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07 décembre 2008

Not too late to help Amnesty

By KAREN BLISS -- For JAM! Music, November 27, 2008

Amnesty International Canada's Small Places campaign has seen dozens of Canadian musicians banding around the cause since its September 10 launch, and it's not too late to participate.

The global campaign ends December 10, which marks International Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"The ask at this time is to hold a Small Places designated concert between now and December 10 in support of Amnesty," says Ottawa-based Tatiana Nemchin, Amnesty's musician liaison. "We're trying to have as many events between now and then and to raise much needed funds. Amnesty is funded entirely by donations and membership. We receive no government funding and so this campaign is a crucial time for raising awareness and funds, and for recruiting and engaging more human rights activists. It's sort of a passing of the torch from Peter Gabriel and the Edge to a younger generation of musician activists and to increase membership and involvement."

Amnesty is a worldwide movement of close to 2 million people who help protect individuals and communities around the world whose human rights have been violated. Small Places is named after a passage in Eleanor Roosevelt's 1958 speech in which she spoke about human rights as beginning in "small places close to home." Amnesty International invited all musicians to raise their voices for human rights and stage benefit and awareness concerts around the world.

On the international front, Nemchin says REM, Michael Franti, Joan Baez, and many more have participated in Small Places. Here in Canada, she rattles of a huge list of artists from every genre, who designated a tour or a show to the cause, have chosen a particular Amnesty case to champion, auctioned tickets, started blogs, and other creative things.

Broken Social Scene donated the song "Major Label Debut" for the soundtrack to Small Places PSAs. Jason Collett had tabling at his shows and is drawing awareness to the case of Toronto's Omar Khadr imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay; Alanis Morissette had tabling at her shows; Six Shooter Records donated tickets for shows by Martin Tielli with Jenn Grant, Christine Fellows, Shout Out Out Out Out with Stereo Image, and Hawksley Workman; and Wintersleep gathered petition signatures for WOZA & Kimy Pernia.

David Usher had tabling on his six-week tour and chose to get behind the case of U Gambira. Stars will be tabling at several upcoming shows including Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Holy F*ck tabled and provided petitions in support of Kimy Pernia, U Gambira, Hu Jia, and Omar Khadr. Wide Mouth Mason has links and a blog on its web site; Eve Goldberg is playing in support of U Gambira and is donating proceeds from her song "Streets of Burma" and Kim Barlow performed an awareness concert.

There is also great support for Alberta's Lubicon Cree, whose rights have been violated by the Canadian government (article 27 from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) according to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Lynn Miles, The Surgents, Kinnie Starr, and Chin Injeti are all raising awareness for the Lubicon Cree through fundraising, petitions, PSA and other awareness strategies.

"And some exciting news," Nemchin adds. "Friends of the Lubicon has been asked by Neil Young's management whether they could organize tabling at his upcoming concerts in Canada. Friends of the Lubicon has asked, in turn, if Amnesty could arrange this and of course we are. This is a very crucial time for the Lubicon and having Neil Young's support will no doubt raise awareness of the human rights violations taking place and hopefully garner hundreds, maybe thousands of petition signatures to help this campaign."

Go to for more information on the campaign, the causes, how to sign up or get involved.

1 commentaire:

Pascale a dit…

Pourquoi rien en France (alors que c'est là qu'a été signée la DUDH?)
à part être reçu par le petit nicolas :-(

Dommage !