May be right now someone is writing a letter. The letter is addressed to a president or king, a general. The letter is about someone the writer does not know. The writer is an ordinary person who has never met a king or a general.
The writer is one of the 200000 members of Amnesty International. This organization was started in 1961 to help people who are put in prison only because of their race, their religion, or their beliefs. They neither used violence nor suggested that others use it. There are over half a million of these prisoners.
In the main AI office in London, people gather information about prisoners in over one hundred countries. They send this information to A groups in more than forty countries. Each group receives information on two prisoners from countries of different political system. Then the members start writing letters.
A government that holds prisoners receives hundreds of letters. Each letter asks very politely that the prisoners be freed. The world cares about them.
AI works in other ways. It writes reports on government and prisons. These reports are printed in newspapers. Sometimes it sends a famous lawyer to attend a trail or to talk with important people in the government. It helps the families of prisoners. The pressure never stops. So far, thousands of prisoners have been freed because of others have received better food, visits from their families, or medical care.
In 1977, AI received the Nobel Peace Prize, one of the most important international prizes that any person or organization can win. It won the prize because thousands of ordinary people care enough about human rights to write letters.
In 1945 leaders from 41 countries met in San Francisco and organized the United Nations. World War 2 had just ended. Millions of people had died, and there was destruction everywhere. People hoped they could build a future of world peace with this new organization.
The UN has four main goals and p…