September 2, 2001 |
Amnesty International, founded 40 years ago, was almost immediately dubbed "one of the larger lunacies of our time. " The crazy idea: Collect information on people incarcerated in prison solely for their political views and then, by means of an army of volunteer activists, bombard the offending governments with letters, postcards and telegrams, calling for the prisoners' swift release. Critics called it "subversive" and "an agent of Satan. " Heavyweights including Ayatollah Khomieni, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, Margaret Thatcher, and Jacques Chirac tried to squash it. In the 1990s and after, some have argued that Amnesty has become respectable, a part of the international establishment.
February 21, 1988 |
Last July in South Korea, a 28-year-old graduate student at the University of Seoul was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government. Earlier this month at a meeting in Drexel Hill, 20 members of Amnesty International's Group 431 began a letter-writing campaign, asking the South Korean government to investigate the imprisonment of the student, Min Choi. The Delaware County group, formed in November, says Choi's only crime was lobbying for greater participation by the people in South Korean politics.
December 4, 1998 |
Each individual has a right to a unique genetic identity. - Harry Griffin Science director of the Roslin Institute Commenting to the BBC on remarks by fertility expert Severino Antinori favoring human cloning.
January 27, 2012 |
This month, Akzam Turgunov, an Uzbek human rights advocate, spent his 60th birthday in a prison work camp. Just before his birthday, the Obama administration moved to weaken U.S. sanctions against Uzbekistan that have been in place since 2004 due to its abhorrent human rights practices. Turgunov's imprisonment, recently declared a violation of international law by the United Nations, stands as one example of those practices. Turgunov's record as a political and human rights activist is well established.
April 26, 2003 |
Students at Bodine High School for International Affairs had a world "textbook" for their seminar on human rights this year - the Iraq war, and ongoing troubles in the Middle East and China. As the six-week honors seminar ended Thursday, the students took stock of how much they had learned. Tessa Monoghan, a junior, said that as the United States geared up for war with Iraq, she had found herself becoming increasingly fearful. But the seminar helped her understand the U.S. reasoning behind the war - that the Iraqi people's rights had been trampled by the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein.
April 6, 1994 |
When the Singapore government recently sentenced an 18-year-old American to six lashes on the buttocks for vandalism, smug local officials called the punishment an example of their superior values. According to polls, many Americans agree that the punishment fits the crime, although they may not realize that flogging Singapore-style means tying the victim down on a trestle and ripping open his flesh with a wetted rattan cane. I call that torture (though I have no problem with the vandal serving time in a Singapore jail)
September 13, 1991 |
Conditions have improved in Soviet prisons over the last 10 years, but life remains harsh for the nation's million inmates, including more than 100 political prisoners. The assessment was in a report issued yesterday by the U.S.-based Helsinki Watch Committee, which also said that conditions in U.S. prisons deteriorated in the last decade. Helsinki Watch, a human rights monitoring group, issued reports on American and Soviet prisons, and a review of prison conditions in five other countries - Poland, Czechoslovakia, Turkey, Spain and Britain.
October 26, 1987 |
The president of El Salvador's Human Rights Commission, a private organization that has long been critical of the government, was shot to death by two gunmen today as he dropped off his children at school. According to witnesses quoted on local radio, Herber Ernesto Anaya had just taken his two children to school when two men dressed in civilian clothes shot him with revolvers fitted with silencers, then fled in a pickup truck. A commission spokesman accused a military-run death squad of the murder and said it held the government responsible.
September 19, 1989 |
Springsteen and Sting and Youssou N'Dour have gone their separate ways. Tracy Chapman has moved on to a pile of Grammy Awards and a burgeoning career. John F. Kennedy Stadium has closed and may soon fall. But for six hours a year ago today, those performers and the old grandstand held together on behalf of human rights, and word has it that the aftershocks of that concert are still being felt. "It was an incredible night, incredible night," enthused John Healey, executive director of Amnesty International USA, which organized the 15-nation Human Rights Now!
February 20, 1987 |
Police crackdowns in racially torn South Africa contributed to a deterioration of human rights conditions there last year, according to a State Department report issued yesterday. The report, an annual assessment of human freedoms in 167 nations, is the Reagan administration's strongest condemnation to date of conditions in South Africa. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Schifter, who answered questions about the report, said the Pretoria government was following a "self- destructive course" and called the problems in South Africa "the most troubling development on the human rights scene in 1986.