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Amnesty International Human Rights Report: 'We Are Seeing a Catastrophe' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

In its annual report released on Thursday, Amnesty International scolds China and the United States for human rights violations. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, AI head Irene Khan warns that the global economic crisis is leading Western governments to put the push for universal human rights on the back burner.

 Amnesty International warns that the global financial crisis is distracting governments and that humanitarian crises and human rights issues are being put on the back burner. SPIEGEL ONLINE: The past year has been totally dominated by the global recession. That's even reflected in your annual report. How has it affected the human rights situation around the world?

Khan: We are seeing a catastrophe. After years of going down, the number of people in poverty is growing again. We saw social uprisings across Africa and China -- and very harsh repression by governments that left many protesters dead. Food shortages allowed several governments, among others Zimbabwe and North Korea, to use food as a political weapon.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Could that have been prevented?

Khan: Leading governments have been distracted by the recession. Humanitarian crises, like in Darfur and Palestine, do not get the attention they deserve. The poorest are hardest hit by the economic crisis, but all the thought and investment goes to shore up the economy and the banking system in the West. Human rights are put on a backburner.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it surprising to you that Western politicians think of their own countries first?

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:49:35 AM EST
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EUobserver / Economic crisis damaging human rights, report says

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Human rights violations remained widespread across the world in 2008, including Europe, with the global economic crisis not only aggravating the existing problems, but creating new ones as well, human rights group Amnesty International's yearly report released on Thursday (28 May) shows.

Roma communities and settlements in Italy have been subjected to ongoing discrimination

"The global economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis. A combination of social, economic and political problems has created a time bomb of human rights abuses [across the world]," said Irene Khan, the group's secretary general.

"There are growing signs of political unrest and violence, adding to the global insecurity that already exists because of deadly conflicts which the international community seems unable or unwilling to resolve. In other words: we are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode," she wrote in the introduction to Amnesty's report on the situation of human rights in the world.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:56:14 AM EST
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Amnesty accuses leaders of losing focus on human rights abuse | World | Deutsche Welle | 28.05.2009
Disaster is brewing and could lead to a humanitarian crisis of poverty, repression and unrest as human rights take a back seat to the global economic downturn, Amnesty International warns in its annual report. 

In its annual report, released on Thursday, Amnesty International details human rights abuses from China to the United States and Sri Lanka to Russia and says the ongoing economic crisis is partly to blame for deteriorating rights.


"Underlying the economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis. The economic downturn has aggravated abuses, distracted attention from them and created new problems," Amnesty chief Irene Khan said. "In other words: we are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode."

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:00:19 PM EST
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