“The US government’s surveillance is thwarting Amnesty International’s ability to do our work to document and stop human rights abuses,” Shah said in a statement issued on Tuesday after Amnesty International joined a lawsuit against the NSA.
Shah explained that the Amnesty International's sources often include “survivors and witnesses to horrific abuses,” who are taking risk by reaching out to human rights activists.
The sources have to feel confident that whatever information they disclose is not being heard by anyone else. “If these witnesses and survivors of abuse fear we are under surveillance, they won’t talk to us — and if they don’t talk to us, we can’t do the work,” Shah added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, known for its internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, and other groups against NSA’s mass interception and surveillance program.
“This lawsuit is vital because the threat of mass surveillance makes our work to end torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses harder,” Shah concluded.
The plaintiffs in the case against NSA also include the Rutherford Institute, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch and The Nation Magazine.