Amnesty International Turns 50

May 27, 2011

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.

Lawyers worked with government officials, the young worked with the old, and one by one their letters and campaigns ended the death penalty in dozens of countries. As activists lobbied governments, and researchers interviewed the bereaved, they created Amnesty International’s call for untouchable leaders, one by one, to be brought to account. One by one each person who took action changed laws and changed lives.

Read the original APPEAL FOR AMNESTY that sparked a global movement.
50 years on, many, serious problems still persist but we know we can change this. 50 years has shown that one by one we can. We have.

We know where the tipping points are. And we know you will make a difference. If we are to stop the death penalty in one more country, and if we are to end the nightmare for millions suffering from the impacts of pollution as a result of corporate operations in another, we need you.

If we are to hold one more government to account for war crimes we need many actions to be taken by many individuals.

One More Member means millions uniting in common action. It means one more. It means we do not give up.

Be one more. Ask one more. Act once more.