“As we enter the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take our human rights for granted.”
SALIL SHETTY, SECRETARY GENERAL
The international human rights organization Amnesty International published an annual report on the state of the human rights in the world in 2017 on February 22, 2018. Human rights activists stated that 2017 demonstrated the destruction of the system of human rights protection. And this is not surprising. Since for the first time in a long time serious problems in this sphere have appeared in those countries that have always called themselves guarantors of democracy and legality: the USA, Australia and Western European countries.
According to the organization, the policy of President Donald Trump has a great impact on human rights. “Trump moved from the illegal rhetoric of discrimination and xenophobia into concrete actions threatening a major rollback on justice and freedom”. The efforts of US President Donald Trump to ban entry to all citizens of several Muslim-majority countries based on their nationality was a transparently hateful move. Among other American problems, human rights activists noted attacks on the press, disregard for women’s rights, attempts to deprive millions of people of access to health care. In addition, the United States continued frequent attacks using firearms, and death sentences continue to be carried out. We may recall public statements by representatives of the administration of Donald Trump in support of torture of terror suspects.
The main problem of 2017 was the migration crisis. This is confirmed by the terrible situation of refugees in Libya. In addition, this issue was actively used for pre-election purposes in various European countries. In Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands, some candidates sought to transpose social and economic anxieties into fear and blame, especially against migrants, refugees and religious minorities.
A vivid example of society’s hatred of minorities was the monstrous military campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Almost 700 thousand people were forced to leave the country, fleeing violence and murder. It was the fastest-growing refugee crisis of 2017.
In Ukraine, the organization noted further regress in respect of human rights. The main reason for the opinion of human rights activists: the pressure from the authorities and ultra-right groups to criticize the government, journalists and non-profit organizations.
The growth of hatred has also affected Russia, where we witnessed a monstrous campaign of kidnapping, torturing and killing gays in Chechnya. According to human rights activists, another serious problem is the situation of Crimean Tatar activists. The report says that any disagreement with the position of the Crimean authorities is suppressed, people are arrested, fined, and their homes are searched.
Unfortunately, the organization also pointed to a number of violations in my native Spain. Amnesty International noted that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of Catalan independence supporters were disproportionally restricted. Dozens of people were prosecuted for “glorification of terrorism” and “humiliation of victims” on social media. Spain relocated fewer asylum-seekers than it had pledged to under the EU relocation scheme, and resettled fewer refugees than it had committed to.
Taking into account all the above-mentioned serious problems, we should also mention remarkable achievements in the struggle for human rights that were achieved in 2017. For example, in Chile, a complete ban on abortion was lifted, Taiwan came close to recognizing same-sex marriages, in Angola, the law restricting the activities of NGOs was abolished, and residents of the Nigeria achieved a landmark victory in the fight against forced evictions.
The greatest surprise and rejection is the deterioration of the human rights situation in the United States. With the current leadership, the US gradually ceases to be guarantors of democratic rights and freedoms of its own citizens. So in the very near future Washington will lose the moral right to advise its partners how they need to act in the development of democracy. I hope that this year will enable the guarantors of democracy and legality to confirm their commitment to the idea of human rights and change their attitude to this problem. Continue reading “Amnesty International: actions of guarantors of democracy have led to the destruction of respect for the human rights”