Amnesty Report 2006: disadvantaged pay price of war on terror

Friday, May 26, 2006

The human rights watchdog NGO Amnesty International described 2005 as a year of contradictions with signs of hope for human rights being undermined through "deception and failed promises" of "arrogant" governments. Amnesty International issues annual reports on the development of human rights issues, with detailed reports on the situation in every individual country.

Displaced children at a refugee camp - Darfur, Sudan. Image from Wikimedia commons

At the launch of its 2006 International Report, the Secretary General for Amnesty International (AI), Irene Khan, said that a number of governments have "paralyzed international institutions and squandered public resources in pursuit of narrow security interests, sacrificed principles in the name of the 'war on terror' and turned a blind eye to massive human rights violations. As a result, the world has paid a heavy price, in terms of erosion of fundamental principles and in the enormous damage done to the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people".

According to the release report, Iraq sank into a "vortex of sectarian violence in 2005." Secretary General Khan warned: "When the powerful are too arrogant to review and reassess their strategies, the heaviest price is paid by the poor and powerless – in this case, ordinary Iraqi women, men and children." A 2004 Lancet study estimates that 100,000 excess deaths have occurred with roughly three times as many injured since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Continuing her criticism of international bodies, Ms Khan stated that "Intermittent attention and feeble action by the United Nations and the African Union fell pathetically short of what was needed in Darfur," referring to the conflict that a number of reports estimate has killed over 300,000 people.


The Amnesty International annual report claims that European governments have been "partners in crime with the United States," by defying the absolute ban on torture through the alleged use of extraordinary rendition.

The United Kingdom pursued "diplomatic assurances" to deport people to countries where they face torture. "Just as we must condemn terrorist attacks on civilians in the strongest possible terms, we must resist claims by governments that terror can be fought with torture. Such claims are misleading, dangerous and wrong - you cannot extinguish a fire with petrol," said Ms Khan. "Powerful governments are playing a dangerous game with human rights. The score card of prolonged conflicts and mounting human rights abuses is there for all to see ... the ‘war on terror' is failing and will continue to fail until human rights and human security are given precedence over narrow national security interests," said Ms Khan.

Amnesty Key Demands

Amnesty International list their key demands in 2006: to address the conflict and end human rights abuses in Darfur; to negotiate for an Arms Trade Treaty to govern the trade of small arms so that they cannot be used to commit human rights abuses; that the US Administration close Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and disclose the names and locations of all ‘war on terror' prisoners elsewhere; and to insist on equal standards of respect of human rights from all governments, whether in Darfur or Guantánamo, Chechnya or China.

"The political and moral authority of governments will be increasingly judged on their stand on human rights at home and abroad. More than ever the world needs those countries with power and international influence... to behave with responsibility and respect for human rights. Governments must stop playing games with human rights," declared Ms Khan.



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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.