Monday, July 11, 2005

Memorial Service for Amnesty International Founder Peter Benenson

The founder of Amnesty International, British lawyer Peter Benenson, passed away on 25 February 2005 at age 84.

Last Thursday, July 7, former prisoners of conscience like ex-Czech President Vaclav Havel and supporters of human rights from around the world gathered to celebrate his life and accomplishments in a memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, the very spot where Benenson conceived of the idea for the global human rights movement more than 40 years ago.

The ceremony was held mere hours after the terrorist bombings in London, amid the wails of police and emergency vehicle sirens.

A video of the ceremony is available on Amnesty International's website.

Speaking at the service, Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said Benenson's legacy is crucial in facing the challenges of today, such as the prevalence of violence against women and the threat to the ban on torture from powerful governments under the pretext of fighting terror.

She said: "Today, thanks to the outrageous movement Peter began, there are human rights laws, treaties that ban torture, recognize the equality of women and the rights of children. And most importantly, a dynamic movement of women and men around the world committed to a vision in which every person will enjoy all human rights."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:22 pm


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