50 Years of Human Rights Captured Visually

Amnesty 50 Year Timeline

Fifty years ago Amnesty International was born out of the simple idea that people should not be imprisoned for their beliefs.

To help tell our story, data visualization experts at JESS3 created a collection of five info-graphics that capture our history and some of the most urgent human rights issues of our time.

These beautifully done images are filled with staggering facts about maternal health, death penalty abolition, the wrongly imprisoned Canadian citizen Maher Arar, our “Write for Rights” campaign, and a gripping timeline of Amnesty’s work spanning the past 50 years.


Standing Up For Freedom

On our 50th birthday, watch this powerful video that takes us on a metaphorical journey showing mankind’s struggle for freedom over the last half century. A big thank you to Eallin Motion Art & DreamLife Studio, Carlos Lascano and composers Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe for their contributions to this video!

Amnesty International Turns 50

Peter Beneson

Fifty years ago this Saturday, one man, outraged by injustices he saw, made an appeal to others to unite with him in common action. He saw that by using our rights – our freedom to act for a just world – people together can achieve extraordinary things.

Since 1961 countless individuals have worked with Amnesty for change. From London to Santiago, from Sydney to Kampala, one person joined with another to insist that the rights of each and every human being are respected and protected.

Change did not happen overnight.

It took many conversations, many letters. Friends spoke to family members. Old colleagues spoke to new colleagues, and one by one Amnesty International secured the release of tens of thousands of people. People imprisoned for their beliefs or their way of life.


Celebrate Amnesty's Birthday on Facebook and Twitter!

Amnesty members show their support on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy birthday to us!  And by us we mean YOU — Amnesty activists, members and supporters.

On May 28, 1961, Amnesty International was born. On that day, we didn’t know a simple idea — people should not be jailed for their beliefs — would spark the largest, most powerful human rights movement of our time.

Join the birthday party and celebrate 50 years fighting for justice by adding the Amnesty candle to your Facebook or Twitter profile now!

Then on Saturday, May 28, 2011 join us for a virtual Toast to Freedom.  Amnesty members from around the world will be sharing what freedom they value most (e.g. ‘I am free to vote’) on their blogs and social networks.  If you’re on Twitter use hashtag #tofreedom and follow the conversation.

For inspiration check out our website for highlights on our 50 year history.  And make sure to connect with Amnesty International USA’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest.

Urgent Action Network: Saving Lives Through Fast Action

“Please act as quickly as possible. This may be crucial in locating Professor Rossi, or even in helping to save his life.  Others have disappeared in this manner, and never been found again…We must do all we can to prevent another similar case.”

Professor Luiz Basilio Rossi

Those were the closing words of a brief but urgent message received by Amnesty International supporters on March 19, 1973. It was the first-ever Urgent Action, issued on behalf of Professor Luiz Basilio Rossi, who had disappeared after his arrest on February 15th, 1973 in São Paulo, Brazil.

A prisoner of conscience in Brazil under the military regime, then a human rights activist – his story has set a powerful model for the tens of thousands of Urgent Actions that have followed. It was not until the letters started to pour in that Rossi’s relatives were allowed to visit him. Although many people taken into police custody were never seen again, Rossi was eventually freed in October 1973.