Human rights icon and early Amnesty International member Helen Bamber dies, aged 89

Human rights icon Helen Bamber dies, aged 89
Helen Bamber (Picture: PA)

Human rights campaigner and early member of Amnesty International Helen Bamber has died, aged 89, the Helen Bamber Foundation has announced.

Mrs Bamber, who was born in north London in 1925, began her illustrious career as a human rights campaigner opposing Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists as a teenager.

A psychotherapist who began helping torture victims and holocaust survivors when she was just 20-years-old, Mrs Bamber’s work affected tens of thousands of men, women and children over a career spanning almost 70 years.

Leading figures from the charity world and Hollywood stars Colin Firth and Emma Thompson were quick to pay tribute to the woman described as a ‘human rights icon’.

‘Helen was not inclined to share her insights for interest’s sake or simply for creative research,’ said Firth, who worked with Mrs Bamber on The Railway Man.

‘Her aim in life was to heal people whose damage was profound and seemingly intractable.

Undated handout photo circa 1930s issued by the Helen Bamber Foundation of Human rights campaigner and founder of Amnesty International Helen Bamber who has died, the Foundation has announced. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday August 21, 2014. Ms Bamber was a psychotherapist who began helping victims of torture and atrocities aged just 20 when she started working with survivors of the Holocaust. She died today, aged 89. See PA story DEATH Bamber. Photo credit should read: Helen Bamber Foundation/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
She began helping victims of torture and atrocities aged just 20 when she started working with survivors of the Holocaust (Picture: PA)

‘But I realised that her work was also to endow those of us who hadn’t suffered such things with something of her compassion toward those who had. If she had succeeded in any of this with just one individual, her work would have been worthwhile. But the numbers are beyond count.’

Mrs Bamber helped to establish the first medical group in the British section of Amnesty International, which recorded testimony and documented evidence of human rights violations.

Even in old age, the film star added, Mrs Bamber did what she could to help those affected by human rights abuses.

Thompson, who is president of the Helen Bamber Foundation, called Mrs Bamber ‘a great listener and incredible interpreter’.

‘She never lets her imagination run dry,’ she said.

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21 August 2014 | 10:03 pm – Source:

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