Faith divisions increase risk of conflict says Amnesty
Divisions between people of different faiths have widened, making further conflict more likely, while ìgenuine fearsî have been instilled across all sections of society during the last year Amnesty International have said in their Annual report.
According to the report the ìWar on Terrorî has also made the world a more dangerous place. In the past year human rights have been threatened, international laws undermined and governments shielded from scrutiny. As a result, people around the world felt deeply insecure said Amnesty.
The report comes a week after the Home Office announced that the number of days people could be held in Britain without charge may be doubled, and as more than 600 people are being held by the US without charge or trial in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Amnesty International also drew attention to the human rights crisis in Israel and the occupied territories, saying the situation was among the least acted upon by the international community last year.
It is also suggested that human rights activists also continue to face new challenges. The war on Iraq has dominated the international agenda, diverting attention from other vital human rights issues. "Forgotten" conflicts have taken a heavy toll on human rights and human lives ñ in CÙte d'Ivoire, Colombia, Burundi, Chechnya and Nepal.
"Iraq and Israel and the Occupied Territories are in the news ñ Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not, despite the imminent threat of genocide, said Irene Khan, Amnesty International's Secretary General.
"Drawing attention to 'hidden' crises, protecting the rights of the 'forgotten victims' is the biggest challenge we face today."
Governments have spent billions to strengthen national security and the "war on terror". Yet for millions of people, the real sources of insecurity are corruption, repression, discrimination, extreme poverty and preventable diseases, says the report.
But human rights defenders also celebrated some successes during 2002, such as the establishment of the International Criminal Court, which marked a breakthrough in the struggle against impunity for the worst crimes known to humanity.
The Amnesty International Report 2003 documents human rights abuses in 151 countries and territories during 2002. It is a contribution to the work of human rights defenders "struggling to achieve a safer world, a world where human rights take priority over political, military or economic interests."