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.