Brooks Joins Amnesty International USA Board of Directors
|Brooks said the treatment of civilians during armed conflict is an issue of increasing concern to Amnesty International.|
The organization recently decided to expand its mission, Brooks said, and her new Board oversight responsibilities include helping to keep AI effectively focused. AI formerly worked mainly on prisoners of conscience, judicial fairness, torture, political killings and the death penalty. Now its mission has expanded to include grave abuses of all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes social and economic rights as well as civil and political rights. "The newly expanded new Amnesty mission creates many exciting new opportunities for coalition-building and expansion of the membership, but it also creates a risk that AI's work may become ill-defined or that the organization could become overextended," Brooks said.
Brooks says that one of the most critical human rights issues in the world today concerns the treatment of civilians during armed conflicts, and this is an area in which Amnesty International is increasingly active. In the United States, she said the government's reaction to 9/11 is also raising new and troubling civil liberties issues alongside traditional Amnesty concerns over the treatment of refugees and immigrants, prisoners, the right to fair trials, and the death penalty.
Amnesty's strategy for bringing attention
to human rights causes includes forming political constituencies
willing to pressure elected officials, so increasing worldwide
membership is another organizational goal. Amnesty International
was formed in London in 1961, and its international headquarters
is still in London, but roughly one-third of Amnesty members worldwide
are Americans. "It's exciting to work with one of the world's
foremost human rights advocacy groups and be involved with human
rights issues in a practical way as well as in a scholarly way,"
Reported by M. Marshall