Monday, January 30, 2012

About Amnesty International

Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson.

Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by British lawyer Peter Benenson. He became angry after reading a report about two Portuguese students who had been imprisoned for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom.

In response, Benenson published an article - called “The Forgotten Prisoners” - on the front page of the London Observer newspaper on May 28, 1961.

The article cast the light of public attention on the situation of a number of people - including a U.S. civil rights leader, a dissident Hungarian cardinal and an Angolan poet. Each of these people were in prison simply for peacefully expressing their beliefs
Benenson argued that the treatment of these “prisoners of conscience” was wrong, and he called on concerned members of the public to demand their release. The public response was quick, widespread and enthusiastic. Thousands of people, from London to Uruguay, from nurses to children, offered their help. Amnesty International was born.

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