bangladeshToday, there will be a demonstration against Amnesty International for its disproportionate support of the Islamist perpetrators of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. I am also vehemently opposed to the death penalty in all cases (it’s nothing short of state-sponsored murder), but Amnesty could do much more to support the victims and the demand for justice.

Of course, Amnesty seems to be getting it wrong quite a bit and for a while now.

The Centre for Secular Space recently issued a report outlining the organisation’s links with Islamism, and also highlighting the case of Gita Sahgal, once head of Amnesty’s Gender Unit who was suspended for criticising the organisation’s links to Cage Prisoners.

Just this month, one of Amnesty’s Board members even wrote a piece in defence of Sharia law! Amnesty keeps saying how impartial they are but somehow it ends up being partial towards Islamism.

I know Amnesty takes pride in being criticised from governments and non-state actors alike as an indication that they are doing something right but when the criticism keeps coming from those on the frontlines of human rights work, surely they need a rethink (and more than one apology).

Talk about losing one’s moral compass!

More information on today’s Ademonstration is below.


Support Bangladesh’s War victims not the perpetrators

For more information:
Iftekhar Muntakim: Mob 07863 133593, Masud Rana:
Ajanta Deb Roy: Mob 07403 216980

This Thursday, 28th of February 2013, 3pm-5pm Bangladeshis living in London are going to gather in front of Amnesty International’s office to protest against the misinformed reports Amnesty International has been publishing regarding the war crimes tribunal of Bangladesh.

Since the establishment of the tribunal Amnesty International has issued a number of statements which often seemed oblivious to the real creed of justice for the victims of 1971, often focussing disproportionately on the rights of the perpetrators of 1971 responsible for Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes. These statements have been used, abused, and misrepresented by those quarters who are effectively opposed to justice in perpetuating impunity, thus being unhelpful to the justice process. As a result, the victims of 1971 have been let down, confidence in the justice process has been undermined, misperceptions have been generated, as well as confusions have been created as to the true nature and significance of the justice process.

We, echoing the spirit of Shahbagh, the uprising of millions for justice, strongly protest the role of Amnesty International, which we believe should prioritise the rights of the victims and the justice process as mandates of any human rights organisation demand.

We call upon Amnesty International to stand by the victims, and support the justice process.



  1. Did you read the article by Rafia Zakaria? It doesn’t support Sharia Law. It supports the right of a woman who was told she would get a certain divorce settlement in a Muslim country, to get that settlement in America, so that she isn’t left penniless and on the streets!

    Amnesty International does not support Islamists. That is a very narrow minded view. The organisations points out issues of unfairness when they happen. In the case of Bangaldesh, it is not supporting Islamists to ask that the death penalty not be used! I

  2. Great post Maryam. I support the desire for accountability, the anti-fundamentalist sentiment and the amazing mobilising of the Shahbag movement. I cannot support the demand for death penalty.

    As you say, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations could do more. Between them, they have failed to produce a single report on the crimes committed in 1971 or the long struggle for accountability to which they have given no support.

    As with Iran, the biggest record of atrocities is made by independent commissions set up by activists

  3. Amnesty International seems to have lost its way — like so much of the British Left — in its incomprehensible support for islamism. Gita Sahgal was brave to stand up against this. Opposing inhumane treatment of prisoners doesn’t mean supporting the ex-prisoner’s own inhumane beliefs.

    Amnesty started out as a much-needed campaign to free political prisoners. Has it just become too big?

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