Article Details

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Rights Aren't Wrong in Tough Times

Categories: Resources:Human Rights | Published: 26/01/2015 | Views: 1085
Human Rights Watch's 25th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. Summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide.

Governments make a big mistake when they ignore human rights to counter serious security challenges, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its annual world report. In the 644-page World Report 2015, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay,

Executive Director Kenneth Roth highlights the counterproductive circle-the-wagons approach to human rights that many governments adopted during the past tumultuous year.    "Human rights violations played a major role in spawning or aggravating many of today's crises," Roth said. "Protecting human rights and ensuring democratic accountability are key to resolving them. In too many countries, including Kenya, Egypt, and China, governments and security forces have responded to real or perceived terrorism threats with abusive policies that ultimately fuel crises.

In Egypt, the government's crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood sends the utterly counterproductive message that if political Islamists pursue power at the polls, they will be repressed without protest - which could encourage violent approaches. In France, there is a danger that the government's response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks - using counterterrorism legislation to prosecute speech that does not incite violence - will have a chilling effect on free expression and encourage other governments to use such laws to silence their critics.

The rise of the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is among those global challenges that have sparked a subordination of human rights, Human Rights Watch said. But ISIS did not emerge out of nowhere. In addition to the security vacuum left by the US invasion of Iraq, the sectarian and abusive policies of the Iraqi and Syrian governments, international indifference to them, have been important factors in fueling ISIS.

A similar dynamic is at play in Nigeria, where human rights concerns are central to the conflict. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram attacks civilians as well as Nigeria's security forces, bombing markets, mosques, and schools and abducting hundreds of girls and young women. Nigeria's army has often responded in an abusive manner, rounding up hundreds of men and boys suspected of supporting Boko Haram, detaining, abusing, and even killing them. But winning the "hearts and minds" of the civilian population will require that the government transparently investigate alleged army abuses and punish offenders.

In Egypt, the government's crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood sends the utterly counterproductive message that if political Islamists pursue power at the polls, they will be repressed without protest - which could encourage violent approaches. In France, there is a danger that the government's response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks - using counterterrorism legislation to prosecute speech that does not incite violence - will have a chilling effect on free expression and encourage other governments to use such laws to silence their critics.



Download the full report here



Print Bookmark and Share

Return to previous page
https://www.justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk/Campaigns/HumanRights/tabid/84/ctl/details/itemid/1638/mid/554/Default.aspx