Campaigning for “internationally recognized human rights for all..”

News that Amnesty International (NI) are seeking an accomodation with NI Catholic bishops in order to be allowed to organise in schools within the Catholic Maintained sector would appear to call into question whether the organisation is still interested in campaigning for “internationally recognized human rights for all..” What it says about Amnesty NI’s campaign for a ‘Bill of Rights’ in Northern Ireland is anyone’s guess. From the RTÉ report.

Patrick Corrigan, Director of Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, said he would be happy if the Catholic bishops were to signal to their schools that they could re-join on the basis that they would not support abortion.

But a Church source said the bishops also needed reassurances that money collected in the schools would not be spent on supporting abortion.

Mr Corrigan responded that it may be possible to develop its model of collecting money for trusts in order to provide that reassurance. But he said further talks are needed to explore that possibility.

Despite the efforts of Members in our Legislative Assembly termination of a pregnancy is legally available here in some circumstances – they’re just arguing about the guidelines for those circumstances.

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  • kensei

    I wasn’t aware that abortion was an internationally recognised legal right. When did that happen?

  • Pete Baker

    Ken

    Two quick points – Which I made in the original post.

    It’s an internationally recognised human right enough for Amnesty International to campaign for its availability elsewhere.

    And terminations are legally available here.

  • joeCanuck

    Not just arguing, Pete.
    Ignoring a direct order by a judge.
    He needs to throw a few of them in the clink for contempt of court.
    Then let’s hear them bleat about their support for law and order.

  • kensei

    Pete

    Two quick points – Which I made in the original post.

    Perhaps you should make your point more clearly and not assume everyone will read every single red link.

    It’s an internationally recognised human right enough for Amnesty International to campaign for its availability elsewhere.

    And which resulted in a consequences that have forced it to row back. Perhaps not quite as “internationally recognised” as others.

    And terminations are legally available here.

    You can of course, make restrictions so restrictive as to be tantamount to a ban. Hopefully they do.

  • joeCanuck

    You wouldn’t happen to be a man, would you, kensei?

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Not that long ago Amnesty was a worthwhile organisation, flagging up human rights abuse across the globe. Hell, even Bruce Springsteen did an entire tour in their support.

    Now we have the abortion fiasco and ever since they got a local wing organised they have become merely another liberal ‘right on’ bunch of do gooders. Right up there with the worst of the quangos.

  • joeCanuck

    Does the Tele still run the spot the ball competition?

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    “Ignoring a direct order by a judge.”

    Not quite. They were directed to produce guidelines.

    They are still arguing over the detail in those gudielines.

    Ken

    The post is about not about the single topic highlighted.

    It’s about the conflict between those holding to a supernatural belief system.. and those who would claim to be guided by a “human rights for all” approach.

    And the interest is in topics, such as this, when those two approaches do come into conflict.

  • Frankly I feel this is a step backwards for AI. I always felt that being forced out of Catholic maintained schools made them more attractive to non-christians like myself. I wonder will AI also do a U-turn on other concepts the Catholic church frowns upon such as their pro-gay rights stance.

  • joeCanuck

    “They were directed to produce guidelines.”

    That’s exactly what I meant, Pete (I was hoping you would put up the link).
    So what’s with the “not quite”?

  • joeCanuck

    Didn’t they pass a (unanimous?) motion in the Assembly saying that they wouldn’t.

  • Ahem

    Too, too hilarious: the polysyllabic wing of CAFOD turns out to believe in Catholic rights for Catholics. You really couldn’t make it up.

  • Pete Baker

    This link, Joe?

    ‘Not quite’ refers to the fact that they were directed to produce guidelines, they still have to agree on those guidelines – they would be in contempt if the courts had produced guidelines for the MLAs to confirm.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes Pete. Thanks.

  • joeCanuck

    Our doctors and nurses should not be left out high and dry in no-man’s land.
    A complete failure of our assembly representatives to do the right thing, as Spike Lee might say.

  • kensei

    Joe

    You wouldn’t happen to be a man, would you, kensei?

