On Air: Your Questions to Irene Khan of Amnesty International

irene_1000x1504Irene writes :
“Exactly one year ago I was on World Have your Say.

All the talk was about Bush, Guantanamo and War on Terror. A year later, Bush is gone, Obama has announced the closure of Guantanamo and we are in the middle of an economic crisis and the G-20 is at the top table.

I think it isn’t just about the economy. The real problems are about inequality, insecurity, discrimination, racism and xenophobia – the world is facing a human rights crisis, not just an economic crisis.

World leaders should be investing in human rights as forcefully as they are investing in the economy. Unfortunately the G-20 don’t share a common vision of human rights.

The US doesn’t accept the notion of economic and social rights, China and Russia don’t tolerate political dissent, Saudi Arabia discriminates severely against women, the EU promotes human rights abroad but fail to respect the rights of refugees and migrants on their own territory.

Economic recovery must begin with human rights at home. Tell me what you think- Do you think the G20 are fit to lead the world out of
economic recession and global repression?”

Hi this is Shaimaa here at Television Centre, just a few news stories that hopefully will get you thinking about questions to Irene Khan.

In their annual report Amnesty International say that the economic downturn exasperated the human rights issue with the latter being put on the back burner.

This article in the Gulf News shows Amnesty International’s annual report of the Middle East.

Also take a look at AI concerns about the British Government’s “mixed record” on human rights over the past year according to Kate Allen, UK director of Amnesty.

AI is also concerned that the Obama administration talk of human rights is not followed by strong or fast enough action.

Finally this video of Ms.Khan speaking about the death penalty

49 Responses to “On Air: Your Questions to Irene Khan of Amnesty International”

  1. 1 Dennis Junior
    May 27, 2009 at 19:51

    Mark Sandell (Irene Khan)…..

    …Economic recovery must begin with human rights at home. Tell me what you think- Do you think the G20 are fit to lead the world out of economic recession and global repression? “…..

    I think that the G-20 is the starter agency to bring the world out of the economic recession and global repression…Among, other interational community service organisations…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  2. 2 Brian from Ca.
    May 27, 2009 at 20:29

    “Economic recovery must begin with human rights at home.” I agree but from a different perspective. What we are witnessing is a collapse in the demand for goods. Cyclical downturns have been avoided for 25 years partially through financial innovations. They in turn have allowed us to leverage (borrow on) our assets to support demand in what would have been otherwise mild recessions. These innovations have failed causing a near systemic collapse this last October and are causing an ongoing collapse in demand for goods and services. We have too many homes, stores, cars, factories, etc. at current collapsed demand levels. Most don’t have the money to buy. Our debt repayments are too large at current income levels. Most don’t have the money to pay. The only way to avoid ongoing price deflation, increasing unemployment, a Japan-like Lost Decade is to stimulate demand. The only way to pay off debt incurred is to increase productivity.

    Enhancing human rights, i.e., human value and security, increases the demand for goods and productivity. People buy. People work harder. People work more productively. This is an argument that even the most power craving of the world, which I think really run the show, will understand. Hopefully the elites represented by the G-20 governments will clearly see per Franklin, “We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately”. Or, more positively, as Pres. Kennedy said “A rising tide lifts all boats.” How can we get these terminally self-obsessed elites to wake up?

  3. 3 Roberto
    May 27, 2009 at 22:54

    RE “” Do you think the G20 are fit to lead the world out of economic recession and global repression? “ ”

    ———- Of course G20 are not fit to lead anyone, but they hold all the power and mean to beat the world into the shape of their dreams come hell or highwater.

    When economic times were better, AI could have done a better job picking and choosing their battles than attempting to equivocate disputed minor transgressions with major civil travesties of justice.

    When the common people themselves start respecting human rights and electing better leaders, only then will any progress on the human condition be made. In that regard, Ms Khan should be trying to walk more softly with her organization and carry a bigger stick since aid workers are now being targeted by the people they aid in widening civil conflicts and otherwise used as pawns.

  4. May 27, 2009 at 22:55

    Human rights issue is used as weapon with double edge. The West views human records in other countries according to their allegiance to them. There are double standards concerning this. The West is still boycotting the regime in Zimbabwe because of the human situation there affecting dispossessed white farmers and the black majority still repressed by Robert Mugabe’s security and armed forces.

