Amnesty calls out again (full report here), especially on the Western countries, including Europe, which is especially nailed against the wall for helping rendition (read: unlawful deportation of suspects).

“2007 was characterised by the impotence of Western governments and the ambivalence or reluctance of emerging powers to tackle some of the world’s worst human rights crises, ranging from entrenched conflicts to growing inequalities which are leaving millions of people behind,” said Ms Khan. (…)

“2008 presents an unprecedented opportunity for new leaders coming to power and countries emerging on the world stage to set a new direction and reject the myopic policies and practices that in recent years have made the world a more dangerous and divided place,” said Ms Khan.

Amnesty International challenged governments to set a new paradigm for collective leadership based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The most powerful must lead by example,” said Ms Khan.

  • China must live up to the human rights promises it made around the Olympic Games and allow free speech and freedom of the press and end “re-education through labour”.
  • The USA must close Guantánamo detention camp and secret detention centres, prosecute the detainees under fair trial standards or release them, and unequivocally reject the use of torture and ill-treatment.
  • Russia must show greater tolerance for political dissent, and none for impunity on human rights abuses in Chechnya.
  • The EU must investigate the complicity of its member states in “renditions” of terrorist suspects and set the same bar on human rights for its own members as it does for other countries.

Ms Khan warned: “World leaders are in a state of denial but their failure to act has a high cost. As Iraq and Afghanistan show, human rights problems are not isolated tragedies, but are like viruses that can infect and spread rapidly, endangering all of us.” (…)
“There is a growing demand from people for justice, freedom and equality.”

It’s about time isn’t it? It seems to boil down to: Western governments are both sitting on their hands when major human rights violations occur (yes, shouting while sitting on your hands is entirely possible), as well as undermine human rights within their own territory.

Europe remains a magnet for those seeking to escape persecution, violence or poverty, but still fails them with repressive approaches to irregular migration. Security is a paramount concern of states across the region, yet it is consistently undermined by those who privilege it over human rights in the name of counter-terrorism, or blatantly abuse it to stifle dissent or resist a challenge to the status quo.

The region is still unsafe territory for the countless victims of domestic violence.

It is also sadly true that this region, which regards itself as a beacon of human rights, still embraces a yawning gap between rhetoric and reality, standards and application, principles and performance.

States that entered voluntarily into the various commitments of the regional institutions, have equally voluntarily evaded their obligations – attacking and eroding human rights, and failing to find the political will needed to address key abuses.

Emphasis added. Read the full report here. No worries, ALL parts of the world get their fair share.