Amnesty International


On the 10 of December in 1948 a revolution took place in Paris. Under the shock of war and crime against humanity the Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations. This declaration should be the beginning of a new era. It laid down the rights of everyone and told governments to respect and protect these rights.
But about 50 years later the Declaration of Human Rights is more than only a patient paper.
What we imagine of a human life is written in this declaration: for example protection against horrible treatment, torture and humiliation, respect for our thoughts, religion and private life, and the right for food and a roof above our head. In other words, freedom.

At the beginning there were two imprisoned Portuguese students, the healthy anger of a British lawyer and a newspaper article.
On the 28thof May in 1961 newspapers all over the world wrote about Peter Benenson’s appeal for the "forgotten prisoners". The fate of two Portuguese students was the reason for the appeal of the lawyer: The young men were convicted to seven years. Their crime: They clinked glasses and raised a toast to their freedom.
Benenson wanted people all over the world to stand up impartially and peacefully for the release of non - violent political prisoners. In only one month more than 1000 people wanted to help. And so Amnesty Inernational was founded on the principle that people have fundamental rights that transcend national, cultural, religious, and ideological boundaries. It worked to obtain prompt and fair trials for all prisoners, to end torture and executions, and to secure the release of prisoners of consciens. (Prisoners of consciens are people who get imprisoned because of their political or religious beliefs, gender, or their racial or ethinic origin, and they have neither used nor advocated violence.) Amnesty International’s Mandate was based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amnesty’s earliest activity was individual letter - writing on behalf of prisoners of conscience. When the organisation had checked a prisoner’s case and decided that he/she was actually a prisoner of conscience, it would "adopt" this pris People in the group would write many letters to officials in that prisoner’s country asking for his/her release.
They would also contact the prisoner’s family and offer help. That worked very well and Amnesty International members work on behalf of individuals, not to change political systems.
After a while, though, individuals grew restless, wanting to do more than just write reams of letters, few of which were ever answered.

Amnesty International is the world wide biggest non - governmental organisation which has advocated the protection of all Human Rights for about 30 years in more than 160 states. This organisation is independent of any government, political faction, ideology, economic interest or religious creed. It gets the money from private donations and doesn’t take money from governments.
Amnesty International is against torture and capital - punishment, "disappearance" (that means when people get arrested or displaced and the state denies that and says no if other countries want to investigate) and political murder. The organisation works for the release of men and women imprisoned anywhere for their beliefs, colour, ethnic origin or religion, in other words prisoners of conscience.
For fair trials
Every person has the right of protection against arbitrary arrests or imprisonment. Defendants have the right for a fair and public trial in front of an independent and impartial court, but in fact trials against political prisoners take place behind closed doors. The defendant has no lawyer who could help him. Confessions which are extorted by torture, are often the only evidence for their "guilt". Accusatories insinuate that the criminals carry illegal arms without any evidence. The defendants have no chance to defend themselves because their guilt does already stand firm.

Against torture
Punches, lashes, hanging someone up on arms and legs, electronic - shocks, doing burnings and cuts on somebody, rapes and ducking someone several times close to his suffocation - death are all methods of torture. In more than 120 states police - officers and soldiers are brutal to people without any reason.
Psychical torture - methods become more and more popular because you can’t see any wounds at first sight. It is also called the "white" torture. Such methods are sleeping - and perception - withdrawals (e.g. by dark - imprisonment), treatment with psycho - pharmacies or a constant change between friendly and brutal treatment. Also apparent - executions or the compulsion to look at other people when they become ill - treated.
We all think that such cruel methods do not exist in our time and in our society.

Against capital punishment
By hanging, shooting, lethal injections and other killing - methods thousands of people have to die every year.
Everyone has the right to live, even people who have brutally killed others. Their death is only revenge, which won’t make crimes undone and which doesn’t prevent further victims.
The capital punishment offends the right of life. It is the most horrible, inhumane and humiliating way of punishment.
The last time when a person waskilled in Austria was in 1950. And capital punishment was completely abolished in 1968.
Nowadays more than 1,2 million people are members and supporter of this organisation. In urgent cases where you need a prompt help, the Urgent - Action - Network has to take action. (Urgent cases are torture, medical help, capital - punishment or "disappearance".) On an average of three times a day the Urgent - Action - Network of Amnesty International has to help. About 80 000 people (~2500 Austrians) in 85 states are ready to interfere. With a protest via fax, telex, e - mail and express - post to the responsible governments they can protect people against violence. In more than a half of the cases their effort is successful.

Amnesty International has their own rules for the acceptance of donations. The money must not restrict their freedom of action because the financial independence is as important as the political one.

What does Amnesty International do with your money?
    At least about 450 shillings Amnesty International needs for an Urgent - Action for one person. For the necessary investigation, fact - finding - mission and functional information - system for a prisoner of conscience Amnesty International needs about 10 000 shillings. Missions of Amnesty International - investigation - teams need 50 000 shillings to search for Human Right - violations on the spot and to negotiate with the governments there.

Amnesty International wants to put an end to torture and all kinds of Human Right violations.
Everyone who is able to help other people no matter in which way should - no - must do something!

patient geduldig
degrading menschenw├╝rdig
a humiliation Erniedrigung
an appeal Appell
a fate Schicksal
to convict verurteilen
impartial unparteiisch
to come into being entstehen
to promote f├Ârdern
a creed Glaube
to deny abstreiten
to screen ├╝berpr├╝fen
a readiness Bereitschaft
to interfere eingreifen
an effort Einsatz
to restrict einschr├Ąnken
an investigation Ermittlung
arbitrary willk├╝rlich
a imprisonment Gefangenschaft
a defendant Angeklagter
in closed session unter Ausschluss der ├ľffentlichkeit
an evidence Beweis
an accusatory Ankl├Ąger
to insinuate unterstellen
a mugging Raub├╝berfall
a punch Schlag
a lash Hieb
to duck untertauchen
a suffocating - death Erstickungstod
a wound Wunde
a perception - withdrawal Wahrnehmungsentzug
an apparent - execution Scheinhinrichtung
a compulsion Zwang
a victim Opfer
transcend ├╝bertreffen, ├╝berschreiten
to obtain erlangen, erreichen
to secure sichern, garantieren
a gender Geschlecht
on behalf of im Namen von
restless ruhelos, unruhig

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