    And what? Because I really, really hope you aren’t going to follow it up, on a discussion site with the idea that because I’m not a woman I couldn’t possibly comment. If you want to argue, argue on the merits or otherwise. Otherwise bugger off.

    Pete

    It’s about the conflict between those holding to a supernatural belief system.. and those who would claim to be guided by a “human rights for all” approach.

    And the interest is in topics, such as this, when those two approaches do come into conflict.

    And I pointed out that abortion is by no means an “international recognised human right” – and that includes secular sources. Certainly, I’m unaware of it being in the UN Declaration on the subject. The right in the US Constitution is derived from another right and itself disputed.

    The assumption that religious = anti-abortion and atheist = pro-abortion also does not follow. They may be more likely to hold those positions, but that is not all the same thing.

    So you make assumptions and proceed to use them as if they are truths. If your axioms are wrong, then the resultant logic is worthless, and the interest you assume doesn’t follow either.

  • joeCanuck

    The right in the US Constitution is derived from another right and itself disputed.

    Disputed? Their Supreme Court ruled on it. Perhaps you missed that.
    As to your other comment, it is self-contradictory..

  • Pete Baker

    “The assumption that religious = anti-abortion and atheist = pro-abortion also does not follow.”

    Well I didn’t make any assumptions in that.

    The religious element made their own position clear.

    I merely pointed out the stated position of the Amnesty International group. I never ascribed their position as ‘atheist’.

    So, no assumptions and no axioms on my part.

    Unless you want to declare any of your own?

  • kensei

    I merely pointed out the stated position of the Amnesty International group. I never ascribed their position as ‘atheist’.

    If you must be a pedant, then go for non-supernatural.

    And simply because Amnesty says something does not make it so. And the line “What it says about….” has a clear direction, given the tone, your past posts and public views on religion.

    Maybe they think by having the Catholic Church as an ally they’d be better placed to deliver “internationally recognised human rights for all”.

    Also, I am not particularly up on the suggested Bill of Rights for here. Is anyone pushing abortion rights?

    So, no assumptions and no axioms on my part.

    Unless you want to declare any of your own?

    I am a practicising Catholic and I am anti-abortion. Things I have stated on this site may times. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned God anywhere here. So this affects anything I’ve said how?

  • Pete Baker

    “If you must be a pedant, then go for non-supernatural.”

    You’re confusing my point of view with that of Amnesty International’s

    “I am a practicising Catholic and I am anti-abortion. Things I have stated on this site may [many?] times. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned God anywhere here.”

    Of course you haven’t..

  • kensei

    You’re confusing my point of view with that of Amnesty International’s

    I think your views are perfectly clear.

    Of course you haven’t..

    If you could point it out I’d be obliged.

    Also: do you ever sleep?

  • Pete Baker

    Ken

    I’ll point this out once more.

    The post is not about the single topic highlighted.

    It’s about the conflict between those holding to a supernatural belief system.. and those who would claim to be guided by a “human rights for all” approach.

    And the interest is in topics, such as this, when those two approaches do come into conflict.

    And if you can’t differentiate between the views of Amnesty International and myself then I suggest you discuss this elsewhere.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “Disputed? Their Supreme Court ruled on it. Perhaps you missed that.”

    1. What the Supreme Court can decide, they can re-decide, modify, fold, spindle, mutilate and otherwise change.

    2. The legal foundation of the decision is questionable — within legal circles, it is almost an article of faith that even the clerks of the approving justices were laughing at the decision.

    3. The decision does not say what most folks think it does.

    4. By deciding the case, the Supreme Court created abortion as a national wedge issue. Had the states, either individually or through their national representatives, rather than the national debate being still-born, I doubt the issue have nearly the same political division it has today.

    5. I do find it amazing that some folks laud certain decision and decry others.

  • joeCanuck

    5. I do find it amazing that some folks laud certain decision and decry others.

    Which folks would those be, Dread?

    If perchance you are referring to me, since your post seems to be directed to me, can you be specific about which decisions I lauded and which I decried.
    It might be worth noting that I didn’t even laud the Rowe v Wade decision. Just said that a decision was made.

