marketing and public relations
click here for the news highlights
click here for all news releases
click here for contacts
click here to read our functions
click here for the experts guide
click here for our home page
click here to subscribe to news by email
click here for the southern miss home page
click here for licensing
style guide
graphics standards
Released October 15, 2003

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG -- Giving voice to those who don't have a voice in determining their freedom is one of the primary goals of Amnesty International, said its director at Tuesday's University Forum at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International, said since its creation in 1961, his organization has played a critical role in overturning oppressive practices of governments across the globe and speaking out against and bringing attention to those actions that undermine the liberty and freedom of people everywhere.

"The important thing to remember is that most of what results (in human rights violations) is determined by who has the power," Schulz said. "Human rights tries to rebalance the power and give more standing to people have less power or are more voiceless."

Evidence of the efforts of Amnesty has been the decline in the number of people across the globe who are being held as political prisoners and the drop in the number of countries that utilize the death penalty.

During a meeting with students after his presentation, titled "Terror, Torment and Tyranny: The State of Human Rights Today," Schulz said that though his organization is a leader in human rights advocacy, it is not a pacifist organization.

"It doesn't mean you have to oppose all military intervention (to achieve relief for human suffering)," he said. "The circumstances and procedures would have to be appropriate."

Schulz' most recent book, In Our Own Best Interests: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All, argues that human rights ought to be worthy of support because they are both morally compelling and our best interests from the point of view of national security and economic growth. Schulz is frequently on radio and television, including "20/20," "Good Morning America," "Politically Incorrect" and "Larry King Live."

Schulz said some of the best ways to improve human rights include human rights education, training police and military personnel around the world to be more cognizant of human rights, pressuring corporations not to do business with governments or other entities that have poor human rights records and working with international financial organizations to help bring about change. "It's a complex, multifaceted issue," he said.

In addition, Schulz said that increasing trade with countries with oppressive political systems in an attempt to improve human rights, such as the United States has done with China, has not resulted in satisfactory change.

Jessica Bollaert, a Southern Miss junior from Jackson, who serves as treasurer of the university's Amnesty International chapter, concurred with Schulz that the organization is making a difference in human rights, including at Southern Miss.

Recently, the group has helped raise funds for Tibetan children to receive a Tibetan education, which can only be acquired in India. The Chinese government, which controls Tibet, does not allow for the education to be provided to the students in their homeland.

"We're making an impact, and that's promising," she said.


to the top


This page is maintained by the Department of Marketing and Public Relations at
The University of Southern Mississippi at
Comments and suggestions are welcome; direct them to
URL for this page is
April 20, 2004 4:09 PM