“We criticize dictators for quelling dissent and silencing protestors with tactics like curfews, we’ll certainly speak out when it’s happening in our own backyard. The people of Ferguson have the right to protest peacefully the lack of accountability for Michael Brown’s shooting.”
- Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Steven W. Hawkins
I’m sure most of you have heard by now of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to deploy the National Guard to the unrest in Ferguson, but what you may not have heard is that human rights organization Amnesty International is also on the ground. In fact, it has been there for several days now and is quite disturbed by what is happening.
Specifically, Amnesty International USA announced on August 14, that it had sent a 12-person human rights delegation to Ferguson. Yet while the organization has been there for several days, it wasn’t until last night that I started seeing considerable media coverage on the subject. Buzzfeed went so far as to say that some of the resources deployed have never before been used in the United States:
WASHINGTON — Amnesty International has taken “unprecedented” action to deal with the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, by sending resources the human rights group has never before deployed inside the United States.
The organization has been on the ground in Ferguson since Thursday. It sent a 13-person human rights delegation to the city in the wake of the Aug. 9 police shooting death of Michael Brown.
Jasmine Heiss, a senior campaigner with Amnesty and part of the team in Ferguson, said the use of the “cross-functional team” — which she said included community trainers, researchers, and human rights observers — was “unprecedented” within the U.S. for the group.
On Saturday, after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and put a curfew in place in Ferguson, Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Steven W. Hawkins, issued a scathing statement.
“We criticize dictators for quelling dissent and silencing protestors with tactics like curfews, we’ll certainly speak out when it’s happening in our own backyard,” he said. “The people of Ferguson have the right to protest peacefully the lack of accountability for Michael Brown’s shooting.”
Just last week, I wrote a piece on why I thought Ferguson would ultimately be seen as a significant event in American history and its importance only seems to increase as the days pass. While many Americans are becoming outraged at the scenes of police militarization and third-world like tactics, I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise. After all, it was just a matter of time before the power structure turned its aggressive and violent foreign policy inward on its own citizenry.
Hoping for peace and justice.
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