Amnesty International USA activists from across the country will tackle some of the most pressing human rights issues facing the world today when they convene for the organization's 2006 Annual General Meeting in Portland this weekend.
Up to 1,000 people are expected to attend this year's convention, set for April 28 to 30 in the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 S.W. Sixth Ave. The public is invited; registration is $100 for three days or $20 for one day.
In promoting the theme "Make Some Noise: Human Rights at High Volume," the organization will address topics that dominate the international agenda.
"The U.S. government continues to back abusive and degrading practices established in the name of fighting terror, even as it promotes itself as a defender of international human rights," said William F. Schulz, who will complete his 12-year tenure as executive director of Amnesty International USA.
"To fight this 'have our cake and eat it too' mentality, we rely on the type of activism that is intrinsic to Portland. By coming here, we can recognize our local members as they, with hundreds of others, demand that human rights violations be abolished at home and abroad."
A "Denounce Torture" rally at Pioneer Square is planned for Friday afternoon. Speakers will include: Schulz; Adriana Portillo-Bartow, a survivor of torture and deputy director of the organization's midwest regional office;Tom Johnson, Portland-based attorney for Guantánamo detainee Ihlkham Battayev; Meg Satterthwaite, an Amnesty International board member and co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law; and J. David Kinzie, director of the Torture Treatment Center of Oregon.
Speakers on Friday night will tackle issues including violence against Native American women and the importance of economic, social and cultural rights. On Saturday, the agenda turns to human trafficking.
Other events include panel discussions covering: the "war on terror" and human rights; the death penalty; police brutality against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico; arms trafficking; and oil companies and human rights abuses in the Niger Delta.
A concert for human rights, titled "Make Some Noise for Darfur!" is planned on Saturday night at the Roseland Theater. Members ofIncubus,The Nightwatchman(Tom Morello), Collective Soul and Suzanne Vega will perform to raise awareness and funds for those suffering from the massive humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Several other musicians also will perform.
For more information, visit www.amnestyusa.org/events/AGM/.