Amnesty depicts a bleak picture | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 23, 2018


Amnesty depicts a bleak picture

Says 'politics of hate' spreading globally

World leaders are undermining human rights for millions of people with regressive policies and hate-filled rhetoric, but their actions have ignited global protest movements in response, a rights group said.

US President Donald Trump, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and China's President Xi Jinping were among a number of politicians who rolled out regressive policies in 2017, according to Amnesty International's annual human rights report published yesterday.

The human rights body also mentioned the leaders of Egypt, the Philippines and Venezuela.

"The spectres of hatred and fear now loom large in world affairs, and we have few governments standing up for human rights in these disturbing times," Salil Shetty, Amnesty's secretary-general, said.

"Instead, leaders such as el-Sisi, Duterte, Maduro, Putin, Trump and Xi are callously undermining the rights of millions."

Amnesty's The State of the World's Human Rights report cites Trump's controversial travel ban prohibiting entrants to the US from six Muslim-majority countries, Venezuelan authorities' use of force against demonstrators and unlawful killings in the Philippines' anti-drug war as evidence of policies resulting in an international regression on human rights.

More than 20,000 people have been killed since June 2016 in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drug campaign, according to an internal report.

The regressive approach to human rights adopted by a number of world leaders has, however, inspired new waves of social activism and protest, Amnesty said, highlighting the example of the Women's March in January last year, which began in the US before becoming a global protest.

Shetty singled out Trump for criticism, saying the travel ban "set the scene for a year in which leaders took the politics of hate to its most dangerous conclusion".

Trump is setting a "dangerous precedent" on human rights, Amnesty warned as it released the report at a press conference in Washington, DC, citing the president's discrimination of transgender individuals, verbal attacks on the media, and anti-immigration rhetoric.

It is the first time Amnesty has published its annual human rights assessment - started in 1961 - in the US.

The number of hate groups in the US grew by more than four percent last year, according to US-based civil rights watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center, marking a 20 percent rise since 2014.

Amnesty's report - covering 159 countries - arrives amid a number of ongoing humanitarian crises worldwide.

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