Amnesty’s Dubious Standards Exposed
Mr. Salil Shetty
Secretary General Amnesty International
I am writing to you regarding two news reports about Amnesty this past week, your statement on Sri Lanka after meeting with Mr. Rudd in Australia and the other regarding Amnesty in Canada calling for the arrest of President George W. Bush when he visits Canada. It is interesting that you are driving the agenda calling for an investigation in Sri Lanka where there are only allegations of crimes but have yet to call for similar investigations of the U.S. and U.K. when there are actual (not fake) videos and authentic documents as well as diplomatic cables confirming that for ten years they have, by their own admissions, committed human rights violations, war crimes, torture, rendition, indiscriminate bombing of civilians to name a few “crimes”. If your organization is concerned about human rights world wide, why have you not shown the same fervour regarding war crimes by the U.K. and U.S? When would be the right time to call for such investigations? The perception that you cherry pick issues is confirmed – you are funded NOT to call for investigations against western countries and funded by the LTTE rump to call for investigations against Sri Lanka.
AAP reports that in a meeting with Mr. Rudd in Canberra on October 11,2011 you had indicated that “the Sri Lankan government’s own inquiry into the country’s civil war was a sham”. You are reported to have said “we know what it’s going to say because we know that the process was deeply flawed. We’ve waited long enough. The time is right to call for an independent investigation.” It is just two years since Sri Lanka concluded a thirty year war against terrorists in Sri Lanka and you are hell bent on investigations even though there is no credible evidence. For ten years you have not called for war crimes investigations against western countries where there is credible evidence – how long is enough regarding the west? You have said that Mr. Rudd knows “where you are coming from”. It is hoped that he will know that your organization is biased, prejudiced, politicized and more and more a paid lobby group. It was a former Australian Prime Minister who said, ”these organizations who act out someone else’s agenda are the unrepresentative swill amongst human rights organizations, and any country listening to them too should be regarded as such.”
To make a statement such as you are reported to have done in Australia, can you advise if you are privy to the report of the Commission in Sri Lanka? It is not due to be completed until November so how can you say that you know what it’s going to say? It is indicative of your bias and prejudice against Sri Lanka and that Amnesty is far from accountable or transparent. It is well known that supporters of the LTTE are still carrying on their collection of funds in North America as well as in the U.K., Europe and Australia and that front organizations who are part of the LTTE rump overseas are funding Amnesty. In Canada just two months ago, Amnesty received $60,000. It is also known that Amnesty, although it claims to be upholding ”human rights” has, because of the funding it gets, become just a mouthpiece of the Tamil terrorists who for three decades violated the human rights of all Sri Lankans.
Amnesty has taken the lead in going around the world sponsoring the Channel 4 documentary Killing Fields starting with it’s presentation at the UN Human Rights Sessions in Geneva in June 2011. As I have pointed out to your representatives in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada, as well as Jim McDonald of the U.S., Amnesty is accepting and sponsoring this documentary without any investigation on your part, you are not even following your own mandate namely to independently verify any allegations made against a sovereign nation, or for that matter an individual before taking action. While not paying any attention to your own mandate you are making prejudiced, biased statements on a Commission in Sri Lanka because you say you know that the process is deeply flawed! Since when has Amnesty gained jurisdiction over sovereign states and got the authority to set up investigations violating the rights of states as well as the people? While you are entitled to opinions, you have no authority to over-ride the authority of any country. Every country is responsible for and to its own people – not to Amnesty. As stated by the Australian Prime Minister your organization is unrepresentative and merely acting out someone else’s agenda, in the case of Sri Lanka it is that of the left over supporters of Tamil terrorism. Your concept of supporting human rights has morphed into support of terrorists.
As for independent investigation, what action did Amnesty take to independently verify the contents of the documentary “Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” before sponsoring it? It is well established that Channel 4 did not, it merely put together a suspect video, doctored photographs and had “presenters” who were not truthful. A. A. Gill writing in the Sunday Times of the UK about the same video commented as follows- “The channel has accumulated a large collection of samizdat amateur footage from mobile phones and video camera – mostly un-attributed and uncorroborated. It mixes this footage with comment from unnamed sources with distorted voices and shadowed faces…not a second of this has been shot by Channel 4?. Can you confirm that Amnesty knows the sources and have corroboration as you are supposed to have? Your organization makes much of your accountability. If you are promoting the Channel 4 documentary and making statements based on it, it is assumed that you have verified the content. Have you? Are you are accountable for information that has been proved to be suspect/false? You claim transparency – please provide your sources of verification. On what basis have you made your statement regarding the Commission in Sri Lanka?
It is not just Sri Lanka that has no confidence in you. This week the Canadian Minister of Immigration had this to say regarding the call on October 12,2011 by your Canadian Director Mr. A. Neve for the arrest of President George W. Bush when he visits Canada – ”Amnesty International cherry picks cases to publicize based on ideology. This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International,” Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney told POLITICO, noting that Amnesty International had never sought a court order to bar Cuban dictator Fidel Castro or Tongolese dictator Gnassingbé Eyadema from Canada. “Perhaps this helps to explain why Salman Rushdie has said that “it looks very much as if Amnesty’s leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy,” and why Christopher Hitchens has written about the organization’s “degeneration and politicization,” Kenney added. That it is a “stunt” is obvious because your director in Washington, D.C. is not doing anything about the proven violations of human rights by the U.S.
Regarding Sri Lanka, your sponsorship of a biased, doctored documentary which is a compilation of lies, your statement regarding the Commission in Sri Lanka when the report has not yet been published, questioning it’s mandate when you are not following your own mandate and are known to accept funding from supporters of terrorism, the conclusion that Amnesty’s leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy is accurate and the organization’s degeneration and politicization is clearly evident to the world.
Ira de Silva London, Ontario Canada