Ref. :  000039127
Date :  2016-01-27
Language :  English
Home Page / The whole website
fr / es / de / po / en

‘Politics of Fear’ Threatens Rights : World Report 2016

Terror Attacks, Refugee Crisis, and Broad Global Crackdown

Author :  Human Rights Watch


The politics of fear led governments around the globe to roll back human rights during 2015.

In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.

“Fear of terrorist attacks and mass refugee flows are driving many Western governments to roll back human rights protections,” Roth said. “These backward steps threaten the rights of all without any demonstrated effectiveness in protecting ordinary people.”

image
World Report 2016. Cover: Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos, October 11, 2015.
© 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch


Significant refugee flows to Europe, spurred largely by the Syrian conflict, coupled with broadening attacks on civilians in the name of the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS), have led to growing fear-mongering and Islamophobia, Human Rights Watch said. But as European governments close borders, they are reviving old patterns of shirking responsibility for refugees by passing the problem to countries on Europe’s periphery that are less equipped to house or protect refugees. The emphasis on the potential threat posed by refugees is also distracting European governments from addressing their homegrown terrorist threats and the steps needed to avoid social marginalization of disaffected populations.


World Report 2016 summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide.

Policymakers in the United States have used the terrorism threat to try to reverse recent modest restrictions on intelligence agencies’ ability to engage in mass surveillance, while the United Kingdom and France have sought to expand monitoring powers. That would significantly undermine privacy rights without any demonstrated increase in the ability to curb terrorism. Indeed, in a number of recent attacks in Europe, the perpetrators were known to law enforcement authorities, but the police were too overwhelmed to follow up, suggesting that what’s needed is not more mass data but more capacity to pursue targeted leads, Human Rights Watch said.
“The tarring of entire immigrant or minority communities, wrong in itself, is also dangerous,” Roth said. “Vilifying whole communities for the actions of a few generates precisely the kind of division and animosity that terrorist recruiters love to exploit.”

Europe’s response to the influx of refugees has also been counterproductive. The effect of leaving most asylum seekers little choice but to risk their lives on rickety boats at sea to reach Europe has created a chaotic situation that would-be terrorists can easily exploit.

“Creating a safe and orderly way for refugees to make their way to Europe would reduce lives lost at sea while helping immigration officials to screen out security risks, increasing security for everyone,” Roth said.

Popular movements launched by civil society organizations with the aid of social media left many authoritarian governments running scared. The precedents of the Arab uprisings, Hong Kong’s “umbrella protests,” and Ukraine’s Maidan movement sparked a determination among many autocrats to prevent people from banding together to make their voices heard.

Abusive governments have tried to smother civic groups by enacting laws that restrict their activities and cut off their needed international funding. Russia and China are among the worst offenders. Repression of this intensity – including shuttering critical groups in Russia and arresting rights lawyers and activists in China – has not been seen in decades, Human Rights Watch said. Turkey’s ruling party has presided over an intense crackdown, targeting activists and media critical of the government.

Ethiopia and India, often using nationalistic rhetoric, have restricted foreign funding to fend off independent monitoring of government rights violations. Bolivia, Cambodia, Ecuador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Sudan, and Venezuela have enacted vague and overly broad laws to rein in activists and undermine independent groups’ ability to operate. Western governments have been slow to speak out against these global threats.

Despite these enormous threats to rights, 2015 also brought positive developments. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, who are often subject to abusive laws and violent attacks, made great strides towards equality with the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland, Mexico, and the US, and the decriminalization of homosexuality in Mozambique. At the United Nations Human Rights Council, a statement by 72 countries affirmed a commitment to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Landmark elections in Burma passed off peacefully in November, and Nigerians also celebrated the peaceful transfer of power to the opposition. In September, the UN adopted 17 ambitious development goals that for the first time are universal and grounded in human rights; they include goals to achieve gender equality and to provide access to justice for all. At the UN climate summit in Paris, governments agreed for the first time to “respect, promote and consider” human rights in their response to climate change, especially with regards to indigenous people, women, children, migrants, and others in vulnerable situations.

