The editorial team of publication year 2016-2017 welcomes you to The Amnesty. As an editorial team, we are as eclectic as they come: from distinguished activists to retiring wallflowers, the diverse life experiences of these members have culminated in an array of hard-hitting, and uncomfortable stories from often unique perspectives. Intrigued? Why learn more about us:
MEET THE EDITORS
Augusta Senenssie, Editor-in-Chief
“Once conform, once [you] do what other people do because they do it, a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous and indifferent”- Virginia Woolf
Augusta Senenssie is a LLB student studying at UCL. Her decision to stand for Editor stemmed from her innate sense of challenging the status quo. Her editorial style is unique, given, that it is mostly reactionary to the volatility of the world’s political landscape and her disappointment with absence of a clear, unyielding, student press response. Her interest in human rights was peaked following research into the Sierra Leonean Rebel War which saw the displacement of thousands of citizens, including members of her own extended family. This undoubtedly charged her pursuit of a career in advocacy and international lobbying. Her areas of interest include examining the emergence of Totalitarian regimes in the absence of unified diplomatic condemnation, and the implications this may have on a misinformed populace.
Anne Blanken, journal writer and Women’s Editor
Anne Blanken is a Arts and Sciences student studying at UCL. Anne’s passion for human rights evolved during her years living in Turkey. There, whilst the seeds of economic development had matured, hereby engendering substantial social welfare, it became abundantly clear that not all would prosper from these economic shifts. It was the women who particularly suffered the effects of life in a society that lagged behind in significant economic development. Sylvia Plath famously wrote :
“I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still”.
This same voice persists within Anne, and it is only when she writes that she feels that she can materialize her discontent of social injustices like misogyny and gender inequality.
Alex Stephenson, journal writer and Global Politics’ Editor
Alex Stephenson is a Politics and Eastern European Studies student studying at UCL. He has always had a deep-seated interest in Human Rights. But what made him truly recognise its importance was the six months he spent in China, where access to political rights and government transparency are limited. He was especially agitated by the systematic oppression of rights to protest. For Alex, a remedy for the status quo is journalism. In line with this belief, he worked in the public affairs department of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), where he campaigned for and facilitated the lobbying procedure of children’s rights. Alex intends to write about systematic Human Rights abuses perpetuated by governments, both within and between countries.
Hannah Overton, journal writer and Health Editor
Hannah Overton is a first-year medical student, and contributes to The Amnesty’s Women’s and is the Health division Editor. Ever since Hannah was a little girl, she has wanted to work for Medicines Sans Frontiers; providing medical care in the developing world. Because of this, she became acutely aware of the various human rights abuses that take place in countries where MSF operates. An awareness that grew problematic especially when she recognised such abuses being perpetrated by her own government. Most of Hannah’s writing centres on health issues and sticking it to the man! Her articles are provocative and often feature as strong condemnation of the government’s handling of health issues (in true junior doctor style). She has also been known to jot down a poem -or two- when the mood strikes her.
Ellioté Long, journal writer and Culture Editor
“Peace is not only the absence of war; as long as there is poverty, racism, segregation and exclusion it is difﬁcult to reach a peaceful world”- Rigoberta Menchú, K’iche’, human rights activist from Guatemala.
Ellioté is a Spanish and French Student studying at UCL, contributing to the Women’s, Global Politics section and is The Amnesty’s Culture Editor. Her interest in Human Rights was piqued after many heated debates with her Citizenship teacher at school. One day, aged 14, her teacher encouraged her to do something with her opinions, introduced her to Amnesty International and Ellioté organised ‘Write for Rights’ and other events at school, ever since. During her initial years at UCL, and more recently on exchange in Mexico City, Ellioté’s understanding about the workings of Human Rights grew. Nowadays, her interest in Human Rights goes hand-in-hand with her feminism and she is particularly interested in how Human Rights bodies and international law can empower women around the world to ensure justice and safety for all.
Ellioté is most interested in writing about women’s rights, gendered violence and reproductive rights; a range of human rights issues affecting Latin America and the Caribbean, and indigenous and LGBTQ+ rights. Currently living in Paris, The Amnesty cannot wait to read Ellioté’s unique perspective on a range of different stories.
