From this morning, Internet users will be able to sign up in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - and light themselves a "cybercandle" when they do it.
The campaign, launched by Amnesty International as part of the countdown to its annual Candle Day on October 30, is the first to use the organisation's revamped local Website in a way it says will "take its work beyond conventional protest letters."
Amnesty estimates its pledge supporting the 50-year-old Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been signed by about six million people around the globe, including more than 180,000 New Zealanders, with everything from simple thumbprints to e-mails.
People who visit www.amnesty.org.nz and light the cyber-candle created by local multimedia company Latitude will be able to download an icon onto their computer desktop or Website, producing what Amensty's New Zealand executive director, Ced Simpson hopes will be "a virtual candelabra in cyberspace.”
Those who choose to contribute by credit card will receive a special animated icon.
The first CyberCandle will be lit at 10am at Auckland's Net Central cybercafe in Lorne Street by torture survivor Sylvestre Gahungu and Amnesty member, broadcaster Dr Brian Edwards. Mr Gahungu was a Hutu mayor who was tortured and later shot in the Burundi conflict, when he tried to protect both Tutsis and Hutus in his constituency.
Supporters of the pledge can also Sign Up over the phone by dialing 0800 AMNESTY, or in person by leaving their thumbprint and signature at any Body Shop.