Why A.I.?

Human Rights?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 … as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, in 30 “Articles” (or statements) for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into almost 500 languages. However, its not law.

European Convention on Human Rights

Entered into force on 3 September 1953. The Convention gave effect to certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and established an international judicial organ with jurisdiction to find against States that do not fulfil their undertakings. Has European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg. The Court monitors respect for the human rights of 800 million Europeans in the 47 Council of Europe member States that have ratified the Convention. The United Kingdom is signed up to the ECHR, which will still be the case even if we leave the EU.  More information.

Human Rights Act

In the UK since 1998 we have the Human Rights Act as a law. It means that you can defend your rights in the UK courts and that public organisations (including the Government, the Police and local councils) must treat everyone equally, with fairness, dignity and respect.
This is a law the current Government wish to get rid of and replace with a bill of rights. Please take action to save the Human Rights Act

Launch of Amnesty International

Peter Benenson was a British lawyer, who wrote an article in the Observer newspaper after having learnt that two Portuguese students from Coimbra were imprisoned in Portugal for raising a toast to freedom. This was 1961 when Portugal was ruled by the authoritarian Estado Novo regime. The article was reprinted in newspapers across the world and provoked a flood of responses from the readers, marshalling groups in several countries to examine human rights abuses. The article starts:-

“Open your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government. There are several million such people in prison – …- and their numbers are growing. The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust all over the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done.”

It goes on to quote two of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in company with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

In the article he gave other examples of people suffering imprisonment for expressing their opinions. He also referred to them as Prisoners of Conscience.

‘Any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing (in any form of words or symbols) an opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence.’

The article launched an Amnesty Campaign, which was supposed to be short lived. The idea was public opinion, in the form of letters from around the globe, would put pressure on Governments to mend their ways and release these prisoners of conscience. But this campaigning proved overwhelming and ongoing, so ultimately Amnesty International was set up to co-ordinate such letter-writing campaigns.

To find out more about the history of our group, and events we have done, please click here.