Organization profile published 1982
Year Published: 1982
Resource Type: Organization
Cx Number: CX2487
Abstract: Amnesty International (A.I.) is a worldwide, independent, human rights movement which works impartially for the release of "prisoners of conscience" - men and women detained anywhere for their beliefs, colour,ethnic origin, sex, religion or language, provided they have neither used nor advocated violence. The organization opposes torture and the death penalty in all cases without reservation, and advocates fair and prompt trials for all political prisoners.
Working through local 'adoption groups' (more than 2,400 in 40 countries) which work on behalf of prisoners of conscience, members participate in letter-writing campaigns and urgent action appeals on behalf of individuals, and campaigns mounted on particular issues (e. g., torture, children, disappearances).
A vital part of A.I. 's work is the careful documentation of the nature and extent of human rights violations on a country-by-country and/or issue basis. The results of its investigative missions are published in its "Annual Report", a regular newsletter, and special reports. For example, the recently-issued "Guatemala: A Government Program of Political Murder" (32 pp.) provides conclusive evidence that, despite official disavowals, the government of the country is directly implicated in a deliberate, arbitrary, and massive program of torture, murder and disappearances.
"Disappearances: A Workbook" (168 pp.,$5.50), issued in April, 1981, provides extensive background information on a tactic which has become widely used in South and Central America since the mid-1970's. A "disappearance" occurs when someone is apprehended by a government or its security forces, but the detention is never acknowledged.
"The Army in Rural Colombia: Arbitrary Detention, Torture and Summary Execution" was issued in November, 1981 as an Amnesty International special briefing. Reports of systematic mass killings were published in March, 1982 in a special supplement to the "Newsletter", following an A.I. fact-finding mission.Disappearances and torture used by government forces in El Salvador and directed against people not involved in guerilla activities but simply resident in areas targeted for security operations were recorded.
Similarily, an A.I. circular, issued in November, 1981, outlined the general picture of the prevailing situation regarding human rights violations in Bolivia following the assumption of power by President Torrelio in September, 1981.