Amnesty International Press release
27 May 2010
The state of the world's human rights in 2010
A global justice gap is being made worse by power politics despite a landmark year for international justice, said Amnesty International today in its annual assessment of human rights worldwide.
Launching Amnesty International Report 2010: State of the World's Human Rights, which documents abuses in 159 countries, the organization said that powerful governments are blocking advances in international justice by standing above the law on human rights, shielding allies from criticism and acting only when politically convenient.
"Repression and injustice are flourishing in the global justice gap, condemning millions of people to abuse, oppression and poverty," said Claudio Cordone, interim Secretary General of Amnesty International.
"Governments must ensure that no one is above the law, and that everyone has access to justice for all human rights violations. Until governments stop subordinating justice to political self-interest, freedom from fear and freedom from want will remain elusive for most of humanity."
Amnesty International called on governments to ensure accountability for their own actions, fully sign up to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ensure that crimes under international law can be prosecuted anywhere in the world. It said that states claiming global leadership, including the G20, have a particular responsibility to set an example.
The International Criminal Court's 2009 arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes, was a landmark event demonstrating that even sitting heads of state are not above the law. However, the African Union's refusal to cooperate, despite the nightmare of violence that has affected hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur, was a stark example of governmental failure to put justice before politics.
The UN Human Rights Council's paralysis over Sri Lanka, despite serious abuses including possible war crimes carried out by both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also stood as a testament to the international community's failure to act when needed. Meanwhile, the recommendations of the Human Rights Council's Goldstone report calling for accountability for the conflict in Gaza still need to be heeded by Israel and Hamas.
Worldwide, the justice gap sustained a pernicious web of repression. Amnesty International's research records torture or other ill-treatment in at least 111 countries, unfair trials in at least 55 countries, restrictions on free speech in at least 96 countries and prisoners of conscience imprisoned in at least 48 countries.
Human rights organizations and human rights defenders came under attack in many countries, with governments preventing their work or failing to protect them.
In the Middle East and North Africa, there were patterns of governmental intolerance of criticism in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia, and mounting repression in Iran. In Asia, the Chinese government increased pressure on challenges to its authority, detaining and harassing human rights defenders, while thousands fled severe repression and economic hardship in North Korea and Myanmar.
Space for independent voices and civil society shrank in parts of Europe and Central Asia, and there were unfair restrictions on freedom of expression in Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Uzbekistan. The Americas were plagued by hundreds of unlawful killings by security forces, including in Brazil, Jamaica, Colombia and Mexico, while impunity for US violations related to counter-terrorism persisted. Governments in Africa such as Guinea and Madagascar met dissent with excessive use of force and unlawful killings, while Ethiopia and Uganda among others repressed criticism.
Callous disregard for civilians marked conflicts. Armed groups and government forces breached international law in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka and Yemen. In the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups unlawfully killed and injured civilians. Thousands of civilians suffered abuses in escalating violence by the Taleban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or bore the brunt of the conflicts in Iraq and Somalia. Women and girls suffered rape and other violence carried out by government forces and armed groups in most conflicts.
HOST AN EVENT ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Helping victims of human trafficking is as simple as talking to a friend. Host an event and invite the community to discuss the exploitation of human beings. At this campaign, we are eager to spread the word and we'd like to talk at any community event about human trafficking and victim identification.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 -- Complete Report (PDF)
-Introductory Material (PDF)
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF)
-Country Narratives: D-I (PDF)
-Country Narratives: J-M (PDF)
-Country Narratives: N-S (PDF)
-Country Narratives: T-Z and Special Case (PDF)
-Relevant International Conventions/Closing Material (PDF)
These are some of the things you can do to help fight human trafficking:
Be informed! Educate yourself about human trafficking by reading about it. Follow events in the news. Keep your eyes open - human trafficking is happening all around us.
Raise awareness! Talk to friends, family and colleagues. You could even start talking to your local politicians and authorities.
Get involved! Participate in an anti-trafficking movement in your area and get involved in its activities and campaigns (e.g. hold events, distribute posters, leaflets etc.) in your neighborhood and in schools.
Encourage businesses! Be a responsible consumer! Inform yourself on the labour policies of companies to ensure their products are free from slave labour and other forms of exploitation. If possible, buy fair trade products.
Seek support! If you suspect that someone has been trafficked report it to the institutions or assistance facilities dealing with human trafficking in your area.
"It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery."
– President Barack OBAMA