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Reinstate Gita Sahgal now! March 12, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Eric Lee.

I am submitting the following Emergency Resolution to the Amnesty International UK Section AGM next month.  If  you support this, please scroll to the bottom to see what I need you to do.

In February 2010, Gita Sahgal, head of the gender unit at Amnesty International,  was suspended after she “accused the charity of putting the human rights of Al-Qaeda terror suspects above those of their victims,” according to The Times. Sahgal was said to  believe “that collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former British inmate at Guantanamo Bay, ‘fundamentally damages’ the organisation’s reputation. In an email sent to Amnesty’s top bosses, she suggests the charity has mistakenly allied itself with Begg and his ‘jihadi’ group, Cageprisoners, out of fear of being branded racist and Islamophobic. Sahgal describes Begg as ‘Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban’.”

It is unacceptable that Amnesty International which exists to promote and defend human rights, both allies itself with those who would deny those rights (the Taliban and its defenders) and would attempt to suppress criticism.  In suspending Gita Sahgal, Amnesty has brought itself into disrepute.

Following the suspension, Gita Sahgal was asked in a radio interview if she hopes to return to work at Amnesty.  “I had a flourishing career,” she said.  “I love my job. But I don’t feel safe at Amnesty International when it has thrown a protective cover around Moazzam Begg.”

This AGM instructs Amnesty International’s UK Section to call upon the International Secretariat to reinstate Gita Sahgal to her post as head of the Gender Unit.

I need Amnesty Members who support it to second the motion. Please print out the text of the emergency resolution above, write that you second this resolution, sign it,  and  send this with your full name and postal address to Eric Lee, 4 Alexandra Park Road, London N10 2AA.


Off and running! I am now a candidate for the Amnesty International UK Section Board February 24, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Eric Lee, Israel/Palestine.

I have just learned today that I am one of ten candidates for four seats on the Amnesty International UK Section Board.

As part of the process of getting nominated, I was required to submit some details about my experience, knowledge and so on — and an election manifesto. As I was severely limited in the number of words I had, the election manifesto is only 100 words.

The text — which will be sent out to the more than 250,000 Amnesty members in the UK in the next two weeks — is, I think, explosive stuff:

“I believe that Amnesty has lost its way when it comes to Israel and Palestine. Instead of being seen as an unbiased source, Amnesty is increasingly viewed by many as being anti-Israel. Amnesty’s uncritical support for the controversial Goldstone report, the excessive coverage of Israel in its magazine (far more than coverage of, for example, Iran), the partnerships with anti-Israel NGOs like War on Want which label Israel as an “apartheid” society, all contribute to this perception. And just as Amnesty demands that governments tolerate dissent, it too must be open to criticism and not smug or defensive.”

If you are an Amnesty member I encourage you to vote for me.

If you know other Amnesty members or your organisation may have Amnesty members in its ranks, please encourage them to vote.

If you want to help raise the profile of my campaign — for example, by placing an ad in the Guardian, please email me at ericlee@labourstart.org

I want to thank all those who nominated me and encouraged me. We only have a couple of weeks to make our case — let’s get to work today!

The problem with Amnesty – by Eric Lee December 9, 2009

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Eric Lee, Israel/Palestine.
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This article appeared in early December 2009 in the Jewish Chronicle.

In recent months, Amnesty International in the UK has taken a sharp anti-Israel turn. This will be obvious to anyone who receives the organisation’s bi-monthly magazine, which now features articles bashing Israel in every single issue. (more…)