• Press Release

AIUSA Statement in Response to Amnesty International’s August 4 Press Release

August 18, 2022

As human rights defenders, it is our duty to shine a spotlight on human rights abuses when they are committed, no matter who is the offending party. In recent months, Amnesty International has documented the war of aggression by Russia in nearly two dozen outputs, and also investigated how the Ukrainian military has put Ukrainian civilians at risk in an extended press release.  

We recognize that the timing and framing of that press release engendered numerous concerns from individuals and organizations in Ukraine, the U.S., and other parts of the world regarding its framing, timing, context, and legal analysis. Our global movement has committed to engage in a thorough and independent review of the internal process behind the release. 

We are deeply concerned that the manner in which we have published this release resulted in the resignation of our Ukraine section director Oksana Pokalchuk and may have jeopardized the security of our staff. We are committed to ensuring Amnesty learns from this, and we must do better in the future.

In the days since the press release was issued, Russian authorities have made irresponsible attempts to use our findings to justify their violations of the laws of war and to detract attention from their war crimes and human rights abuses. We unequivocally condemn any efforts by Russian officials to use Amnesty’s release to justify their attacks on civilians in Ukraine. We will continue to hold the Russian government accountable for their war crimes and human rights abuses in Ukraine. We will continue to speak forcefully against such callous attempts to misuse the work of human rights monitors to excuse the inexcusable.

Since the release’s publication, our global movement has spent time engaging with our Amnesty Ukraine colleagues, members, civil society organizations, policy makers and media. Many of these organizations and individuals have been critical of the press release. Like Amnesty International, they are motivated by a genuine concern for the safety of civilians in Ukraine. We are committed to continuing to listen to them. 

Our global movement remains in steadfast solidarity with human rights defenders and civilians who remain at risk in Ukraine due to the Russian government’s act of aggression. As has been our mission for more than 60 years, we remain unwavering in our commitment to advance human rights for all and to hold those who commit violations accountable.

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