Who are Amnesty?
Amnesty International was founded in July 1961 by British lawyer, Peter Benenson and they are based in London. They are a non-governmental campaigning organisation whose main focus is to protect people and their human rights especially when it involves justice, fairness, freedom and truth. Support for Amnesty is worldwide and they have over 2.8 million members in more than 150 countries all helping in different ways.
What do Amnesty do?
Amnesty really believes that if people work together then the changes that they strive to make can happen – the power of team work. Amnesty have many on-going projects and some of their most recent include campaigning for women’s human rights and the issues that prevent them from having the freedom they deserve. Other campaigns that Amnesty has been working on are the abolition of the death penalty and security and human rights in countries such as Egypt and Syria.
Success Stories of Amnesty
On their website, Amnesty specifically state that they don’t take credit if, for example, a government changes its laws. However every year, Amnesty receives messages from people’s lives that have been improved since Amnesty started campaigning. These messages reinforce Amnesty’s belief that working together can really make a difference. The Amnesty website shares some of their great stories including one about Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti.
The Nigerian government were concerned that his music contained political criticisms and they felt threatened by this. After he had repeatedly been beaten up and arrested, the government sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment. Amnesty came to the defence of Fela and started campaigning against his prison sentence. They argued that it was an unfair sentence as Fela hadn’t actually been prisoned for a criminal offence but because of his political behaviour which hadn’t been violent. Amnesty was contacted by many of his fans from all over the world and with their help Fela was let out of prison after 18 months.
Feeling inspired to join Amnesty?
Amnesty has made it so easy to become a member, you can do it all through their website and it’s very cheap to do! An adult can join Amnesty for £24 a year or £2 a month or even better for students - £7.50 for the year! Both of these include a welcome pack, an Amnesty magazine every 2 months and a say in Amnesty’s future.
Want to do something good in 2013? Stand up for human rights around the world – join Amnesty.