On Friday July 12, Edward Snowden made a statement to human rights groups from inside Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Wikileaks reports, “The meeting lasted 45 minutes. The human rights organizations included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and were given the opportunity afterwards to ask Mr. Snowden questions. The Human Rights Watch representative used this opportunity to tell Mr. Snowden that on her way to the airport she had received a call from the US Ambassador to Russia, who asked her to relay to Mr. Snowden that the US Government does not categorise Mr. Snowden as a whistleblower and that he has broken United States law.”
Snowden began his statement by saying, “Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.
It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance.”
Snowden then cited the Nuremberg Principles which state, “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring,” adding that he did what he believed was right “and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing.”
Despite the financial impact, and attempts by the US government to “make an example” of him, Snowden says he has no regrets.
Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have offered asylum to the whistleblower who said, “I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum.”
Gawker reports the World Service Authority issued a passport to Edward Snowden “in an effort to affirm the right to the freedom of travel and the right to seek refuge from persecution.” But, Gawker says the WSA Passport may not be needed, “Traveling to his permanent place of asylum won’t require a passport under the United Nation’s 1951 Refugee Convention.”
I applaud the WSA for issuing a passport to Edward Snowden, and support the idea of a nation-less world in which individuals have the right to travel freely. I support the idea so much that I founded Individuals Without Borders which recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.