Monday, May 30, 2011

Amnesty celebrates 50 years with the challenge of changing the world

Amnesty International first candle lit in 1961, and his name has not been extinguished because they are still many who are still living without freedom. That candle lit 50 years ago British lawyer Peter Benenson continue burning for all those prisoners of conscience imprisoned for publicly expressing his opinion and those who were tortured, kidnapped or disappeared one day without.

Inspired by the thought of French philosopher Voltaire ("I hate your opinions, but I'm willing to die to defend your right to express them") and after learning that two Portuguese students were jailed for toasting freedom in the dictatorial regime of Salazar, Benenson decided it was time to move to action a May 28, 1961.

Thus, an article published in the edition of British newspaper 'The Observer' entitled 'The Forgotten Prisoners', in which he appealed for amnesty, with the intention of pressuring governments and get them to release the men and women incarcerated for their political or religious beliefs.

His appeal not only not lost but had a great reception all over the world. Amnesty International began to take its first steps. Tomorrow marks 50 years since that first cry against oppression and tyranny that Benenson launched, but there are many places in the world where freedom still gagged.

The organization, which won in 1977 with the Nobel Peace Prize, is currently present in over 150 countries and employs more than three million members and supporters, thanks to which self-financing, and to have waived national government grants and donations to political parties to maintain their independence.

And despite its 50 year history, demand for freedom, justice and dignity is no longer a marginal to become a global issue, Amnesty is aware that the challenges "are still enormous." So ask for help in bringing light to get those places and people who live without hope. The fight against human rights violations in the world has come a long way from Benenson's appeal, but there are still millions of people who can not express their opinions without fear of reprisals that may even cost them their lives or suffer torture and ill-treatment say aloud what they think or live in abject misery of the victims of exclusion, or waiting in death row the day fixed for his execution.

They are also millions of women and girls who are victims of violence by the mere fact of being or seen as not respecting their sexual and reproductive rights. And millions who have to leave their countries fleeing fratricidal wars or seeking a better future beyond its borders that often ends in nightmare or a way round, at the mercy of poverty, violence or violations of human rights who tried to flee.

Stop the death penalty, impunity and bring to international justice the perpetrators of crimes against humanity are other challenges that have marked the organization, believes that "the world can change, but will not change alone. " Therefore, from the Spanish section has launched the blog '50 years, 50 stories "to bring people the history of the organization, its achievements, new challenges.

Moreover, until Sunday at the Fine Arts in Madrid you can visit a photo exhibition in Sofia Moro with some of the people who helped Amnesty in its 50 years of life. Including human rights defender in Brazil, Marcos Ana Valdenia Aparecida and political prisoner who spent more time in the jails (23 years) and was supported by Amnesty International during his captivity.

The poet recalled Friday in a press conference organized by the organization on its 50th anniversary that "if freedom is not accompanied by Justice is just a bubble," and claimed that Spain has "unfinished business" with its history and that they should "build memory" to prevent our country from repeating his past.

"Only young people know and recognize the value of democracy and freedom, a freedom he lost just 19 years.

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