The failure of punitive approaches to drug use has prompted increased dialogue and steps towards decriminalization in many places, including Canada, Chile, Croatia, Colombia, Jamaica, Jordan, Ireland, Tunisia, and the US. And victims cheered the trial of Hissene Habre, the former Chad dictator prosecuted in Senegal for crimes against humanity during his rule in the 1980s – the first trial of a former head of state by the courts of another country.

“The wisdom enshrined in international human rights law provides indispensable guidance to governments that seek to keep their nation safe and serve their people most effectively,” Roth said. “We abandon it at our peril.”

Rate this content
 
 
 
Same author:
 flecheLa Turquie n’enregistre plus les demandeurs d’asile syriens
 flecheTurkmenistan: Report of inquiry to German cybersecurity firm
 flecheUkraine: investigate, punish hate crimes
 flecheKids with albinism belong at home and in school
 flecheAfghanistan: World Bank should aid girls’ education
 flecheRussia: Repression, Discrimination Ahead of World Cup
 flecheSaudi Arabia: Thousands Held Arbitrarily
 flecheNicaragua: Protests Leave Deadly Toll
 flecheZimbabwe: Tobacco Work Harming Children
 flecheRwanda: Unlawful Military Detention, Torture
 flecheForced Labor Used in Uzbekistan's Cotton Harvests
 flecheIran: Women Face Bias in the Workplace
 flecheUS: Policy failures drive preventable overdose deaths
 flecheFollow the Thread
 flecheBrazil: Military Police Muzzled
 flecheWorld Report 2017: Demagogues Threaten Human Rights
 flecheHalte à l’utilisation d’écoles à des fins militaires
 flecheKenya: Involuntary Refugee Returns to Somalia
 flecheAustralia: Appaling abuse, neglect of refugees on Nauru
 flecheHazardous Child Labor on Indonesian Tobacco Farms
 flecheGlobal Profits from Hazardous Child Labor
 flechePeople with Disabilities at Risk in Conflict, Disaster
 flecheTunisia: Uphold Rights While Fighting Terrorism
 flecheUS: Abuse of Transgender Women in Immigration Detention
 flecheBusinesses Help Fuel Abuses in Israeli Settlements
 flecheKiller Robots and the Concept of Meaningful Human Control
 flecheEU/Balkans/Greece: Border Curbs Threaten Rights
 fleche“Stay With Him Even If He Wants To Kill You”
 flecheSouth Sudan's Schools Occupied by Military
 flecheRights in Transition
 flecheLebanon: Residency Rules Put Syrians at Risk
 flecheRwanda: International Tribunal Closing Its Doors
 flecheSouth Sudan: Terrifying Lives of Child Soldiers
 flecheHuman Rights in Climate Pact Under Fire
 flecheChild Marriage: Zimbabwe
 flecheUN: Human Rights Crucial in Addressing Climate Change
 flecheAmid Insecurity, Protect Refugees
 flecheEU/AU: Put Rights at Heart of Migration Efforts
 flecheUN: End Overbroad Foreign Terrorist Fighter Laws
 flecheEU/Balkans: Contradictory Migration Plan
 flecheKenya: Climate Change Threatens Rights
 flecheSyria: New Russian-Made Cluster Munition Reported
 flecheEU: Shifting Responsibility on Refugees, Asylum Seekers
 flecheEU: Leaders Duck Responsibilities on Refugees
 flecheDispatches: France – State Snooping is Now Legal
 flecheCluster Munitions Used in 5 Countries in 2015
 flecheChina: Ensure 2022 Olympics Won’t Fuel Abuse
 flecheDispatches: The EU, Migration, and Learning to Share
 flecheChina/Kazakhstan: 2022 Games Major Test of Olympic Reforms
 flecheUN: Act to Empower Women in Conflicts
 flecheWestern Balkans: Media Freedom Under Threat
 flecheYemen: Unlawful Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Civilians
 flecheEU: Rights Abuses at Home Drive Mediterranean Crisis
 fleche37 Countries Start Process of Protecting Schools and Universities During Conflict
 flecheThe ‘Killer Robots’ Accountability Gap
 flecheUN: Major Step on Internet Privacy
 flecheSyria: 83% of Lights Extinguished After 4 Years of Crisis
