Amnesty International

non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom

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

  • What resources have the Bangladeshi Hindus? .... Flushed with passion after meeting with scores of refugees in 2008, I returned to AI's web site and scoured it in search of some outrage - any outrage -over what is so apparent in South Asia; but my search was in vain. ... To date Amnesty International has yet to show any stomach for opposing what could be the worst case of ethnic cleansing in our time.
    One could advance any number of reasons for their silence. Is it because the victims are Hindu; or the victimizers Muslim? Are they simply moral cowards; or do they just not care? Perhaps it is a case of AI placing ideology above principle... The last time AI, or HRW for that matter, gave the Bangladeshi Hindus even passing mention was in 2006. (Oxfam never has.) In its 2010 report on Bangladesh, AI shockingly did not even mention the oppression of Hindus; a horrid disgrace, that encourages the human rights atrocities those very organizations claim to be fighting! (32-33)
    • Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. 32-33
  • Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money. Third comes getting more members. Fourth, internal turf battles. And then finally, human rights, genuine human rights concerns. To be sure, if you are dealing with a human rights situation in a country that is at odds with the United States or Britain, it gets an awful lot of attention, resources, man and womanpower, publicity, you name it, they can throw whatever they want at that. But if it's dealing with violations of human rights by the United States, Britain, Israel, then it's like pulling teeth to get them to really do something on the situation.
    • Francis Boyle, in Bernstein, Dennis (2002). "Interview: Amnesty on Jenin - Dennis Bernstein and Dr. Francis Boyle Discuss the Politics of Human Rights". Covert Action Quarterly. Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2009.[3]
  • Amnesty ... thinks that liberals are free to form alliances with defenders of clerical fascists who want to do everything in their power to suppress liberals, most notably liberal-minded Muslims.
    • Nick Cohen in "We abhor torture – but that requires paying a price". The Guardian. 14 February 2010. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2016.[4] [5]
  • 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. [7] Quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • Amnesty ... has done its reputation incalculable damage by allying itself with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners, and holding them up as human rights advocates.
    • Salman Rushdie, "Salman Rushdie's statement on Amnesty International". The Sunday Times. 21 February 2010. Archived from the original on 1 June 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.[8] [9]
  • Benenson’s suspicious about Amnesty’s collusion with the [UK] Foreign Office continued to fester in his mind...the Labour Party [Government’s] obvious embarrassment over the Aden issue deepened his suspicions that someone was working to keep the matter quiet. And top of his list of suspects was Robert Swann...[who] had worked for the British Foreign Office in Bangkok...Beneson began to suspect that Swann and...his colleagues were part of a British Intelligence conspiracy to subvert Amnesty... He contacted Sean MacBride [founding member of Amnesty and former Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army]... another bombshell exploded. An American source disclosed that CIA money was going to a US organization of jurists which in turn contributed funds to the International Commission of Jurists, of which Sean MacBride was secretary...Beneson became convinced that MacBride was tied up in a CIA network.
    • Peter Benenson was founder of AI. “Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International” by Jonathan Power. Quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • It is always easy to blame the state and the men in uniform. But Islamic terror essentially does not emanate from uniforms and state power, but from a belief system which even the ordinary people have been fed. That is why a lot of Islamic terror never gets recorded by human-rights organizations like Amnesty International. A Christian Pakistani friend complained to me that Amnesty had not spoken out against the religious persecutions in his homeland, even when these are a grim and undeniable reality. The fact is that much of this persecution and discrimination is not ordered by the state (the type of culprit with which Amnesty is familiar), but is a spontaneous attitude among sections of the Muslim population, egged on by nothing except the omnipresent Islamic doctrine.
  • No Indian government will allow Amnesty International set foot inside this country... Amnesty International ...will ask neither the Indian government for the truth, facts and figures...[but] will ask the likes of Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander and Kathy Sreedhar...
    • Rajan, R., Kak, K.. (2006). NGOs, activists & foreign funds: Anti-nation industry. Chennai: Vigil. Quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • The nearly total silence manifests itself in the curiously euphemistic manner in which human rights groups report on the plight of Christians, when they notice that plight at all. For example, Amnesty International’s 2007 report on the human rights situation in Egypt dismisses the suffering of Coptic Christians in a single sentence so filled with euphemism and moral equivalence and so lacking in context that it almost erases the crime it describes... The passive voice seems to be the rule of the day where jihad violence against Christians is concerned... Amnesty International seems more concerned about protecting Islam and Islamic groups from being implicated in human rights abuses than about protecting Christians from those abuses.
    • Spencer, R., Not Peace but a Sword (2013)
  • [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

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