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Striking a blow for freedom

January 15, 2010

Originally posted on

In 1961, a newspaper report which detailed how two Portuguese students had been given seven-year prison sentences after raising a toast to freedom, was published in the UK. Outraged by the report, British lawyer Peter Benenson wrote an article entitled “The Forgotten Prisoners” in which he called for concerned citizens to protest against the imprisonment of people based on their political or religious beliefs.

The article’s publication in The London Observer prompted a huge response, with thousands of people sending letters of support and practical advice, as well as letters detailing other instances of human rights abuses around the world.

The response grew into a permanent international movement, and Amnesty International was born.

Ever since then Amnesty International has done great work, both here in New Zealand and overseas. Now they’ve launched a brand new New Zealand Web site.

As well as the Web site’s design, navigation and accessibility revamp, new features include:

  • an RSS feed for all news items
  • interactive online poll
  • animated feature-story panel
  • quick access links to popular social networking sites

The Web site also boasts video, up-to-date news stories and lists of ways to get involved in your community and internationally.

“Our Web site is an integral part to our work – new media technology has allowed us to extend the reach of our voice and invigorate creative campaigning,” says Vivian Chandra, Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ’s IT Manager. “This new Web site makes it easier for visitors to take immediate action for human rights online, and find information in a clear and user-friendly manner.”

Amnesty International is running campaigns for human rights right now, so visit to get involved.

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