Fifty years ago today, Amnesty International was founded when Peter Benenson published an appeal for amnesty for six prisoners unjustly imprisoned. What began as a calling has transformed into the world’s largest human rights organization.
“Since the Amnesty International candle first shone a light on the world’s hellholes, there has been a human rights revolution. The call for freedom, justice and dignity has moved from the margins and is now a truly global demand,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International secretary general.
To commemorate the anniversary, Amensty has released the beautiful animated video Standing Up for Freedom produced by Prague-based Eallin Motion Art & DreamLife Studio, a world-renowned international motion art production company based in the Czech Republic. This emotive video directed by Carlos Lascano takes viewers on a metaphorical journey showing mankind’s struggle for freedom over the last 50 years. Eallin has been an Amnesty International supporter and developed this art to illustrate that the struggle for freedom may be suppressed at times, but it always prevails.
The accompanying music was contributed by composers Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe, with contributions from renowned musicians around the world including from the United States, Canada, Russia, United Kingdom, France and Switzerland.
“It was a tremendous honor to write a piece of music that embodies the courage and spirit of Amnesty members, who have saved lives, tackled injustices, and upheld the principles of human rights for an amazing 50 years,” said Zimmer and Balfe. “We hope the music helps to highlight the profound impact this organization has had on the lives of millions around the world. We are truly inspired by them.”
The organization said that despite progress, human rights violations are at the heart of key challenges facing the world today and everyone has a role in addressing them.
“This video illustrates the struggles people endure to be free and live with dignity,” said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director. “We are seeing that struggle continue as hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets in the Middle East and North Africa to make sure their human rights are respected and governments that continue to repress and subjugate are held accountable.
To honor Benenson’s legacy, Amnesty International will hold a celebration at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, in London on May 28. This is where Benenson forged the idea that ordinary people working together could prevent injustice and defend freedom and human rights for all. The program will include remarks by AI Secretary General Salil Shetty, readings by author Michael Morpurgo and actor Colin Salmon, and a performance by celebrated soprano Elianne Pretorian.
Concerned individuals can view and download the video and take action at www.amnestyusa.org, AIUSA’s newly redesigned website.