  • fair_deal

    So just to be clear AI had a dispute with a/the key institution of a very significant section of the NI community. AI were sufficiently concerned by this to negotiate a special deal on the issue in the interests of maintaining their relationship with that institution possibly even considering bespoke arrangements. Interesting precedent.

  • Pete et al

    Amnesty International’s position on this matter hasn’t changed. Back in the Autumn, after our new policy had been ratified at our International Council Meeting in Mexico, we informed all the principals of schools with Amnesty youth groups throughout the UK, that we did not plan to ask school-based Youth Groups to campaign on this matter. There are about 600 such groups and this number obviously would include those in Catholic schools in Northern Ireland. There are no ‘bespoke’ arrangements for Northern Ireland or for any institution within Northern Ireland.

    Any Amnesty member or group is free to disagree with a particular aspect of global Amnesty policy. We are an international movement which takes its policy decisions through due democratic process, but we have space for dissent. That means that schools with Amnesty groups are free to disagree with an aspect of our policy on sexual and reproductive rights, while getting on with addressing the many human rights problems Amnesty challenges. We do not regard this as problematic.

    I have made efforts to explain this position to the Northern bishops and expressed my belief that the closure of Amnesty groups in Catholic schools is both unnecessary and counter-productive to the goal of achieving a fairer world – a vision which, I believe, holds more to unite Amnesty and the Church than divide us.

    It is in that spirit that I hope that the Bishops will change their advice to Catholic schools. If the issue boils down to money, then I am happy to make clear that we are much more interested in the campaigning power of young people to fight torture, free prisoners of conscience and put controls on the arms trade, than any funds that they might incidentally raise.

    Meanwhile, the young people whose groups have been shut down are not hanging around waiting for a decision. Some of the teenagers, from various schools across greater Belfast, are setting up an Amnesty Youth Group outside the confines of their school walls. The group is open to anyone aged 14-19 who wants to work for human rights worldwide through Amnesty and whatever sort of school they attend (or don’t). The group will have its first meeting this Saturday afternoon in a venue in central Belfast.

    For the record (again), Amnesty has no position on the rights or wrongs of abortion, per se. However, we believe that abortion should be decriminalised, so that a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or whose life is threatened as a result of her pregnancy, should have access to safe abortion and adequate health care, should she so decide.

  • Quaysider

    Yet another campaign group goes professional and slowly turns itself into an unelected political party.
    Unedifying.

  • Danny O’Connor

    In the UN charter on Human Rights,which is the basis for human rights campaigning,the single most important right is the right to life.I find it strange that any organisation that campaigns for human rights would seek to deny the most vulnerable that right to life.Childbirth is an event which happens during life,it is not when life begins.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Patrick,
    You seem to be forgetting that abortion does not do anything to help the victim of such a horrible crime,It merely adds another innocent victim.

  • Democratic

    The last paragraph of Mr. Corrigan’s post is totally correct and completely justifiable – if the hyper Catholics on here don’t like it – then either don’t have any to do with A.I. or at least give them conditional support notwithstanding this issue – quite simple really.

  • Democratic

    For those who missed it while squinting from atop their ivory towers the truly important word in the last paragraph was “de-criminalised”

  • Danny O’Connor

    Democratic,
    I am simply pointing out the hypocracy of the amnesty position,they are opposed to torture,what do you think happens to an unborn baby when it is being dimembered or burned with saline?

  • Democratic

    Would there be much point having this discussion Danny – I’m sure we have both seen it before on many occasions – the counter-arguments and increasingly heated retorts and ultimately at the end we will still more than likely disagree – so pointless. You may as well stand in Belfast City Centre waving scary photos at mothers and young children like some folks you are sure to have seen yourself. However the issue here is support for Amnesty International – either give it (conditionally if necessary) or if your religious leanings won’t allow it due to this one policy that is neither advocation nor condemnation then let them stroll on to find favour elsewhere. The issue is no different for the Bishops in question themselves I suspect. But again I draw attention to the phrase actually used by Mr. Corrigan – “de=criminalised” – it speaks for itself.