MEET THE (PERMANENT) WRITERS
Anastasia (Annie) Komarova is a BA French and Russian Student at UCL. Coming from a country where human rights are often ignored, Anastasia became determined to raise awareness about this, as well as the other countries where basic human rights are denied. For Anastasia the reasons for such violations are many, namely: corruption, the outcome of civil and political wars as well as human crises. She believes that, for the most part, Western (namely British) living has resulted in many of us being sheltered from events beyond the channel. It is Annie’s hope that by sharing her experiences, she can raise awareness about these events, both amongst her peers and the general public.
When asked about what inspired her to start writing, Anastasia recounted her attempts to right her first ‘book’ aged 7. But whilst many gave up on this childhood dream, Anastasia went back to creative writing as part of her English A Level. It was at this point that she realised it was something she wanted to do for a living. Through this love of writing, Anastasia’s hopes to cover stories of human interest, as well as ongoing political debates and focus on cultural and historical issues. With such a unique life story and a sea of different interests, The Amnesty knows that Anastasia’s articles will not be things we’ll soon forget!
Isobel (Izzy) Sanders is an English Literature and German student. When asked about her interest in human rights, Isobel found it difficult to synthesis her interest down to a single point. Her reason? For Isobel, having an interest in human rights seems intuitive in a civilised society. But she concedes that the clear endangerment of such rights in this current climate, has made active involvement in securing and protecting these rights, all the more important. As a published contributor to the Huffington Post, Isobel’s interest in covering European political events is clear. However, her interests goes far beyond politics, as women’s issues and the ongoing refugee crisis are also incredibly important to her. Bridging these two ideas is something Isobel looks forward to. In short, The Amnesty believes we’ve found a gem in Izzy and cannot wait to see what she produces!
Claudia is a recent LSE Law graduate and contributes to The Amnesty’s Women, Global Politics and Breaking News sections. Having spent her entire life in a peaceful and relatively politically stable country, it’s been easy for Claudia and her peers to take for granted the idea that citizens need protection against government. It is because of this realisation that Claudia argues that the existence of a set of intangible and inalienable rights afforded to all is an inherently good one, no matter what territory they live in. As a writer and activist, she thinks it’s difficult, but necessary, to find a way to articulate the importance of human rights to the public in order to ensure their protection, and this is what she hopes to do through her writing.
Having specialised in both international human rights and criminal law as part of her degree, Claudia hopes to pursue these areas in her career. So, stories related to the UN, ICC or international tribunals particularly interest her. Claudia is also passionate and experienced in writing about women, indigenous rights and anti-Semitism.
When thinking about the importance of human rights, Claudia draws inspiration from her grandmother. As a Sephardi Jewish women who grew up in Syria, she experience intense discrimination and persecution from a young age eventually forced her and her family to flee to Turkey. In order to provide for her family, she had to leave school early and enter into the world of work. Despite the barriers she faced- and that Jewish women in Turkey continue to face- she managed to become one of Turkey’s first female Chief Financial Officers. In an age where refugees are scapegoated and deprived of their dignity, Claudia thinks stories such as these are important to reflect on as a reminder that basic rights can allow anyone to flourish. With an expanse of experience and as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, we believe that Claudia will be an exceptional addition to The Amnesty!
Eshitha Vaz (Eshi) is a Population Health student at UCL. Eshi’s interests in human rights stemmed from her belief that upholding human rights should be the central pivot around which the world revolves. For Eshi, maintaining and advocating rights is not merely a matter of social justice, but is inherent to how we see ourselves and how far we can truly understanding the meaning of ‘humanity. As well as aspiring to have a career in public policy in, her interest in human rights seems somewhat inevitable, considering her wiliness to be part of global change. Eshi is particularly interested in stories about women’s rights and health (particularly global health). For Eshi, both topics converge and so she’s interested in exploring how inequalities in gender affect health.
