6 December 2017 • Gideon Wille
Help for defenders of human rights
This year’s Writer’s Block festival organised by Amnesty International is devoting extra attention to the imprisoned defenders of human rights. During this festival held at THUAS in the Ovaal on 7 December, you can write letters to set them free.
This year’s writing marathon will devote special attention to the defenders of human rights. These activists are willing to stick their necks out. They have the courage to stand up for freedom of expression and to speak out against discrimination or suppression. They call rulers into account. By adopting a higher profile, however, they make themselves easy prey for the authorities. All over the world, they are increasingly becoming victims of intimidation, persecution and violence. Action is also being taken, for example, on behalf of the chairman of Amnesty in Turkey who was arrested and is still in prison. During the Writer’s Block festival in The Hague, you can become acquainted yourself with human rights defenders who are currently here in the city to catch their breath in the Shelter City programme.
Film and music
Various musicians will be giving performances to support the letter writers. There will also be a topical film programme about human rights as well as various pop-up demonstrations held by THUAS students. This year, the Virtual Reality Cinema will allow you to experience what it’s like to live in solitary confinement. Amnesty’s goal in holding this festival is to promote the importance of human rights among the general public.
A record number of letters
This year, the festival will begin at 10:00 am in the Ovaal. Until 10:00 pm that evening, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in the world’s biggest demonstration for human rights. Last year, participants in the Netherlands wrote a record number of 166,000 letters. The official opening will take place at 12:00 noon.
Here are some pictures taken at last year’s festival.