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 ...
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...ted more than 43,500 cases, involving one individual or many. Of the cases, 40,753 are now closed (AAmnesty International Facts and Figures,@ 1997, Nov.15, p.2). There are no signs of Amnesty International slowing down, they are just charging toward the future and diving into more cases.
In my opinion, Amnesty International is one of the most effective and dedicated organizations. In the past 36 years, they have been one of lead fights for human rights. It is true that Amnesty International has not succeeded on every case that it has handled, in fact it probably hasn=t succeeded on half of them, but it has succeeded on communicating its message. Amnesty International has made the government aware that they have a fight, the prisoners aware that they have someone on their side, and the public aware that they should take action for human rights.
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