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Security agenda has thwarted rights progess worldwide: Amnesty annual report

[JURIST] Amnesty International [advocacy website] Tuesday condemned what it termed the continuing "sacrifice" of rights to expediency in the war on terror, denounced the US and its allies for turning a blind-eye on human rights abuses or dodging responsibility for violations, called for governments to renounce torture and accused Russia and China [JURIST news archives] of using human rights abuses to pursue their own agenda in its 2006 report on human rights [summary; text; news release]. Amnesty said the "double standards" put forth by the world's most powerful countries substantially weakened their credibility as human rights champions, and that the "security agenda of the powerful and privileged [had] hijacked the energy and attention of the world from serious human rights crises."

Launching the report at a press conference in London, Amnesty chief Irene Khan said [remarks transcript]:

The..."war on terror" is failing and will continue to fail until human rights....are given precedence over narrow national security interests... Doublespeak and double standards by powerful governments are dangerous because they weaken the ability of the international community to address human rights problems.
Amnesty nonetheless acknowledged there were a few positive and hopeful developments in international human rights last year, such as the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive], the enforcement of the international arrest warrant for former Peruvian leader Alberto Fujimori [JURIST news archive] and the worldwide support for the Make Poverty History [advocacy website] campaign. Amnesty called for the world to focus on ending the genocide in the war-torn Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan, international action against the small arms trade, and the closure of Guantanamo Bay. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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