is very much up to the group, but of course the Gaza situation is uppermost in many people’s minds at the moment.

“We had a stall at the recent Gaza fundraiser at An Lanntair and there was a lot of interest in our work.

“Throughout the world there have been regular attacks on human rights, trying to degrade them. We have a responsibility to ensure that our rights, and the rights of others, are protected.”

You can get involved in Amnesty International’s Stornoway group via their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AIStornoway.

The picture shows Kate Allen addressing a seminar on the power of words at Lews Castle College UHI in 2018.