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We are an independent global movement of people from all walks of life who campaign courageously for human rights.
In 1961, British lawyer Peter Benenson was outraged when two Portuguese students were jailed just for raising a toast to freedom. He launched the "Appeal for Amnesty 1961", to collect, publish and distribute information about prisoners of conscience around the world. This appeal was reprinted in newspapers globally.
"If these feelings of disgust all over the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done," Peter Benenson wrote.
In July 1961 at the first international meeting, delegates decided to establish "a permanent international movement in defence of freedom of opinion and religion".
Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.
Today, Amnesty International is the largest human rights organisation in the world with a presence in over 150 countries and 7 million supporters globally. We have with over 500,000 supporters in Australia. When a crisis occurs, our researchers can be on the ground within days, taking testimony and delivering first hand reports. We can mobilise our millions of members around the world to respond within hours.
We build people power, working for and with individuals – to give voice to, stand alongside and to secure fundamental human rights for all. We work collaboratively and in partnership with others to achieve our shared human rights outcomes, and empower them to continue campaigning into the future.
We do not accept any money from governments or political parties, allowing us to maintain full independence from governments, political ideologies, economic interests or religions. This allows us to remain completely impartial and ensure that no one is above scrutiny.
We campaign in many different ways, from advocacy, research and education, to mobilising individuals and interacting with UN bodies. We monitor thousands of media outlets, and send representatives to observe political trials, monitor the treatment of prisoners and talk with victims and their families.
Amnesty International's campaigns are thoroughly researched and based on facts. Amnesty International’s research is recognised globally for its reliability. We are consulted by governments, intergovernmental organisations, journalists, scholars and other human rights organisations and campaigning groups.
We are in it for the long haul. No situation is beyond hope. Few would have predicted when we started that torturers would become international outlaws, that most countries would abolish the death penalty or that seemingly untouchable dictators would be made to answer for their crimes.
Amnesty International has a record of real achievement. We know this because the people we work for and with have told us about the effect Amnesty’s efforts have had on their lives.
● Prisoners of conscience: The solidarity of our members uniting for justice and freedom has achieved the release of thousands of political prisoners across the globe.
● Arms Trade Treaty: After 20 years of focused effort, the multilateral agreement that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons came into force in 2014.
● Death penalty: When we started in 1961, only 9 countries had abolished state executions. Now 140 countries have stopped using the death penalty.
● Stop torture: We have helped survivors of torture be released from prison and sparked investigations into allegations of torture.
● Women’s rights: The solidarity of our members across the globe has helped advocate for women and girls to enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights without discrimination or coercion, and live free from gender-based violence
The famous Amnesty International candle wrapped in barbed wire was inspired by the ancient Chinese proverb, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
A gift in your Will, would keep Amnesty International's flame burning far into the future, affording us the resources we need to shine a light on the darkest corners. Such a gift has the power to change the world you leave behind and ensure a lasting impact on human rights and basic freedoms for generations to come.
Gift in Wills
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