Amnesty International turns 50

(NC)—Fifty years ago, Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, was outraged when he heard that two students had been thrown in jail for raising a toast to freedom. Benenson decided that he would publish a story “The Forgotten Prisoners” about people whose human rights had been abused. In his story, he urged others to write letters on the prisoners’ behalf—to use our freedom to free others. By using the power of the pen, you could help others. The idea caught on. From a small group of people, Amnesty International is now more than 3 million members striving to protect human rights.

On December 10, it will be International Human Rights Day and Amnesty International will turn 50. We will be lighting up the world in Canada and around the world. We will also be taking part in the world’s largest letter-writing event— Write for Rights—and writing thousands of letters to help protect human rights. This year, Amnesty International is planning the biggest, most exciting, and most impactful Write for Rights event ever to mark the year’s most important date for human rights.

Help others by writing letters

How is this done? Simply by writing letters. Amnesty International chooses specific human rights cases—you write letters to support them. Many Write for Rights participants gather with friends, family, and community to hold events in their homes, at school, at cafes, in their place of worship, at work on their lunch hour. At our web site, you will find everything you need—cases, event support, how to find an event near you.

Canadians who participate in Write for Rights love the sense of solidarity of being part of a global movement of people who show they care by writing letters, signing petitions and sending text messages about human rights on December 10.

Your letters can help give a person back their freedom. They can make demands for justice for survivors of torture. They can give hope to individuals at risk.

Join us

Celebrate 50 years of defending human rights and take a few minutes to help someone half a world away. When asked why they participated in Write for Rights, one person said: “To defend those that can’t defend themselves.” You can too. For more information go online to or call toll-free 1-800-Amnesty (1-800-266-3789).