    My questions are:
    1- What’s the significance of Amnesty International if its authority is limited to publishing human rights abuses without having the power to redress them?

    2- In Tindouf, on the Algerian territory, there are displaced people from the Western Sahara. Many want to return to their homeland, but the Polisario Front is preventing them from doing so. What’s the stand of Amnesty International on this issue? Do you think they have the right to return to their homeland without fear of reprisal such as torture and imprisonment if caught by the Polisario forces?

  5. May 28, 2009 at 01:03

    Hi Irene,

    Last year, I posted two separate
    to the WHYS blog
    concerning Amnesty International for the show in which you answered listeners questions.

    Concerning G20, will always prioritise maintaining its economic lead worldwide. Poor countries are the least object of concern, except for offering them economic aid, which evaporates quickly because of corruption. Africa alone got aid amounting to $700 billion dollars in the past years without showing any economic recovery. It’s always the least developed continent, with the exception of few countries like Botswana.

    It’s unlikely that the West will put pressure on Saudi Arabia to respect fundamental human rights, especially those concerning women who are seen far behind, compared with other women even in Muslim countries like Morocco and Lebanon. The economic stability of Saudi Arabia as a big oil supplier to the West far outweighs its shortcoming concerning human records. in other words, the West favour the balance to tilt on the economic side which secures jobs at home rather than on human rights and democracy which can bring fundamentalists and anti-west to power.

  6. 6 Peter sc
    May 28, 2009 at 05:38

    Economics depict the reality of limited resources any system will infringe on someone rights.
    Communism ? Capitalism ? Socialism ? Freedom also impinge on someones rights. Every issue demands someone rights to be foregone. Be real , there will always be winner and losers. Amnesty International should concentrate on the right to justice and fairness and accept what they cannot change and change whatever they can.

  7. May 28, 2009 at 09:15

    No offense Ms. Khan but I have a feeing you are preaching to the choir. This isn’t really new information by a long shot. And CEO’s and stockholders pretend to be careless about how trivial details like how many human rights abuses have been committed. As long as big business keeps making astronomical profits then there is no concern over the costs to human beings, or of the peril of this planet.

    1.) How much leverage does AI actually have with governments to actually bring about significant social-political change? In other words lobbying power? Because that’s what it seems like it takes to create change now days. Lots of lobbying and bribes, and under the table profits.

    This information about global human rights abuses has been sitting around for years like old scientific analysis. But ultimately it’s not worth a single thing unless it can be used to benefit humanity. If not it’s just data.

  8. 8 deryck/trinidad
    May 28, 2009 at 10:38

    I agree with Ms Khan but the reality is that governments and politians as well as most of the world believe that money is the determining factor in a countries assessment of how well they are doing. The more yo have the better you are performing. The raw facts though don’t support this assertion.

    Many countries have wealth but the people are still impoverished for various reasons. Even though it is ideal that inequalities within and among countries should be addressed as the most pressing issue it is not because inequalities usually benefit the ruling class who many times don’t want to relinquish the substantial power and wealth that comes with their position. Thus they will in some cases deny a proper education as well as other basic rights in order to perpetuate their hold on power.

    Even though the G20 countries might declare wishes of addressing inequalities their actions speak louder than their words. They probably really don’t want developing and underdeveloped nations to rise to the pantheon that they belong to because this grouping is exclusive. Basically I think the G20 wants to determine the world course as it relates to finance. The economies of the world must benefit the elite first and then the poorer countreis can fight over the dregs.

  9. 9 Steve in Boston
    May 28, 2009 at 12:05

    The economic crisis is not caused by a lack of demand for goods, it’s caused by the lack of ability or intent to pay for them.

    Too many people acquired goods beyond their capacity to pay, out of larceny or clueless-ness. Either way, these people should be punished, not bailed out. The only way to make people act responsibly is for them to fear the consequences of their actions. Fear is the number one motivator of the human race. It will motivate people to acquire an education, to work hard, to save, and to live within their means.

    Until people are made to learn lessons from their bad decisions, this country and others like it will continue on the current downward spiral into economic bankruptcy as the weight of the unproductive masses drags the rest of us down. Economic bailouts only delay the day of reckoning, and cause the problem to grow even larger.

