Amnesty International organizes campaign against Suriname Amnesty Act change

(de Ware Tijd) THE HAGUE – Amnesty International’s Secretariat in London has started a worldwide ‘Urgent Action’ campaign against passage of the Amnesty Act. The human rights watchdog is calling on all its networks to send e-mails to Suriname’s Parliament protesting against the Act’s passage and to contact diplomatic representations all over the world to call attention to this issue.

Frank Bron, America’s coordinator Amnesty International Netherlands, says the urgent action will last six weeks, which is the standard. He says that although it cannot be determined how many people are participating, such urgent actions have often led to a flood of mail at Embassies. Bron adds that Amnesty International uses such actions to bring attention to human rights issues all over the world, saying, “The urgent action is one of our most successful methods.”

Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Uri Rosenthal has issued a statement saying that Suriname should abide by its international obligations, and the 8 December trial should continue. ‘The Amnesty Act is at odds with Suriname’s international obligations, as Suriname is bound by international treaties to investigate human rights violations and prosecute the perpetrators.’ Rosenthal states Suriname should respect the separation of powers, adding, ‘The victims are entitled to a continuation of the trial. Should the court find suspects guilty, they should not go unpunished.’

The Dutch Ambassador in Suriname passed on Rosenthal’s concerns to Foreign Affairs minister Winston Lackin on 29 March, while this concern was also passed on to Suriname’s temporary chargé d’affaires in the Netherlands Chantal Doekhie yesterday. The European Union has also issued a statement saying that the so-called December murders in Suriname must be cleared up, as reconciliation will only be possible then, a spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has said.

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