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of fear fuelling divisions - Amnesty
May 22, 2007
LONDON, May 23 (Reuters)
- The politics of fear are fuelling human rights abuses and creating
a dangerously divided world, Amnesty International said in a sombre
assessment of man's inhumanity around the globe.
is as polarised as it was at the height of the Cold War and in many
ways far more dangerous," Irene Khan, secretary-general of
the human rights pressure group said in its latest
annual report published on Wednesday.
She said fear has been
a positive motivator for change over global warming with politicians
being forced belatedly into action by the pressure of public opinion.
But she said fear was
being used to erode the rights of people -- all in the name of greater
Pointing an accusing
finger around the globe from Washington to Harare, Amnesty blamed
governments for undermining human rights and feeding racism with
short-sighted, fear-mongering and divisive policies.
"The politics of
fear are fuelling a downward spiral of human rights abuses in which
no right is sacrosanct," Khan said in the 2007 dossier from
the pressure group which boasts 2.2 million members in more than
"The 'war on terror'
and the war in Iraq, with their catalogue of human rights abuses,
have created deep divisions that cast a shadow on international
relations," she said.
Amnesty accused President
Bush of invoking fear of terrorism to enhance his executive power.
"The U.S. administration's double speak has been breathtakingly
shameless," it said.
The pressure group said
the Sudanese government is running rings round the United Nations
over Darfur where 200,000 people have died in the conflict.
"Darfur is a bleeding
wound on world conscience," it said.
Amnesty said Australian
Prime Minister John Howard's government had raised a false alarm
by portraying desperate asylum-seekers in leaky boats as a threat
to Australia's national security.
Robert Mugabe played on racial fears to push his own political agenda
and grab land for his supporters, Amnesty said.
The human rights update
makes for grim reading -- from the prosecution of writers in Turkey
to the killing of left-wing activists in the Philippines and soaring
violence in Brazil.
In Colombia and Cambodia,
in Cuba and Uzbekistan, Amnesty said the Internet has become the
new frontier in the struggle for the right to dissent.
It said increasing polarisation
had strengthened the hand of extremists with Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
both on the increase. Fear feeds discontent and discrimination,
But after chronicling
a catalogue of unremitting gloom, Amnesty did end its annual report
on a positive note, arguing that human rights can be as effectively
tackled as global warming if public opinion can be galvanised around
"People Power will
change the face of human rights in the 21st century. Hope is very
much alive," it said.
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