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29th January 2020, 12:25:09 UTC

There are lots of ways to get involved with Amnesty as an activist or youth member, from opportunities to take part in global youth meetings to volunteering with us at at festivals and events across Ireland. As we receive a high number of applications, we prioritise individuals who have been involved with us in other ways such as attending events and actions or getting involved in our campaigns and activism activities.

We will post upcoming events and opportunities here. If you would like more information, please email youth(at)amnesty.ie.

Amnesty local groups

Want to join a local group near you and take action? Find one to join!


Katie, a youth member of Amnesty International Ireland“I wanted to get involved in Amnesty because I believe that coming together for human rights has never been more important than it is right now. We are seeing more and more human rights atrocities reported every day. The rise in popularity of right-wing politicians can be seen across the world, from Donald Trump in the US to the newly elected government in Italy. Along with that, crimes against humanity may be being committed in China with the detention of Uighur Muslims. The war in Ukraine has led to, and will continue to lead to, violations of human rights with the death toll of civilians rising daily. I believe that equality is the heart of human rights. I am passionate about fighting against all inequalities. I have recently been following the development of the human rights violations against protestors in Iran stemming from the death of Masha Amini following her arrest for failing to wear a hijab properly. As a woman who has been very privileged to have grown up in Ireland, I feel compelled to use my voice to raise awareness and show support for those who suffer at the hands of discriminatory and repressive regimes such as those endured by women in Iran. That is why I volunteered to be a social media activist with Amnesty Ireland. Organisations like Amnesty pull people together from all backgrounds to make a difference and give a voice to the voiceless.”

Katie, youth member and activist currently studying in NUIG.

Saoirse, youth activist from LimerickWe are in a period of intense upheaval and change. That change is not necessarily positive – we are reverting to a medieval-esque, pre-authoritarian way of life in many ways, with degrading democracy and increasing liberalisation of corporations. But I think there is also so much change and so much potential for a better future.

As the cost-of-living crisis is affecting more and more people across the globe, I believe it is especially important to interrogate the ideas that have been instilled in us by society. Ultimately, the cost-of-living crisis is not the result of an actual, physical scarcity, but rather the result of corporations and individuals who are already immensely wealthy profiteering at the expense of the rest of the world. Economics is not a set of immutable rules that we have to follow. In fact, it was deliberately constructed to prioritise the wealthy, oppress the poor and exploit planet and people. 

As democracy and human rights are being systematically eroded across the planet, it is easy to lose hope. But the revolutions that have come before, those that are happening right now, and those that are yet to come can bring us a feeling of importance, and defend us against hopelessness. The women and youth-led Iranian revolution in response to the death of Jîna (Mahsa) Amini is an example of how we, as human beings, can come together in power to bring down those that oppress us. 

This is why I became involved in activism – when I was first introduced to the idea of activism as even being possible, the concept of being able to influence change directly, and not just sit on the sidelines as adults messed everything up, was life-changing. Amnesty International continues to be a way for me to understand the complexity of human rights worldwide, and that fighting for rights is not a choice, but a necessity. 

Saoirse, youth activist from Limerick

Lucy youth activistMy name is Lucy, I am a seventeen-year-old secondary school student. I have always been interested in activism and the effect that the state of our global economic and political situation has on the world around us from an early age. I would consume news articles and media wondering how we were letting our planet and its inhabitants go to ruin before our own eyes.

Our rainforests, the lungs of the earth rapidly disappearing due to the heighten demand of palm oil, our coral reefs and many marine species going into decline due to marine pollution, no one actively preventing the ongoing genocide on the Uyghurs Muslims in China, the increasing number of hate crimes on the LGBTQIA community and the existing death penalties for the LGBTQIA community in multiple countries.

These human rights issues that I deeply cared about made me wonder why we were not doing more to prevent the abuses against them. These are such serious issues that affect so many different communities on such a global scale, and all human rights are important and deserve to be respected.

I first became involved with Amnesty Ireland through participating in their Activism Academy program, and found the course interesting and inspiring, and I deeply admired all the incredible work they do, and so I decided to join Amnesty as a youth activist.

These groups gave me the tools and the opportunity to use my voice to try to help bring the change I want to see into the world. The change I want to see in this world is a bigger emphasis on climate change prevention and more education on the damaging effects that our capitalistic and consumer ideals are having on the Climate crisis. I would also like to see a safer environment for the LQBTQIA community where all forms of love and gender are unconditionally respected. I want to see an increase in education, especially for those who face barriers or live in undeveloped areas, as many human rights abuses and social justice issues trace back to a lack of education. I believe education has the power to heal the world.

Lucy, Amnesty youth activist and Activism Academy participant.

Bel, a young activist for Amnesty Ireland holding a placard that says 'We don't have a refugee crisis. We have a housing crisis.'My name is Bel, I’m a TY student from Lucan. I’d like to live in a world where everyone is treated equally and fairly; I believe that working together is the only way to fix the climate crisis and put an end to poverty and to ultimately achieve peace.

