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article imageAmnesty International releases annual report on human rights

By Andrew Moran     May 27, 2010 in World
London - Amnesty International has released its 2010 annual report where it criticizes numerous governments for ignoring human rights violations by others. The report also criticized Canada for not protecting the rights of aboriginal people.
Amnesty International has been in the news consistently lately. The human rights group urged Iraq to investigate its secret prison allegations where many prisoners say they were raped and sodomized with broomstick handles and guns and were forced to have sexual intercourse with inmates.
The group urged Sri Lanka to end its emergency laws and called upon the international community to immediately establish an independent panel to investigate alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan government. The group also wants Iran to end its persecution against the Baha’is.
“The State of the World's Human Rights”
On Thursday, Amnesty International released its annual report on human rights where it goes into specific detail as to what nations are complicit in human rights violations, what kind of measures these governments have implemented, the current state of affairs and its view on human rights issues across the globe.
United States, Guantanamo Bay and the International Crimes Court
Amnesty harshly criticized President Barack Obama and his promise to close the military detention facility Guantanamo Bay, which was ordered to shut down in January. The President has not yet offered a new deadline.
The human rights organization said there was some progress but provided doubt that anyone would be held accountable for those who allegedly committed acts of torture, according to interim Secretary-General Claudio Cordone.
“There were some good signs when they promised to close (Guantanamo). However it's still open, and still using military commissions that don't meet international standards."
Amnesty further criticized the U.S., and other members of the G20, for not signing up for the International Criminal Court, reports Voice of America. Therefore, they feel the Obama administration has not completely defended human rights.
United Nations Security Council and Israel’s alleged war crimes
Amnesty accused members of the European Union and the UN Security Council, including the U.S., of using their influence to obstruct international justice by shielding Israel from accountability for its war crime allegations.
Many within the international community feel Israel committed various acts of war crimes during 2009’s Gaza War. Amnesty provided examples of what Israel did exactly but would not provide sources for those claims.
However, the U.S. State Department, according to the Associated Press, said its agrees that the parties involved in last year’s Gaza War should be held accountable “for any violations that may have occurred in relation to the Gaza conflict.”
The war crimes and human rights crisis in Sri Lanka
The government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have both been accused of committing war crimes during the final stages of the civil war that ended one year ago.
Amnesty International feels that the allies of Sri Lanka, including Russia and China, have blocked legal accountability for alleged abuses by voting for a measure that stated the war was an internal issue and not one that merited involvement from external forces.
The rights group accuses both sides in Sri Lanka of purposely targeting civilians, hospitals and various other places within the country during the civil war. More than 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed and approximately 50,000 were injured, while more than 100,000 still remain inside of the displacement camps, which have been described as treacherous.
“Those events are a setback to the progress made elsewhere last year in ensuring justice and accountability,” said Cordone.
Britain’s involvement in torture
“We look forward to an inquiry that is truly independent and looks not only at potential criminal responsibility but also at Britain's co-operation agreements with the United States and other countries. It should leave no stone unturned,” said Cordone, reports the Guardian.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague promised an independent inquiry to decide which individuals should be indicted for possible torture charges.
The purpose of the panel is to establish who authorized secret interrogation policy, who knew on Downing Street that Binyam Mohamed was tortured and the specific details as to what former Secretaries David Miliband and Alan Johnson knew.
Canada not protecting the rights of aboriginals
The organization’s report states that the Canadian authorities have not properly protected the rights of the aboriginal community in the country, reports CBC News. The report further stated that when issuing licenses for mining and logging, officials “failed to ensure respect for indigenous rights.”
Amnesty claims the government is not creating a plan to tackle the issue of violence against aboriginal women and, instead, making “baseless claims” that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not apply to Canada.
It also highlighted that Canada did not seek the permission of the Lubicon Cree to develop oil and gas in northern Alberta.
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