  • getthefacts

    Amnesty’s policy inconsistencies are not so very hard to understand.

    They rightly support action regarding female victims of domestic abuse and their children but adamantly refuse to similarly support action regarding male victims of domestic abuse and their children.

    The feminist movement have Amnesty by the throat on both abortion and domestic abuse. What started as a laudable movement to fighting for equal rights for women, now fights, inside organisations like Amnesty, for ‘equal rights’ for women but not the innocent vulnerable unborn child, and abused women and their vulnerable children but not abused men and their vulnerable children. Equal right is a two way street – or do they not know that, or do they have a political agenda which has nothing to do with equality or concern for the vulnerable at all.

    I used to have a very high regard for Amnesty International – but no longer.

  • kensei

    Pete

    News that Amnesty International (NI) are seeking an accomodation with NI Catholic bishops in order to be allowed to organise in schools within the Catholic Maintained sector would appear to call into question whether the organisation is still interested in campaigning for “internationally recognized human rights for all..”

    Actually, no it doesn’t. That is a non sequitur. It follows only if Amnesty believes that abortion rights are internationally recognised rather than merely desirable; that it can only further those goals by pushing for ALL rights all the time; and that those goals cannot be better further by reaching an accommodation with the Catholic Church.

    What it says about Amnesty NI’s campaign for a ‘Bill of Rights’ in Northern Ireland is anyone’s guess.

    It says absolutely nothing about it.
    You still haven’t answered my question – is anyone pushing for abortion rights in the Amnesty backed Bill of Rights here?

    It’s an internationally recognised human right enough for Amnesty International to campaign for its availability elsewhere.

    This isn’t quite the same thing as “Amnesty believes it to be a internationally recognised human right”. This also is a non sequitur. That Amnesty believes it to be worth campaigning for does make it “internationally recognised”, nor does it conclusively mean they view this particularly right as fundamental rather than desirable.

    If you are incapable of admitting that there is a bit of yourself in the piece, then you are right, there is no point continuing.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Democratic
    If you think the photos are scary,just think how much more scary it is for the unborn baby.I cannot think of any circumstances where murder should be de-criminalised.There is legislation which allows the life of the mother to be protected.In the Catholic Church ,for example,medical intervention to save the life of the mother is also permitted.It is called secondary effect,where the primary reason for intervention is to save the life of the mother,if the baby dies -it is a secondary effect ,in that the primary intent was to save the mother,not to kill the baby.

  • joeCanuck

    This is a futile debate which we have had a number of times.
    No-one is going to change their mind through force of argument.
    I’m as guilty as anyone. Maybe we should give it a rest.

  • Pete Baker

    And, Joe, that ‘futile debate’ is not the actual topic highlighted in the original post.

  • Pete Baker

    Patrick

    As always, your contribution to the discussion is appreciated.

    But when you say –

    “There are no ‘bespoke’ arrangements for Northern Ireland or for any institution within Northern Ireland”

    Surely you would concede that, at present, the NI Catholic bishops are saying that unless AI groups in the Catholic Maintained Schools sector agree, in advance, to just such a bespoke arrangement – where they agree not to campaign on AI’s policy on sexual and reproductive rights – then they will not be allowed to organise in those schools?

    Personally, I think the approach you’ve detailed – of setting up an Amnesty Youth Group outside the confines of their school walls – is a much more principled way forward for the organisation.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, Pete. I recognize that and I apologise for any part I played in heading off in a different direction.

  • Pete

    Maybe you need to re-read the first para of my contribution above – that Amnesty International UK has already “informed all the principals of schools with Amnesty youth groups throughout the UK, that we did not plan to ask school-based Youth Groups to campaign on this matter”, so it is wholly unproblematic for us to have Catholic schools in NI state they will not allow AI Youth Groups in the Catholic school sector to campaign on this issue (or even that they disagree with our policy in this issue), given that we have already said we won’t be asking them (or other schools) to do this.

    Meanwhile it looks like the kids are doing it for themselves by setting up the new Belfast non-school based AI group. It would seem that they, at least, can see the bigger picture even if others can’t or won’t.