I initially got involved with Amnesty Ireland by participating in their TY Activism Academy program. I am finding the course to be incredibly interesting and insightful. I am deeply inspired by all of the incredible work that they do, and I think the organisation is a great example that their strength is in numbers. Because of this I decided to join Amnesty as a youth activist and I strongly encourage anyone with even a slight interest in human rights to consider joining too.

Human rights are rights that we are all entitled to because we are all human. It is the most important thing that we all share. I advocate for human rights as much as I can and have always been interested in activism.

Bel, Amnesty youth activist and Activism Academy participant.

Taking time to dedicate to the local community has always been a priority for me and a constant in my life. Joining Amnesty – the most important NGO protecting human rights – was, therefore, an almost automatic and immediate choice.

As the Dublin activist group’s coordinator, I am working to strengthen the support for migrant communities, particularly war refugees, in building a new life in Ireland. The migration topic has always touched me closely. For example, some years ago, I made a reportage on the situation in Velika Kladuša – a Bosnian town on the border with the European Union. Here, thousands of land migrants from the Southern and Eastern areas of the World attempt the last and most dangerous step of their journey. They sarcastically call it “the game”, the desperate attempt to cross Croatia to reach the EU Schengen Zone (note Croatia joined the Schengen area only recently, from 2023, Jan 1st). This attempt was desperate and dangerous because getting caught would have resulted in losing all their belongings and being beaten by local authorities.

Regarding migration management, I would like to see clear changes in how host countries perceive migrants. Since the dawn of history, humans have migrated when forced by unbearable conditions. People do not migrate for leisure but when forced to. Therefore, migrants should not be treated as the scapegoat for all the country’s problems; instead, they should be welcomed as carriers of enrichment and innovation and facilitated in getting back on their feet and rebuilding their lives. At a more macro level, the EU should deal with common issues in a shared way. A truly humane and effective solution will not be achieved without community-based management of flows and root problems.

Federico, Dublin Activist Group

Sheenagh, Amnesty activistI first got involved with Amnesty Ireland as a transition year student on a work experience placement. I participated in the first Fridays For Future Climate Strike and the 2019 Pride Parade as a youth representative with Amnesty. I continued this involvement at university, as the current chairperson of TCD’s Amnesty.

I enjoy working with Amnesty because of the broad range of topics that they engage with. Personally, I’ve always felt most drawn to issues concerned with children’s rights such as the unequal access to quality education that exists globally, and women’s rights issues, such as the prevalence of period poverty. Being active with Amnesty has opened my eyes up to a whole host of other topics and issues that I wouldn’t have engaged with otherwise, for example, the arrest of child protestors in Thailand and the correlation between human rights and climate justice. Involvement with Amnesty encourages you to consider all aspects of human rights activism, as you are confronted with all the facts, and not just those you choose to engage with.

For me, I would love to see increased cross-cultural dialogue as a means for change in our world. I believe that to create meaningful change that stops the persecution of human rights, there needs to be a transnational approach to creating that change, as this is a transnational problem and responsibility. As well as this, I would love to see a greater focus on quality education as I believe we cannot achieve any of the other Sustainable Development Goals without first reaching this paramount step. Organisations like Amnesty give a platform to young people to pursue such change.


MariaI am Maria Belen, originally from  Madrid but I have lived in Ireland half of my adult life. I was born under Franco’s regime and grew up in the aftermath of fear and corruption that the 40-year dictatorship regime left behind. I always found it very upsetting to learn about the disappeared in Spain during and after the Civil War, about the arbitrary detentions, political prisoners, and death penalty. I grew up learning the meaning of Freedom of Speech as a newfound thing in society. I have always felt passionate about women’s rights and people’s power and freedom of thought, speech and assembly.

I strongly believe in a community that can speak up on behalf of those who are oppressed and that can hold totalitarian governments accountable. Afghanistan, Iran, El Salvador, Russia, Turkey, only a few examples where Amnesty’s voice and presence can make a difference to people’s lives. I joined Amnesty in Cork after attending a series of workshops, talks and activities organized for members and new members. I have seen so much amazing change in Ireland in the last 25 years that encourages a lifelong commitment to activism; changes to the Constitution in relation to Women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights including marriage between same sex couples, and the integration of a multicultural society, although there is still a lot to do with regards to Direct Provision and Refugee protection.

Maria, coordinator of the Cork local group

Mary Ryan, coordinator of the Letterkenny Local GroupI joined Amnesty one Saturday morning in early 1993 in response to a full-page ad I saw in the Irish Times on the subject of Burma. It featured a man who had been horrifically abused by the Burmese military and I just felt if something like that happened to my family, I would want people to help me fight for justice. I joined the local group here quite quickly and have been involved since.

Amnesty has absolutely changed how I think about things. I think it is always worth challenging what does not seem right or just, either locally or at a wider level. I would be much more inclined to do that now, and realise that change often happens slowly, but we do not have to give up. Like direct provision, our group first started working in that area in 2000, it took a long time to get the White Paper. I have met so many amazing people through Amnesty, from the other determined and decent people in our local group who can show we can contribute to changing the prevailing narrative on an issue, to the many guests and speakers we have had over the years who have all been so inspiring in their own ways. They have lived their lives by their values.

