LONDON: Leading South Asian rights campaigners have accused Amnesty International of “undermining'' the rights movement, especially the campaign against sex and gender discrimination, by working with extremist — often misogynist — groups engaged in what they claim is “defensive jihad''.
The row follows remarks by Claudio Cordone, its secretary-general, that “defensive jihad” was not “antithetical” to human rights. He made the comments in response to a Global Petition from rights activists questioning Amnesty's alliance with Cageprisoners, founded by Moazzam Begg, an ex- Guantanamo Bay prisoner and dubbed “Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban” by a former Amnesty official.
“Moazzam Begg and others in his group Cageprisoners hold…views which they have clearly stated, for example on whether one should talk to the Taleban or on the role of jihad in self-defence. Are such views antithetical to human rights? Our answer is no, even if we may disagree with them …,” Mr Cordone wrote.
The initiators of the petition — Amrita Chhachhi, Sara Hossain and Sunila Abeysekera, all prominent women's rights activists — have called Mr. Cordone's remarks “shocking and incredible”.
“If this is the official position of the world's leading human rights organisation, this would gravely undermine the future of the human rights movement,” they argued.Read full article. Via Butterflies and Wheels. More at Human Rights for All, including full text of Claudio Cordone’s letter, and the full text of the response by Amrita Chhachhi, Sara Hossain and Sunila Abeysekera.
Also at Human Rights for All, Gita Sahgal and Amnesty International: Are Women’s Rights Still Human Rights? By Meredith Tax. She also has more to say about it on her blog.
And finally, a letter in yesterday’s Guardian, Criticism does not exclude Muslims from the political process, via Harry’s Place.