Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

Stories to inspire

The people, the faces, the stories – 50 years of defending rights

Enyonam Gadagbui, 23, Togo

Enyonam Gadagbui, a young Amnesty International activist from Togo.

© Amnesty International


“I have realized that life is really precious, and that people have rights, no matter what.”

Enyonam Gadagbui, 23, Togo

   

The life and views of a young woman from Togo changed after she became an Amnesty International activist.

  • Enyonam Gadagbui has learned many new skills since she joined Amnesty International.
  • Her ideas about whose rights are worth defending have also changed.

“I saw a man reading an Amnesty International report in the library one day. I didn’t want to disturb him so I went on my way. A year later I saw another student with an Amnesty International document, so I asked him about it. It turned out that he was the leader of the local Amnesty International group. He explained that it is an organization which promotes human rights all over the world.

“I had been women’s officer of a student organization for two years, and was interested in human rights, especially those concerning women. So the week after meeting this man, I attended a local group meeting.

Becoming an activist

“In August 2010 I was a trainee in the campaign department at Amnesty International Togo’s headquarters. I was also a member of the committee organizing the Youth Forum 2010. I used some of the strategies I learnt to collect signatures for our campaign to reduce maternal deaths. I made sure every participant in the Youth Forum took a petition to each activity, and I accompanied the group to the market place, the beach and other public places to urge people to sign the petition. As a result, we collected 1,768 signatures. I have also worked on a campaign against the death penalty in Ghana, which included creating a Facebook group inviting friends to join Amnesty International Togo and help with the petition.

People have rights, no matter what

“All these actions have enabled me to learn about Amnesty International's policies and given me experience of practical campaigning. This has changed my life and my views a lot. I have realized that life is really precious, and that people have rights, no matter what their way of life.

“One of my biggest challenges has been rethinking my views on sexuality. I come from a religious Christian family and was brought up to feel disgust for homosexual men and lesbians, and not to protect them from discrimination. It was very difficult for me to accept a different perspective, but discussions and explanations led me to understand that Amnesty International is not promoting homosexuality but defending the lives of individuals.

“Five of my friends have joined Amnesty International Togo through my activism and I am proud of that. I am so grateful and happy to be a member of this wonderful organization.”

For over 50 years we have been fighting for freedom of expression. The world has changed, but violence and imprisonment are still used to silence people who defend human rights and criticize the powerful. By calling on millions of activists and supporters worldwide, we can jam the fax machines of governments and send them a message they can’t ignore. Speak out against repression – deliver a message directly into the hands of those in power.
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