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Transcript of Amnesty International
1961 British Lawyer, Peter Beneson, published the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in the Observer newspaper.
The article launched the “Appeal for Amnesty 1961”
The article was reprinted in newspapers across the world triggering a major response.
First international meeting was held in July with delegates from Belgium, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA.
“Threes Network” is established, through which Amnesty International adopts three prisoners from different political and geographical areas.
Begins to adopt more and more prisoners, releasing more The Beginning & History
- defend freedom of expression
- protect women’s rights
- abolish the death penalty
- demand justice for crimes against humanity
- demand corporate accountability where companies have abused people’s rights Their Mission End violations of human rights of individuals and groups of individuals all across the world and promote awareness of and adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments that are internationally recognized Addresses Goals Work Amnesty International mainly works with human rights problems and violations going on in the world among and within the 150 different member countries. So who does the work? How does Amnesty International carry out its work? Campaigning & Researching
Activities carried out
send experts to talk with victims
interview local officials
monitor global and local media
publish detailed reports
inform the news media
publicize concerns via documents, websites, posters, leaflets, etc Mobilizing the public via
human rights education
awareness raising concerts
email petitions/other online actions
partnerships with local campaigning groups
co-operation with student groups Amnesty International is largely made of of voluntary members however it has a small number of paid professionals.
Members are organized as 'sections' which coordinate basic activities. Some of the members within these 'sections' form into 'groups' and professional staff Six Key Areas Women's, children's, minorities' and indigenous rights
Abolition of the death penalty
Rights of refugees
Rights of prisoners of conscience
Protection of human dignity To support the UN Millennium Development Goals
1. Eradicate extreme Poverty and Hunger
2. Achieve Universal Primary Eduction
3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
4. Reduce Child Mortality
5. Improve Maternal Health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development Projects Critical Analysis Necessity Amnesty International does all it can through campaigning, and exerting influence on whatever power it can (political bodies and companies) in order to promote human rights Human rights must be protected at all costs for the sake of humanity. Their efforts toward international solidarity are commendable, someone has to stand up for the rights of those who cannot stand for themselves. Meaningful The fact that Amnesty International has such a broad range of interests they fight for, they began with political interests and expanded since
They make it extremely easy to report human rights violations i.e. website
Their peaceful approach to situations Limitations & Drawbacks Count Country Focus Issues/ Amnesty International USA Intention is to apply the pressure of public opinion to encourage improvements, however the range of reports thus do not statistically represent the world's human right's abuses making the open and democratic countries often the most reported.
ie. top two ranking in most press releases
1. United States
Ultimately their focus on certain countries portrays their inherent bias which compromises not only their integrity but also inhibits their ability to portray human rights abuses accurately Pay Controversy Africa Americas Asia and the Pacific Big to do was in the news about the excessive amounts Amnesty had paid some of its senior staff
ie. Irene Khan received £533,103 upon resignation
Donors were infuriated
Amnesty International thus forced to promise they would be more careful not to do so again Europe Middle East and North Africa Other critique under-protection of overseas staff
associating with organizations with a suspicious record on human rights protection
ideological/foreign policy bias
selection bias Motivation Justice and Accountability People who support the fight to protect and promote human rights and end its abuses often support Amnesty International Civilian Protection Extractives Industries Forced Evictions Ultimately Amnesty International is an Altruistic organization, as their expanding passionate focus in all sorts of human rights battles reflects. ~ Sexual and gender-based violence
~ US Government supports judicial sector reform and complementary justice mechanisms ~Supports UN Peacekeeping Missions ~Campaigns to end irresponsible business practices (gas flares, oil spills, toxic waste etc.) Scale of Work More than 3 million supporters, members, and activists
Over 500 countries
Locally, nationally, and globally Where do they operate? Where are they based? International Secretariat in London ~ Founded in 1961 Offices in 80 countries worldwide
Sections (groups), structures, international networks, affiliated groups How are decisions made? International Executive Committee (IEC) Secretary General Senior Directors Elected democratically at biannual International Council Meeting
4 year terms, half up for re-election every 2 years
Provide guidelines and leadership
~ensure the movement’s compliance with Amnesty International's statute
~ensure implementation of Amnesty International's Integrated Strategic Plan
~ensure the sound financial management of Amnesty International at the international level
