Ukraine War, August 6, 2022: Amnesty International issues Ukraine report that bolsters Russian propaganda (Updated August 9, 2022)

Dispatches

1) “Amnesty Ukraine Chief Quits Over Rights Report,” REE.RL, August 6, 2022;

2) Stephen Pollard, “Amnesty is now utterly morally bankrupt; Its anti-Western obsession has driven it into the gutter,” The Telegraph, August 6, 2022 (3:00 pm);

3) Andrew E. Kramer, “Fighting Around Ukrainian Nuclear Plant Heightens Safety Fears; A series of blasts Friday at the plant, which the Russian military is using as cover for artillery attacks, renewed concerns of a radiation catastrophe,” New York Times, August 6, 2022 (2:18 p.m. ET);

4) Emmanuel Grynszpan, “Amnesty International dans la tourmente après la publication de son rapport sur la guerre en Ukraine; Kiev accuse l’ONG de faire le jeu de Moscou après la publication d’un rapport sur la mise en danger de civils dans la résistance armée ukrainienne, Le Monde, le 6 Août 2022 (10h08, mis à jour à 15h26);

5) Emmanuel Grynszpan: “Amnesty International in turmoil after publication of its report on the war in Ukraine; Kyiv accuses the NGO of playing into Moscow’s hands after publishing a report on the endangerment of civilians in the Ukrainian armed resistance,” Le Monde (English), August 6, 2022 (15h39, updated at 15h39);

UPDATES

6) Agence-France Presse, “Amnesty regrets ‘distress’ caused by claims in Ukraine report; Rights group defends allegations that military endangered civilians but says none of them justify Russia’s actions,” The Guardian, August 7, 2022 (18.55 BST):

7) Pavel Lokshin, “What is wrong with the Amnesty report,” Die Welt,August 9, 2022 (English translation on websit);

Status: 09.08.2022 | Reading time: 5 minutes
By

Analysis

It is a sad day when an NGO like Amnesty International publishes a report on violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine which serves primarily to bolster Russian war propaganda.

The report, which found that Ukrainian forces were being stationed in civilian areas in violation of international humanitarian law, was not adequately vetted with Ukrainian officials before it was published. It may have been wrong on the issues of international humanitarian law which it cited.

Amnesty failed to adequately describe the context in whick Ukrainian forces are seeking to defend Ukrainians against invading Russian troops in a war of aggression characterized by the systematic commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and a pattern of actions that fit the definition of genocide in the 1948 Convention Against Genocide.

Russia is currently using the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia plant, to launch artillery and rocket attacks in violation of international humanitarian law. That fact is lost on Amnesty, or may appear in a future report long after its criticism of Ukraine has served Russian propaganda purposes.

Andrew E. Kramer reports,

The Russian military has been using the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest, as a base to assault the Ukrainian-controlled town of Nikopol across the river. On Saturday it fired a volley of Grad rockets that damaged 11 apartment buildings and 36 privately owned houses, and wounded three people, the Ukrainian military said.

The failure to fully vet Amnesty’s report with Ukrainian officials was inexcusable. Amnesty sought to justify itself as follows:

Amnesty says it contacted defense officials in Kyiv with its findings on July 29, but had not received a response by the time of publication — but Pokalchuk argued that this wasn’t nearly enough notice.

What’s wrong with these people at Amnesty International?

Someone should take a hard look at all of their reports in Ukraine, and then any potential contributor to Amnesty should take a hard look at the resulting report, before contributing one more cent to this organization.

This development is really sad, as Amnesty has been in the forefront of the battle for human rights for many decades.

Agnes Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International and a human rights advocate with a distinguished record, should either issue a full and genuine apology, or resign.

UPDATE

Amnesty International’s “non-apology” today for its news release charging Ukrainian forces with violating international humanitarian law by placing troops in civilian areas they were trying to defend confirms Stephen Pollard’s conclusion that Amnesty International is now “morally bankrupt”.

The non-apology amounts to a new poke in the eye. Amnesty regrets any distress its press release may have caused, but absolutely stands by its findings, admitting no errors in judgment.

This is not a genuine apology. As we wrote yesterday,

Agnes Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International and a human rights advocate with a distinguished record, should either issue a full and genuine apology, or resign.

Having failed to issue a genuine apology, Callamard should now resign.

Amnesty International (AI) is deeply at fault here, for the following reasons:

1) They did not include the Amnesty Ukrainian Office in their investigation.

2) They did not vet their draft findings with the Ukrainian military and other officials.

They should have been interviewing Ukrainian officials with respect to each allegation and potential finding throughout the period of their investigation.

Before releasing their “press release”, they did not give Ukrainian officials a real opportunity to respond, and did not reach out to them after they received no response for several days to a pro forma request for comment.

3) Amnesty refused to slow down the press release even after the head of the Ukrainian office vehemently objected to its findings.

4) Amnesty dug in its heels and strongly defended the indefensible after the press release was issued and the head of the Ukrainian Office resigned.

5) Finally, the coup de grace was the non-apology issued today.

This is a sad day, because of the great damage inflicted by AI headquarters staff on the thousands of volunteers and employees of Amnesty International around the world, who do incredible work in defending human rights every day.

Now, Secretary General Agnes Callamard must resign, and those within Amnesty responsible for these actions should be fired or severely sanctioned.

In the meantime, no one should make any contributions to Amnesty International.

The Trenchant Observer

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