Amnesty International is banned in several countries

Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 17 June) – On 13th June 2015, ten of the thirteen office bearers of Amnesty International (AI) Nepal Chapter resigned en masse, accusing the rights body’s international committee of provoking separatism in Nepal. Among those who resigned are the people like Krishna Pahadi, highly respected in Nepal for their contribution in the field of human rights. Pahad’s leadership was one of the reasons why Amnesty became a household name in Nepal.

But Amnesty’s work around the world, particularly in conflict affected countries, is highly under scrutiny and its officials are often accused of siding with the anti-establishment forces, and supporting their attempt of regime change.

Few days ago in Morocco, police arrested two Amnesty researchers in suspicion of plotting against state. Both had their passports confiscated and were questioned at police stations in capital Rabat and the city of Oujda, respectively, before they were put on separate flights to London and Paris. Amnesty later flayed the Moroccan government in strong terms for arresting its ‘innocent’ researchers who had duly informed the host government of their planned study visits.

The closed regimes are especially allergic to Amnesty as the human rights organization is banned in Myanmar as well as in Azerbaijan. However, even in India, the government has put the international rights organization under its watch list of suspicious activities. This is due to Amnesty India’s excessive interest in Kashmir and perceived sympathy towards the separatists.

Human rights defenders are generally inclined to sympathize the ‘downtrodden’ and have a tendency to walk on a tightrope when it comes to defending the rights of the people involved in anti-state activities. It is easy to say that protecting an individual’s rights should not be taken as the endorsement of the individual’s political belief. But such persons also use the shield of human rights to advance their inhuman agenda, as seen in the case of CK Raut in Nepal, who depends on racial hate speech campaign to further his political objectives.  Amnesty must take into account these aspects and rectify its mistakes.

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