Amnesty International Against the Death Penalty
The death penalty is enforced in more than 100 countries around the globe. Statistically, there have been 1,708 known executions in 35 of these 100 countries. I=m sure that the true figures are certainly higher. The most common methods of this controversial act include shooting, electrocution, lethal injection, hanging, stoning, and decapitation. Around the world, there are presently almost 3,000 people on death row (What is Amnesty International, 1997, Oct. 29, p. 13). Rushing to stand on behalf of these prisoners is the powerful social activist group Amnesty International. Amnesty International Aopposes the death penalty in all cases on the grounds that it is a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,@ as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Amnesty International-against the death penalty, 1997, Oct. 29, p.1). This paper explores the communication strategies that Amnesty International uses to support their stand against the death penalty and explains why they have earned the title of being one of the most successful activists groups.
The History of Amnesty International
Amnesty International was launched in London on May 28, 1961. Its founder, Peter Benenson, was a defense lawyer for prisoners and was aspiring to create an organization for the advancement of human rights. His first step was to write a newspaper appeal, titled AThe Forgotten Prisoners.@ This plea brought him in more than 1,000 offers of support for the idea of a campaign to protect human rights (AAmnesty International,@ 1991, p. 347).
Withing 12 months of the new organization, they had handled over 210 cases and spread throughout seven countries. By the early 1980s, Amnesty International consisted of an
International secretariat of 150 persons, national sections in more than 40 countries, and about 200,000 individual members. In 1977, their achievements landed them a recipient award of the Nobel Prize for Peace (AAmnesty International of the U.S.A.,@ 1996, p. 2162).
Today, Amnesty International has more then 1,000,000 members, subscribers, and regular donors in more than 100 countries and territories throughout the world. Without including the thousands of schools, universities, and professional groups that do not register internationally, Amnesty International holds 4,287 local groups within the International Secretariat. The heart of the organization lies in London, with over 300 permanent staff members and 95 volunteers from around the world (AAmnesty International=s facts and figures,@ 1997, Nov. 15, p. 1).
For every organization to work there must be some type of administration, and indeed, Amnesty International has one. Today, the Secretary General in charge of Amnesty International is Pierre Sane. In whole, it is governed by a nine-member International Executive Committee. Eight of the nine...