Amnesty’s double standards on Guyana
Guyana Chronicle
April 26, 2002

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Amnesty International is a highly respected international movement, which advocates on behalf of prisoners and victims of conscience. Its mandate is mainly concerned with securing the release of persons wrongfully detained or imprisoned. AI also struggles on behalf of persons wrongfully killed by civil authorities.

No one is against criticisms made by AI. In fact, governments are urged to take seriously the views of such a prestigious watchdog movement. However AI must ensure that its does not descend into dabbling in political diktat and that its statements are not only consistent but also conform to the charter and objectives of the movement.

I was very much surprised to learn that AI is now lecturing governments on what they ought to say. AI by its recent statement has “sentenced” the Government of Guyana because of its views that the opposition PNC is practicing terrorism in Guyana. The Government of Guyana is now officially a prisoner of conscience.

AI activists the world over write letters to Heads of State and other key government officials urging that prisoners of conscience be freed. In light of the present stand by AI, I feel Guyanese should circulate a petition asking AI to withdraw the present statement against the government of Guyana since it is not within that body’s mandate, is hasty and improper. I also urge the circulation of another petition detailing the evidence of terrorist behaviour over the past few years by the opposition PNC in Guyana and pointing out that that party never disassociated itself from the actions of its supporters. If AI is now extending its work to directing political parties and governments how to behave, it should at least have the courage to urge the PNC to apologise for its actions in this country.

If AI contends that its present statement is within the scope of its work, it ought to have cautioned the PNC over the numerous statements of incitement made by its leadership and affiliated talk show hosts. In this context, I would like to invite all Guyanese to write to AI expressing how they feel about that body's double standards on Guyana.
Eddie Newman