From Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada <[email protected]>
Subject Farewell, and thank you.
Date October 2, 2020 7:12 PM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
Today, as I move on from twenty years as Secretary General of Amnesty
International Canada, I am filled with gratitude. |

View in browser [[link removed]]

[[link removed]]
Dear John,

If not me, who?

In the course of human rights work that has taken me to the frontlines of
conflict, persecution and discrimination all over the world, no four words have
perhaps so clearly framed for me what is at the core of both the vision and
promise of universal human rights.

Violah, a labour organizer and opposition politician, was in hiding when I met
her during a volatile and fearful time in Zimbabwe. She was at great personal
risk, and living apart from her family, simply because she was a determined
human rights defender. But despite that peril, she was still determined to lend
her support to others.

If not me, who? She pointed out to me that we are all in it together when it comes to the human
rights struggle; a responsibility that can never be set aside.

Today, as I move on from the honour of twenty humbling years as Secretary
General of Amnesty International Canada, I carry Violah’s words with me. For the
world has, perhaps, never been so divisively pulled in opposite directions when
it comes to respecting and upholding human rights. And the time for all of us to
step forward for human rights therefore never more urgent.

If not me, who?

These have been two decades of triumph and sorrow, of exhilarating moments of
justice and agonizing waves of injustice. And my heart is full of reflection and certainly of appreciation, which I share
in full in a final blog post here
[[link removed]] .

First, I am so thankful for the precious gift of learning over these years, from
hundreds of mentors and teachers; and of the essential lesson that we all must
continuously rise to our own responsibility to both change ourselves and effect
change around us.

Second, my immeasurable respect runs so very deep for the courage and conviction
of human rights defenders – particularly women and young people – at the
frontlines of struggle across our country and around the world.

Third, I am in awe of the power of the collective – of our joined-up power – and
all that is possible when we come together in solidarity and common purpose.

Fourth, I am lifted up by all that has been achieved. Prisoners of conscience
who have been freed. Refugees who have been protected. New treaties that have
been agreed. Cruel laws that have been overturned. Steady moves towards
abolishing the death penalty. And struggles for equality that have come far.

Fifth, though, I mourn all that was lost and am chastened by all that remains.
Atrocities that have devastated so many countries and peoples. Racism that
remains entrenched. Violence against women that still runs deep. The shameful
failure to advance true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. And the mounting
global climate crisis.

Sixth, I am propelled by all that is necessary and all that is possible. The
power of people, protest and the street is unstoppable. The need for
transformative change that tackles society’s glaring inequalities, laid so bare
by the COVID-19 pandemic, is in front of us. The urgency of defending truth has
never been so paramount. And we have a tremendous opening to truly embrace
feminism, reconciliation and a commitment to anti-racism, at the core of our
approach to human rights.

Finally, above all I am filled with gratitude.

I cannot begin to express how deep lies my appreciation and admiration for the
incredible people – staff, members and supporters – who make up the Amnesty
International movement, in Canada and everywhere.

I have climbed upon your shoulders. I have followed in your footsteps. We have
held each other’s hands. I have been bolstered by your generosity. I have been
encouraged, energized and challenged by you, no matter what has come at us. I
think also of dear Amnesty friends and colleagues who have, sadly, left us over
the years; their example and legacy are lodged in my soul.

These are not easy times for human rights. But I look around our movement and I
see nothing but hope and possibility. I see that in the millions of Amnesty
supporters who take Violah’s words to heart, every day, as a rallying cry.

And I am filled with such hope and possibility as I pass the candle on to the brilliant and inspiring Ketty Nivyabandi, our
new Secretary General
[[link removed]] .

With you I know that she will take our human rights work to new heights. As we
must, together.

Thank you dear friends, for everything. Onward we go.

If not me, if not us, who?

With deepest gratitude and hope,


Alex Neve
Outgoing Secretary General
Amnesty International Canada

[[link removed]] [[link removed]] [[link removed]] DONATE
[[link removed]]
[[link removed]]
[[link removed]]

You received this email because you requested to be informed about opportunities
to protect human rights.
If you do not wish to receive emails from Amnesty, click here
[[link removed]] .

Amnesty International Canadian Section (English Speaking)
312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON, K1N 1H9 1-800-AMNESTY (266-3789)
Charitable Registration # 11878 5914 RR0001

View Amnesty's privacy policy [[link removed]]
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis