Economic crisis is a human rights time bomb, says Amnesty

By staff writers
June 2, 2009

Billions of people throughout the world suffer from insecurity, injustice and indignity and the international NGO Amnesty International, is demanding that world leaders invest in human rights as strongly as they are investing in the economy.

Amnesty’s newly published 2009 annual report on the state of the world’s human rights warns that the economic downturn has turned attention away from human rights, aggravated abuses and created new problems.

Human rights must not be trampled on in the name of economic recovery, says Amnesty. At the same time, economic justice must be seen as a priority and not just individual, political and social rights.

The four strands are deeply inter-linked, say campaigners.

"Poverty is not inevitable. The billions of people who live in poverty are shut out, ignored and denied security by the actions and failures of the powerful. This is a human rights crisis," declares the Demand Dignity 'global action theme' adopted by Amnesty (

Amnesty's summary says: "2008 was marked by a global financial crisis and the numbers of people living in poverty and subjected to human rights abuse are likely to grow. Whatever plan is pursued, whatever projects are prioritized, whatever aid package is agreed, any solution to poverty without human rights at its core will fail to have a long-term impact.

"Protecting the rights of those living poverty, the right to health, the right to education, the right to housing and the right to live to live without fear of persecution, repression and discrimination, is not just an option – it is an essential piece of any solution.

"Global poverty – exacerbated by the financial crisis – has created a burning platform for human rights change. Amnesty International is launching a new campaign in 2009. Under the banner of 'Demand Dignity', we will mobilize people to seek accountability for human rights abuses that drive and deepen poverty."

Amnesty concludes: "We will challenge discriminatory laws, policies and practices and demand concrete measures to overcome the factors that impoverish and keep people poor."

For more on the 2009 AI international report, including webcasts, go to:

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