Amnesty International has released its annual “State of the World’s Human Rights.” The report documents and evaluates the status of human rights around the world, providing regional and individual country reports. The report is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic.
In the report’s forward, Irene Khan, Amnesty’s Secretary General, describes the growing climate of fear that envelopes the globe. “Today far too many leaders are trampling freedom and trumpeting an ever-widening range of fears,” she writes, “fear of being swamped by migrants; fear of “the other” and of losing one’s identity; fear of being blown up by terrorists; fear of “rogue states” with weapons of mass destruction.” Moreover, this fear “thrives on myopic and cowardly leadership” who use real reasons for fear to promulgate “policies and strategies that erode the rule of law and human rights, increase inequalities, feed racism and xenophobia, divide and damage communities, and sow the seeds for violence and more conflict.”
The theme of fear is further reflected in Amnesty’s regional evaluation of Europe and Central Asia. There, fear has resulted in an increase in racially motivated attacks against immigrants, discrimination, and the development of or cooperation with states that violate fundamental human rights in the name of security and the “war on terror.” These violations include refusing due process, unlawful detention, torture, rendition, expulsion, and the repression of dissent. Most of the violations have occurred in former Soviet and Yugoslav states, but Western European states such as
In regard to Russia in particular, a number of human rights continued to be violated. These include the failure to solve the murders of journalists, the government’s clamp down on NGOs, a tightening control over media, the use of detention, torture, abductions, and trial without jury, especially in the Chechnya and Ingushetia, the failure to prevent, and in some cases fostering, racial and sexual hatred, discrimination, and violence, government corruption, and the intimidation, repression, and harassment of dissidents.
The bulk of
At the same time, Amnesty’s language is neither overly condemning or harsh when it comes to
A more forceful conclusion is that human rights violations continue unabated because “human rights” as an international doctrine is an utter sham. Countries like
However, most democratic and semi-democratic states are much more legalistic when it comes to violating human rights. Through the application of law, the definition of “human” or “citizen” is tightened to narrow the legal field of who can claim “rights”. For example,