If Harvard's chapter of Amnesty International (A.I.) has its way this week. Dr. Marko Veselica and Juan Antonio Rodriguez Orlando-two "prisoners of conscience" massoon be released.
Beginning today, members of A.I. will circulate postcards in all Houses and the Freshman Union asking the Yugoslavian government to release VE selica and the Uruguayan government to release Orlando The group is also co-sponsoring a forum to night on "Human Rights and American Foreign Policy," at 8 p.m. at the Institute of Politics.
The effort is part of "Human Rights Week." a three-day campaign beginning today in which A.I. members hope to enlighten Harvard students about human rights issues of encourage them to become involved. Harvard A.I. co-chairman Norman E. Yamada '84 said. Veselica is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for distributing "hostile propaganda," and Orlando is serving a 15-year sentence for opposing martial law.
"A lot of times when people don't know about human rights it's because they don't know what they can do to help," said Paula M. Lozano '84, co-chairman of A.I., adding "That's the beauty of the A.I. approach."
Since its resurgence six months ago after folding in 1980, Harvard A.I. has actively worked to combat human rights violation and educate the Harvard community. Lozano said, The organization recently received an almost $900 grant from the Undergraduate Council to finance its efforts the second largest sum allocated to any campus organization by the Council so far.
Most of the allotment has already been spent on flying in tomorrow night's panel members, who include Father Robert Drinan president of American for Democratic Action, John G Healey, executive director of Amnesty International; and Steven Munson, deputy director of Committee for the Free World, a conservative political organization dedicated to preserving the western democratie system The remainder of the funds will cover the cost of printing and photocopying materials for this week's events and planning future projects, Lozano said.
In addition to this week's activities. Harvard A.I. has been working since September to arrange the release on Jeza Szocs, a Romanian poet arrested for the publication of an underground Hungarian journal. The club has also sponsored several films and community speakers to educate Harvard students Yamada said
Though A.I. spokesmen agreed yesterday that the group hopes to increase its current membership of 40 through this week's events. Yamada said that the primary goal of "Human Rights Week" is simply to create a broader awareness of human rights issues on the part of the student body.
"It doesn't take that much to write a letter or sign a postcard." said Ann I Park '84 chairman of the A.I. grants committee adding. "If you get enough people to write letters it becomes an embarrassment to the government."
Amnesty International was established in 1961 by a British lawyer concerned about human rights. It later branched out to include a network of American college students working for the release of prisoners unjustly detained by governments on grounds of religion, ethnic origin, or political belief. The group was awarded the 1977 Nobel peace prize.