    No pain, no gain.

  10. 10 steve
    May 28, 2009 at 12:41

    The rights of “migrants” into the EU, I presume that’s code for illegal immigrants, right? If I decide I want to live in the UK, but don’t go through the legal process of getting there, would you stand up for my “rights” if I go there illegally and want to stay?

  11. May 28, 2009 at 12:46

    Q 1: AI ‘s strategy and plans to set up offices in Pakistan? Since the ongoing crisis is considered the world’s second largest?
    Q 2: also in country’s such as Pakistan what significance does an online membr (such as me)of Amnesty hold? Online activism revamped?

    I personally feel setting up an office would be more effective in covering the humanitarian Crisis than delegations. Many Human right activist would love to work with amnesty here to address the humanitarian issues that are left unaddressed

  12. 12 dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala
    May 28, 2009 at 13:07

    I dont really see people that leads world out of economic crisis as far G-20 is concerns,G-20 countries are early bird in that case economic downturn have shown me many lessons to think twice about my country and Africa as a whole.I know many crisis here in africa are man-made though some are difficult to cope with us but G-20 is doing nothing except further exploitations of our resources inorder to built good government,better health infrastructures,schools,army, transport and communications overseas hence leaving the continent impoverish with endless wars and conflicts.how long have the so call G-20 countries been promising for helps to the continent but never materialises.Also G-20 was very fast to response when oil prices went up but we`re now experiencing tough time since oil come down and no one is seen in moods of helping oil dependent countries as many civils and government are collapsing randomly.WHAT`S A FORGOTTEN CONTINENT!!!!

  13. 13 Turd Blossom
    May 28, 2009 at 13:53

    Quote: The real problems are about inequality, insecurity, discrimination, racism and xenophobia – the world is facing a human rights crisis, not just an economic crisis.

    So what’s new? The human condition is replete in the above. Nothing ever changes, just the ebb and flow which we ALL have to navigate our lives through to come out on top and rise above it.

  14. May 28, 2009 at 14:07

    Hi Irene,
    I was wondering:
    • What have you observed to be the effects of the global economic crisis on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and how has the crises affected the environment in which you work?
    • In your opinion, has the economic crisis affected the capacity of CSOs to effectively campaign, say for human rights?

  15. 15 John in Salem
    May 28, 2009 at 14:32

    How does AI respond to the assertion that human rights are a luxury in an era of desertification, crop failures, food shortages, pandemics and economic collapse? You can’t eat human rights or immunize your children with them, so why shouldn’t human rights be at the bottom of my list of concerns?

  16. 16 Tom K in Mpls
    May 28, 2009 at 14:40

    “Economic recovery must begin with human rights at home.”

    LOL! What a load of self serving…..drivel. The economic situation means it becomes harder to get by. This means the niceties and proprieties of life loose priority. What is going to end the economic slump is rational spending in a new sustainable model. Steve in Boston has it right.

  17. May 28, 2009 at 15:15

    Irene argued that there is inequality, insecurity, discrimination, racism and xenophobia- yes that is true; we are facing a human right crisis. However I think the emphasis should be on economic recovery. One must survive and be alive before considering how well that live is being lived. If we insisted on investing into human right as much as is invested into the economy, we may not get the world economy on its feet and running as soon as possible.

    I am not suggesting we turn the world into a ‘right-less’ place where all people think about is money and the economy, no. we should by all means look out for our rights and those of others in the community. However, greater emphasis and energy should be devoted to economic recovery. Once the economy is running, we can then continue pressing countries and organisations to comply with human rights bench marks.

    Therefore, it is only necessary for people to consider making certain sacrifices: paying more for essential services, working under more restricted conditions, and generally give up more of their rights. I think it is better for companies to employ more people, paying them less, rather than employing fewer people and paying them more.

    I think we should not look to the G-20 to provide guidance and leadership out of economic recession- it was their able leadership that got us into the crisis in the first place, remember? Recall SAP and the campaign for democratisation and capitalism? Well, I think it is about time we urge countries to look inwards and consider what they can do for themselves, not what the G-20 can do for us all. No harm looking at what other countries are doing to get out of the crisis, but don’t look on to them for leadership.