~provide consent for the establishment of sections, structures and other bodies of Amnesty International
~hold sections, structures and other bodies of Amnesty International accountable for their functioning by presenting reports to the International Council Meeting
~take international decisions on behalf of Amnesty International
~ensure human resources development Operational leader
Chief political adviser
Chief executive officer of International Secretariat Salil Shetty 8th Secretary General
July 2010 strategic direction
direct support to secretariat's staff and volunteers Funding Personal and unaffiliated donations
Do not accept funds from governments or political parties
Businesses carefully chosen
Ethical fundraising Demand Dignity Shifting the balance of power with those who have been so far denied a say
Amnesty helps people tell their stories and helps them in their fight to engage in the processes determining their own future Abolish the Death Penalty As the ultimate denial of human rights and violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the death penalty must be abolished and is a priority of Amnesty International Crime rates remain high
"war on terror"
Military and police roles blurred by deploying military forces to deal with social unrest
Members of human right groups are harassed Security with Human Rights East Asia Amnesty International will insist that states must respect human rights in any actions they take in the name of national security or countering terrorism
Where states fail to respect human rights, governments and individuals responsible must be held to account
Works for the rights of victims of terrorism and other violence by armed groups, supporting them in their struggle for truth, justice and reparation Torture, execution, excessive use of force
Freedom of expression limited (esp. South Korea)
North Korean government fails to uphold basic human rights to food and health care
Liu Xiobo - Chinese human rights defender awarded Nobel Peace Prize South East Asia Control Arms States must stop allowing irresponsible transfers of arms and be made accountable to the international community ASEAN Intergovernmental Commision on Human Rights (AICHR) has not proceeded to draft the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration South Asia Violence against women
Armed political groups Strong rules to protect human rights by preventing arms from being sent to those who would most likely use them to violate these rights
There should be a control list that includes all types of weapons, munitions and other arms
Clear rules to apply and monitor the Arms Trade Treaty the UN negotiated in summer 2012, with reporting to ensure they are enforced Demand the "Three Freedoms" for Myanmar Discrimination against members of Arab, Jewish, and Muslim communities
Countries in former Soviet Union -
corruption, torture to gain confessions, impunity to state officials, horrible prison conditions Repressive governments
Surging demands for political, economic, and social reform A call on Myanmar's neighbors to help secure freedom for all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar and to speak out against the country's military government as it holds its first national elections in 20 years amid a climate of severe political repression Enforced Disappearances in Syria Since protest broke out in Syria nearly two years ago, thousands of people have been subjected to disappearances and suffering of their families
Those taken and released have accounted gruesome experiences of torture and abuse
Amnesty is committed to the release of those taken and the ceasing of any more disappearances Write for Rights Global event in which hundreds of thousands of people write letters, SMS actions, create street art, light projections and concerts to demand that the rights of individuals are upheld Annual Reports Ukraine 2011 Amnesty sections worldwide participate in decision-making by sending representatives to the International Council Meeting - a gathering of representatives from around the world, which meets every two years. Bias against Israel Allegations of "war crimes"- Distorts international law, misusing terms like “collective punishment,” “occupying power,” and “disproportionate” in its condemnations of Israel’s Gaza policy.
ie. “Operation ‘Cast Lead’: 22 Days of Death and Destruction” (July 2009), charges Israel with “war crimes” during the conflict. The 127-page publication ignores considerable evidence that Hamas used human shields, minimizes Palestinian violations of international law, and promotes boycotts and “lawfare” against Israel. Arms embargo against Israel- Arms embargo against Israel: Campaigns for an arms embargo against Israel, while ignoring the massive flow of offensive weapons and explosives from Iran and Syria into Gaza. An April 1, 2009 press release (“Shipment reaches Israel, President Obama urged to halt further exports”) revealed that AI tracked a vessel carrying arms across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean Sea. Amnesty-USA accompanied this report with a call for action, including letters to Secretary of State Clinton labeling Israel a “grave violator of human rights” and demanding to know the “reason behind sending these arms now.” Amnesty claims that it does not accept donations from governments or political parties as it is “Independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion… it does not support or oppose any government or political system.”, in 2008 the organization received a 4-year grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), totalling to £3,149,000. In 2010, it received £842,000 from DFID. Amnesty International and its branches have also received funding from the European Commission, the Netherlands, the United States, and Norway.