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Co-founder of Swedish Amnesty International resigns due to disagreement with the report on UAF

10.08.2022, 12:29

The co-founder of Amnesty International's Swedish branch Per Wästberg decided to leave the organization because of a report that accused the Ukrainian Armed Forces of endangering civilians. Hromadske reports this, citing Expressen.

"I have been a member [of the organization] for almost 60 years. With a heavy heart, I am ending my long and fruitful cooperation due to Amnesty's statements regarding the war in Ukraine," Wästberg said.

He recalled that Amnesty started as an organization that worked to release political prisoners, but since then it has been gradually, "sometimes controversially," expanding its mandate.

Wästberg co-founded the Swedish branch of Amnesty International in 1964.

On August 4, the human rights organization Amnesty International stated that the Ukrainian military's resistance to the russian invasion is endangering the civilian population.

The organization said it had found evidence that the Armed Forces were opening fire from residential areas and had created bases in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages.

President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Amnesty International's selectivity and believes that the organization is trying to grant amnesty to the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim. The European Commission responded to the report with a reminder that it is russia who targets civilians, while the Ukrainian troops are defending them.

Amnesty's Secretary General claimed that the report was being attacked by "Ukrainian and russian social media trolls" and that critique of their reports "would not change the facts."

Amnesty International's Ukrainian branch stated that they took no part in the preparation and publishing of the report, and that "the representatives of the Ukrainian office did all in their power to prevent the report from being published."

Later, the Ukrainian office's head Oksana Pokalchuk announced her resignation due to the main office's report. She explained that the team of the Ukrainian office had constantly emphasized that the report should have at least investigated both sides and taken the position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense into account.

According to Pokalchuk, Amnesty International representatives eventually asked the Ministry of Defense for a comment, but gave them very little time to respond. Therefore, the organization's report "sounded like support of russian narratives" and "became a tool of russian propaganda."

AI's main office said they regretted the "distress and anger" caused by their statement, but stood by their words.

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