Amnesty International Day
Amnesty International Day is May 28th
Amnesty is a call to action about human rights. Amnesty International is an organization that supports and fights abuses, bringing perpetrators to justice and freeing people unfairly jailed, regardless of race, gender, or nationality.
The organization is what it is today because of the amnesty movement that started in the 60s. In 1961, a British lawyer by the name of Peter Benenson discovered two Portuguese students who were jailed due to raising a toast to freedom. Benenson wrote about the injustice in The Observer and the article was reprinted all over the world. At the time, a free campaign was launched to help free them. As a result, this call to action made it around the globe, resulting in the idea that people can unite to fight for justice and freedom.
Who is Amnesty International
Amnesty International USA has millions of members in all 50 states, who are part of a larger global movement of 7 million people in 150 countries. The group is democratically governed, a grassroots membership organization, which means the members vote on key policy issues and elect the Board of Directors.
Some members are experts in the field of human rights issues, parts of the world, or advocacy areas, and they serve as volunteer leaders. Others are volunteer leaders of local Amnesty International groups in local schools, cities, states, or other regions of the country. The Amnesty International team works together to lead the organization.
Landmarks of Amnesty International
- In 1963, Ukrainian Archbishop Josyf Slipyi in Siberia became the first prisoner freed as the result of an Amnesty International campaign.
- Amnesty International expanded its activities to include a campaign against torture in 1972 and worked for the passage of the UN Convention Against Torture in 1984.
- In 1977, Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Ending the death penalty is another key issue for Amnesty International. In 1980, only nine countries had abolished capital punishment. Today, there are 140. Amnesty International continues to work at the state and federal level to push to end it once and for all.
- In the late 1970s and 1980s, Amnesty International helped spark a new generation of human rights activists through major events in popular culture and music, including The Secret Policeman’s Ball, the Conspiracy of Hope Tour, and the Human Rights Now! Tour.
- Amnesty International expanded its mission in the 1990s and early 2000s to include supporting reproductive freedom, holding corporations responsible for human rights violations and preserving human rights in national security policies. The campaigns to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and end mass surveillance of the population continue to be major initiatives.
- In 2010, Amnesty International focused on protecting human rights in the global refugee crisis. In the United States, they’ve been on the ground in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other communities affected by police-related violence, publishing a groundbreaking report calling for reform of laws governing the use of lethal force by police. That report has helped spark local, state, and federal reforms in the United States.
- Also in 2010, their research and campaign led to the enactment of the U.S. Tribal Law and Order Act to stop the epidemic of sexual assault of American Indian and Alaska Native women.
- In 2017, they mobilized activists across the United States and around the world to hold newly elected President Donald Trump’s administration accountable for violating human rights, preparing to launch a major global campaign to protect human rights defenders, the activists who are often targeted because they work on the front lines to protect everyone’s human rights.
Amnesty International’s Use of IDEA
Amnesty International discusses how IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) is an integral part of how they fulfill their mission. Amnesty International discusses what IDEA means, how they are changing their ideas, goals and culture to fit within the concept. They also discuss their goals for change of community, campaigns, and work culture.
Ways to Celebrate
Be a part of the change. Support, donate, or volunteer. Keep the conversation going. Also, educate yourself or others about what is going on throughout the world and how you are able to be a part of the call to action and working toward total access to basic human rights and other such goals within the organization.
As they continue moving forward, the organization keeps learning, changing, and building for a better tomorrow - creating communities and spaces that we all strive for. Their work and the place they hold within our local and international communities is imperial to our current world as we continue working toward all people having the abilities to have and exercise basic human rights.