For anyone who has followed Amnesty International in recent years, its attack on Ukraine for daring to defend itself against Russia and thus “putting civilians at risk” was entirely in character. The organization that was once a beacon of hope for political prisoners has become a de facto offshoot of Stop The War. It now operates with the same agenda as other groups on the fringes of extreme left politics, pushing the same hardcore anti-Western obsessions (infamously for some time even teaming up with Cage, the British Islamist group) but with more PR success than most, as it trades on its former reputation for good deeds.
According to Amnesty, Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv have broken international law by operating from residential areas. “We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” Agnes Callamard, its secretary general, wrote. No matter that the only reason the Ukrainian forces are in residential areas is to defend them from Russian invaders – who are murdering, torturing and capturing Ukrainian civilians. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky put it in response, Amnesty is trying to “shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.”
The Russian Embassy in the UK greeted Amnesty’s “report” with glee, tweeting: “@Amnesty confirms #Ukraine tactics violate international humanitarian law & endanger civilians… exactly what #Russia has been saying all along. #StopNaziUkraine”
Just in case anyone might doubt where she stands, Ms Callamard responded to the dismantling of her slurs by the Ukrainian government by equating it with the Russian invaders – and, for good measure, dismissing Ukrainian ministers as trolls.
But it’s not just the Ukrainian government which has condemned Amnesty’s perversion of reality. So has Amnesty’s own Ukraine office. Oksana Pokalchuk, its head, has now resigned, saying Amnesty has become “an instrument of Russian propaganda”. When AI’s Ukraine staff complained about the draft report, they were ignored: “Our team’s arguments about the inadmissibility and incompleteness of such material were not taken into account. The representatives of the Ukrainian office did everything they could to prevent this material from being published.”
Like all good hard left outfits, Amnesty has been obsessed with Israel for years, In 2012, Kristyan Benedict, then the charity’s campaigns manager, took to Twitter to post a ‘joke’ about 3 Jewish MPs: “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s… #Gaza”. How did Amnesty respond to one of its key staff posting something that was widely viewed as antisemitic? Mr Benedict was promoted and is now its ‘crisis response manager’.
In February, Amnesty published yet another report on Israel, this one claiming that it is an apartheid state. Typically, it was riddled with errors, both of fact and law. And who led the opposition to it? As in Ukraine, Amnesty’s own staff. Amnesty Israel’s executive director Molly Malekar described the Israel report as a “punch in the gut”, while its CEO Yariv Mohar said he was “shocked and angry” when he heard about its conclusions.
In other words, the central command of a hard left NGO produced propaganda that owes more to ideology than fact, only to be criticized by its own people on the ground – who understand the reality.
Amnesty is a worthless, morally bankrupt sham that gives succour to terrorist states. The sooner it collapses under the weight of its own distortions, the better.