Amnesty International,  Gaza

Amnesty in the news

I thought these two items about Amnesty International might interest readers.

First, it has come in for criticism after agreeing to share a platform with a speaker from the Henry Jackson Society:

On Tuesday 24 March 2015, Amnesty International will be taking part in an event organised by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) entitled ‘The Radicalisation of Youth in the UK and Beyond: Causes and Effects‘.

Abbas Faiz, who is a senior researcher at Amnesty International will be sharing a panel with former Indian foreign secretary, Kanwal Sibal, managing director of the Quilliam Foundation Haras Rafiq, and director of Student Rights at the HJS, Rupert Sutton.

Here an explicit parallel is made with protests at Amnesty’s work with Cage:

It has to be an epic form of hypocrisy. Amnesty International, after shamelessly being bludgeoned into publically distancing themselves from CAGE, now have their name on the Henry Jackson Society website. Abbas Faiz, senior research at Amnesty International South Asia is a listedspeaker alongside neocon Haras Rafiq of Quilliam Foundation, and HJS’s very own Rupert Sutton at an upcoming event.

Those reacting with disapproval to this event are unlikely to be mollified by Amnesty’s latest report on last summer’s conflict in Gaza:

Palestinian militants, including the armed wing of Hamas, launched unguided rockets and mortars which cannot be aimed at a specific target and are a breach of international law, the human rights group said.

Six civilians in Israel were killed in such attacks, and 13 Palestinian civilians were killed when a Palestinian projectile launched from the Gaza Strip apparently landed in a Gaza refugee camp.

Palestinians have claimed that the Israeli military was responsible for that attack, but Amnesty International said an independent munitions expert examining the evidence on the group’s behalf concluded that a Palestinian rocket was responsible.

The report also alleged other international humanitarian law violations during the conflict, including Palestinian militant groups’ storing munitions in civilian buildings and United Nations schools, and launching attacks near locations where hundreds of displaced civilians were taking shelter.

The Independent chooses a slightly sardonic headline for its own report:

Amnesty’s other verdict on Gaza war: Hamas committed war crimes as well

and explains:

The report, released today, is the first by the human rights group to target Hamas after a series of publications accusing Israel of waging attacks that constituted war crimes.

Here’s the response of the Israeli Embassy in London:

The Israeli Embassy in London said in response to the report that it welcomes “the highlighting of Hamas’s war crimes, including the deliberate targeting of Israel’s civilian population by thousands of rockets and mortars.”

It added, “Unlike Hamas, Israel is vigorously investigating its conduct, aiming to draw lessons and minimize civilian harm. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to incite terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, boast of building new cross-border assault tunnels, and test-fires rockets, in preparation for further violence against Israelis.”

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