Amnesty International spans the globe, numbering about 1.8 million members in 140 countries. It operates on the basis of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. AI began with an amnesty campaign organized by Peter Benenson in 1961. In 1977 the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize, and a year later the UN Human Rights Prize.
Amnesty International’s mission is to protect every person’s right to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression; and to oppose discrimination and every act that violates human dignity. The organization fights for fair and swift justice for political prisoners and persons arrested without court procedures or charges. It opposes every form of cruel treatment of prisoners, regardless of the reason for their imprisonment. It provides direct aid to prisoners and their families (care, purchase of food and clothing).
AI’s battle to defend human rights is conducted through campaigns, appeals, petitions, protest letters, and pressure on institutions, governments and public figures. AI conducts research and publishes reports on human rights violations. The website has information about campaigns to defend women’s rights, improve conditions for refugees, oppose torture and the death penalty, promote human rights education, and others.