Committees and Support Groups

  • Marguerite Garling


The multitude of support movements, ad hoc groups and committees are too numerous to list in their entirety. Given their changeable character and sometimes ephemeral existence, any comprehensive record would soon be obsolete. And yet their role in undertaking and stimulating human rights work is often important: they provide a focus for exile activity, they provide the necessary political dimension to such work, and they enter into the work, more often than not, with a single-mindedness of purpose which leaves other, more cautious, organisations standing. Each of these three advantages may also be seen as a disadvantage: their detractors tend to view them as generating more heat than light, as sacrificing broad humanitarian interests for narrow political advantage, and as jeopardising the diplomatic approach of the broader-based human rights organisations. Ultimately, this difference between critics and supporters of the committee is based on an acceptance or rejection of the political objectives which may determine the direction and scope of their human rights activities, in particular on the question of violence as a legitimate means of political opposition.


Voluntary Organisation Political Prisoner Support Movement Joint Working Group Campaign Work 
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© Writers and Scholars Educational Trust 1979

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  • Marguerite Garling

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