Governments worldwide in 2015 capitalized on supposed national security threats to trample over human rights.
That’s Amnesty International’s assessment of global human rights in its latest report.
“Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Driving some of the government attacks on human rights are “misguided reactions… to national security threats,” including “the crushing of civil society, the right to privacy and the right to free speech; and outright attempts to make human rights dirty words, packaging them in opposition to national security, law and order and ‘national values.’ Governments have even broken their own laws in this way,” he continued.
“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.'”
Looking at abuses “by the numbers,” the watchdog group found that:
- At least 122 countries tortured or otherwise ill-treated people;
- At least 30 or more countries illegally forced refugees to return to countries where they would be in danger;
- Over 60 million people were displaced from their homes;
- At least 113 countries arbitrarily restricted freedom of expression and the press; and
- At least 156 human rights defenders died in detention or were killed.
In addition to rights and rights defenders being under attack, so “are the laws and the system that protect them,” Shetty said.
The new report covers a wide range of abuses, such as Ireland’s restrictions on and criminalization of abortion and Australia’s disproportionate jailing of Indigenous people and its denial of rights to asylum-seekers.
The United States and some of its allies fared poorly as well.