Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, died on 25 February, aged 83.
Benenson started “A campaign for Amnesty” with an article in the Observer on 28 May 1961 that opened with the words:
“Open your newspaper – any day of the week – and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government. The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust all over the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done.”
The Amnesty movement, now counting 1.8m members worldwide, owes much to Peter Benenson’s vision of human rights activism and to his tireless efforts during the first pioneering years.