Amnesty International – is discrimination against some victims apparent?

Amnesty International (AI) mission statement: “to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination–in the context of our work to promote all human rights, as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights“.

The approach that Amnesty International seems to be taking in its Press Releases and website postings with regards to victims of the war in former Yugoslavia (1991-1995) looks quite biased, against Croatian and non-Serb victims.

When one visits its website and searches the archives one wonders why all victims of that war and why all convicted war criminals are not treated the same, or afforded same/equal attention?

The only common-sense answer is that Amnesty International may be playing political games of equating the victims with the aggressor when it comes to Croatia.

It most likely is aware of the fact that justice needs to be seen to have been done for all victims, regardless of ethnicity?

If one searches the AI website for persons convicted of war crimes in Croatia one would find an odd (to say the least) imbalance. E.g.

Zorana Badic (Serb convicted of Skabrnje massacres of Croatians) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/Zero postings on the case on AI website;

Milan Babic (Serb, convicted and sentenced to 13 years by ICTY for ethnic cleansing of Croatians and Non-Serbs in Croatia) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/ 1 post on AI website;

Miodrag Jokic (Serb, convicted and sentenced by ICTY for killings and destruction of Dubrovnik, Croatia) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/no postings on AI website;

Pavle Strugar (Serb, convicted and sentenced by ICTY for war crimes against Croatians in Croatia) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/2 postings on AI website;

Milan Martic (Serb, convicted and sentenced by ICTY for war crimes against Croatians and non-Serbs in Croatia) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/3 postings on AI website;

Mile Mrksic (Serb, convicted and sentenced by ICTY for war crimes against Croatians in Croatia/Vukovar) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/ 5 postings on AI website;

Veselin Sljivcanin (Serb, convicted and sentenced by ICTY for war crimes against Croatians in Croatia/Vukovar) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/no postings on AI website;

Damir Sireta – (convicted and sentenced by ICTY for war crimes against Croatians in Croatia/Vukovar) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/ one posting on AI website;

Mirko Norac (Croat – convicted and sentenced for war crimes against Serbs in Croatia) – no AI Press Release specifically for the victims/24 postings on AI website;

Ante Gotovina (Croat – convicted and sentenced [now on Appeal] for war crimes against Serbs in Croatia) – AI posts for the victims http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/croatia-key-international-court-ruling-delivers-justice-victims-war-crimes-2011-04-  /29 postings on AI website

Mladen Markac (Croat – convicted and sentenced [now on Appeal] for war crimes against Serbs in Croatia) – same as for Ante Gotovina

Only a brief or simple analysis of the AI website postings would suggest that AI does not give equal and deserved attention to all victims. I.e., fails to offer the Croatian and other non-Serb victims the same/equal attention as it offers the Serb victims.

On 23 December 2011 AI issued another Press Release with regards to Croatia and its processing of its alleged war criminals; urging the new government to “deal with its past in order to move forward”,   http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/new-croatian-government-must-deliver-war-crimes-justice-2011-12-23

Now, the Yugoslavia crisis (1991-1995) did not start on its own; there were aggressors i.e. Serbs that devastated both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatian and Non-Serb people in both countries suffered murder, ethnic cleansing, genocide, rape, wanton destruction of property and other almost unimaginable crimes. In August 1995 Croatia set out to liberate its Serb-occupied sovereign territory.

This press release calls upon Croatia to do more in regards to investigating war crimes and that it must deal with its past in order to move forward. Particularly, it talks of Croatia’s responsibilities vis-a-vis joining the EU by 2013.

It is not a good or balanced approach Amnesty International is taking with this Press Release.

Since it refers to the war in former Yugoslavia and atrocities committed one would have expected that Nicola Duckworth (Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme Director) would address the question of Serbia and Serb war crimes as well as those of Bosnia and Hercegovina. After all, both of these have expressed a wish to become members of the EU.

It seems that Amnesty International is sadly taking the path of isolating different parts of the former Yugoslavia conflict and talking of each separately as though they were not associated.

This, in my opinion, among other things makes Amnesty International an organisation that is failing its Mission and becoming a political force. If it were not a political force then I would expect that website postings and press releases about victims from each ethnic group would be balanced and realistic.

Amnesty international should have, in the same breath of its press release dated 23 December 2011, called upon Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina to deal with their pasts as well.

Also, since she is talking about “the past”, Nicola Duckworth surely knows that there are other past events which need to be dealt with and which linger in the nations as unjust for the victims? E.g., the Communist crimes of WWII in the region must also be dealt with. Serbia should do more to address its persecution and extermination of its own Jews (94%) by mid-1942 …

Much of the past is intertwined between the countries in this region and one simply cannot ask one country to deal with it and not the others. That’s irresponsible, as far as I can see.

I completely agree that pasts must be dealt with but I do not agree with Nicola Duckworth’s selective and fragmented approach in this matter.

It is wrong in my opinion and it fuels ongoing injustice for all victims. All victims should be afforded the same respect and attention by the very website that purports to hold a candle for the world’s victims. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Everybody should know that the Amnesty international is the org. of the British Foreign Office.

    Like

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