Amnesty International: History & Facts

24 Feb 2023  Read 458 Views

There are various International Organisations, but the one we will talk about in this blog is famous especially in fighting for Human Rights. This is an international Non-governmental organisation which launched its first campaign against tortutre in 1972, and as a result, after few years, a Convention against Torture was passed in 1984. Well, we are talking about Amnesty International. Wanna know more about it? Let's start with the blog!

What is Amnesty International?

According to the Oxford dictionary, Amnesty means “an official statement that allows people who have been imprisoned for crimes against the state to go free”. Amnesty International is a non-governmental organisation working for human rights on an international level. Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1977 for recognising Human rights.

Aim of Amnesty International - Amnesty International was founded in order to guarantee that every member of the world's population has access to their human rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights documents. Here are some of Amnesty's objectives:

  • Release all political prisoners.
  • Make sure trials are quick and fair.
  • Eliminate the use of the death sentence, torture, and other cruel treatment of prisoners.
  • Put an end to state-sponsored terrorism, murder, and disappearances.
  • assist those seeking political asylum.
  • Put an end to all types of abuse against women.
  • Partner with organisations that work to end violations of human rights.
  • Increase public awareness of global violations of human rights.
  • Sensitize people to the danger that poverty poses to their sense of dignity while advancing justice and peace.

Headquarters of Amnesty International

London, England, serves as the global headquarters of Amnesty International. In 1961, British attorney Peter Benenson and campaigner Eric Baker founded the group in the UK. Amnesty International brings together individuals from all over the world who support defending our human rights. Over 10 million people worldwide are currently supporters and members of the organisation.

Amnesty International has offices spread across a number of nations. The group recently, in 2020, suspended all of its operations in India as a result of the Indian government freezing its bank accounts.

Did you know?

Peter was inspired to fight for human rights when he saw two Portuguese students arrested for raising a toast for freedom in a Lisbon bar.

How did it come into existence?

Peter Benenson, a British attorney, established Amnesty International in 1961. His original plan was to start an initiative in Britain with the goal of securing a worldwide amnesty for political prisoners. The group working on this issue quickly realised that comprehensive documentation of this group of prisoners would be necessary. They gradually came to the realisation that the work would need to be done on a more permanent basis because there were so many political prisoners around the world.

Amnesty International is a global organisation that promotes the defence of human rights. It is unbiased towards political parties, philosophies, and differences in religion because it is independent of all governments. The movement strives to free women and men who have been detained due to their beliefs, skin colour, ethnicity, or place of worship, provided they haven't themselves used force or encouraged others to use violence. Amnesty International refers to these detainees as "prisoners of conscience." The initiative designated 1977 as "Prisoners of Conscience Year" and gathered signatures for a letter to the UN General Assembly.

Amnesty International was originally a British organisation, but in 1963 a global secretariat was created. In 1963, while Amnesty International was quickly growing, Seán Mac Bride—who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize—became the group's chairman. The organisation included more than 1000 voluntary groups in 28 countries ten years after its founding, and the numbers continuously increase. There were 1874 groups in 33 countries in February 1977. Thomas Hammarberg, a Swedish, is Amnesty International's current chairman.

Amnesty International has waged campaigns against torture and other ill-treatment and, more recently, against the death penalty, in addition to its work for the prisoners of conscience, or "the forgotten prisoners."

What does it do?

International Non-Governmental Organization Amnesty International (NGO). It advocates for the defence and preservation of human rights around the globe. Its headquarters are in London, and it was founded in July 1961. The organization's primary duties include the following:

• It establishes, defends, and supports respect for the observance of each and every human right enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights.

• It creates and disseminates reports on the enforcement and violation of human rights. It will also concentrate on the bad behaviour of government officials.

• It encourages fact-finding inquiry and validates users' conclusions and reports.

• By pressuring the government to take the necessary action to stop the infringement of human rights, it mobilises and organises the populace.

Amnesty International and India

Amnesty International and India have had a troubled relationship with every government of India since it started. It faced criticism by both the governments of BJP and Congress. There are NGOs funded by the US and other countries, which are not considerate of the challenges faced by India. The 2012 Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government were all over protesting for which they received more than 55 crore rupees from foreign sources. A local investigation was conducted, but Amnesty wasn’t one of them. 2 years later, the government decided to freeze Amnesty India’s funding. It was restrained from receiving half a million funds from its own parent organisation. A part of the payment was traced to an offshore trust set up by a gambling tycoon convicted of fraud in the US. All the offices were closed in India in 2009.

About the Author: Gurpreet Kaur Dutta | 80 Post(s)

A legal content writer who pursued BBA-LL.B.(H) from Amity University Chhattisgarh. She has a keen interest in corporate and IPR sectors. 

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