Quakers were instrumental in setting up Amnesty International. Using his contacts, experience and position, Quaker Eric Baker campaigned for the humane treatment of political prisoners. He helped write an article for The Observer entitled “The Forgotten Prisoner” in 1961. This article called for “the amnesty of all political prisoners” and began a campaign that resulted in the founding of Amnesty International in 1962. Many Friends continue to be involved with Amnesty International, both as members and as volunteers.
Founded in London in 1962, Amnesty International draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilise public opinion to exert pressure on governments that perpetrate abuses. The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its "campaign against torture", and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.
In the field of international human rights organisations (of which there were 300 in 1996), Amnesty has the longest history and broadest name recognition, and "is believed by many to set standards for the movement as a whole."
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Its supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so it works to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity.
Amnesty has more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and it coordinates this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.
Amnesty’s mission is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.
Its members and supporters exert influence on governments, political bodies, companies and intergovernmental groups.
Activists take up human rights issues by mobilizing public pressure through mass demonstrations, vigils and direct lobbying as well as online and offline campaigning.