Amnesty Sweden co-founder resigns over Ukraine report

Per Wastberg give up after 60 years with the group, citing report that criticized Kiev’s army

Per Wastberg, who co-founded the Swedish department of Amnesty International, resigned from the group on Wednesday. The Swedish activist mentioned his departure was on account of Amnesty’s report concerning the battle in Ukraine, and that the group has gone past its unique mandate to advocate for political prisoners.

“I have been a member for over 60 years. It is with a heavy heart that, due to Amnesty’s statements regarding the war in Ukraine, I am ending a long and fruitful engagement,” Wastberg advised the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, the place he’s an occasional columnist. 

“From its inception, Amnesty worked for the freedom of political prisoners everywhere in the world,” mentioned Wastberg, who co-founded the Swedish department in 1964. “It has since gradually, sometimes debatably, expanded its mandate” and turn into a unique sort of group, he added.

Amnesty has confronted a torrent of criticism after publishing a report on August four that mentioned Ukraine was intentionally inserting troops and army automobiles in residential areas and hospitals. The report was primarily based on analysis in japanese Ukraine, from April to July.

“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard mentioned on the time.

Amnesty’s Ukraine director Oksana Pokalchuk resigned within the wake of the report. The authorities in Kiev accused the NGO of partaking in pro-Russian propaganda. President Vladimir Zelensky mentioned anybody who casts doubt on Ukraine’s victimhood is an “accomplice of Russia” and “a terrorist themselves.”

While the NGO has since apologized for the “distress and anger” attributable to their press launch on Ukrainian techniques, it has not disavowed the report. Callamard commented on the criticism by saying that “war propaganda, disinformation, [and] misinformation” by on-line trolls “won’t dent our impartiality and won’t change the facts.”

Secretary General of Amnesty Sweden, Anna Johansson, mentioned in an interview on Wednesday that “about a thousand” members have sought to depart the group over the Ukraine report. She famous, nonetheless, that Amnesty Sweden had confronted a much bigger disaster when it adopted a brand new coverage “on the rights of people who have sex for money.”

While Ukraine has the appropriate to defend itself, Johansson mentioned, that “does not mean that it has the right to violate international humanitarian law. That is why the discussion must also cover Ukraine’s actions – otherwise we would be giving Ukraine carte blanche regardless of what it does.”

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