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The story behind AMNESTY international


A 50-year struggle for Human Rights

In 2011 Amnesty International existed half a century. The fifty-year-old has arrived at the crossroads of its history. She has been extremely successful. She owes her cast-iron, untouchable image to her ceaseless struggle for the interests of political prisoners and for human rights. Of the international laws concerning human rights almost all have been initiated by Amnesty International. To whom does Amnesty owes this success? Bert Breij (sociologist/social psychologist, communication strategist and since 2010 an elected member of the Members Board of Amnesty International Holland) and Tom van Oosterhout (researcher), dug deep in the archives of Amnesty International and interviewed former (deputy) secretary-generals such as Mümtaz Soysal, José Zalaquett, Thomas Hammarberg and Irene Khan. They tell their own stories and thus give colour to Amnesty’s. The most striking story, which is covered in detail, is the vicious struggle between Peter Benenson, the founding father of Amnesty International, and Seán MacBride, notorious IRA-member, Nobel Peace Price and Lenin Peace Price winner and his successor. Was this struggle manipulated by the American, the Israelian en the British secret services?

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