Essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; In my opinion Amnesty International have just blown up their credibility, by objecting to the prosecution of climate protestors who block ambulances.
PRESS RELEASE – 24 OCTOBER 2022 15:34
Amnesty comments on the verdict against the climate action on E4
The right to demonstrate is a central building block in every democratic society. Even peaceful civil disobedience, such as the climate action on the E4, is covered by the right to demonstrate. Amnesty welcomes that the Solna district court did not follow the prosecutor’s line to sentence the activists to prison. This is the only real thing: peaceful activism should never lead to people being deprived of their freedom. On the other hand, it is worrying that the court accepts the prosecutor’s argument that a short-term blockade of the E4 can constitute sabotage in the sense of the criminal code.
Amnesty sees with great concern that the court rules in violation of what international law requires of Sweden. There is a lack of practice in applying the sabotage crime in this way, and from a rule of law perspective, it is worrying that Sweden’s courts are beginning to assess the exercise of freedoms and rights as serious crimes, without discussion and changes in the law, contrary to practice and UN recommendations, says Anna Johansson, Secretary General of Amnesty Sweden.
In the very essence of civil disobedience is that the person who has carried out an illegal action stands for what he has done and takes responsibility for it, also legally. This is true as long as the laws applied are reasonable and the punishment is proportionate to the illegal act. Otherwise, there is no balance between the right to demonstrate and the criminal justice system.
Peaceful civil disobedience is nothing new in Sweden, but the sabotage charge for this form of peaceful action is new. Today’s judgment in the Solna district court, as well as judgments handed down this year in the Södertörn and Stockholm district courts, indicate that practice is about to change – this without further discussion and apparently without a solid legal analysis against the background of the constitutionally protected freedom of demonstration.
This shift in the judiciary’s assessments must come to an end. Law enforcement must be based on respect for the constitutionally protected freedom of demonstration and Sweden’s obligations under international law, says Anna Johansson
Climate change is a reality that requires states to act with determination. The UN has clearly underlined that a rapid and fair climate transition is an obligation for the states under international law. Both in Sweden and in other parts of the world, activists use civil disobedience to protest against states’ lack of action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The UN’s special rapporteur for freedom of assembly and demonstration has drawn particular attention to the importance of the right to demonstration being particularly protected in this climate emergency that we find ourselves in anyway – which also includes civil disobedience and road blockades.
The UN’s climate panel, IPCC, in a comment on states’ reluctance to take the climate disaster seriously, expressed that “civil society is to a large extent the only reliable force to get institutions to change at the pace required”. The Court should therefore have paid much more attention to these statements and recommendations under international law and analyzed the fact that Sweden has so far not done what is required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and thus is not living up to its obligations under international law. It is this state of emergency and the state’s inaction that the activists reacted to, which should have been taken into account by the court and influenced its assessment of the road action. The principle of treaty-conform interpretation – that is, that Swedish law must be interpreted in the light of Sweden’s international obligations – is conspicuous by its absence in the decision. Thus, in its reasoning about permissible restrictions on the right to demonstrate, the court has completely failed to refer to the international legal framework and the statements of the UN experts, which is very unfortunate and has led to incorrect conclusions, according to Amnesty.
Not understanding these manifestations for the climate in the light of the right to demonstrate leads in a potentially dangerous and anti-democratic direction where constitutional rights are at stake. We assume that the judgment will be appealed, and that the higher court takes into account Sweden’s commitments under international law and defends both the fundamental freedom of demonstration and Sweden’s obligations regarding the climate emergency in its assessment. Amnesty will closely follow this case and continue to protect the right to peacefully demonstrate and protest, says Anna Johansson
Amnesty International is an independent international organization that works to ensure that human rights apply to everyone, now and in the future. By exposing violations and creating attention and public opinion, we put pressure on governments and those in power around the world.
Source: https://www.amnesty.se/press-och-media/#/pressreleases/amnesty-kommenterar-domen-mot-klimataktionen-paa-e4-an-3213103 (Translated from Swedish using Google Translate)
I think over the years Amnesty has done a lot of good. If you attend one of their letter signing events, as I have, they show attendees plenty examples of agents of tyranny who tired of receiving sacks full of letters, and ended up releasing whichever miserable wretch they were tormenting.
But supporting people who block ambulances is just wrong.
Wake up Amnesty. Every decent person supports the right to protest, but that right to protest is a right to present your message, not a right to force your message down other people’s throats. That right to protest is not a right to imprison people with traffic blockades, so they can’t get away. And that right to protest most definitely should not protect people who sabotage care for the critically ill, or create life threatening traffic chaos which leads to deaths.
via Watts Up With That?
October 30, 2022 at 04:27PM