  • Pete Baker

    Patrick

    That’s all very well, but if there is a condition put in place by the NI Catholic bishops that any AI groups in the Catholic Maintained sector cannot campaign on those issues – which is what the reports indicate – then whether or not AI would request such campaigns becomes an irrelevance.

  • Pete

    With respect, I would actually see that proposition the other way around.

  • Pete Baker

    “I would actually see that proposition the other way around.”

    In what way, Patrick?

    That by the central AI (NI) organisation agreeing to the NI Catholic bishops demand – that they won’t campaign on AI’s policy on sexual and reproductive rights – those individual school organisations would be allowed to organise?

    How is that, in any meaningfull way, different?

  • BfB

    Seems that AI is just looking to get it’s nose in the tent. This is where they may really be coming from. I wouldn’t trust them at all. The secular, feminist movement has this bunch by the throat, and the sooner they strangle, the better.

  • Pete

    It is clearly not a case of agreeing to anyone’s demand when we have previously stated that we do not plan on bringing this issue into any school-based groups in the UK, whatever that school’s ethos.

    A subsequent request by bishops in Northern Ireland that we do what we are doing anyway is therefore unproblematic from our perspective.

    Good night.

  • Mustapha Mond

    PC
    “However, we believe that abortion should be decriminalised, so that a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or whose life is threatened as a result of her pregnancy, should have access to safe abortion and adequate health care, should she so decide.”

    Who decides if the conception came from rape or incest? what rationale is used in the determination?, the word of the woman?

    You’ve got 9 months in theory, (realistically 5 months, otherwise it may be too late) to gather evidence and make a decision.

    If abortion is decriminalized, what difference does it make how the conception came about? that spiel about incest and rape is really just a sweetener to solicit the sympathy vote innit.

    Can I presume, that what you really wanted to say was “Abortion should be allowable in certain circumstances”?

  • Democratic

    “I cannot think of any circumstances where murder should be de-criminalised.There is legislation which allows the life of the mother to be protected.In the Catholic Church ,for example,medical intervention to save the life of the mother is also permitted.It is called secondary effect,where the primary reason for intervention is to save the life of the mother,if the baby dies -it is a secondary effect ,in that the primary intent was to save the mother,not to kill the baby.”
    Will all respect Danny – if it is the laws of a Catholic theocratic society you want to live in then I’m afraid you missed the train down south 40 years ago…..but then our cousins down there have moved on from that time too…

  • Northern Boy

    Patrick Corrigan

    Am I correct in undersanding AI’s position as being that they will not insist on adherence to certain aspects of their policy, in order to allow for the maintenance of AI groups, in institutions controlled by groups/bodies, who may disagree with certain of AI’s policies?

    I really can’t see any other interpretation of the arrangement with the Catholic Church.

    Therefore, I look forward to the establishment of an AI group in the Pentagon, with an agreement that it will not focus on issues of torture.

    Human rights are universal, indivisible and independent. You cannot pick and choose. If women’s reproductive rights (which extend to a woman’s right to decide reproductive issues, including termination), are human rights (as AI claims; it is clearly an emerging right), then AI is acting against its mandate in agreeing not to campaign for a particular human right.

    I am going to join HRW. They are very clear on these issues.

    NB

  • NB

    Are you deliberately choosing to misunderstand, misinterpret or misrepresent what I have written above? – “There are no ‘bespoke’ arrangements for Northern Ireland or for any institution within Northern Ireland.”

    BTW, good luck with joining HRW. You can’t. They’re a fine organisation but they have no members. They’ll permit you to make a donation, but don’t expect to participate in democratic decision-making … on complex matters of policy around emerging rights, for instance.

    By contrast, Amnesty has about 2 million members worldwide, including thousands in Northern Ireland, all of whom can take part in our democratic decision-making process.

    Democracy may sometimes be messy, but we find it much preferable to the alternative.

  • Northern Boy

    PC

    I asked an honest question, and your answer leaves me unconvinced. Your tone does also.

    NB