Thursday, May 24, 2007

NGOs bear witness

2 days, 2 nongovernmental organizations, 2 annual reports that show how civil society can shape debate on matters of international interest:
"The politics of fear" as practiced by states and armed nonstate actors "is fuelling a downward spiral of human rights abuse in which no right is sacrosant and no person safe," Irene Kahn (left), Secretary General of the 46-year-old, London-headquartered Amnesty International, declared in announcing the release yesterday of the organization's annual report. Country-by-country, the report documents abuses from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, placing special emphasis on excesses of antiterrorism and repression of persons who use the internet as their medium for freedom of expression.
Another NGO zeroed in on its keystone concern: "Justice with a price tag is no justice at all," stated Huguette Labelle (right), chair of Transparency International, a 14-year-old group headquartered in Berlin. Her comments marked today's release of the 2007 Global Corruption Report. It traces the infiltration of bribery and political interference in all corners of the planet and at all points in the legal process -- from 1st encounters with police, to prosecutorial investigation, to adjudication itself. The report then sets forth ways to reduce corruption, among them greater transparency in selection and removal of court officials, stronger enforcement of anticorruption measures, unfettered media coverage of proceedings, and vigorous scrutiny by bar associations, private persons, and other sectors of civil society.

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