    Also, I think it is only fair that we allow the G-20 to get its own economy working for its own citizens first, before embarking on a global generosity. I don’t think this is particularly a good time for people to flee the economic mess in their countries and attempt to seek succour in other countries. I think the migrating people should consider staying back and getting their country/ government to care for their needs. In Nigeria for example, ‘global economic crisis’ is so often cited as an excuse for not doing one thing or the other that people are now questioning if at all it is not an excuse for laziness.

  18. 18 Luz Ma from Mexico
    May 28, 2009 at 15:32

    In my country, some people think, and are vocal about it, that “giving” human rights to everyone only helps criminals, because it makes “police work” harder. I have heard this kind of arguments many times; obviously not in the media or in public speeches, but in the realm of the private sphere of individuals.

    Have you, or Amnesty workers, had come across people saying that human rights are a drag, unnecessary, or an obstacle to “uphold” the law, when conducting your investigations?

    If you have, what do you think about this?

  19. 19 Ramesh
    May 28, 2009 at 15:33

    I am just wondering how far Amnesty Intl. go to get authentic reports on human rights abuse. I mean, how different it is from the world press in this regard?

  20. May 28, 2009 at 15:36

    Inequality, insecurity, discrimination, racism and xenophobia are all human right violations but what about unequal distribution of wealths derived from Natural Resources by state actors, are they not violations of human rights? I expect the human right agent ‘Amnesty’ to advocate for every citizens to have share in National Incomes whether directly or indirectly.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  21. 21 Tom K in Mpls
    May 28, 2009 at 15:49

    This has become the most accurate an practical discussion on the economy I have seen to date! The human rights thing, it clearly matters, it needs to be a serious consideration in all policy decisions, but we do not have the luxury of making it a priority right now.

  22. May 28, 2009 at 16:40

    Hi Irene
    I just saw the DW Q+A report on Amnesty and read the Gulf News article.
    The item on Iran was scanty dated.
    How effective is AI in comparison to other international humanitarian agencies in helping victims of brutality?

  23. 23 Michel Norman
    May 28, 2009 at 16:49

    To quoote from your report

    No Israeli prisoners were subject to such restrictions.

    A quick translation into English – 900 prisoners whose families live in Gaza, whose leaders have fired thousands at rockets as Israeli civilians, who refuse to recognize Israel’ right to exist and have declared war on Israel are not allowed to see their families, much the same as family visits were not allowed for German POWs in WW2. Gilad Shalit – what you would call an Israeli prisoner – has not only been allowed a visit by his family- he has been denied access to the Red Cross as mandated by the Geneva convention.

    Prisoner releases
    In July, the Israeli authorities released five Lebanese prisoners, one of them held since 1979 and four captured during the 2006 war. They also gave back the bodies of 199 other Lebanese and Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in previous years in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed by Hizbullah in July 2006.

    Another translation – Israel released a convicted murderer, who killed a four year old girl by smashing her head against a rock in front of her father who he proceeded to shoot. After a long period in jail, in which he earned a university degree at the expense of the Israeli tax payer, he was released in exchange for 2 Israeli POW’s who guess what, had been denied access to the Red Cross and guess what were murdered in captivity and whose families did not know if they were dead or alive until they saw the coffins at the border. The released prisoner promptly vows to come back to kill more Jews.

    I rememember when Amnesty was a decent organization, which was apolitical. If the rest of your report is as biased and mendatious as the section on Israel, then you people have really slipped over the years.

    My question is when did Amnesty stop being an organization that could be taken seriously, and start being a mouthpiece for biased, simplistic rabble rousing.

  24. 24 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    May 28, 2009 at 17:30

    Should human rights and the economy be thought of as separate issues? I’m thinking of how many times I’ve heard it said that the Taliban and Al Quaeda are simply the best jobs being offered in Afghanistan. The same problem would apply to drug violence in the Americas and elsewhere.

    Is the G-20 interested in approaching human rights from this perspective? The G-20 specifically limits its perspective to that of nations which have the money. These nations have rarely see the path to defending their own wealth as the one which drains money from their own economies and into those of others. Witness the way that in a time of rising prosperity, worthless mortgages in the US were repackaged and sold off abroad.

