Conor Foley, author of the crtitically acclaimed The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War, debates Kate Allen of Amnesty International, on Guardian Comment is Free
As a global organisation, Amnesty has been criticised by its southern sections for what they regard as its overemphasis on rights associated with western liberal values, such as freedom of expression, and for ignoring the context in which many violations take place in poor countries. I share those concerns. However, I think that Amnesty needs to consider the implications of its current campaign a bit more carefully.
What is most disappointing about Foley’s piece is that we know he’s one of the good guys… In the real world many aid agencies, UN agencies and donor governments have already adopted a rights-based approach to development. Amnesty believes strongly that bringing human rights into the debate on poverty is one of the most powerful ways to make poverty alleviation accountable to those it is supposed to help. And exactly because we are not an aid agency, trying to work with a given government’s acquiescence, we can be very bold in challenging governments to be accountable to all their citizens.
To read the debate on Guardian Comment is Free click through the links below: