An Appeal for Amnesty

by Andy Kubis, producer

 A Bosnian Muslim woman in a temporary centre for internally displaced people north of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2009. Many people remained unable to go back to their pre-war places of residenceIn 1961, a British lawyer named Peter Benenson published this article in The Observer newspaper.  It was a response to a story he had read about two Portuguese students who were thrown in jail for toasting to freedom.  Benenson’s article was reprinted around the world, and it became the genesis for the human rights organization known today as Amnesty International.  For 50 years now, Amnesty International has been working to draw attention to human rights abuses everywhere. The organization now has nearly three million members in 150 countries. In recognition of Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary comes Freedom, an anthology of short stories organized around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The contributors include Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Paulo Coelho, Mahmoud Saeed, Yann Martel, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Desmond Tutu offers an important reminder in the forward of the collection: “If you are reading this book, there is a good chance that you have at least some of the advantages of freedom,  — you have been educated and are able to read, you can afford to buy the book or you live in a country where public lending libraries exist , and, finally, you are permitted to read this book,  which is doubtless banned in many countries of the world.”

Larry Cox is the Executive Director of the Unites States arm of Amnesty International and he joins Bob to talk about the organization’s history, accomplishments and future. 

For more about Amnesty International USA’s work, go here:

You can also watch Amnesty International’s video report on the state of the world’s human rights in 2010 here.