requiescat in pace
February 26, 2005 8:55 PM   Subscribe

Peter Benenson founder of Amnesty International has passed away. It all started with a letter and grew into one of the most influential human rights organization in the world. Here is a video tribute from Amnesty International (real player only, I'm afraid, though there is a transcript)
posted by Kattullus (13 comments total)
Guardian article & Washington Post article
posted by Kattullus at 9:03 PM on February 26, 2005

posted by dhartung at 9:48 PM on February 26, 2005

posted by melissa may at 10:07 PM on February 26, 2005

In the mid-1960s, Benenson stepped down as Amnesty's leader after an independent investigation did not support his claim that British spies had infiltrated the organization.

Does anyone have any further information on this?
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:26 PM on February 26, 2005

Thank you for your majestic effort.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:52 PM on February 26, 2005

AI represents the democratic activist impulse at it's best. Godspeed.
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on February 27, 2005

Wow. What a wonderful organization and brilliant idea.
posted by Calvin at 9:00 AM on February 27, 2005

Interesting how large organizations start out from such small beginnings. As in this instance, where Benenson began it all by writing a letter about two Portugese students arrested for a restaurant toast.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:54 AM on February 27, 2005

posted by asok at 11:19 AM on February 27, 2005

posted by amberglow at 11:21 AM on February 27, 2005

That's how it started? Really?
posted by Calvin at 11:33 AM on February 27, 2005

"Forty years on, Amnesty International has secured many victories. Its files are full of letters from former prisoners of conscience or torture victims thanking the organisation for making a difference. Torture is now banned by international agreement. Every year more countries reject the death penalty. The world will soon have an International Criminal Court that will be able to ensure that those accused of the worst crimes in the world will face justice. The Court’s very existence will deter some crimes.

"But the challenges are still great. Torture is banned but in two-thirds of the world's countries it is still being committed in secret. Too many governments still allow wrongful imprisonment, murder or "disappearance" to be carried out by their officials with impunity.

"Those who today still feel a sense of impotence can do something: they can support Amnesty International. They can help it to stand up for freedom and justice.

"In 1961 I wrote 'Pressure of opinion a hundred years ago brought about the emancipation of the slaves'. Pressure of opinion is now needed to help Amnesty International achieve its ultimate objective: to close for business. Only then, when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world's people, will our work be done." - Peter Benenson
posted by roboto at 4:14 PM on February 27, 2005

Calvin: Really.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:45 PM on February 27, 2005

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