    But then, I’ve never been to a G-20 meeting. How are they planning to get us out of this mess?

  25. 25 Tom D Ford
    May 28, 2009 at 17:36

    “The US doesn’t accept the notion of economic and social rights, ”

    Too true.

    The US likes to brag about how people like to come to the US for so many reasons but forget that US businesses corrupted those peoples home governments and made their countries unlivable. Of course people want to get out of their wrecked countries.

  26. 26 Mikel
    May 28, 2009 at 18:11

    Ms. Kahn –

    What is your reaction to the Daily Telegraph’s report that pictures of torture recently held back by the Obama Administration depict US Soldiers commiting rape against those who were being held as prisoners?

  27. 27 Abram
    May 28, 2009 at 18:11

    Today, Human Rights are violated worldwide like no other time before, so, what is the legacy of Amnesty International in the world full of hatred, torchur and murder?

  28. 28 steve
    May 28, 2009 at 18:12

    Your guest said that global warming would most affect the poor because they live in coastal, low lying areas. I don’t know what other countries are like, but in the US, the RICH are the ones who live in these areas. I know I cannot afford to live in coastal areas.

  29. 29 Stephen Emi
    May 28, 2009 at 18:14

    Hi Irene,
    The people of Niger-delta have being deprived of their economic right in Nigeria by the Government. Rather they send Soldiers to kill innocent people and improvish the people.
    How as AI helped the people of Niger-Delta(Odi massacar, Keneman killings and Apo 6 extra judicial killings by the police in Nigeria.

  30. 30 Carel Boshoff (South Africa)
    May 28, 2009 at 18:24

    Dear Ms. Kahn

    What is Amnesty International’s viewpoint on the right of minority groups to rule themselves?

    Huge genocides in Africa have been caused by the great number of minority groups being ruled by a single government, usually only representing one tribe or ethnic group.

  31. 31 Tom D Ford
    May 28, 2009 at 18:27

    I’ve been thinking lately that we adults of the world allow, even encourage, some people to behave in ways that we would not allow our children to behave.

    We would not allow children to greedily take all of the cookies from our family cookie jar but we allowed the childish bankers of the world to do just that.

    We tell children that they don’t get to do things that harm other children but Conservatives act like a two or three year and throw a big tantrum when we tell them that they have to Regulate their behavior and they don’t get to harm other people. Conservatives are against Regulations, they make fun of and belittle Regulations as “the Nanny State”, as if it is wrong for a mother to Regulate her childrens’ behaviors and discipline them for harming other people.

    We allow business people to overthrow governments and install bullying dictators to viciously intimidate and rule their nations people but we would not allow a small child to bully our family and misbehave like that, we would send them to a corner and give them a time-out.

    So I think that we, “The Family of Man”, ought to rethink our politics and business practices in order to Regulate and eliminate the behaviors that we would not allow in our individual families.

    We ought to tell people that they only get to take a few cookies and they have to leave some for others.

    We ought to tell business people that they don’t get to do harm to other people, that they have to behave in a civil manner.

    We ought to tell dictators that they don’t get to dictate any more, that they have to respect people.

  32. 32 hayelom
    May 28, 2009 at 18:27

    Hi Irene,
    I am listening your answers on the bbc radio.
    Please, please, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee tell me about the past and recent opposition party arrests in Ethiopia. It is very, very difficult currently get independent information about these arrests at all. As you might know the government even refused to disclose the names of the arrestees though the international community insists.


  33. 33 Lucy Ferreira
    May 28, 2009 at 18:33

    Ms Khan,
    I do support the work of Amnesty and have done since I was a student at university 20 years ago however what I would like to hear rather than what all the problems are is what we, what I can do about it? We need more action and less words. What do you suggest?

  34. 34 Andrew in Portland
    May 28, 2009 at 18:43

    Thank you for featuring the vital work of Amnesty International.
    Of particular importance is their work on torture and the death penalty. However I’m rather shocked that today’s W.H.Y.S. program host seems to have given equal consideration to the fringe callers or emailers who don’t seem concerned about such crucial human rights.

