Amnesty founder dies aged 83 | News | Al Jazeera

Amnesty founder dies aged 83

The founder of Amnesty International, Peter Benenson, has died at the age of 83, the London-based human rights organization said.

    The group was the world's largest human rights organisation

    Benenson died on Friday evening in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, west of London.

    Benenson started the organisation in 1961 after having read an article about two students who were arrested and imprisoned for drinking a toast to liberty in a café in Lisbon, Portugal, then under a dictatorship.

    "Peter Benenson's life was a courageous testament to his visionary commitment to fight injustice around the world," said Irene Khan, the organization's secretary-general.

    "He brought light into the darkness of prisons, the horror of torture chambers and the tragedy of death camps around the world."

    Pioneer

    In the first few years of Amnesty's existence, the London-born Benenson supplied much of the funding for the movement, went on research missions and was involved in all aspects of the organisation's affairs.

    At its 25th anniversary, he lit what has become Amnesty's symbol - a candle entwined in barbed wire - and said that it burned "for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who disappeared. This is what the candle is for".

    Now in its 44th year, Amnesty International has become the world's largest human rights group with more than 1.8 million members and committed supporters worldwide.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    How has the international arms trade exacerbated conflict in the Middle East? People and Power investigates.

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.