Just over four decades ago two Portuguese students raised a toast to freedom which resulted in the two students being sentenced to seven years imprisonment. This occurence horrified British lawyer Peter Benenson, so he decided to put forth his thoughts. He wrote to The Observer, a well known British newspaper, calling for an international campaign to persuade authorities around the world with protests about the "forgotten prisoners". On May 28th 1961, the newspaper launched Peter Benenson's year long campaign, "Appeal for Amnesty 1961", raising worldwide awareness to protest against the imprisonment of men and women for their political or religious beliefs. The first international meeting was held in July, with delegates from Belgium, the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the US. They came to the conclusion to establish a "permanent international movement in defence of freedom of opinion and religion". This was when Amnesty International was born.


Recently Amnesty International received the Nobel Peace Prize for their life-saving work. "We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world." Amnesty International raises awarness through campaigning, the distribution of publications and through human rights education and promotion. This organization attends international meetings to seek assistance and support from other countries in achieving their goals.

Where in the World

Amnesty International operates both globally and locally. The organization campaigns wherever they can make a difference, and for whoever is in need. The International Secretariat is based in London, England. Their national organizations, referred to as "sections", have offices in 80 different countries.

Success Stories

Amnesty International is a non-government organization that runs campaigns in countries that are persecuted by their government or dictator. Their main purpose is to help and support others in fighting for the rights and beliefs they're entitled to. There is currently a campaign run by Amnesty International located in Nairobi called Demand Dignity. This campaign aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign will recruit people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and other influential people listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and protect their rights. They are striving to immediately end all forced evictions of the Kenyan people and to ensure that Kenya fulfils its obligations in relation to the right to adequate housing for the most vulnerable.

Project Focus

"Female Genital Mutilation and Human Rights" has been in progress for just over a year. This project strives to produce research of Female Genital Mutilation in order to gain background knowledge in this area and proceed to develop campaigns and support efforts related to work on FGM as a human rights issue. In several African countries, females at the age of 13 are forced to go through a medical procedure of removing their clitoris. African dictators or governments feel that only men should have the priviledge to have intercourse. Often the procedure is completed without a doctor, or medical specilist. FGM takes place in non-sterile facilities and against the female patient's wishes. Sharp objects such as broken glass and pocket knives are used to complete this procedure. Amnesty International is currently running campaigns in Sudan, Kenya and Senegal to raise awareness and enforce laws against this horrific cultural practice. Thousands of deaths in dozens of countries occur annually due to this. Amnesty International is seeking to have these recognized as human rights crimes. This is worthy of funding from the public because it is an atrocity that is executed without the victim's consent and is clearly violence against women. This project is ongoing as they have not yet accomplished their mission to protect these innocent young women.

Project Product
Handed in during class

The dream catcher is an ancient symbol which is placed above one's bed to capture nightmares, or bad dreams. I have created an Amnesty International dream catcher, symbolizing the thought or idea of catching and discarding violated rights.

Fun Facts

  • The first ever All-Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference, was organized by Amnesty International and held in South Africa in November 1998. Around 100 grassroots activists from some 44 African countries attended.
  • Amnesty International has more than 1,000,000 members, subscribers and regular donors in more than 100 countries and territories
  • There are nationally organized sections in 54 countries, 33 of them in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East and Central Europe.
I decided to further research Amnesty International because I strongly believe and agree with their mission. This organization helps others fight for human rights and gain what they are entitled to. I like that their contribution is not monetary but rather in the form of time and effort. It's much easier to send a cheque to thrid world countries rather than to physically travel to the country to implement change. Having donated my time for volunteer work in the past has given me an appreciation of what this organization provides.

Amnesty International does not actively seek to raise funds for their organization, although donations are welcome. Their donations are used to gather educational materials and allow the organization to travel to countries in need of their efforts. Approximately 85% of donations go towards relief.