Focus: Communications - Human rights - Amnesty throws open its £6m doors

Amnesty International UK is launching one of its biggest awareness and supporter recruitment campaigns to date, with the ambitious aim of engaging a million people in the UK by 2010.

Adil Abrar, brand consultant for the charity, says: "We have a strong and robust support base, but it was felt that we needed to be more ambitious and reach out to more people.

"With the current situation in places such as Iraq, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, it's never been more important to stand up for human rights."

The campaign will be officially launched during Protect the Human Week, previously known as Amnesty Week, which runs from 16 to 22 October. During the week, Amnesty will open the doors of its new £6m building to the public for the first time. The building contains a resource centre and exhibition room that other human rights organisations will be encouraged to use.

The campaign will run for six months. Each month will have a different theme, starting with domestic violence against women. Members of the public and established artists have been asked to produce work for an exhibition based on how they imagine a world where there is no violence against women.

In a variation of the now ubiquitous wristband, the charity is also launching badges that look like placards. Each one will have a unique series of numbers on it that supporters can use to log on to Amnesty's Protect the Human microsite.

"We want to move away from the idea that being a supporter means giving us money only ," explains Mike Blakemore, media director at Amnesty. "We want to become more accessible to people who are sympathetic to our cause but don't want to join Amnesty, of whom there are many.

"People can show that they care about human rights by wearing one of the badges or attending the exhibition. We want to change attitudes and alter people's behaviour."

As part of the campaign, Amnesty will also perform a play at more than 700 schools to highlight the contributions refugees make to this country. It will also stage free screenings of mainstream films, such as Hotel Rwanda, which will be accompanied by a talk on the human rights issues involved.

The campaign is further evidence of its move away from human rights to a broader remit including social justice. This has been criticised in some circles, but Blakemore insists: "We have always been about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This is not a departure, but a logical progression."

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