Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Thursday released its 2010 Annual Report [materials; press release], highlighting a "global justice gap" caused by influential governments avoiding accountability for human rights abuses. AI was critical of the actions of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, which it described as having a "particular responsibility to set an example," and called on its members to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites]. The report stated that world governments had yielded to political pressures and used international organizations and alliances to shield themselves from accountability for violating international human rights standards. The report cited veto use by permanent members of the UN Security Council [official website] to prevent the international community from taking action on rights violations committed by permanent members and their allies. It also cited the failure of the UN Human Rights Council [official website] to address rights violations during the Sri Lankan civil war [JURIST new archive] due to complacency by Sri Lanka's regional allies. In the accompanying press release, the organization elaborated:
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.
The report included criticism of human rights practices from all corners of the world, ranging from the treatment of aboriginal peoples by the Canadian government, to the rise of racism in Europe [JURIST reports] and extrajudicial killings in Latin America. Despite the ongoing failure of governments worldwide to uphold international human rights, the spread of universal jurisdiction [AI backgrounder] and the increasing applicability of international law made 2009 a landmark year for international justice, according to the report. The convictions of Alberto Fujimori and Reynaldo Bignone, the ICC arrest warrant issued for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, the nearing conclusion of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the creation of a human rights body [JURIST reports] by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were included as reasons for this.
Last year, AI Secretary-General Irene Khan stated that the global economic crisis is exacerbating [JURIST report] the world's human rights failures, urging governments to "invest in human rights as purposefully as they are investing in economic growth." Khan spoke at the release of the 2009 annual report, which says that wealthy nations have overlooked "massive human rights abuses, entrench[ed] poverty and endanger[ed] regional stability," while attempting to assemble economic recovery packages. Previous annual reports, including the 2008 report [JURIST report], have condemned US human rights violations in anti-terror efforts. The 2006 and 2007 reports [JURIST reports] were critical of the US and other "Western democratic states" for attempts "to roll back some fundamental principles of human rights" in their efforts to fight terrorism.