Longstanding contaminated blood campaigners first wrote to the so called human rights group Amnesty International asking staff to take up their cause and investigate abuses against haemophiliacs in 2000 but to no avail. Carol Grayson was left astounded when she was told that there weren’t any human rights violations in the UK and their focus was on cases abroad.
Year later in 2015 she wrote again alongside fellow campaigner Colette Wintle who sent a separate e-mail detailing her concerns but Amnesty refused to engage on this issue despite Lord Archer of Sandwell, a founding member of Amnesty, residing over the privately funded Archer Inquiry to investigate the infection of haemophiliacs with HIV and hepatitis C and the impact on them and their families. Finally after years of cover-up, the Infected Blood Inquiry (the UK’s biggest ever Inquiry) was set up in 2017 and is presided over by Sir Brian Langstaff.
On the 15th June 2012, Amnesty published an obituary to Lord Archer containing the following words:-
Amnesty International paid tribute today to Labour politician and barrister Lord Archer of Sandwell QC, who died on 14 June 2012 aged 85. He was one of the human rights organization’s founding members.
Though not directly involved in the actual launch of Amnesty International in May 1961, Peter Archer was a founding member of the original Amnesty International Committee along with Peter Benenson, Louis Blom-Cooper, Eric James and Peggy Crane, and was the movement’s Chair for a period in the early 60’s.
He remained a steadfast supporter of Amnesty International for the rest of his life.
Kate Allen, UK Director of Amnesty International, who met and spoke with Peter Archer on several occasions, said:
“Peter Archer supported Amnesty throughout our 50 years of existence and always made time to give me and my colleagues the advice and support we needed. He worked hard supporting our Capital Appeal for the creation of the first ever Human Rights Action Centre, which opened in Shoreditch early in 2005.
“Peter’s commitment to human rights and to Amnesty International over such a long period are something the Amnesty movement will miss and for which we will always be grateful.”
Amnesty was so grateful, they couldn’t even be bothered to support Lord Archer to bring justice to the haemophilia community, failing him at every turn.
Recently Amnesty International was sent a Rule 9 request asking staff to account for their actions (or lack of them) in relation to Contaminated Blood when they have spoken out and written statements in support of the following causes, prisoners with hepatitis C in Egypt, HIV/AIDS globally (except where UK haemophiliacs were concerned) Windrush, Grenfell, Hillsbrough, Coronavirus and LGBTI rights. It seems everyone but the haemophilia community had rights
It is up to the Inquiry Chair whether he makes the Rule 9 response public but campaigners already know Amnesty took no action whatsover.
Campaigners wanted Amnesty to be asked the following:-
- What written representation did Amnesty International receive over the past 20 years from Carol Grayson and Colette Wintle on alleged human rights abuses regarding Contaminated Blood and the Haemophilia Community.
- What has Amnesty International actively done to investigate alleged human rights abuses on Contaminated Blood regarding the haemophilia community and support sick and dying victims in the UK.
Now in an act of extraordinary hypocrisy, Amnesty International has suddenly nominated a documentary “In Cold Blood” on the Contaminated Blood scandal for one of its own media awards. Ironically, the film itself is under scrutiny and has attracted criticism due to new campaigners rehashing old evidence presenting this as if newly found and the failure to reference the correct timeline of discovery. This does the campaign no favours when documents featured in the film were in fact presented in face to face meetings with government ministers years earlier who chose to ignore evidence and block research to avoid accountability.
Today, (March 21st 2021, the Sunday Times has run an article titled,
“Compensation at last for lives ruined by NHS contaminated blood scandal”
After four decades the government accepts liability for the worst treatment disaster in the health service’s history
The Times contains the usual frustrating inaccuracies by journalist Caroline Wheeler. Campaigners will wait to see more before making further comment… as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”!
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She was a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.