Human Rights Victory

Something I’ve been involved with for several years now is campaigning for human rights where there is injustice, discrimination, suppression of freedom of speech and press and despotic regimes.

Last year, around October, I became aware that Phil Blackwood had been wrongly imprisoned in Burma (Myanmar). I immediately started a campaign to present to the FCO (Hugo Swire) to pressure Myanmar to free him.

PhilBlack has dual British and New Zealand citizenship. He had been resident in NZ for most of his life. The FCO were indifferent, saying that New Zealand should deal with this issue. I wrote to Hugo Swire four times without any response. I tweeted the Foreign Secretary many times.

I wrote articles and letters to newspapers in New Zealand. I emailed the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister several times. All I got was confirmation of receipt. I emailed the British Embassy and the New Zealand consulate in Yangon. No response.

Strangely, the Blackwood family would not co-operate, although some uncles, cousins friends etc did sign the petition. My followers on twitter kept retweeting the petition, and I owe them a lot of gratitude.

In January this year I received a message from a journalist in New Zealand. By the time I found it and responded, she replied that Phil Blackwood was home in New Zealand. I felt so grateful, such a happiness filled me, a sense that right really is more powerful that wrong. I was delighted for Phil and his wife and toddler daughter.

Mayanmar has been called a new democracy but it is not. Though there is a new civilian government, the Military retain the right to take over at any time it suits them. Daw San Siu Kyi must repeal the religious laws which discriminate against Muslims and she must restore citizenship to the #Rohingya who are stateless, starving, raped, brutalised and used as slave labour.

Daw Siu Kyi has a Nobel peace prize and yet she has not spoken out for human rights or peace since she was released from house arrest