Sometimes People Have to Fight for Their Rights
People with very strong values or views often take action to win legal rights...
Example: Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was a political activist in South Africa during apartheid. Apartheid was a government regime of racial segregation. Under apartheid, everyone was classified into racial groups, e.g. white, black, etc. People who weren't white didn't have the same legal rights as those who were. For example, non-whites weren't allowed to vote, they had to use separate schools and hospitals (that were usually lower quality), they couldn't travel freely through the country and they were often forced to move from their homes and away from their families.
Mandela felt very strongly that apartheid was wrong and he took action against the regime. He joined an anti-apartheid group and organised demonstrations and campaigns to end apartheid. He became a leader in the fight against apartheid and became well-known around the world. Because of his actions he was arrested and put on trial for sabotage. At his trial he made a famous speech, outlining why he had taken the actions he had and showing how strongly he believed in the importance of equal rights for all South Africans, saying...
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people...I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela, April 20th 1964, Pretoria, South Africa
Mandela was convicted and spent 27 years in jail as a political prisoner. People all over the world campaigned for his release. He was finally released in 1990, after intense pressure from within South Africa and abroad. Apartheid ended soon afterwards. Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in 1994, after the country's first multiracial elections. All South Africans now have equal rights, regardless of the colour of their skin.
Nelson Mandela isn't the only person who has taken action to win rights for people. For example:
- Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for women's right to vote in the UK in the early 20th century.
- Martin Luther King campaigned fo equal rights for black people in the civil rights movement in the USA.
- Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian political leader, campaigned for India to be free from British rule.
Amnesty International Campaigns for People's Human Rights
Amnesty International is an organisation that runs campaigns to fight for people's human rights all over the world -especially prisoners of conscience (people put in prison just because of their race or beliefs).
It aims to educate the public and governments around the world about human rights and take action against specific cases of human rights abuses.
Anyone can join Amnesty International -members put pressure on governments by writing to them or publicly protesting. People can also help by donating money.
1. Who is Nelson Mandela?
2. What was “apartheid”?
3. What was life like for black people during apartheid?
4. How many years did Mandela spend in jail?
5. When was he released?
6. When did he become President of South Africa?
OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS FIGHTERS
Match the names on the left and the pieces of information on the right:
Martin Luther King campaigned for the independence of India
Mahatma Gandhi was a suffragist
Emmeline Pankhurst promoted the civil rights movement in the USA
Amnesty International takes action and puts pressure on governments to fight against human rights abuses
I have taken this information from TESconnect resources.