Rights Eroded in War on Terrorism, Amnesty Says

The Bush administration has “openly eroded human rights” to win the war on terrorism and sparked a backlash that has made the world more dangerous, Amnesty International charged yesterday.

“As a strategy, the war on terror is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle,” Amnesty’s secretary general, Irene Khan, asserted in releasing the human rights group’s annual report. She condemned militants unequivocally but said governments are “losing their moral compass.”

“Sacrificing human rights in the name of security at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad, and using preemptive military force where and when it chooses have neither increased security nor ensured liberty,” Kahn said of the United States.

America vs. Human Rights
America employs double standards on human rights issues. While Washington chides and attacks other countries regarding real or perceived humen rights violations, the USA studiously and stubbornly refuses to acknowledge – let alone address – America’s own human rights violations. Meanwhile the USA fights against international justice by lying about the International Criminal Court, and by bribing and threathening countries into siding with Washington.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz:
the American public has been deceived” (RealPlayer)

Amnesty’s report comes amid deepening questions about U.S. interrogation techniques and the treatment of international prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Abuses have led to criminal charges against American soldiers and a range of inquiries into what orders and understandings were given by higher-ups.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan quickly dismissed Amnesty’s conclusions. “My response is that the war on terrorism has resulted in the liberation of 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the protection of their rights,” McClellan said. “People in those countries did not have the kinds of protections that we’re used to in the United States, and now they do.”

Amnesty researchers identified 177 violent groups that have operated in 65 countries in the past four years. More than half have killed civilians, and one in five has committed rapes or other sexual violence.

The response by governments has often been troubling and self-defeating, Amnesty officials said. Under cover of fighting “terrorists,” many governments killed civilians and used torture and indefinite detention to challenge militants.

William F. Schulz, the organization’s U.S. director, called it a “global street brawl, with governments and armed groups duking it out and innocent civilians suffering severely.”

Among examples of repression, Amnesty pointed to China’s persecution of Uighurs, Egypt’s treatment of Islamists and the brutal fight by Russia to prevent Chechen independence. Spain and France drew criticism for what Amnesty called “regressive” anti-terrorist restrictions.

Amnesty challenged the Bush administration for using what it termed “indiscriminate and disproportionate means.” A central argument is that the United States, long seen as a model, weakens international norms when it fails to honor the Geneva Conventions or guarantee access to lawyers and public, nonmilitary trials.

Hundreds of foreigners remained in indefinite detention without charge or trial outside the U.S. mainland, Amnesty noted. The nonprofit organization also said the United States had unlawfully killed Iraqi citizens.

State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher questioned Amnesty’s conclusions, calling Khan’s comment about the U.S. anti-terrorism fight being bereft of vision “a sound bite that we would disagree with.”

“This president has enunciated a very clear vision of defending civilization, defending society, defending decency from people who want only destruction,” Boucher told reporters.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Washington Post, USA
May 27, 2004
Peter Slevin
www.washingtonpost.com

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This post was last updated: Monday, November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM, Central European Time (CET)