[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Wednesday released its Annual Report 2015/16 [text], a summary of an international survey of human rights concluding that “short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights.” AI attributes much of this failure to a lack of accountability in the international system, as the UN and other intergovernmental bodies are largely unable to enforce human rights without the consent of the nations involved. In reviewing the status of human rights in 160 nations in 2015, AI stated that torture and violations of the “laws of war” continue to be prevalent and that governmental crackdowns on activists have increased. “Millions of people are suffering enormously at the hands of states and armed groups, while governments are shamelessly painting the protection of human rights as a threat to security, law and order or national values,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. In sum, AI is calling on intergovernmental bodies to crackdown on international human rights violations, and on specific governments to respect the rights of their people.
Last month, Human Rights Watch released a report [JURIST report] discussing human rights issues in more than 90 countries throughout 2015. World Report 2016, the rights group’s twenty-sixth edition of the report, which spans 659 pages, includes short summaries of important rights topics before breaking down rights concerns by country. One major theme of this report is the treatment of refugees worldwide, especially those driven out of Syria by the Islamic State, calling Europe’s approach to refugees counter productive. The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. In November UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly and cautioned the international community to avoid discrimination against Muslims, especially refugees and migrants entering Europe, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a week earlier. Also that month Amnesty International analyzed [JURIST report] the EU’s approach to the refugee crisis and recommends changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued