Amnesty International chapter bans pro-life student group from university’s Human Rights Day event
BUFFALO, December 13, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The University of Buffalo (UB) chapter of Amnesty International barred a pro-life student group from joining in its annual Human Rights Day Celebration, saying opposition to abortion conflicts with Amnesty’s support for human rights.
According to e-mails released to watchdog group Campus Reform, the UB Students for Life applied to set up a table at the event to call attention to the plight of political prisoners around the world, not the unborn.
UB Amnesty International chapter president Fara Khan denied their request, replying: “In regards to having Students for Life table, I am sorry to disappoint, but without hashing out our personal beliefs, I hope that you will familiarize yourself with Amnesty International’s stance on sexual and reproductive rights.”
“I think you will find that your organization’s and Amnesty’s schools of thought are quite opposite on this issue (I’ve attached a link with more info).”
The link she provided was to an Amnesty International webpage explicitly stating its support for unrestricted legal abortion.
UB Students for Life Christian Andzel said his club’s request had nothing to do with the abortion issue. He said they instead wanted to raise awareness about political prisoners around the world, which is another issue that is important to Students for Life.
“Sure, UB Students for Life is a ‘pro-life’ club when dealing with the pre-born,” he wrote in an article on the Students for Life website , “but if someone actually knew about our club and did not blanket us with stereotypes and discriminate on what we believe, then they would know that UB Students for life believes being ‘pro-life’ is knowing that everyone, from the political prisoner to the girl in sex slavery, deserves human rights and protections.”
Andzel told Campus Reform, “This event had nothing to do with the debate on abortion. The UB Students for Life merely wanted to work with Amnesty International on an issue of mutual agreement.”
“Other clubs that were allowed to table at the event could be seen as political clubs, as well,” he added. “I feel that my club’s right to free speech is being unfairly discriminated against on the basis of our pro-life views.”
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UB administrator Mark Sorel, who manages student groups and events at the university, said he was unaware of any discrimination.
Sorel told Campus Reform, “I heard that the pro-life club was not invited to attend because [Amnesty International] did not understand that the Students for Life were involved in representing political prisoners.”
He added that, when working together, student clubs’ mission statements should “complement, not contradict or negate.”