    Over the years I’ve heard World Have Your Say feature many organizations and governments. And it’s quite interesting that today’s program host is clearly more hard-line, bordering on hostile, to her Amnesty guest — compared to previous organizational guests that generally have much less admirable track records than Amnesty!

  35. 35 Bert
    May 28, 2009 at 18:46


    “I think it isn’t just about the economy. The real problems are about inequality, insecurity, discrimination, racism and xenophobia – the world is facing a human rights crisis, not just an economic crisis.”

    This quote reminds me of a similar quote from Andrew Young, when he was nominated as US Ambassador to the UN, by President Carter. He said that the root of all the world’s problems was racism. Seems absurd, but this demonstrates how people tend to twist and reshape issues, to fit them within whatever might be the bounds of their self-professed area or expertise. Among other things, this technique does increase one’s own feeling of self-worth.

    I’m sure we all do this to an extent. But it does seem self-serving, doesn’t it?

    No, I don’t buy the notion that economic problems are caused by that politically correct list. Rather, the other way around. Those ills are caused by economic inpeptitude, is more likely. And economic hardship is very often fostered and perpetuated by cultural and religious mores, which is why it remains so endemic in so many parts of the world.

    The current economic crisis was kicked off by governments unwisely taking the risk away from business, to encourage businesses to invest in ludicrous, politically correct schemes (home ownership for those who couldn’t afford them). The proverbial house of cards finally caved in. It is people who continuously expect someone else to solve their problems that created the crisis, and it is this same attitude that perpetuates the crisis in so many parts of the world.

    Governments should NEVER be in the business of promoting bad behavior.

  36. 36 Carolina
    May 28, 2009 at 18:47

    Dear Irene,

    I’ve heard something about Amnesty campaigning about Dignity, I have no idea what that means? Can you explain and how is that connected to human rights?

    Thank you,


  37. 37 Tom D Ford
    May 28, 2009 at 18:59

    In all religions of the world and also among non-religious people there is some version of “blessed are the peacemakers”.

    Bless you Irene Khan!

  38. 38 Spencer Nyendwa
    May 28, 2009 at 19:52

    Hi Irene,
    Recently Caritas Zambia in conjunction with the Catholic Diocese of Monze Justice and Peace Commission held a Human Rights Educational Rally in Mazabuka. NO GOVERNMENT representative was present even with invitations and notices a month before. There is always fear related to letting the masses know their rights and be able to speak out on their on, on livelihood issues affecting them.
    Spencer Nyendwa,
    Monze, Zambia

  39. 39 Tom K in Mpls
    May 28, 2009 at 20:19

    Yes people, the human races’ biggest problem is human nature.

  40. 40 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    May 28, 2009 at 20:55

    @ Tom D Ford, 18:27: You echo a sentiment I heard expressed in Madison, WI by Winona La Duke when she was running as the Green Party Vice Presidential candidate. She made the point that anyone who had raised children understands that they are all born selfish. They want everything and all you can do is keep telling them that they can’t have it.

    Our biggest problem is those who grow up to believe that money gives them the right to have whatever they want. She said that what this country needs is someone with the will and the power to stand up to these grown people and tell them: You can’t have it!

    I don’t expect such plainly spoken idealism from Barack Obama at any time during his Presidency. But I do hope we are continuing to move toward a time when a US president might be elected by speaking so plainly.

  41. 41 Joe Polly
    May 28, 2009 at 22:32

    Economic crises are always a suitable time to bury bad news. Good to see that someone is keeping the spotlight turned on.

  42. 42 T
    May 29, 2009 at 00:02

    Is the G-20 able to lead us? No they’re not.

    Many other countries are still angry at the States for causing this. Now, there are bailouts, devaluation of currencies and protectionism. Also, they want more funds to the IMF. The IMF is notorious for making loans to some Third World countries (under lousy loan conditions). And then it’s almost impossible to pay back.

    How is this progress?

  43. May 29, 2009 at 04:19

    Human rights is not the cause of the world’s problem.People and nations have lived beyond their means for a long time and now it is time to pay all these debts that have been accquired and they are unable to pay.China denys it people several fundamental freedoms but yet they have some of the largest surpluses in the world.The world has lost it’s moral compass and is now paying the price of that loss of moral direction.When people agitate for gay rights thereby undermining the nuclear family and when rights are being advocated for without corresponding responlibities then the world will be plunged into crises as we are witnessing today.Nations will have to recalibrate their moral direction if we are to navigate our way out of the morass we are now in.Capitalism functions on trust,loyalty,honesty truthfulnes and integerity and these have all but disappeared from our lexicon today.

