Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Amnesty International Doing Something Worthwhile...

I know, I'm sure AI does many worthwhile things...but I only ever seem to read about their involvement with things dangerously close to politics --things that should jeopardize their tax-exempt status...

But, I like to give credit where it's due and right now AI is fighting for the rights of a Chinese anti-abortion activist who has been under house arrest since September 2005 for questioning China's "one child" rule, mandatory late-term abortion and forced sterilization practices.

"...[Blind activist Chen Guangcheng] had accused officials in Shandong of breaking family planning laws in their enforcement of the one-child policy.

Before the trial, three lawyers connected to his case were arrested, but two have now been released. One of them, Li Fangping, told the BBC that Mr Chen had been represented, against his will, by two state-appointed lawyers in the closed-door proceedings.

His wife told the news agency AFP she had not been allowed to attend the trial, which according to reports lasted about two hours.

The rights group Amnesty International said Mr Chen's rights were being denied and he was not getting a fair trial.

"It is Chen Guangcheng's fundamental right to have the lawyers of his choice and to have family members attend his trial," said Corinna-Barbara Francis from Amnesty International. "Their attitude epitomizes the general pattern of obstruction towards human rights lawyers in China."

He had accused local health workers in Linyi city of forcing people to have late-term abortions or sterilizations in order to enforce the one-child policy.

His allegations were covered in the international media, including an article in Time Magazine which claimed some 7,000 people had been sterilized against their will in Shandong. In 2006, the magazine named Mr Chen as one of the world's 100 most influential people for exposing the problem...." (source)

It's nice to see funds allocated to protect human rights actually being used to do so and not wasted on worrying about the fat content of the mango chicken at GITMO.

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