Amnesty International - A Fifty Year Fight For Human Rights


The world’s largest human rights  organization Amnesty International has turned 50. Major celebrities  will take part in birthday ceremonies , including former American president Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, folk singer Joan Baez and many others.

In time for its 50th anniversary Amnesty International UK has launched an online TV show with documentaries, news and interviews in order to gain many younger members.

Amnesty International was founded in1961 after the British lawyer  Peter Benenson had protested against the Portuguese government  because it had put two students into prison . He published  an article in the British newspaper Observer and sparked  a worldwide campaign .

Today Amnesty International is an organization of 3 million members in over 150 countries. Over the past half century it has helped free thousands of prisoners of conscience  and stopped the torture  and execution  of many others. In 1977 Amnesty International was awarded  the Nobel Peace Prize for its campaign for peace.



Many people do not have basic human rights.  According to the human rights organization people are tortured or badly treated  in 111 countries. Prisoners of conscience are kept in at least 48 countries. A lot of Amnesty’s work focuses  on writing letters to dictators and governments around the world. In the past 50 years millions of letters have been sent by Amnesty members demanding freedom of expression , the abolition  of torture and the release of prisoners .

The organization’s work focuses on a few main areas:

  • the rights of women, children and minorities
  • abolition of torture and the death penalty
  • rights of refugees
  • prisoners of conscience
  • protection of human dignity
  • freedom of speech

Recently, Amnesty International has also been fighting for same-sex marriages  and the rights of gay  people.

Amnesty International has often been criticized for taking on  the economic problems in our world. According to  its representatives , however, it’s not possible to separate  human rights from poverty  and the right to have a job for the proper pay.

Amnesty’s work spreads  to schools around the world. Group members instruct children on important aspects of human rights.



Related Topics


  • abolition   = ending
  • according to   = as said by  someone
  • anniversary   = birthday
  • aspect   = feature
  • award   = give
  • campaign   = movement
  • celebrity   = a famous living person
  • century   = a hundred years
  • demand   = want, insist on
  • dignity   = self respect, to be proud of yourself
  • execution   = killing by law
  • focus   = concentrate on
  • former   = in the past, ex-
  • found-founded   = start
  • freedom of expression   = the right to say what you want
  • gain   = get
  • gay   = homosexual
  • government   = the people who rule a country
  • human rights   = the most important rights that everyone should have like the right to vote or the right to say what you want
  • including   = also
  • launch   = start
  • lawyer   = a person who knows a lot about the rules of a country and defends people in court
  • major   = important
  • minority   = a small group of people in a country; they have the same language and traditions
  • poverty   = the situation of being poor
  • prison   = place where you go to when you are arrested or have done something against the law
  • prisoner of conscience   = someone who is out into prison because of their political ideas
  • proper   = the right, good
  • publish   = write in a newspaper
  • recently   = in the last few months or years
  • refugee   = someone who has to leave their country because of a war or natural disaster
  • release   = set free
  • representative   = person who speaks for the organization
  • same-sex marriage   = a marriage between two men or two women
  • separate   = divide, split
  • spark   = start
  • spread   = go to
  • take on   = fight for
  • torture   = to hurt someone because  you want to get information out  of them
  • treat   = behave towards someone
  • turn   = become