Rights Groups on Snowden

Friday, 12 July 2013

Edward Snowden is the NSA whistleblower whose document leaks have in recent weeks cracked open the US and UK governments' secret surveillance programs to an unprecedented level of public scrutiny. The former Hawaii-based NSA contractor, 30, is currently holed up in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, as he attempts to seek asylum in a number of countries — fearing persecution if he returns to the United States.

But Snowden's options are limited. The US government has revoked his passport while exerting extraordinary pressure on countries across the world in order to prevent the whistleblower from gaining asylum. This has raised questions about the US government's commitment to international law and has led a number of human rights groups to weigh in with criticism of US officials' actions. Today, Snowden is said to have set up a meeting with groups including Amnesty International in order to discuss his next steps.

Below, I've compiled a quick list for my own reference of the various rights groups that have issued a statement on the Snowden case so far. There may be others that I've missed. If so, add a comment at the bottom or send me a link via Twitter and I'll update this post.

American Civil Liberties Union

"In addition to infringing on Mr. Snowden's right to asylum, [the US government's] actions also create the risk of providing cover for other countries to crack down on whistleblowers and deny asylum to individuals who have exposed illegal activity or human rights violations." (Statement, 11 July.)

Amnesty International

"The US authorities’ relentless campaign to hunt down and block whistleblower Edward Snowden’s attempts to seek asylum is deplorable and amounts to a gross violation of his human rights." (Statement, 2 July.)

Article 19

“The manhunt for Edward Snowden must be stopped. More energy is being spent on arresting one whistleblower that exposed human rights violations than has been spent on finding and arresting perpetrators of war crimes or crimes against humanity." (Statement, 5 July.)

Government Accountability Project (US)

"Snowden disclosed information about a secret program that he reasonably believed to be illegal. Consequently, he meets the legal definition of a whistleblower, despite statements to the contrary made by numerous government officials and security pundits." (Statement, 14 June.)

Human Rights Watch

"[The US government] should not apply a double standard by working against other governments that might extend asylum in this case." (Statement, 3 July.)

“Edward Snowden has a serious asylum claim that should be considered fairly by Russia or any other country where he may apply. He should be allowed at least to make that claim and have it heard... Washington’s actions appear to be aimed at preventing Snowden from gaining an opportunity to claim refuge, in violation of his right to seek asylum under international law.” (Statement, 12 July.)

Index on Censorship

"The mass surveillance of citizens’ private communications is unacceptable – it both invades privacy and threatens freedom of expression. The US government cannot use the excuse of national security to justify either surveillance on this scale or the extradition of Snowden for revealing it." (Statement, 24 June.)

Norwegian PEN

"The threat of criminal prosecution against whistleblower Edward Snowden on the charge of espionage is an allegation against an individual who has used his right to free speech in order to uncover serious abuse, not worthy of a country that abides by the rule of law. By going out with this information, Edward Snowden has questioned the democratic openness of US counter-terrorism strategy. The practice uncovered in the United States is in clear conflict with the principles of a democratic constitutional state." (Statement, 3 July.)

Reporters Without Borders

"Now that Edward Snowden, the young American who revealed the global monitoring system known as Prism, has requested asylum from 20 countries, the EU nations should extend a welcome, under whatever law or status seems most appropriate... [European Union] countries owe Snowden a debt of gratitude for his revelations, which were clearly in the public interest... American leaders should realize the glaring contradiction between their soaring odes to freedom and the realities of official actions, which damage the image of their country." (Statement, 3 July.)

2 comments:

  1. «The threat of criminal prosecution against whistleblower Edward Snowden on the charge of espionage is an allegation against an individual who has used his right to free speech in order to uncover serious abuse, not worthy of a country that abides by the rule of law. By going out with this information, Edward Snowden has questioned the democratic openness of U.S. counter-terrorism strategy.

    The practice uncovered in the United States is in clear conflict with the principles of a democratic constitutional state.»

    Norwegian Pen:

    http://www.norskpen.no/English/EnglishDetails/tabid/515/ArticleID/1502/Norwegian-PEN-ask-minister-of-justice-to-reconsider-Snowdens-application-for-asylum.aspx

    ReplyDelete

 
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