Gary Allison was interviewed by Ruth O’Reilly Smith, on her UCB 2 show ‘This is your Story.’ Gary talked about PoC, shared stories of great fortitude and determination by our beneficiaries, revealed how growing up in South Africa personally drew him to this line of work, and talked about the impact we can collectively achieve for prisoners of conscience.
“PoC started in 1962, but sadly the need for support for human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience continues unabated around the world.” People like Lydia, a Pentecostal Christian from Eritrea, continue to be persecuted for their beliefs and for being brave enough to stand up for their and other people’s rights.
“Eritrea is a signatory to the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which includes the right to freedom of religion, yet only 3 Christian denominations are allowed.” Being a Pentecostal Christian in Eritrea is illegal and frequently leads to enforced disappearances, torture, indefinite detention and extrajudicial killings. In fear for her life but determined to continue practising her faith, Lydia had to flee and leave everything behind.
“Growing up in South Africa and seeing the inhumanity of apartheid, always drew me towards working for a greater social good, and I am very fortunate, and all of us who are involved at POC, feel very fortunate, that we are able to serve such brave and good people around the world.”
“It’s a challenge at this time with the lockdown and stock markets having crashed, so we are working furiously as a team at PoC to keep it afloat, to make sure that we can provide support to human rights defenders.”
“We can all get involved, we can all make a difference, and it’s the impact that is so important for PoC. One of the things we’ve set up this Easter is a campaign called ‘Lake of Lights’, where the public can light a digital candle in a lake, make a donation and send a message of support to persecuted Christians. It’s tremendous to know that with the support we receive from the public we can actually make a very direct and specific impact on people lives.“
You can listen to the full interview here to find out more about PoC and how we have supported Lydia and other prisoners of conscience.
With many thanks to Ruth and the UCB team for featuring PoC.