'Nations blocking justice'

Noting that repression and injustice are making millions of people vulnerable to abuse, Amnesty International asked the nations, including India, that failed to sign up to the International Criminal Court, to show their commitment for the tribunal.

Launching ‘Amnesty International Report 2010: State of the World’s Human Rights’ Claudio Cordone, Interim Secretary General of the organisation, said: “Repression and injustice are flourishing in the global justice gap, condemning millions of people to abuse, oppression and poverty.”

“Governments must ensure that no one is above the law, and that everyone has access to justice for all human rights violations. Until governments stop subordinating justice to political self-interest, freedom from fear and freedom from want will remain elusive for most of humanity.”

It asked governments to ensure accountability for their own actions, fully sign up to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ensure that crimes under international law can be prosecuted anywhere in the world.

Set an example

“The states claiming global leadership, including the G-20, have a particular responsibility to set an example,” the report said.

“The international review meeting on the court, beginning in Kampala, Uganda on May 31, is a chance for governments to show their commitment to the court.”

The UN Human rights council’s paralysis over Sri Lanka, despite serious abuses including possible war crimes carried out by both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also stood as a testament to the international community’s failure to act when needed, it said.

In the Middle East and North Africa, there were patterns of governmental intolerance of criticism in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia, and mounting repression in Iran.

In Asia, the Chinese government increased pressure on challenges to its authority, detaining and harassing human rights defenders, while thousands fled severe repression and economic hardship in North Korea and Myanmar.

Space for independent voices and civil society shrank in parts of Europe and Central Asia, and there were restrictions on freedom of expression in Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Uzbekistan.

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