As a published poet, writing is an essential part of who Eshi is. She has been writing since she was seven years old: from short stories to poems, there is little she loves more than putting pen to paper and writing a story. One her way to primary school, she would walk past a farm with fields of daffodils and she and her father would recite Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ as they walked past. Aged 16, she became fascinated with the poetry of Dylan Thomas and now, considers writing, fictional or otherwise has been propelled by human rights, and makes her, her. We’re excited to see what Eshi’ll bring to The Amnesty!
Alexandra (Alex) Howlett is an English Language and Literature student studying at King’s College London, and writes for The Amnesty’s women, human interest and culture sections. Alex’s interest in human rights stems from the fact that it is something that affect us all. She believes that everyone has an obligation to be interested in humans rights, and to try and be proactive in whatever way they can. For Alex, joining The Amnesty is her way of being proactive!
Alex has always been most interested in women’s rights, especially after her internship at The Feminist Times, as well as co-editing a female orientated communal blog: so covering relevant issues, interviewing women who deserved to be celebrated and the like are all the kinds of things she looks forward to contributing to The Amnesty! With a millennial suffragette joining our ranks, we’re more than excited to see what Alex’ll bring!
“What better way to share a message and pass the time?”
Benjamin (Ben) Cartwright is a Law with Hispanic Law student, studying at UCL, and also contributes to The Amnesty’s Global Politics and Human interest sections. Ben is undoubtedly a man of few words, but for him, human rights are one of the only protections citizens have against state excess. Without them, Ben fears that the world may revert back to a sort of pre-1945 dystopia, and lives would be at risk. He is very much interested in focusing on stories related to (legal-based) human rights. He’s also very much interested in covering stories related to modern slavery, as Anti-Slavery Officer for the UCLU Amnesty International Society, we believe he’s uniquely qualified to share stories of the sort! In short, we’re excited to see how Ben’s thoughtful academic pieces can spruce up The Amnesty: welcome to the team Ben!
‘No digas’ “no puedo”ni en broma. Porque le inconsciente no tiene sentido del humor, lo tomará en serio y te lo recordará cada vez que lo intentes.’
Helen Lister is a German and Spanish student studying at the University of Edinburgh and contributes to the Culture section. When asked why she was interested in human rights, Helen presented a rather compelling case. She argued that, whether we’re aware of it or not, being interested in human rights is a default condition of being human- they are our rights, so we should be interested. Sadly, as a result of this, when people are deprived of their human rights, they are also being deprived of their human. Despite everything 2016 threw at us, Helen still has faith in humanity- she believes that we’re capable of achieving incredible things, and no one should be held back from their achievements because they are denied human rights. Helen is mostly interested in writing about the interaction between music and human rights, as well as food and literature. Her passion for human rights and equality is clear and The Amnesty cannot wait to see how this will translate into her writing.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Giulia Ferraro is an English Literature and Language student at UCL, and contributes to The Amnesty’s Women, Global Politics and Culture sections. Giulia’s interest in human rights started at an early age: despite her (very) Italian name, she is in fact half-Japanese and has experienced racial discrimination throughout her life in London, specifically because of her Asian heritage. In world’s current climate, Giulia believes that racial awareness is absolutely necessary and hopes to contribute to this conversation from her own personal experiences. She considers herself to be an intersectional feminists and strongly advocates for women’s rights.
Giulia is interested in literature: from traditional narratives to modern poetry. She is also interested in writing about cultural appropriation, because it is a subject she feels very strongly about, particularly from an Asian (Japanese) standpoint. With such a wide-range of influences and anecdotal experience, we cannot wait to see what Giulia will add to The Amnesty!
Chiara Vivaldi is an Arts and Sciences student studying at UCL. Having lived most of her life in Istanbul, she grew up being regularly exposed to and unsettled by the parallels between the extremely modern and the abominably poor. The Istanbul Gezi Park protests marked the beginning of her interest in politics and human rights, which has grown exponentially ever since. Chiara hopes to make use of her more creative side to diversify the way in which stories about human rights are told. Hence, in addition to writing articles, she pushes for the use of photography, poetry and direct engagement with the UCL community as alternative means to communicate a message.