Amnesty International

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Joseph_Botwinick, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    I was reading their website and looking at information about the organization. Don't get me wrong, they seem like a well intentioned organization and certainly did some good work when speaking out for the human rights of oppressed people like Natan Sharansky and others under Communist rule in the old Soviet Union. However, it seems to me that one of their policies is a bit contradictory to their mission:

    About Amnesty International

    They support human rights, but will not support the political ideaology or system of Democracy which tends to be pro human rights? Why is that?

    They are against human rights abuses, but will not oppose dictatorships and totalitarian regimes as a political ideology or system which tends to not be so concerned about human rights? Why is that?

    Doesn't this policy seem to undermine their mission in a way?

    Thoughts?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  2. mioque

    mioque
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    "They support human rights, but will not support the political ideaology or system of Democracy which tends to be pro human rights?"
    "
    This is just a guess.
    Presumably because they try to project an image of neutrality. The moment they openly start supporting Democracy all countries not part of western civilization will denounce them completely as a political tool of it.
     
  3. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    An additional reason is that once you get into the realms of supporting 'democracy' as part of your Mission Statement, you then have the thorny issue of defining the term: an American is likely to come up with a different definition than, say, a Norwegian

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    They certainly are not neutral when it comes to human rights. So why should they be neutral when it comes to political ideologies that either support human rights or go contrary to them? It seems to me that they need to choose a side. Otherwise, they are speaking out of both sides of their mouths and being counter-productive.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Democracy:

    Is the success of the leadeers directly tied to the well being of the people they govern?

    Are there free and open elections?

    Is there Freedom of Speech?

    Can someone openly criticize their own government without being tortured, immprisoned, or killed?

    Are people allowed to Emmigrate if they are not happy living in the country?

    They don't have to be exactly like America. They just have to have certain Democratic principals which are essential to have human rights.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  6. Baptist in Richmond

    Baptist in Richmond
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    About Amnesty International

    They support human rights, but will not support the political ideaology or system of Democracy which tends to be pro human rights? Why is that?

    They are against human rights abuses, but will not oppose dictatorships and totalitarian regimes as a political ideology or system which tends to not be so concerned about human rights? Why is that?

    Doesn't this policy seem to undermine their mission in a way?

    Thoughts?</font>[/QUOTE]As a very proud supporter of Amnesty International, I can only say that the last sentence you stated is the answer:

    You made two observations above in the quote I reproduced, and both deal more with politics. It's not about politics, it's about human rights. A good example of that is the very scenario you reference: that of "Natan Sharansky and others under Communist rule in the old Soviet Union."
     
  7. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    It still seems to me that this policy indermines their mission in a way and makes them less effective than what they could be.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    BiR and everyone else,

    Would you not agree that basic Democratic principals are essential to having human rights? Stuff like freedom of speech, the right to emigrate, and free elections? Why wouldn't AI want to support these political ideas which are essential to human rights? Further, what principles of dictatorship and tyranny add anything to the prospects of human rights? These political ideologies seem counter-productive to their goal to me. It would seem they would want to denounce a political system which stands in direct opposition to their mission.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  9. LadyEagle

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    I think they have turned liberal. Just another piece of the puzzle setting the stage for a OWG.
     
  10. Baptist in Richmond

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    Once again, Amnesty International is concerned with human rights. They do not engage in political rhetoric. I am not sure that I understand why you cannot divorce human rights from politics. How does refusing to engage in political dialogue undermine their mission?
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Because political systems have a direct effect on the human rights of those being governed. Those who live in governments that allow freedom of Speech, Free elections, and the right to emigrate (principals of democracy) tend to have leaders who respect human rights more often than not. Those who live under dictatorships and tyranny don't. This seems pretty simple to me. Why wouldn't AI wish to encourage democratic principals which are directly tied to human rights and discourage tyranny and dictatorships which are in direct opposition to human rights? Seems counterproductive to me. It would be like a Christian saying they are concerned with the salvation of others, but is not willing to preach the Gospel which leads to salvation and willingly tolerates false teachings which leads the lost to Hell. I don't think you can separate human rights from the political system of a government.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. Baptist in Richmond

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    But even you must agree that any bona fide political change must be initiated by the population of the country in question.

    Once again, any bona fide political change must come from within.

    As I stated prior to this post, AI is concerned with human rights abuses. That is all. They are not concerned with political power, political change, or any other issue dealing with politics.

    That is abundantly clear, and is a viewpoint that I (and Amnesty International) do not share.
     
  13. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Actually, I believe that the change can come from the outside as well, since in a closed fear society, there is no dissent allowed, and if those from the outside don't pressure the dictator to implement democratic reforms, he will have no incentive to do so.

    I think it is a shame that you and AI do not share the viewpoint that free societies produce societies concerned with Human Rights. It is unfortunate, and part of the reason, I think the orgainzation is becoming more and more irrelevant to its mission today, because they are unwilling to change and confront a poltical system which runs contrary to their stated purpose.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  14. Baptist in Richmond

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    That doesn't surprise me at all. If a people do not have the desire to throw off a yoke, someone else cannot do it for them.

    One more time, Joseph:
    The key sentence is the last one.
     
  15. KenH

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    I think you are spot on, Joseph, to point out that AI refuses to oppose a dictatorship as being antithetical to their stated goal.
     
  16. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Double Post. Sorry.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  17. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    That doesn't surprise me at all. If a people do not have the desire to throw off a yoke, someone else cannot do it for them.

    One more time, Joseph:
    The key sentence is the last one.
    </font>[/QUOTE]You are wrong. It has been done many times. America freed the Jews and others in WW2. Reagan freed millions of oppressed people from Communism. Bush has freed millions of people from the oppressive regimes of the Taliban and Saddam. Your mistake is assuming that people in fear societies do not want to be free. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  18. Baptist in Richmond

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    No, that is not what I said. Here is my quote:
    I did not assume that "people in fear societies do not want to be free." That is a very different statement.
     
  19. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Then why not helped these ooppressed people break out of their fear societies and create a free society?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  20. Baptist in Richmond

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    If a people do not have the desire to throw off a yoke, someone else cannot do it for them. In other words, we cannot help them if they do not want the help, or are unwilling to change their own destiny. Because of this, Amnesty Internation is focused on human rights issues. By your own admission, it worked in some measure in the former Soviet Union.
     

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