Growing Repression, Racism, Violence Tied to Global Recession Says Amnesty International
By Claire West
Underlying the global economic recession is an unfolding human rights crisis with growing signs of unrest and political violence that risk even greater repression, inequality, racism and violence around the world, said Amnesty International in its 2009 annual report on the state of human rights.
Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said that while world leaders are focused on attempts to revive the global economy, they are neglecting deadly conflicts that are spawning massive human rights abuses. "Ignoring one crisis to focus on another is a recipe for aggravating both. Economic recovery will be neither sustainable nor equitable if governments fail to tackle human rights abuses that drive and deepen poverty, or armed conflicts that generate new violations."
Khan said there are growing signs of unrest and political violence raising the risk that recession will lead to even greater repression, citing the harsh reactions of governments to protests against economic, social and political conditions in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Cameroon and other African countries. Impunity of police and security forces was widespread.
Khan said billions of people are suffering from insecurity, injustice and indignity and the economic downturn is aggravating the abuses and has created new problems. "This crisis is about shortages of food, jobs, clean water, land and housing, and also about deprivation and discrimination, growing inequality, xenophobia and racism, violence and repression across the world.
"In the name of security, human rights were trampled on. Now, in the name of economic recovery, they are being relegated to the back seat," she said.
Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director, noted that the organization welcomed President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo and reject torture. He called on the president to take another critical step to putting to rest the harmful national security policies of the Bush administration.
"Now, the president must ensure that... continued on page two >