Why Human Rights Work?
Experience shows: Human Rights Work helps!
Since its foundation in 1972, ISHR has supported non-violent prisoners of conscience – in the past mostly in Eastern-Europe, today in Vietnam, Pakistan, China und numerous other countries. Even if not all prisoners that were supported by ISHR have been previously released from prison, the number of successes is very high. Others were granted better conditions of imprisonment or better medical care.
Nevertheless, the general goal is: If through this work only one life can be saved or if for one person abuse is stopped and he wins back his hope and dignity, if only one single person re-gains his or her freedom – then it was worth it.
The Efforts are worth it
Even dictatorships can be influenced through public opinion in other countries. One example is the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, where at the beginning of the 1980s thousands of political prisoners were maltreated and tortured in camps. The Communist Party still rules Vietnam but not at last through international protest and pressure, did the powerful introduce more subtle methods of exerting their power. The number of abuses has decreased tremendously.
Also the folders of the BStU (Federal Commissioner for the Records of the National Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic) show that human rights work can have a real impact. They demonstrate how a totalitarian regime like the GDR feels insulted by the publication of the conditions in their prisons. They also show that the emergence that the discrimination of people wanting to leave the GDR was ordered by the state, was extremely embarrassing for GDR-leadership. The peaceful revolution in the former GDR is one of the best proofs that citizen’s efforts can really change something. Join us!