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Amnesty candles mark anniversary

WOODEN candles were planted in Bognor Regis to keep alive the memories of prisoners of conscience.


The symbolic flames of freedom were placed at the memorial plaque on the seafront to mark the latest anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.


The anniversary occurred on Monday – 70 years after the declaration was signed by world leaders.


Each of the candles was inscribed by Amnesty International group members with the name of one of the prisoners.


Kath Shakespeare, who chairs the Bognor and Chichester Amnesty International group, said: “For some people, speaking out for freedom, justice and equality means putting themselves at risk of humiliation, imprisonment, violence, even death.


“This is why we send messages of hope and support to people under threat and we know that these messages can have a huge impact.”


Drawn up in 1948 in the aftermath of the Second World War, the universal declaration of human rights, asserts of the universality of human rights as the ‘foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’.


The plaque was installed at the southern end of The Steyne on the declaration’s anniversary in 1998 thanks to the effort of Colin Crouch, who was the then group chairman.


The Amnesty International group points out the intervening years since the declaration was signed have shown its continued value.


Human rights violations and persecution of those who speak out are still widespread throughout the world.


Recent events such as the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the imprisonment of Nazinin Zagari Radcliffe or the trial of Matthew Hedges in the United Arab Emirates were painful reminders of the continuing need to campaign on behalf of victims of human rights abuse and also to protect the defenders of human rights.


The Bognor and Chichester Amnesty International Group is supporting the brave human rights defenders campaign, focusing particularly on the women’s human rights defenders, who are especially vulnerable.


The group staged a write for rights event on the Cathedral Green in Chichester on Saturday.


A further celebration of the declaration’s anniversary, including a 70th birthday cake, took place at the Friends Meeting House in Chichester on Monday.

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