Sunday, November 16, 2008

Benenson Society is a worthy alternative to Amnesty International and adheres to principles advocated by Peter Benenson

The decision of Amnesty International in 2007 -at a meeting in Mexico- to support access to abortion for women in cases of rape, incest or violence has angered pro-life members. Catholic schools in Australia, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, England and the US have left the organisation. Protestants have also resigned. Fr Chris Middleton principal of St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point, Australia publicly condemned Amnesty's new stance and sought a reversal without success. St Aloysius' College Milson's Point and Loreto Kirribilli opposed Amnesty’s decision and severed their association with the organization. This was the genesis of the formation of the
Benenson Society.

The Benenson Society was first formed by students at St Aloysius College Milson's Point and Loreto Kirribilli last year. The society aims to provide students with the opportunity to campaign for human rights, directly lobbying governments on behalf of prisoners of conscience, for the end of torture and the death penalty, and asserting the rights of all to basic freedoms.
The new society's charter was put together in consultation with individuals around Australia, including staff and students at Loreto and St Aloysius.

In just a short time, the Society has grown rapidly not alone in Australia but overseas. Many schools in Australia are now members. Choosing the name ‘Benenson' indicates the schools' desire to stick closely to the founding principles of Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson. The new group has as its symbol a stylised white rose, inspired by the White Rose Society- a group of Catholic and Protestant students and staff at Munich University who opposed Nazism the Second World War by writing letters and pamphlets and were persecuted or killed for their convictions.

Membership is open to students through forming chapters in schools, colleges and universities that sign on to the Charter of the Benenson society. Associate membership may be held by teachers and others interested in supporting the work, as well as by members who finish their studies and wish to remain associated with the Society

Find out more about the Society, and join online at The Benenson Society

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