I would absolutely encourage people to join Amnesty, there will be an area of work to interest you. Never underestimate the power of individuals all acting together, your conversations with other people can change their minds on a particular issue and your work can be a very powerful message of solidarity with people on the coalface of human rights abuses and I have heard that first hand from many such people.

Mary Ryan, coordinator of the Letterkenny Local Group

The world is changing right before our eyes. The climate crisis is worse than ever; wildfires are spreading across Europe, yellow smoke has engulfed New York City and the Horn of Africa has experienced one of the worst droughts in six decades. Women’s bodily autonomy in Iran continues to be restricted by the morality police and transgender individuals in the USA and people in the LGBTQ+ community around the world are being penalized for the crime of being themselves.

Human rights are being taken away from people as we speak. The world is changing – so now we must change. That is why I became involved with Amnesty Ireland as a Youth Activist so I can contribute in making a positive difference in a more effective way. Only when we are seen as equal can we achieve human rights. I believe raising awareness about these issues is crucial because when enough people unite and fight, we can reach a point where we cannot be ignored. That’s why I support the Vote@16 campaign so strongly; the more voices heard, the better. Young people’s voices have been suppressed for far too long in the decision-making process and deserve to be listened to.

Amnesty has given me a community to fight alongside, and the support and guidance to make that change. The world waits for no one and will continue to change without us. Working with organizations like Amnesty ensures that such change will be for the better.

Alana O’Connor, youth activist

Gerri, Galway coordinatorFor a long time I knew Amnesty International and its marvellous work, but I thought it was an organisation only that people worked for. I didn’t imagine that I could become a volunteer of this great organisation, so when one day I discovered that I could actually join Amnesty, I immediately became a member.

At that time I was living in Barcelona. There was a big group in Barcelona, as it’s a very big city, and we took part in many activities, but a large part of every meeting was dedicated to signing petition letters and discussing the cases in the letters. For me this is still the most important part of my Amnesty Volunteering, learning about cases of human rights violations.

When I came to live in Galway in 2012 there was an Action Centre and that was great. It also had a Local Group, based in the Action Centre, which I joined. Unfortunately the Action Centre closed down in 2013, and so I became the Coordinator of the Local Group. During the first years we took part in many local events, continuing the work of the Action Centre, until the COVID pandemic when many of our activities went completely online.

Nowadays we have meetings most Mondays, where we look at recent Press Releases and discuss the latest Urgent Actions. We haven’t done or taken part in many events since COVID, but we’re planning to do several this autumn and winter on Apartheid in Israel, oppression in Iran, and the situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan.

Gerri, Galway group coordinator

Youth activist ConnieMy name’s Connie, and I’m a TY student from Dublin. My interest in Amnesty and their work stems from a long interest in activism and justice. I’ve always wanted to help improve the lives of other people, and for a long time I struggled to find a way to do this outside of just being nice and helpful. When I heard about Amnesty’s Activism Academy, I jumped at the chance to learn more about activism, and so I applied. I’ve already learned so much from only two sessions so far. I would say that I care deeply about all kinds of activism and human rights issues, but I would say that one of the issues that is most important to me is ending all kinds of discrimination, be that against women, people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, the list goes on. I believe that this is the foundation of most, if not all, of the societal issues that Amnesty combats. This is something that desperately needs addressing for society to become a welcoming and progressive place. The changes I would like to see mainly focus on the right to protest, and the right to have your opinions heard. Right now, people flat-out refuse to listen to people whose beliefs are different to them. Healthy debate is impossible, as extremists try to shut down conversations surrounding, for example, queer history, as seen in Florida’s now infamous Don’t Say Gay bill, which attempts to erase the existence of the LGBTQ+ community in schools. I would like to see the world become much more open to different opinions, as this would encourage people to be more empathetic and understanding of other people, which would in turn decrease the amount of discrimination in the world. People fear that which they do not understand, so the solution to this fear is to encourage them to be more understanding. I believe that it would be wrong to not use my privilege to help those in need, and help their voices be heard. We need to advocate for an end to discrimination everywhere we can, be that in our schools, in our homes, in our parliaments and in the streets.

Connie, youth activist

Alice Regis, Activism Officer, Amnesty IrelandI started my personal activism journey when I was 14 years old. My first protest was a rally against homophobia in Italy in 2010. At the time, the LGBTI community was stigmatised and marginalised in a country I felt was becoming increasingly conservative. I knew I needed to do something, so I gathered some friends and together we created t-shirts with the Article 2 of the UDHR printed on and we participated in the rally. What was going on was not right, it was true, but my feelings, though, were. From that moment on, I felt that I had to continue to stand and act against any human rights violation.

I decided to join Amnesty International Italy as a volunteer and from there I started developing the activist who I am today. I have learnt that activism is as powerful as it is frustrating. It is frustrating because the changes that Amnesty brings to society are not immediately visible so it can be hard for activists to keep believing that they are doing the right thing and that change will eventually come.

However, even if this can lead to burnout and lack of motivation, I really believe in activism as the key to change what is unfair. I firmly believe that no matter what, we need to stand up for everybody’s human rights.

Alice, Activism Officer, Amnesty Ireland