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The Independent Online

Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, who died on Friday, was the father of human rights campaigning. He showed that ordinary individuals can apply pressure to tyrannical regimes, even when our own democratic governments turn a blind eye. The Benenson formula was simple: bombard the offending regime with letters of protest.

Amnesty was intended to last just one year. But it has been going for 44 and now has 1.8 million members worldwide. The reason is clear - human rights abuses are still as common as they were in 1961. Darfur, Nepal, Iran, Guantanamo ... the lists goes on. And so does the work Benenson began all those years ago.