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Amnesty International annual report warns of violations of international law

Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, speaks at a press conference in London, ahead of the launch of 'The State of Human Rights in the World'
Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, speaks at a press conference in London, ahead of the launch of 'The State of Human Rights in the World' Copyright Kirsty Wigglesworth/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Kirsty Wigglesworth/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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The human rights organisation said the world's most powerful governments have set at tone of disregard for international rules and values.

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The world is witnessing a near-breakdown of international law, Amnesty International has warned in its annual report.

Pointing to flagrant rule-breaking in Gaza and Ukraine, a proliferation of armed conflict, the rise of authoritarianism and huge rights violations in Sudan, Ethiopia and Myanmar, the human rights organisation said the most powerful governments must shoulder much of the blame.

The report's authors write that the US, Russia and China together have led a global disregard for international rules and values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with civilians in conflicts paying the highest price.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty's secretary general, said the level of violation of international order witnessed in the past year was “unprecedented.”

Palestinians gather next to the body of Omar Hamed during his funeral at the village of Beitin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Sunday, April 14
Palestinians gather next to the body of Omar Hamed during his funeral at the village of Beitin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Sunday, April 14Majdi Mohammed/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

“Israel’s flagrant disregard for international law is compounded by the failures of its allies to stop the indescribable civilian bloodshed meted out in Gaza," she said. “Many of those allies were the very architects of that post-World War Two system of law.”

The report highlights the US's failures to denounce rights violations committed by Israel and its use of veto power to paralyse the UN Security Council on a cease-fire resolution in Gaza, as well as Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine.

It also points to China's arming of military forces in Myanmar and the way Beijing has shielded itself from scrutiny over its treatment of the Uyghur minority.

“We have here three very large countries, superpowers in many ways, sitting on the Security Council that have emptied out the Security Council of its potentials, and that have emptied out international law of its ability to protect people,” she told The Associated Press in London.

In this photo provided by the Mayor of Odesa Hennadii Trukhanov in Telegram, residents gather outside of an apartment block after a Russian drone attack in Odesa, Ukraine.
In this photo provided by the Mayor of Odesa Hennadii Trukhanov in Telegram, residents gather outside of an apartment block after a Russian drone attack in Odesa, Ukraine.AP/Mayor of Odesa Hennadii Trukhanov

The report, which details Amnesty's assessment of human rights in 155 countries, underlines an increasing backlash against women's rights and gender equality in 2023.

It cites the brutal suppression of women's protests in Iran, the Taliban's decrees “aimed at erasing women from public life” in Afghanistan, and legal restrictions on abortion in the US and Poland, among others.

The rights organisation also warns about the threat of new technologies if left unchecked, saying the rapid advancement in artificial intelligence and mass surveillance tools could be deployed to stoke conflict, encroach on rights and freedoms and sow discord in a landmark election year.

Unregulated tech advances “can be weaponised to discriminate, misinform and divide,” Callamard said.

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