LONDON (Aug. 15)
Amnesty International, the London-based human rights organization, is asking visitors to nine countries, including Israel, to write letters when they return home about human rights violations in those nations.
“We don’t recommend you take action while you are there,” an appeal letter sent to Amnesty’s 71,000 members in the United Kingdom said.
“But when you return, why not write to their tourist office and to their embassy? Say you enjoyed their country’s hospitality and that you are concerned about the fate of these people,” Amnesty advised.
The countries are all listed as “exotic holiday destinations.” In addition to Israel, they are Brazil, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Yugoslavia.
An Amnesty spokesman said, “We do not expect many holiday-makers to Israel to follow our recommendation.”
The letter said that many of the 260 civilian deaths in Israel in 1989 suggested that extra-judicial executions were encouraged. It spoke of the death of an Arab baby from tear gas.
Dan Ashbel, press counselor at the Israeli Embassy here, said, “These are old allegations,” all of which have been refuted.
“We totally reject the charge of extra-judicial murder,” he said, adding that “there was never any proof of the baby’s death.”
Ashbel said 60 of the 77 Palestinian deaths in the first seven months of 1990 resulted from internal clashes between Palestinians.
He said there have been no deaths in the Gaza Strip for the last two months, “but these things are ignored” by Amnesty.
The Amnesty spokesman said the letter was one of four fund-raising appeals sent out during the year which usually yield $150,000 to $170,000.