|Amnesty International - Read more||
The headquarter of the campaign was Benensons office in the middle of London, and the three main goals of the campaign was written on a napkin in a bar, by Benenson and his friend Eric Baker.
Peter Benenson applied for the appeal to be registred as an
organisation, and later a meeting was arranged in a café in Luxembourg. At this meeting
people from France, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, USA and Great Britain.
Now things really started to happen, press conferences were held, and Benensons idea was widely praised by many people, among these several members of the Brittish parliament. The organisation became widely know, and the cases started pouring in.
"Who is Amnesty International?
" Everyone who has written a letter to free a prisoner of conscience everyone who has grieved because of the death of a political prisoneren Everyone who has helped distribute brochures and packed envelopes kept account Every name on every on every petition counts."
Delegation at the presentation
of the Nobels Peace Prize, 1977
Already after less than a year after Peter Benenson had got the idea for Anmesty international, the organisation had 11 Amnesty-groups, and still more were coming. So many more that the number had grown to 180 by 1963. Back then every group worked on three cases: One involving a prisoner in Eastern Europe, one in a western country and one from Africa or Asia. The groups achieved great and encouraging results, one of these being the release of the former archbishop of Prague, Josef Beran.Criticism from Ireland
Amnesty didnt stay unconditionally popular, as the organisation grew and became more widely known, it was also more criticised. Even Ireland, Amnestys country of origin criticised it, because of a report on Irelands prisons, claiming that the prisoners were not treated correctly.
In a report from 1988 1969 was claimed to be the year that:
"The thought that ordinary people could help men and women in foreign countries, who they hadnt even met, to avoid torture or imprisonment, just by writing polite letters to the governments of those countries, regarded as one of the greatest delusions of our time."
But it worked nonetheless. The organisation was still growing, and it received stil more cases.
The Structure of Amnesty international
Amnesty grew from being a faint idea to being a very well structured organisation. In the top of the organisation is the International Executive Committee, consisting of nine persons from various countries. This committee meets regularly to determine the politics of the organisation. The Executive Committee is elected at an annual meeting in Amnestys International Council.
The International Council concists of 200 300 persons, whose major tasks include keeping track of the major economic matters and the rules and regulations of the organisation.
The members of the International council are representatives of smaller, sections or commissions, each of which deals with a more specific field of responsibility. The size and importance of these commisions vary greatly.
The International Secretariat coordinates tasks of information, such as supplying other parts of the organisation with, newsletters and other kinds of information.Letters for presidents, embassies and royalties
One of Amnesty Internationals the best known forms of campaigns is the letter-writing. Right from the beginning these campaigns have been a very important part of the work of the organisation.
In most cases the letters are sent to governments or government officials, because the exact location of the prisoner is often unknown and because receiving these letters can often be very dangerous to the prisoner.
Even in the cases where letters from Amnesty International have not led to the release of the prisoners, they have often caused the prisoners to get better conditions, among others in the shapes of more freedom of speech or avoiding torture.
Amnesty has strict rules to be followed, when a letter is written. The letters are mostly short and concise, and it is emphasized that the letter is written because of Amnestys corcern that the prisoners human rights are being violated.
The letters must always present the point of views politely, since experience shows that this works better than anger.
"Politeness always makes a much stronger impression than anger. "Amnestys opnion on death punishment?
Amnesty International is, of course, interested in all of the articles of the declaration of human rights, but they especially concentrate on article 3 and 5.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Amnesty International is fundamentally against death punishment. The chairman of Amnesty International Denmark, Carsten Fenger, expresses some of his viewpoints in this way:" Death punishment is irrevocalble. When you have executed a person you cant undo it. Amnesty International is able to prove that 23 Americans have been executed, and then proven innocent. Imagine if one of these persons was your wife, father, son, brother, e.t.c"
These are some of the reasons why Amnesty view death punishmet as a cruel, inhuman punishment, depriving the prisoner his or her right to life. The fact that death punishment cant be revoced is also against several other articles in the declaration of human rights, and therefore Amnesty is always against death punishmentTorture
In connection to torture Amnesty especially focus on article 5 of the declaration of human rights.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Torture can be either physical or psycological, and it happens in 2 of 3 countries around the world. Amnesty describes torture as "A fundamental violation of the human rights, an insult to peoples dignity and illegal in national as vel as international law."
In the end of the seventies Amnesty International published a report as a conclusion
to the decade. In this report they described torture as "An epidemic, which seems to spread as a cancer". In the eighties it 90 countries used torture. It is very important to notice that torture doesnt only takes place in third world countries, even in countries as France, Italy and Great Britain police brutality is regularly reported.
In 1983 Amnesty International made an official program to stop torture. Amnesty asked governments to make torture illegal, and to prosecute the people responsible for the torture. Amnesty suggested that the places of detention were regularly chekked and examined, in order for the public to know what was going on. Amnesty also requested a total stop to secret imprisonments and of the use of statements given under the use of torture.
The consciousness of the things that are going on in the world is probably greater than ever, and some of the credit for that development should be given to Amnesty International. Amnesty works steadily under the slogan "As long as there is injustice in the world, there will also be Amnesty".
Amnesty International | UN and its declaration of human rights | UNICEF | Related links |