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Amnesty International


  • pg 1
By Yongzhi, Clement, Milton, Derrick, YiXiang, Liki
What is AI?

   Founded by Peter Benenson in London 1961
   International Non-Governmental
   Misson: “To conduct research and generate action
    to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights
    and to demand justice for those whose rights have
    been violated.“
   2.2 million members and supporters
The work AI does
   Exerts influence on governments, political bodies,
    companies and intergovernmental groups
   Mobilizes public pressure through mass
    demonstrations, vigils and direct lobbying as well
    as online and offline campaigning.
   Through appealing, AI thus pressures the ‘target’ to
    ‘respect the rule of law’.
Scope of work
   Women's Rights
   Children's Rights
   Ending Torture and Execution
   Rights of Refugees
   Rights of Prisoners of Conscience (Refers to people
    imprisoned due to their race, religion, sexual
    orientation, belief etc, and those persecuted for
    non-violent expression of their ‘conscientiously-
    held’ beliefs, so long as they have not advocated
   Stop violence against women
   Defend the rights and dignity of those
    trapped in poverty
   Abolish the death penalty
   Oppose torture and combat terror with
   Free prisoners of conscience
   Protect the rights of refugees and
   Regulate the global arms trade
How AI does her work
   Campaigning
     Mobilise public opinion
     3 Types: Individual, national or thematic
     Direct appeal (such as letter writing)
     Media and publicity work
     Public demonstrations

   Fundraising often coupled with campaigning
   Urgent matters: Urgent Action (UA) appeals (involves
    urgent action networks or crisis response networks)
   Other matters: Membership
How AI does her work
   Issues press releases
   Publishes information in newsletters and on websites
   Official missions to countries to make courteous but
    insistent inquiries
   Publication of reports
   Involves research via interviews with victims and officials
   Observing trials and thus evaluate them
   Collaborations with local human rights activists
   Monitoring the media
Rationale for her work
   AI envisions for everyone to enjoy all of the human
    rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of
    Human Rights and other international human rights
   To prevent and end grave abuses of the rights to
    physical and mental integrity (defined within scope of
   Argues that human rights abuses anywhere are the
    concern of people everywhere
   Outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope
    for a better world, they go about doing their work
Challenges faced by AI

   Criticised for ideological bias
     One-sided
     Failure   to consider threats to security as a mitigating
   Criticised for reporting disproportionately on
    relatively more democratic and open countries
     However   AI argues that its intention is not to produce a
      range of reports which statistically represents the
      world’s human rights abuses, but rather to apply the
      pressure of public opinion to encourage improvements
Challenges faced by AI

   Detention/Abduction (faced by human rights defenders)
   Smear Campaigns (delegitimize, slander)
   Bureaucratic Barriers (hamper organizations)
     Restricting meetings
     Deny legal registration, or cease operation

     Obstruct fact-finding visits

   Harassment
     Daily (such as phone tapping, surveillance)
     Extreme (freezing assets, home raids, confiscation)
Rationale for choosing AI
   Longest history
   Broadest name recognition
   Believed to set the standards for the
    human rights movements as a whole
   Effective
     Pressure has had an effect on people’s
      own lives
     Governments are persuaded to change
      their laws and practices
   Controversy especially concerning
       Hence subject to (our) pertinent scrutiny
Direct/Personal impact
   “Human rights abuses anywhere are the concern of
    people everywhere”
   Locally in Singapore:
       Death penalty subject to scrutiny
       Restrictive laws and defamation suits to muzzle critics
   If AI succeeds in ‘persuading’ the Singaporean
    Government, this will have great implications
    especially concerning media freedom and publicity
     Though   this is highly unlikely
Effort evaluation

   The Stop Torture campaign (Oct
    2000 - Dec 2001) is AI's third
    global campaign on torture
     Follows  AI's first campaign
      denouncing torture (1972-1973) and
      its second focusing on the prevention
      of torture (1984).
     These campaigns contributed to the
      UN's adoption of the Convention
      against Torture, on (Human Rights
      Day) 10 December 1984.
Effort evaluation
   Achievement:
     In the first five months of the Stop Torture campaign,
      over 19,500 subscribers from 188 countries used this
      innovative form of campaigning on behalf of eight
     Within 12 hours of each action, an average of 2,500
      appeals was generated.
     Three of the eight individuals (in Turkey, Mexico, and
      Ecuador) have been released.
Effort evaluation
   Validity
       Torture is cruel, inhuman and degrading human dignity
       Governments have invoked threats of terrorism to cover up and
        justify its use, hence the need to strengthen importance of this
   Soundness
       Key issue: Can governments stop shielding torturers and accept
        responsibility for their crimes?
       Governments have a clear duty to protect their civilian
        population from violent attacks, including terrorist acts
       Governments who are concerned with their image will be spurred
       Those who do not stop torture will ironically be harming their
        civilians and thus be subject to severe criticism
     Denotes ‘Is’     Denotes ‘ Is not
Effort evaluation
   Relevance
     Failure to uphold international obligations
     Even USA has undermined human rights in the context of
      counter-terrorism while continuing to pay lip service to
      international obligations
     However, relevance in our local context is limited due to
      these acts often taking place under clandestine conditions
      (convenience of secrecy)
           Moreover, little concrete action taken to effectively undertake
            investigations (due to fear and implications of exposure)

    Denotes ‘Is’         Denotes ‘ Is not
Effort evaluation

   Failure to address the underlying problem
     States have made their own self-interest in removing a
      particular individual their priority, rather than seeking
      to change the underlying problem of torture in the
      receiving country as a whole
   This is a betrayal of some of the state’s most
    fundamental obligations in international human
    rights law
   Moral degradation of state
   Negligence of victims
Effort evaluation

                         • Build
                           pressure for
               Join AI     change
                         • Contribute

                     to AI   • Fund support

               Appeal    • Direct Action
                 for       + Support
               Action    • Example
   http://www.amnesty.org/ - Amnesty International
   Buchanan, Tom (October 2002). "'The Truth Will Set
    You Free': The Making of Amnesty International".
    Journal of Contemporary History 37 (4): 575–597.
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/3180761. Retrieved
    on 2009-04-17
 -
    AI Australia

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