Amnesty International's agenda for justice and hope
Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said:
'The world is changing rapidly and new threats to human rights are emerging, while some existing patterns are getting stronger. Globalising justice means ensuring that people can have social justice as well as legal justice.'
Against the background of the news from Iraq of the murder of Sergio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other colleagues, Amnesty International called for a strengthening of the human rights framework.
'The narrow approach to the security agenda driven by the USA is undermining the hard-won gains made on human rights. It is reinforcing the privilege of the powerful over the poor and the marginalised, and ignoring the real sources of insecurity for most of the people in the world,' Ms Khan said.
'A coalition of powerful states fought two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq purportedly to make the world - their world - safer. But real people feel more vulnerable than ever before.
'In the coming years, our aim will be not only to release prisoners of conscience but also prisoners of poverty, prisoners of prejudice and prisoners of powerlessness,' Ms Khan stated.
Amnesty International will work to address issues like discrimination and strengthen its work on economic, social and cultural rights and impunity.
Based on an analysis of the most pressing problems around the word, Amnesty International's blueprint will focus on addressing:
- Discrimination – this is a growing problem, be it intolerance based on religious, ethnic or increased discrimination arising from racial profiling in the quest for national security.
- Impunity - perpetrators of human rights violations are not systematically brought to justice, even after they leave power.
- The right to physical and mental integrity - torture and ill-treatment continue on a massive scale, as do unlawful state killings.
- Armed conflict - millions of people's lives continue to be affected by armed conflicts, in which respect for humanitarian law is decreasing.
- Uprooted people - the rights of refugees and migrants continue to be disregarded, perhaps more so as a result of the 'war on terror'.
- Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls - discrimination and violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls is endemic across the world.
- Economic, social and cultural rights – excluded and marginalised communities around the world are denied basic rights.
The organisation will strengthen the effectiveness of its campaigning, including to confront abuses by corporate actors, corporate entities and armed groups. By the end of the decade, Amnesty International will also seek to increase its membership base around the world in order to have a bigger impact, and work more closely with other organisations and activists.
'Amnesty International is entering a new area of activism for the 21st century to allow us to deliver real change to the people who need it the most.'
'We will seek to have global impact through local action,'concluded Ms Khan.
Amnesty International members around the world took part in a debate on how the organisation should develop its work in response to world wide political, economic and social trends and the growing demands for human rights action in certain areas.
The ICM is the supreme governing body of Amnesty International. It decides on Amnesty International strategy, political, financial and organisational issues for the forthcoming years. The Council also elects the International Executive Committee (IEC), to act as the decision-making body of the movement between Council meetings, as well as other committees.