Thousands sign petitions on human rights at Dublin music festival
2018-06-15 11:25:03 -
Human Rights

Photo source: Amnesty International 


By Finn Hoogensen


Amnesty International collected over 6,000 petition signatures at Dublin’s Forbidden Fruit festival for three different refugee rights issues as part of the human rights NGO’s ‘I Welcome’ campaign.


“We asked festival goers to do something concrete at Forbidden Fruit by signing petitions to speak out for refugee rights,” said Tim Hanley, campaigns officer for Amnesty International Ireland.


“For the last 10 years we’ve been bringing our campaigns to the summer music festivals … because we found that it gives us a really powerful opportunity to get people of different ages to engage with our campaigns and take action for human rights.


“We decided to focus on three specific petitions, which we thought would resonate with the crowd likely to attend the festival,” Hanley added.

One of the petitions signed by festival-goers was addressed to Libyan prime minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and European Council president Donald Tusk, calling for an end to the ‘brutal’ treatment of more than 7,000 migrants and refugees in Libyan detention centres.


Another was addressed to Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg over the threatened deportation of teenager Taibeh Abbasi to her parents’ native Afghanistan, a country she has never been to.


A third petition will be sent to United States secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, protesting the detention of hundreds of children and families seeking asylum in the United States.


Each petition received more than 2,000 signatures. “We were really pleased with the level of engagement at Forbidden Fruit,” Hanley said. “So many people of all ages were really interested in learning about what is happening and finding out ways that they could help. [It] shows how passionate people in Ireland are about refugee rights and human rights in general.”


Hanley added that he hopes the targets of these petitions will take them seriously.


“We know that these things don’t always happen overnight, but when thousands of Amnesty International supporters all over the world join our voices together, we’re powerful and it’s difficult to ignore us.”


In Ireland, refugees and migrants also face racism and other forms of discrimination. Metro Éireann recently wrote about Melatu Uche Okorie, a Nigerian-born writer based in Dublin.


Her new book This Hostel Life details everyday racism in Ireland as well as hardships experienced by migrants living in Irish direct provision hostels.

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