  44. 44 Standing up for the rights of women and children
    May 29, 2009 at 08:56

    I listened to Irene Khan on the programme last night and was very impressed by her clarity of thinking and her passion for justice. One of the issues she mentioned that is constantly ignored by governments and the media is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I couldn’t agree with her more – women in every country across the world are beaten, raped and murdered and the children in these families are witness to or victims of countless hours of extreme violence. (not to forget the fact that men can be victims too).

    It is warfare behind closed doors and the psychological effects are hugely damaging. I myself witnessed 16 years of constant violence, alcoholism and poverty. Living with the fear, anquish, dread, helplessness and shame is a heavy load for any child to bear.

    And yet the world turns a blind eye and the suffering continues. Perhaps because the issue is too close to home? Perhaps it doesn’t make a good headline? Perhaps it requires us to question the violence inherent in human nature and the conditions within which aggression flourishes? Perhaps we don’t want to look at it because it requires us to look seriously at one of THE most frequent forms of inequality and abuses of power?

    As the world tips into more uncertainty, domestic violence will only get worse. We need a worldwide campaign to highlight the issues, spark debate and try to provide means through which we can protect the vulnerable and prevent further violence.

  45. 45 Diing Kuir Diing
    May 29, 2009 at 13:17

    Amnesty International should note that action sounds louder than word! Talking about human rights abuse twenty seven does not help solve such abuses they always quote!

    The solution to these is none other than dealing with those culprit s that exhibit human violations in a way that will bring them closer to discipline. Wake Amnesty International and act like the ICC.

  46. May 29, 2009 at 19:55

    Amnesty International does for society what the conscience does for the individual: i.e. giving clear indication whether something is evil or right.

    The urge to survive, reproduce, acquire wealth, security , well being determines the effective behaviour.

    Fear of being punished may have some limited restraining action when such happens to be a possibility.

    The beast in man predominates the spirit :so it appears

  47. 47 Jim Newman
    May 31, 2009 at 23:18

    Hello again
    I think Diingh is expecting too much from Amnesty International.
    It could act as a witness in cases brought before the ICC but it has not the power to prosecute. Amnesty International exposes violations and sometimes so effectively that one country dubbed it a communist organisation.
    If one could think of Amnesty International as the collective human concience then I think we had better start listening.

  48. 48 Tom D Ford
    June 1, 2009 at 23:39

    @ John D. Augustine – WI USA
    May 28, 2009 at 20:55

    “Our biggest problem is those who grow up to believe that money gives them the right to have whatever they want. She said that what this country needs is someone with the will and the power to stand up to these grown people and tell them: You can’t have it!”

    People with Big money and Inherited money act like they have a version of the old “Divine Right” of Kings to do whatever they want. Western Civilization threw out the old Divine Right of Kings long ago but we have not yet made similar progress in our economic systems. In a sense we “leveled” the Kings and took away their Divine Rights and told them they are equal to all the rest of us under Law.

    We have made progress in our political systems towards equality under the Rule of man-made Law but our economic systems and our religions were developed in the time of Kings and both of them need to be brought up to date to catch up with our politics. And I am open to suggestions about how and what needs to be done to accomplish that goal.

  49. 49 Tom D Ford
    June 1, 2009 at 23:48

    @ Standing up for the rights of women and children
    May 29, 2009 at 08:56

    “I listened to Irene Khan on the programme last night and was very impressed by her clarity of thinking and her passion for justice. One of the issues she mentioned that is constantly ignored by governments and the media is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I couldn’t agree with her more – women in every country across the world are beaten, raped and murdered and the children in these families are witness to or victims of countless hours of extreme violence. (not to forget the fact that men can be victims too). ”

    One of the roots of Domestic Violence is a core teaching of the Abraham Religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and that is the King Solomon instruction “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. King Solomon created state sponsored and sanctioned Domestic Violence and it has been that way ever since. That is one thing that I would like to see rejected by the followers of those religions.

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