Amnesty International

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Amnesty International (founded 1961) is an international non-governmental organization that works to promote the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards.

Quotes by Amnesty International personnel[edit]

  • “Whether it is Trump, Orban, Erdoğan or Duterte, more and more politicians calling themselves anti-establishment are wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.” "Today’s politics of demonization shamelessly peddles a dangerous idea that some people are less human than others."
Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International 22 February 2017 [1]

Peter Benenson[edit]

  • "On 28 May 1961 I wrote an article in The Observer newspaper which gave birth to Amnesty International. It began with these words: 'Open your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government … The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust could be united into common action, something effective could be done.'

Forty years on, Amnesty International has secured many victories. Its files are full of letters from former prisoners of conscience or torture victims thanking the organisation for making a difference. Torture is now banned by international agreement. Every year more countries reject the death penalty. The world will soon have an International Criminal Court that will be able to ensure that those accused of the worst crimes in the world will face justice. The Court's very existence will deter some crimes.

But the challenges are still great. Torture is banned but in two-thirds of the world's countries it is still being committed in secret. Too many governments still allow wrongful imprisonment, murder or "disappearance" to be carried out by their officials with impunity.

Those who today still feel a sense of impotence can do something: they can support Amnesty International. They can help it to stand up for freedom and justice.

In 1961 I wrote 'Pressure of opinion a hundred years ago brought about the emancipation of the slaves'. Pressure of opinion is now needed to help Amnesty International achieve its ultimate objective: to close for business. Only then, when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world's people, will our work be done." [[2]]

Quotes about Amnesty International[edit]

  • [Amnesty International] disproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation, focusing solely on the conflict with the Palestinians, misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict, and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.
    • NGO Monitor, Amnesty International (AI) February 04, 2019
  • We also witnessed firsthand the basic hostility of Amnesty International to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Sunil Bakshi had repeatedly sent invitations to them three weeks before the exhibition. I personally called the head of Kashmir at Amnesty International several times as well as Ingrid Massage, the director, Asia & Pacific Program of Amnesty. First she told us they only reported on first hand facts, I replied these were photographs and statistics which nobody could dispute. Finally, after ten phone calls, she said she had too many files on her desk and that she had no time to come, although the exhibtion was a few blocks from her office. So much for Amnesty's sense of justice.
  • Amnesty International has just suspended one of its senior officers, a woman named Gita Sahgal who until recently headed the organization's "gender unit." It's fairly easy to summarize her concern in her own words. "To be appearing on platforms with Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender," she wrote, "is a gross error of judgment." One might think that to be an uncontroversial statement, but it led to her immediate suspension.... Amnesty International was not set up to defend everybody, no matter what they did. No organization in the world could hope to do that... The entire raison d’être of the noble foundation was to defend and protect those who were made to suffer for their views. In theory, I suppose, this could include the view that women should be chattel, homosexuals and Jews and Hindus marked for slaughter, and all the rest of the lovely jihadist canon. But—see above—Cageprisoners defends those who have gone slightly further than merely advocating such things. It’s well-nigh incredible that Amnesty should give a platform to people who are shady on this question and absolutely disgraceful that it should suspend a renowned employee who gave voice to her deep and sincere misgivings.
    • Suspension of Conscience: Christopher Hitchens, 15 February 2010, Slate. [4] Quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.

External links[edit]

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