‘The State of the World’s Human Rights’ assessment report

Date: 22nd March 2017
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

The Amnesty International assessment report for 2016/17 states that 2016 will go down in history as an 'annus horribilis' when it comes to human rights, describing 'toxic rhetoric', "a vacuum of leadership on a chaotic world stage", "a lack of political will" and "divisive fear mongering".

Around 23 per cent of the 159 countries analysed violated international law by sending refugees back to a country where their rights were at risk, another 15 per cent committed war crimes and 14 per cent of governments killed people for peacefully standing up for their fellow human beings.
At what point did human rights start unravelling across the world?

Dr Bronwen Manby, Visiting Senior Fellow in LSE's Centre for the Study of Human Rights, said 9/11 marked a change in international support for human rights.

"Up until then, we had a decade of positive trajectory. Of course, there were many problems in the world but there was the sense that things were fundamentally moving in the right direction, that there was at least some will to address them," she said. Since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the commitment to human rights has waned among some key governments.

"Part of the issue lies in the presumption that the United States and European Union are the arbiters of human rights on the world stage, leading by example and putting pressure on other countries to live up to international standards."

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, is quoted as saying the "toxic rhetoric being used by politicians around the world risks taking us into a dark age of human rights and could lead to profound consequences for us all".

Many strong economies have turned on refugees and migrants in recent years in the guise of "protecting national interests and pursuing narrow self-interests", the report claims.