Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Amnesty International: no cover up, we just didn't need to tell

It would appear there was no press officer sitting in on the conversation between a Reuters' interviewer and Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law, Policy and Campaigns at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat. For surely, if there had been, Ms Brown would not have made some of her absurd claims.

According to Reuters she told the agency that Amnesty was not deliberately trying to suppress the fact that the decision to support abortion had been made (even although allowing your staff to state that the policy had not been made and marking documents "for internal distribution only" looks pretty like such an attempt in my eyes). Instead Ms Brown told Reuters: "There's simply no reason for us to 'publicize' policy issues."

Now Ms Brown has only recently joined AI from Human Rights Watch, and to be charitable maybe someone has not told her yet that AI is a campaigning organization and should be doing all it can to publicize policy issues.

In her interview Ms Brown labored the point that AI had gone through a consultation process among its members (although she forgot to mention that the UK membership actually opposed the move and that we await the result of the AIUSA membership vote to be made public), a reasonable person might ask why she assumed that AI members (and indeed AI staff) might not be interested in finding out that a policy had been adopted.

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