Human Rights In Various Regions

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  • by Anup Shah
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It has been over 50 years since the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by most governments in the world and yet the abuses continue to grow.

Freedom of Speech and Human Rights are taken for granted in the west, but recent years have seen conditions deteriorate around the world. As early as 1997 for example, Human Rights conditions were reported to remain unchanged compared to previous years, or in some countries, actually worsen, around the world. In 1998 for example, the UN reported that even though over a hundred governments had agreed to help outlaw some of the worse violations of rights, torture was still on the increase.

As the New World Order marched on towards the new century it did not look as bright and cheerful for most people as we would have imagined, or hoped, it to be.

With the war on terror triggered by the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, the situation for human rights seems to have deteriorated, with not only terrorists committing human rights violations, but also powerful governments who are sacrificing rights for security. Amnesty International, in its 2004 report noted the set back for international values of human rights:

Violence by armed groups and increasing violations by governments have combined to produce the most sustained attack on human rights and international humanitarian law in 50 years. This was leading to a world of growing mistrust, fear and division.

… Amnesty International strongly condemned armed groups responsible for atrocities [representing] a significant new threat to international justice…. But it is also frightening that the principles of international law and the tools of multilateral action which could protect us from these attacks are being undermined, marginalized or destroyed by powerful governments, said Irene Khan [Secretary General of Amnesty International].

Governments are losing their moral compass, sacrificing the global values of human rights in a blind pursuit of security. This failure of leadership is a dangerous concession to armed groups.

…The war on terror and the war in Iraq has encouraged a new wave of human rights abuse and diverted attention from old ones … while many governments are openly pursuing repressive agendas.

While governments have been obsessed with the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, they have allowed the real weapons of mass destruction—injustice and impunity, poverty, discrimination and racism, the uncontrolled trade in small arms, violence against women and abuse of children—to go unaddressed, said Irene Khan.

Report 2004: War on global values, Amnesty International, May 26, 2004 (Link is to reposted version on this site)

There are so many examples of various countries, corporations and institutions violating human rights. Some are contributing to suppressing rights in other countries. Others are ignoring the plight of people in other countries whose rights are denied due to their own economic and political interests in those other countries.

Human rights include a variety of aspects, from civil and political rights, to socio-economic rights. (Interestingly, as the Human Development Report 2000 from the United Nations points out, during the Cold War, the rich western nations were arguing basically for civil and political rights, while the socialist countries, and some developing countries, were demanding more social and economic rights. Human rights then, was a propaganda tool with both sides using the same words, but for different reasons.)

There are so many abuses that it would take too long to mention here. However, a few that do come to mind that have even made it into the mainstream media (although not always accurately) include those that are presented on this site. The links to these can be seen below. Over time more will be added.

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Amnesty International condemned both terrorist groups and governments for destroying the values of international law and human rights