Archive for the 'Amnesty International' Category

Free Burma!

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Free Burma!

In honor of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the United Nations declared October 2 the International Day of Non-Violence. twistedchick wrote about the nonviolent tactics being used by Buddhist monks in Burma/Myanmar, and the similarity between their actions and those espoused by Gandhi.

Amnesty International (yes, I know, but when they’re right they’re right) has a letter campaign urging the government to release the protestors.

Amnesty’s own words: states must ensure access to abortion “in almost all cases”

Friday, September 21st, 2007

(note: all of the links to Amnesty documents lead to its members-only site. Those of you who are not members can read the local copies I’ve linked. All are PDFs.)

Amnesty International has been claiming that its new policy on abortion (local copy) is limited in scope, because it will only push for states to guarantee access to abortion “for women who become pregnant as a result of rape, sexual assault or incest — or whose lives or health are at grave risk due to pregnancy.” Think about what the phrase “health at grave risk” means to you. It probably conjures up images of injury or illness that brings a person near death, or that may result in permanant disability. It probably doesn’t bring to mind a situation in which a healthy mother carrying a healthy baby seeks an abortion due to poverty or abandonment by the child’s father.

What does the health clause mean to Amnesty International?

Pro-life: it’s not just for Catholics anymore!

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Is anybody besides me tired of seeing all the news about the Catholic Church vs. Amnesty International? As soon as the Vatican weighed in, the fact that anybody besides the Catholic Church opposes abortion was completely forgotten in all press coverage.

I don’t want to say that the Vatican shouldn’t have weighed in, because they have both the right and responsibility to do so. It’s just unfortunate that their involvement in the controversy has made it all too easy for the usual suspects to dismiss any opposition to abortion as solely a religious issue.

Action alerts

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

From the mindful mission: information about saving Troy Davis, who is scheduled to be executed in Atlanta on July 17th despite serious doubt about his guilt.

From Nonviolent Choice Blog: a chance for pro-lifers and pro-choicers to work together to assist a woman in Poland, and others like her.

From Consistent Life: an opportunity to let Amnesty International know what you think about their recent policy change on abortion.

Women for Women International

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Following up on the previous post: Women for Women International responded to my query.

Dear Jen,

Thank you for your email and interest in our organization. Women for Women International does not advocate for or against abortion. During our rights awareness training session on women’s reproductive health, we focus on educating women about standard health practices for themselves and their children. We discuss prenatal care, infant and child care, nutrition during pregnancy, natural family planning methods and other topics designed to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rates in the communities where we work. I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

I’m very glad to hear that. WWI seems like a great organization. Their stated purpose is “Supporting women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job-skills training, rights education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives.” You can become a “sister” and sponsor another woman, or just donate to WWI, who will use the funds for their educational programs and administrative costs. There are also other, non-monetary ways to get involved.

They are highly rated by Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy.

For those of you leaving Amnesty

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Marysia asked for links to human rights organizations people can support if they feel compelled to leave Amnesty International due to Amnesty’s new abortion policy. I commented over there, but thought I would post them here as well.

Consistent Life are suggesting the following:

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Human Rights First

Friends Committee on National Legislation

I sent a donation to FCNL, with a note explaining that I was coming over from Amnesty and why. I also let AI know that I would be supporting other organizations and why.

Additionally, I have been looking into Women for Women International, for people who want to offer women in war zones such as Darfur life-affirming, nonviolent assistance.* I don’t think that WWI is involved with abortion advocacy, but I have written to them for a clarification.

* I was particularly infuriated this week by the Amnesty spokesperson who cited a World Health Organization estimate that 68,000 women die annually as a result of abortions, and said, “Once we looked at that figure, neutrality would have meant essentially saying it’s okay that 68,000 women a year die because of criminalization of abortion.” That is a monstrous claim, and the exact equivalent of warmongers accusing those of us who opposed the Iraq invasion of saying it was okay for Saddam Hussein to murder his own people.

Amnesty International update

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Consistent Life has more on Amnesty International’s recent decision to add advocacy for abortion rights to its mission.

Although AI keeps claiming that the decision was made in consultation with its membership, this move is in fact being made without the knowledge or input of most members and against the wishes of many who have made their opinions known. As recently as May 2006, callers to AIUSA’s office were being told that AI took no position on abortion and that there was no movement to change that — yet AI claims that it has been consulting the membership for two years. The membership of the UK branch voted against adopting the new policy, but the branch adopted it anyway; similarly, AIUSA conducted a little-publicized online survey about the new policy in the members-only section of its website, but has never announced the results. I’d like to think that even supporters of this policy change would be disturbed by the high-handed and sneaky way in which it was imposed.

AI is being disingenuous in another way. The organization claims that it takes no position on when life begins or whether the unborn have human rights. However, nowhere in all of the explanatory material about the new policy is there any indication that anyone other than the mother might have anything at stake in abortion. Effectively, then, AI’s position is either that unborn human beings have no human rights, or that their rights don’t matter.

For an organization which so prizes freedom of conscience, AI is showing remarkable contempt for the consciences of many of its members. Its FAQ answer to the question “My neighbor says that AI is violating human rights by adopting this policy. How can I respond to this?” is patronizing and dismissive: “While some religions believe that life begins at conception and that, therefore, abortion represents a violation of the right to life of a fetus, international law is silent on the point when life begins.”

Of course, that’s no answer at all. It doesn’t even take the question seriously.

Members who believe that Amnesty’s new position condones human rights violations (and contrary to AI’s apparent belief, not all of them are religious) are being patted on the head and told that they can simply work on other issues. Anybody still believe AI’s assertion that they listened to people on all sides of the issue before making their decision?

Amnesty reminder

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Amnesty International USA members: remember today is the last day to fill out AIUSA’s survey about their proposal to abandon their current neutrality on abortion. It is vitally important for people who value the human rights of both unborn children and their mothers to communicate their views to AIUSA.

I noticed the other day that AIUSA finally issued a public statement, a mere eleven days before the deadline for member input (and including no mention of the member survey). The statement claims that “The organization’s policies are determined by AI members worldwide through a democratic process.” This comes after months of apparently trying to stifle any notice or debate among members on the proposed policy change — even going so far as to tell callers to the national office that no change of policy on abortion was being considered! That’s the kind of “democratic process” I expect from the Bush administration, not Amnesty International.

Consistent Life Action Alert 11-24-06

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

From Consistent Life:

Friends –

Please remember to send any supporters of Amnesty International who are upset at their move to view abortion as a human right to register their disapproval at this site: