Welcome to Group 11

Founded in 1972, Group 11 of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has been at the forefront of the struggle to protect human rights.  Group 11 draws most of its members from Manhattan in New York City.  The Group meets monthly, on the fourth Tuesday of every month, at 6:30 pm, on the upper west side of Manhattan. There is regular e-mail contact with members about the location of each month’s meeting, special group activities, events of other AIUSA groups in the area, and other local activities concerned with human rights.  At many meetings we have a speaker and directly advance our mission by signing letters, postcards, and petitions on our cases and campaigns.

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Group 11 engages in three kinds of activities: actions to free prisoners of conscience (individuals at risk), country campaigns, and special projects.

Freeing Prisoners of Conscience

Group 11’s most essential work is to free people who have been persecuted or imprisoned for peacefully exercising their civil and political rights. Over the years, we have helped to free prisoners in Chile, China, Indonesia, Libya, Myanmar (Burma), Poland, Rhodesia, South Africa, the USSR and many other countries.  We are currently working on prisoner of conscience cases in Myanmar and Iran.  Group 11 is also noted for pioneering case work tactics.  This website summarizes several such cases.

Country Campaigns and Actions

Group 11 participates in campaigns and other actions aimed at specific countries and violations of human rights. One of these, The Campaign to End Disappearances and Political Killings, used letters, petitions and other means to highlight the disappearance of human rights activists in Central and South America. Other campaigns have focused on immigrants, refugees, women, and other vulnerable groups. We are now involved in campaigns in China and the Darfur region of the Sudan.

Special Projects

Group 11 has sponsored or participated in numerous special projects. Chief among them are holding a major conference on women and human rights, supporting an international bill of rights for women, and teaching a course on human rights in New York City’s public schools. Current projects include: opposing the death penalty (see Current Activities for information and requested action on death row inmate Troy Davis); supporting the Security with Human Rights Campaign against indefinite detention and for the rights of Guananamo detainees (see Current Activities); and publishing an exchange of letters between a member of Group 11 and a former prisoner of conscience in the Ukraine. Since 1975, Group 11 has sponsored an annual concert at the Mannes School of Music to raise funds for AIUSA.

We accomplish our mission mainly by sending letters and postcards and signing petitions; tabling at Grand Central Station and at street fairs and other events; contacting members of Congress and federal agencies and presenting our positions to foreign government missions in the United States.  In 2010, we sent almost 700 letters and cards and many hundreds more petitions for our cases and campaigns.