Accoun is an initiative to form a transnational movement to promote human rights by claiming accountability and legal equality, especially for government-related crime and abuse of power. The organization’s interim board of directors consists of:
- Dr. Leif Elinder, a retired Swedish paediatrician living in Uppsala, Sweden
- Dr. Muhammad Munir, associate professor at the Department of Law, Int’l Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan
- Sven Ruin, an engineer based in Köping, Sweden
- Ingvar Widell, who has worked for 30 years with refugees, now as a teacher, living in Köping, Sweden
Below is a translation of an article, published in the Swedish newspaper Sändaren on the 3 September 2013 (with added links), which was the starting point of Accoun:
Also I have a dream
Last week it was 50 years ago since Martin Luther King gave his famous speech that he had a dream, in which he urged against racial discrimination. I also have a dream. A dream that no person shall be abducted or be detained in secret. A dream that no more be tortured. A dream that no one should be punished without the possibility of a fair trial. A dream of equality before the law. A dream that people will always be able to tell the truth about crimes and abuses of power.
I’m not the only one with that dream. Human rights groups, among others, have long worked for much of this. However, it is clear that a much larger attendance is needed and that it is not enough just to defend the victims.
Unfortunately, it is often governments that are behind the abuses I mention, and it is their secrecy and lawlessness that can get the abuses to thrive. This seems to be a blind spot in the community in the sense that too little is done to put things right. I mean that a transnational movement is needed, that focus on demanding accountability for government-related crime and abuse of power.
Therefore I have taken the first step, to form the organization Accoun, as in “Accountability worldwide”. A model is Transparency International, which works to combat corruption.
Government-related abuses are in many ways more serious than ordinary criminality. Firstly, they can have huge consequences. For example, the Iraq war. Second, the victims have a hard time defending themselves and the perpetrators almost always go free. Another aspect is the funding – it is tax money that is secretly used, for instance for bribery, illegal surveillance, and death.
The issue is international and several countries are worse affected than Sweden, but also we have to improve. Perhaps the clearest example is the Egypt deportations in 2001. Another example, where a Swedish citizen is affected by another country, is the journalist Dawit Isaak.
To effectively stop the abuses, it must obviously be possible to increasingly hold those responsible to account. Of particular importance is that witnesses can come forward and speak out. Therefore, it is reprehensible that the Swedish protection of sources is threatened by an investigation proposal.
Martin Luther King’s struggle against racial discrimination is not over, even if it is well advanced. The path he chose – to fight without violence, inspired by Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi – should also inspire us to tackle other forms of injustice.
Those who are interested in the Accoun initiative are welcome to get in touch [link to contact page]