Amnesty International has said it is “deeply concerned” over US spying activities and has urged US President Barack Obama to consider “human rights” when introducing reforms to Washington’s spying programs.
In an open letter on January 9, Amnesty International said Obama has to “put human rights at the center of U.S. policy” in order to ensure real reform. The letter urged Obama to take the following steps:
Disclose the scope of U.S. surveillance to ensure comprehensive reform;
Respect the rights of all people, not only U.S. citizens;
Recognize the application of international human rights standards to U.S. practice;
Take into account the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, which provide guidance in implementing these international standards;
Establish an independent privacy rights champion before the FISA Court;
Support encryption standards to increase security and trust;
Respect the rights of whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden.
On Wednesday, Obama met with the leaders of US spy agencies at the White House to discuss a number of changes to the National Security Agency’s spying programs.
White House officials have said Obama is to make an announcement about the reforms before his State of the Union address on January 28.
Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s human rights should also be respected if Obama intends to ensure “real reform.”
“Snowden should not be prosecuted for revelations about human rights violations by the U.S. government,” Hawkins said.
Snowden, whose leaks have brought to light the scope and scale of the US government’s spying activities across the globe, faces espionage charges in the US and even some former US officials have suggested that he should be “hanged” if convicted of treason.