Group History

Amnesty International  was 50 years old on May 2011.

Amnesty Bournemouth Square

Marking Amnesty’s Actual Birthday Bournemouth Square May 2011

Ironically, most of us involved with Amnesty International over the years have hoped it wouldn’t get to 50. That governments around the world would learn not to imprison their citizens for their beliefs; and would not torture or execute as a way of controlling their behaviour. The Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Group of Amnesty International have themselves been going 25 years. If governments can act with impunity they will continue to imprison prisoners of conscience and torture and execute. Like many others around the world our group highlights and puts pressure on these governments by the simplest of means – writing letters and sending emails. Here’s a bit about the group…

In the Beginning

With the support of the Reverend Dick Jones, an original member of Amnesty from 1961, we met in the lounge of St Peter’s Church in the centre of Bournemouth. The members met each month and took part in numerous activities on behalf of Amnesty and many of those original members are still involved with the group to this day.


amnesty international

Campaigning in Bournemouth

To maintain its political impartiality Amnesty accepts no financial aid from governments or political parties. To fund the activities of the AI staff we depend on voluntary contributions. The regular way, understood by all charities , involves shaking collecting tins in town centres and our members now undertake regular annual street collections in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Wareham. Over the years we have raised funds with numerous musical events and we recall a “Grooves on the Green” event at Parkstone organised by a friend of Amnesty, Conrad Barr, when we raised £1,000 by selling raffle tickets all day long for prizes cheerfully donated by local businesses.

Public Meetings

We have arranged public meetings at various venues on topics such as political refugees, terrorism and human rights and human rights violations in Turkey. We have involved previous local MPs David Atkinson and Diane Maddock and MEP Bryan Cassidy in these meetings and Bournemouth mayors have happily opened garden fêtes and signed cards to prisoners of conscience.

Tiannanmen Square

Amnesty International Bournemouth

Members by Cherry Tree Bournemouth Gardens

One of the worst acts of human rights violations took place in China in 1989 when hundreds of people lost their lives at the hands of the Chinese military. On the anniversary of that awful day the group planted a white flowering cherry tree in the lower pleasure gardens in Bournemouth. White is the Chinese colour of mourning.

Our meetings

Amnesty Bournemouth Meeting

Meeting at Moordown Oct 2010

We meet now at Moordown Community Centre and involve the group in many campaigns. We look back over twenty-five years and remember our first prisoner of conscience. A young Russian lad who had been imprisoned for eight years simply because he wished to be active with a Hare Krishna sect. We worked on his behalf and eventually he was released. With others we can make a difference.

Amnesty Hits 50

A capacity audience at Centre Stage in Westbourne were treated to a glorious evening by bands such as SUSBUS, Bournemouth Community Gospel Choir, General Public, Colanadan and Yellowgroove. The evening raised a whopping £1000, which will go towards funding Amnesty’s campaign and education work.

Amnesty at 50 Event

Conor Burns MP & Ted Stevens, Group Chair, Toast to Freedom

Raising awareness of Amnesty’s mission was also central to the event, and the audience heard testimonies from prisoners of conscience around the world. We were moved by a live address from Lobsang, a Tibetan refugee now living in Bournemouth, while Conor Burns MP, after leading the audience in a “toast to freedom”, reminded us that awareness of human rights issues must start at school. The local Amnesty group would like to thank all those who made this wonderful event possible. No special skills are needed in order to stand for justice and freedom and anyone wanting to find out more can come to our monthly meetings.

Bournemouth Amnesty Event

Members Reading Amnesty Hits 50 Event

Art for Human Rights

From March 8th – April 5th 2014 we held an art exhibition at five venues across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. We had spent almost 18 months organizing!  Please go to ART to learn more about it.