1961 May 28

Amnesty International Founded


Amnesty International was founded in London on this day by Peter Benenson as a human rights organization devoted to freeing “prisoners of conscience” around the world. Prisoners of conscience are defined as individuals who have been imprisoned because of their political views or activities. Amnesty International currently claims to have 3 million supporters in over 150 countries and territories, and has offices in over 80 countries. Amnesty International won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.

Amnesty USA focuses on human rights in the U.S. Its issues include racism in the criminal justice system, the death penalty, poverty and human rights, national security and human rights, torture, women’s rights, children’s rights, and more.

In the war on terrorism under President George W. Bush, Amnesty International on January 7, 2002 sent a letter to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warning him about the degrading treatment of terrorist suspects being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. And on April 8, 2014, it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Amnesty International and other human rights organizations.

Go to the Amnesty International USA web site: http://www.amnestyusa.org/

Read: Jonathan Power, Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International (2001)

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