Tag Archive for 'Amnesty International'

Salman Rushdie: Amnesty International is morally bankrupt

From The Sunday Times:

The Booker prize-winning author Salman Rushdie has accused Amnesty International of “moral bankruptcy” for working with a former terror suspect from Britain.

Rushdie, whose plight was championed by Amnesty when he was placed under a fatwa by the Iranian regime for his novel The Satanic Verses, said the charity had done “incalculable damage” to its reputation by collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, and his organisation Cageprisoners.

His accusation follows the suspension this month of Gita Sahgal, a senior Amnesty official, who raised concerns about the organisation’s links to Begg and Islamists. More:

And below, from The Times, London:

The conscience stifled by Amnesty

When Gita Sahgal questioned the human rights group’s links to Islamic radicals, it suspended her. Now she fears for her safety

Amnesty International has made its name as a champion of free speech, campaigning on behalf of prisoners who have spoken out against oppressive regimes around the world. But when it comes to speaking up about the organisation itself … well, that seems to be a different story.

Last week Gita Sahgal, a highly respected lifelong human rights activist and head of Amnesty’s gender unit, told The Sunday Times of her concerns about Amnesty’s relationship with Cageprisoners, an organisation headed by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo internee.

Since his release in 2005, Begg has spoken alongside Amnesty at a number of events and accompanied the organisation to a meeting at Downing Street last month. Sahgal felt the closeness of the relationship between Amnesty and Cageprisoners — which appears to give succour to those who believe in global jihad — was a threat to Amnesty’s integrity. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment,” she wrote to Amnesty’s leaders following the Downing Street visit. More:

Missing: monks who defied Beijing

From The Independent, UK:

theindependent1.jpgThey were the 15 youthful Tibetan monks – three still in their teens – who sparked a rebellion by daring to speak out against China’s repression of their homeland.

The group paraded peacefully down Barkhor Street in Lhasa old town on 10 March handing out leaflets, chanting pro-independence slogans and carrying the banned Tibetan flag. Their demand was that the Chinese government that has ruled Tibet since 1951 should ease a “patriotic re-education” campaign which forced them to denounce the Dalai Lama and subjected them to government propaganda.

The reaction of the authorities, desperate to snuff out the most serious uprising against Chinese rule for almost half a century, was rapid and brutal. The group was detained on the spot, with eyewitnesses reporting that several of the monks suffered severe beatings as they were arrested and taken away. They have not been seen since.

[Photo: Page 1, The Independent]


In previous posts: Holy Man

As Tibet erupted China wavered

Inside the court of the Tibetan god-king

Making Tibet Tibetan once more

Tibet’s young and restless

The Tibetan backlash

Tibet and technology

Dalai Lama’s BBC interview

Stopping the monks

Anything for an unquiet life

Even before she was out of her teens, Irene Khan had seen enough hate and cruelty for several lifetimes. Rather than run away from injustice, she decided to fight it head on. The head of Amnesty International talks to Kira Cochrane. In The Guardian, UK:


As a studious, idealistic teenager, living with her family in Dhaka, Irene Khan witnessed conflict first-hand: bloodied bodies in the street, indiscriminate violence, boys just a few years older than herself heading into the fray. This was 1971, as East and West Pakistan slid into the war that would eventually create an independent Bangladesh. The school Khan attended was quickly closed, and from then on she and her two sisters stayed home together, day after day. They saw corpses just outside their windows – the same windows that shattered as stray bullets flew through. “For a 13-year-old,” says Khan, “it was like living through a war movie.” She and her sisters heard the terrible stories of rape, of soldiers marching from house to house, brutalising whoever happened to be inside. “I remember the three of us talking about what would happen if the army actually came,” she says. “I had figured out that there was a place up in the roof where I could hide behind a water tank, and if they found me, I could jump from there.”