Amnesty International’s broken moral compass

05.25.05

Amnesty International just keeps sabotaging its own mission again and again. The latest episode is today’s report on human rights, which blasts countries around the world for violations, singling out – you guessed it – the United States:

Amnesty singles out the United States for shirking its responsibility to set a better global example for human rights protection.

“The U.S.A., as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide,” said Secretary General Irene Khan in the foreword to Amnesty’s annual report.

The report calls the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay — which holds some 540 prisoners from about 40 countries — “the gulag of our times.” Detainees were being held there, some for more than three years, without access to legal representation.

Pictures of abuse of Iraqi detainees at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison are also cited in the report. Amnesty says the photos were never adequately investigated.

“When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity,” said Khan.

The report talks about violations by the worst offenders, including North Korea, Zimbabwe and China. But these are mentioned in the same breath as free, democratic countries like the United States and Australia… and of course, Israel.

Amnesty claims that human rights should be universal, and the same standards ought to apply to everyone. Its mission states clearly that:

AI’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

Sure, equal and consistent standards, right? Except when they’re countries they dislike, such as the U.S. and Israel. Then, the standards are different.

Anyone who can call Guantanamo Bay the “gulag of our times” with a straight face, while essentially ignoring the true gulags of our times in places like North Korea, has squandered all credibility. Amnesty International lost theirs a long time ago.

Update: As if that wasn’t bad enough, Lynn has more on Amnesty’s seemingly incurable obsession with targeting Israel.

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