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How did Amnesty International Start

Amnesty International began with one man’s outrage and his courage to do something about it. After learning of two Portuguese students imprisoned for raising a toast to freedom in 1961, British lawyer Peter Benenson published an article, “The Forgotten Prisoners” in the Observer newspaper.

That article launched the “Appeal for Amnesty 1961”, a worldwide campaign that provoked a remarkable response. Reprinted in newspapers across the world, his call to action resonated with the values and aspirations of people everywhere. This was the genesis of Amnesty International.

The first international meeting is held in July, with delegates from Belgium, the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA. They decide to establish "a permanent international movement in defence of freedom of opinion and religion".


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