Amnesty: Collapse in World Leadership Undermined Pro-Democracy Protesters

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 7:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Amnesty International, in its 50th annual human rights report, says a collapse in world leadership has undermined the courage of pro-democracy protesters around the world, especially in Syria.

The group says the U.N. Security Council seems ineffective, out of step, and unable to fulfill its mandate. It says Russian and Chinese intransigence puts the credibility of the Council at risk, and the determination of “some” Council members to shield Syria at any cost betrays the Syrian people and leaves those responsible for crimes in Syria elusive.

It says international powerhouses are more interested in financial interests than human rights as they jostle for influence in the Middle East and North Africa.

While Russian and Chinese vetoes in the Security Council ruled out tougher action against Syria, Amnesty calls on the United States to be more vocal about the need to respect human rights and civil society.

On other topics, Amnesty says there was no improvement in 2011 in North Korea's “horrific” human rights record.

It says the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East resonated strongly in sub-Saharan Africa, but authorities in Angola, Senegal, and Uganda used excessive force against protesters.

Amnesty says Israel expanded settlements and kept its blockade against Gaza while Palestinian forces kept up their attacks on Israeli territory.

The group says Iran's government tolerates no dissent, while Burmese human rights violations in ethnic minority groups offset some of the progress made in political freedom.

But the report notes progress, calling the arrests of Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic and Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic “landmark steps towards justice in Europe.”