"Amnesty International" was founded in London in July 1961 by English labour lawyer Peter Benenson. On 30 September 1962, it was officially named “Amnesty International”. The idea came after reading an article about two Portuguese students from Coimbra who had been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment in Portugal for allegedly "having drunk a toast to liberty" (1960). In his newspaper article "The Forgotten Prisoners" (The Observer 28 May 1961), Benenson later described his reaction as follows: "Open your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a story from somewhere 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 could be united into common action, something effective could be done."
|Peter Benenson, 20 years Amnesty International in 1981|
Now "Amnesty International" is one of the largest non-governmental organisations focused on human rights with over 3 million members and supporters around the world. The objective of the organisation is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."