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[casi] Amnesty International

As a member of AI (who is of the opinion that we have a duty to speak out
against the human rights abuses brought about by sanctions), I do not share
Philippa's analysis that current AI policy reflects any view the
organisation may have about whether the Iraqi leader represents a threat to
regional peace or to the state of Israel.

AI is a human rights organisation which has no interest in the wider
politics of war and/or invasion etc. It draws attention to cases of torture
and politically motivated murder within a country because it is mandated to
do so. Hence the undue attention that SH receives. Many of us believe that
sanctions equate with torture and politically motivated murder and we are
keen to change AI's mandate to enable it to include criticisms of sanctions.
However, the process is a long one as most attempts at change usually are.
It is, indeed, regrettable that the debate has even had to take place. It is
worth remembering that AI draws its membership from a very wide base
(including even those who believe that the death penalty has its place for
certain crimes) and that the membership are the ones who control AI policy.

People are right to criticise AI for its shortcomings, but it is
disingenuous to suggest that the organisation is following a hidden agenda.
I welcome the debate here about AI, but I think we should try and keep it
constructive. The organisation is more than likely to prove itself a willing
listener and a good learner.

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