Amnesty International
Organization profile published 1976
Year Published:  1976
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX38

An independent non-governmental organization that endeavours to ensure the right for everyone to hold and express his or her beliefs.

Connexions has published numerous abstracts on Amnesty International.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1976:

Amnesty International is an independent non-governmental organization which has consultative status with the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the Organization of African Unity. It endeavours to ensure the right for everyone to hold and express his beliefs. Amnesty International works, irrespective of political considerations, for the release of men and women who are in prison because of their beliefs or their ethnic origin, colour or language, provided that they neither used nor advocated violence.

The regular bulletin makes appeals for prisoners whose cases, with evidence and circumstances, are presented. The campaign for the abolition of torture has numerous reports of specific incidences. There are reports of the effects of past campaigns, current events and issues. The Hay issue looks at a U.S. Navy school used to condition military personnel to resist torturing. The training includes starvation, beating, water torture and the use of tiger cages.

Yearly subscription (as of February 1976) $5.00, Members at large $10.00, Group Member : rate set by local group. Write Amnesty International Canada, 2101 Algonquin Ave., Ottawa, Ont. K2A1T1.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in May 1979 regarding Amnesty International Medical Group:

For the past two years in Toronto, medical reports supporting allegations of torture have been submitted as evidence in support of refugee claims. These reports are submitted at the Examination under oath and at Immigration Appeal Board levels. Medical examinations are performed free by physicians at the request of the lawyer representing the refugee applicant. The success rate of applicants being accepted as refugees when a medical report substantiates torture is nearly 100 per cent of over 100 claimants assessed in Toronto.

The Amnesty International Canadian Medical Group has distributed teaching kits on the examination of torture victims to over seventy-five physicians across Canada. The CMG, in addition to participating in traditional Al activities, has physician members in major Canadian cities who are available to perform medical assessents for purposes of evidence at Immigration hearings.

In Ontario, medical treatment of refugee applicants who are ineligible for medicare has been provided by these same physicians within the limits of having no laboratory, X - ray or hospital coverage, It has been discovered that refugee applicants who are considered "destitute" by Immigration authorities are eligible for medical care paid for by the Immigration Department.

Lawyers of applicants who require medical care should contact the Immigration Settlement program of the local Employment Centre. As has occurred in Toronto, an official of this office should be able to authorize payment of medical care, hospotalization, etc., by the Immigration Department.
For further information and literature, Write AI Canadian Medical Group at the above address.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1979:

This news release is background information of Amnesty International's (AI) "Malaysia Mission Report." The concern of AI is the release of political prisoners in Malaysia.

The Toronto Group 3 of AI was assigned Lee Wei Chau, a political prisoner in Malaysia for 11 years. Their correspondence with Wei Chau, was curtailed under amendments to the Internal Security Acts (ISA). Magazines such as Monthly Review which are deemed "prejudical to Malaysian security" are not allowed to reach political prisoners.

These prisoners are also restricted to their calls for up to twenty-one hours a day. Other punishments include solitary confinement, and in one instance this lasted for three years. Often, the political prisoner's are former members of legal political parties and associations.

The Malaysian report includes eleven recommendations for the correction of abuses of basic human rights, including an appeal for the abolition of the Internal Security Act.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1982:

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.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1984:

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (AI) was founded in 1961 following an appeal launched by Peter Benenson in an article entitled, "The Forgotten Prisoners," published in the Observer magazine (London, England). Within a month of the publication of his appeal he had reveived over a thousand offers of support. Within two months, people from five countries had established the beginnings of an international movement. AI now has more than 500,000 members and supporters in over 150 countries and territiories around the world.

The first Amnesty Candle was lit on Human Rights Day. December 10, 1961 on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, in London. On May 28, 1961, AI's 20th anniversary, Peter Benenson re-lit the original candle at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. In his speech, he said:"the candle burns not for us, but 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'. That's what the candle is for..."

The letter-writing network of AI is organized to respond to a bulletin describing the situation of people who have been arrested because of their religious or political beliefs, colour, sex, ethnic origin or language. None of these prisoners has used or advocated violence. The volunteers are asked to write courteous letters to the authorities in different countries asking that the prisoner be released.

The Letter-Writing Network News gives volunteers details and help to write appeals. The bulletin is published eight times a year with details about prisoners and updates on people mentioned in previous issues. The Candle is published twice a year. It gives more in depth information about people and prisoners involved with Amnesty International.
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