The global economic crisis is exacerbating human rights abuses, Amnesty International has warned. In its annual report, the group said the downturn had distracted attention from abuses and created new problems.
Rising prices meant millions were struggling to meet basic needs in Africa and Asia, it said, and protests were being met with repression. Political conflict meant people were suffering in DR Congo, North Korea, Gaza and Darfur, among others, it said.
The 400-page report, compiled in 157 countries, said that human rights were being relegated to the back seat in pursuit of global economic recovery.
Region by region
The world’s poorest people were bearing the brunt of the economic downturn, Amnesty said, and millions of people were facing insecurity and indignity. Migrant workers in China, indigenous groups in Latin America and those who struggled to meet basic needs in Africa had all been hit hard, it said. Where people had tried to protest, their actions had in many cases been met with repression and violence.
The group warned that rising poverty could lead to instability and mass violence. “The underlying global economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis: a combination of social, economic and political problems has created a time-bomb of human rights abuses,” said Amnesty’s Secretary General, Irene Khan.
The group is launching a new campaign called Demand Dignity aimed at tackling the marginalisation of millions through poverty. World leaders should set an example and invest in human rights as purposefully as they invest in economic growth, Ms Khan said.
“Economic recovery will be neither sustainable nor equitable if governments fail to tackle abuses that drive and deepen poverty, or armed conflicts that generate new violations,” she said.