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Mayo 24, 2007

Amnesty Blasts US on Terrorism War

May 23, 2007
Amnesty Blasts U.S. on Terrorism War
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


LONDON (AP) -- The United States is treating the globe like one giant
battlefield for its war on terror, eroding rights worldwide, a leading
human rights group said Wednesday.


Amnesty International's Secretary-General Irene
Khan said the United States and its allies' behavior was setting a
destructive example for other nations, and that countries across the
world were using the war on terror as an excuse to violate human rights
and stifle dissent.

''One of the biggest blows to human rights has been the attempt of
Western democratic states to roll back some fundamental principles of
human rights -- like the prohibition of torture,'' Khan told The
Associated Press, speaking before the launch of her organization's
annual report on the global state of human rights.


The report condemned the United States' response to international
terrorism, saying it had done little to reduce the threat, while
deepening mistrust between Muslims and non-Muslims and undermining the
rule of law. The Bush administration's policy of extraordinary rendition
-- the alleged practice of secretly flying terror suspects to countries
where they could be tortured -- came in for particularly scathing
condemnation.


''The U.S. administration's double speak has been breathtakingly
shameless,'' the report said. ''It is unrepentant about the global web
of abuse it has spun in the name of counterterrorism.''


America's unique position on the world stage justified the criticism,
Khan said.


''If we focus on the U.S. it's because we believe that the U.S. is a
country whose enormous influence and power has to be used
constructively,'' she said. ''When countries like the U.S. are seen to
undermine or ignore human rights, it sends a very powerful message to
others.''


The U.S. Embassy in London declined to comment, saying it wanted to
study the report before formulating its response.


European countries were attacked for failing to challenge the U.S.
rendition scheme, while U.S. allies Britain, Australia, and Japan were
singled out for passing harsh new anti-terror or anti-immigration
laws.


Russia's crackdown on journalists also attracted Amnesty's ire, as did
the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe. Above all other
concerns, though, was the continuing violence in Darfur, which Khan
called ''a bleeding wound on world conscience.''


''The authoritarian drift in Russia has been devastating for journalists
and human rights defenders,'' the report said, noting the assassination
of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and new laws clamping down on
rights organizations.


The report also criticized China's role in shielding Sudan from U.N.
action, saying that the Chinese
government and companies showed little regard for their ''human rights
footprint'' on the African continent.


But the weakened moral authority of those pushing for international
intervention was also to blame, Khan said.


''On the one hand distrust, and on the other hand double dealing has
made the U.N. Security Council dysfunctional on Darfur,'' she
said.


The report did sound some positive notes, saying that a change of the
political guard in the United States, and the growth of informal
networks of activists were grounds for hope.


Khan compared Amnesty's struggle to the fight against climate change

''Just as global warming requires global action based on international
cooperation, the human rights meltdown can only be tackled through
global solidarity and respect for international law,'' she said.

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