Amnesty International
Upper Potomac Chapter (AIUP) #539 is

Currently Inactive.


Contact Jiva Manske  202.509.8151  

January 11, 2008 Shepherdstown Vigil where more than 25 residents called for the closure of Guantanamo, an end to torture, and the restoration of habeas corpus.

January 11, 2008 Shepherdstown Vigil where more than 25 local residents joined thousands throughout the world to call for the closure of Guantanamo and other illegal detention centers, an end to torture, and the restoration of habeas corpus.

You can help accomplish these goals by taking action through AIUSA's website.


 Upcoming Meetings

 Chapter Information

 Amnesty International

 Current Projects

 Human Rights Videos Available



Amnesty International Upper Potomac Chapter Group 539
The Upper Potomac Chapter is composed of Shepherd University students, as well as members of surrounding communities in the multi-state Upper Potomac Region.
At letter writing meetings we learn background information about a specific human rights case or issue. We then write letters to appropriate officials a) on behalf of the prisoner(s) of conscience or b) advocating a specific approach regarding a human rights issue or situation. We also organize programs and events.


Documentary Film Presentation: "Which Way Home" Tuesday, September 13 at 8 p.m. hosted by the Shepherdstown Opera House. Free to the Public.
The film, by Academy Award nominated director, Rebecca Cammisa chronicles the journey of children on a quest to enter the U.S. through Mexico on a train they call " The Beast". The film event will feature discussion led by student-coordinator, Matt Chelf on the topic of Immigrants' rights.





For information: email 

Highlights of Recent Past Meetings and Events 

Iron Ladies of Liberia
Film and Letter Writing
     In November, 2005, in the war-torn Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won a surprise victory to become Africa's first elected woman president. Known as the "Iron Lady," she quickly appointed a team of strong women to help lead her government.  The film follows these women during their turbulent first year in office.  Running time 75 minutes.  Letter writing will follow film.

Film Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids.  
Winner of the 2004 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the film highlights the children of prostitutes in Calcutta's red light district.   

Ray McGovern "Counter Terror with Justice" free  Co-sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies Center
Former CIA Senior Analyst & Briefer of Presidents, Co-Founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS),

Human Rights Camp!
The 5th Annual Human Rights Camp for Kids was held at Shepherd University from June 24 - 27, 2009.  Contact Professor Scharmer at

Write-a-thon, 2009  35 letters in 2 hours on behalf of prisoners of conscience.

Immigrants in Detention: Jailed without Justice. The Visitor screening, with speaker Wendy Young of Kids in Need of Defense.
 Jan. 13, 2010

Crude: The Real Price of Oil, award winning film followed by panel discussion. April 22, 2010.

The Response  Nov. 17, 2010
Shortlisted for the 2010 Academy Awards (one of 10 films selected world-wide!)
Cosponsored by Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, 

Aasif Mandvi plays detainee

Aasif Mandvi plays detainee

Global Write-A-Thon

Nov. 30, 2010, Noon- 2 p.m., Ram's Den on campus in Student Center

Take part in the world's largest letter writing event (Amnesty International Global Write-A-Thon).

Your letters can help release people who are in prison for nothing more than non-violently advocating freedom for others.
One letter at a time.  
It works!

Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide human rights movement working independently of all governments and political ideologies to:


the release of prisoners of conscience; men, women, and children detained anywhere solely because of their beliefs, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, color, or language, and who have neither used nor advocated violence.



fair and prompt trials for all political prisoners.



all use of torture, "disappearance," political killing, and the death penalty.

AI received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its efforts to promote observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To learn more about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, go to, or come to our meetings and obtain a free copy.

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Visit members of Congress and other officials to help them understand Amnesty International USA's position on specific pieces of human rights legislation. Help our officials put the human faces on rights violations so that they can better assess how US legislation either promotes or hinders respect for human rights. To get involved, contact Amnesty International WV Legislative Coordinator.  For tips on making a visit to your member of Congress, take a look at the "Raise the Roof" video available for loan from the Shepherdstown Public Library.


Do you want to help but don't have time for meetings or writing many letters? OR would you like to write additional letters between meetings? Join Amnesty International's on line Action Center. You will be able to view pre-drafted letters ready for your signature. Leave the letter as is or edit it, press send, and you are increasing the chances that a person in custody will not be tortured or that the torture will stop. At times you may also have the option to make your voice heard on issues involving U.S. Congress or corporations. Visit Amnesty International USA's online Action Center.


Choose an Amnesty International case or issue that you would like to focus on  by selecting Our Priorities after clicking on  Then volunteer to prepare the model letter(s) and briefly present background information at one of our monthly meetings.

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Human Rights Videos Available at the Shepherdstown Public Library

Click here for more information

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You can receive announcements and information by email about AIUP meetings and events by sending a message to or calling 202-509-8151. You can support our Chapter by working with us and as a dues-paying member. Our Chapter's dues are $5/yr for students; $10 (or more, if you like!) for non-students.

* To become a member of Amnesty International USA, click on

* Membership in the local chapter does not include membership in Amnesty International USA and inversely,  membership in Amnesty International USA does not include membership in the local Upper Potomac Chapter.


During a vigil on August 7, 2006, AIUP joined AI members worldwide to demand an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon. See photos by Dennis Crosby at

Tabling at the Contemporary American Theater Festival

Tabling at the Contemporary American Theater Festival

V-Day Letter writing

V-Day Letter writing meeting "Women in Conflict Zones"

Dimensions of Torture Forum

Dimensions of Torture Forum


Iraq: Solidarity and Sorrow - Protect Human Rights

At a vigil in Shepherdstown on March 20, 2003, a member of AIUP read the following pledge:

Pledge for the People of Iraq

"Tonight (or today) we hold this vigil of "solidarity and sorrow" for the people of Iraq. We do this to reaffirm our commitment to universal human rights and to stand in solidarity with all those who face the destructive impact of war. We pledge to press all involved to act in accordance with the international laws and standards they are bound to uphold, in war and in peace.

Two decades of conflict, a brutally oppressive regime, and the imposition of harsh and indiscriminate economic sanctions have jeopardized and violated the most fundamental human rights of Iraqi civilians. We reflect in sorrow for these violations, now magnified by the military intervention. We demand that the international community, and in particular, the parties to the conflict, endeavor to protect the lives of civilians, and we demand that the human rights of the Iraqi people never again be subjected to abuse and neglect."

As an organization, Amnesty International takes no position on nations' resort to use of force to resolve international disputes, but military action must fully protect civilians, and be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law, human rights law and the Geneva Conventions. For more information on Amnesty International actions, go to

Updated 2-23-2014