NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, -- Governments' continued failure to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and other human rights violations is undermining progress toward justice and condemning millions to repression, violence, abuse and poverty with no recourse, Amnesty International said in its annual assessment of human rights worldwide.
This global "justice gap" sustains a pernicious web of repression, the organization said, releasing its 2010 State of the World's Human Rights report. The organization said it recorded 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.
The new report documents abuses in 159 countries, and concludes 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.
Amnesty International called on governments to ensure accountability for their own actions and fully sign up to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure that crimes under international law can be prosecuted anywhere in the world. It said states claiming global leadership, including the G20, have a particular responsibility to set an example and urged the United States, China, Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to sign on to the International Criminal Court.
Claudio Cordone, interim Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: "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."
Mass forced evictions of people from their homes in Africa, for example in Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, often driving people deeper into poverty.
Increased reports of domestic violence against women, rape, sexual abuse, and murder and mutilation after rape, in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Jamaica.
Millions of migrants in Asia-Pacific countries including South Korea, Japan and Malaysia faced exploitation, violence and abuse.
A sharp rise in racism, xenophobia and intolerance in Europe and Central Asia.
In the Middle East and North Africa, attacks by armed groups – some apparently aligned with al-Qa'ida – in states such as Iraq and Yemen, heightened insecurity.
Women, especially the poor, bore the brunt of the failure to deliver on these goals. Pregnancy-related complications claimed the lives of an estimated 350,000 women, with maternal mortality often directly caused by gender discrimination, violations of sexual and reproductive rights, and denial of access to health care.
Please visit www.amnestyusa.org for more information.
SOURCE Amnesty International