We must bring human rights home
Today, a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in August.
The community response to Mike Brown's death, and the response that is likely still to come, mark a pivotal moment in the human rights movement and in U.S. history.
It's a moment of passion, of frustration, and of activism.
It's within this moment that officials in Ferguson and throughout the United States must stand up to ensure that each individual's human rights — including the right to freely express themselves in the form of peaceful protest — are respected, protected and fulfilled.
That's why Amnesty International’s human rights observer delegation is on the ground in Ferguson today: to monitor the protests and law enforcement’s response.
Amnesty is calling upon law enforcement officers to facilitate peaceful protests.
We are calling on them to bear in mind their role as partners and protectors of community, seeking to do no harm.
We are calling on them to protect peaceful assemblies, even if a small minority tries to turn a peaceful protest into a violent one.
That's what human rights looks like.
As I write this, I'm making final preparations to head to Ferguson, representing Amnesty’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all people — including the one pictured in this email. This little boy reminds us that his life, and all lives, matter.
While we can't all be in Ferguson in this moment, we can stand in solidarity with those exercising their right to peaceful protest today.
As you share this image in support of peaceful protest on Twitter and Facebook, we ask that you remember the human rights of boys like this one.
And as law enforcement officers head to work in the coming days, we ask that they do the same.
Steven W. Hawkins
Amnesty International USA