 flecheWorld Report 2015: Rights Aren’t Wrong in Tough Times
 flecheTunisia: Blogger Convicted by Military Court
 flecheTunisia: Four Years On, Injustice Prevails
 flecheSouth Sudan: One Year Later, Injustice Prevails
 flecheIndia: Women With Disabilities Locked Away and Abused
 flecheUS: Senate Report Slams CIA Torture, Lies
 flecheUS: Immigration Plan Laudable But Incomplete
 flecheThe silence over Islamic State’s abuse of women
 flecheCrimea: Human Rights in Decline
 flecheUkraine, Syria: Incendiary Weapons Threaten Civilians
 flecheSyria: ISIS Tortured Kobani Child Hostages
 flecheIraq: ISIS Executed Hundreds of Prison Inmates
 flecheUS: Migrants Returned to Danger
 flecheNigeria: Victims of Abductions Tell Their Stories
 flecheEurope: National Courts Extend Reach of Justice
 flecheÉtats-Unis : Dérives de la surveillance
 flecheIraq: ISIS Abducting, Killing, Expelling Minorities
 flecheUnited Nations: Rein in Mass Surveillance
 flecheUganda: Homeless Children Face Violence, Exploitation
 flecheFrance: Face-Veil Ruling Undermines Rights
 flecheIsrael: Serious Violations in West Bank Operations
 flecheTo Help Restore Confidence in Europe, Protect Rights
 flecheSyria: Abuses in Kurdish-run Enclaves
 flecheMalaysia: End Arrests of Transgender Women
 flecheGlobal Treaty to Protect Forced Labor Victims Adopted
 flecheSyria: Strong Evidence Government Used Chemicals as a Weapon
 flecheSnowden Claims NSA Spied on Rights Groups
 flecheExploitation in the Name of Education
 flecheWorld Report 2014: War on Syria’s Civilians Unchecked
 flecheCorée du Nord : Crimes contre l'humanité dans les camps
 flecheWar on Syria’s Civilians Unchecked
 flecheStatement on US President Obama’s surveillance speech
 flecheWorld Bank Group: Inadequate Response to Killings, Land Grabs
 flecheWhy Tech is a Double-edged Sword for Human Rights
 flecheReporters’ Guide For Covering the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia
 flecheTunisia: Strengthen New Constitution’s Human Rights Protection
 flecheCentral African Republic: Sectarian Atrocities Escalate
 flecheChallenging the Red Lines
 flecheSaudi Arabia: Activists Challenging Status Quo
 flecheSyria: Holistic Approach Needed for Justice
 flecheICC: Support Justice, Reject Immunity
 flecheICC: Africa Should Reject ‘Free Pass’ for Leaders
 flecheUN: Start International Talks on ‘Killer Robots’
 fleche"At Least Let Them Work"
 flecheRussia: Abuses Tarnish 100-Day Countdown to Winter Olympics
 flechePressure Grows to Protect Domestic Workers
 flecheEU: Improve Migrant Rescue, Offer Refuge
 flecheJordan: Reform Agenda Falling Short
 flecheUN: Hold International Talks on ‘Killer Robots’
 flecheTunisia: Landmark Opportunity to Combat Torture
 fleche“You Can Still See Their Blood”
 flecheSyria: Executions, Hostage Taking by Rebels
 flecheGroundbreaking Treaty on Toxic Mercury
 flecheUN Security Council: Address Rights Abuses in DR Congo
 flecheAfghanistan: Child Marriage, Domestic Violence Harm Progress
 flecheICC: keep pledges to strengthen international justice
 flecheICC: Strengthen international justice at Kampala Conference
 flecheUnited Nations - Do not meet with officials wanted for war crimes - Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
 flecheDecisive moment for global transparency effort
 flecheWorld Report: Abusers target Human Rights messengers
 flecheUN: Act to end atrocities in Eastern Congo
 flecheWorld AIDS Day: Punitive laws threaten HIV progress
 flecheICC: Promote global support for Court
 flecheReport "Together, Apart - Organizing around sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide"
 flecheUAE: exploited workers building ‘Island of Happiness’
 flecheSwine flu measures no excuse for abridging rights
 flecheQ & A: International Criminal Court’s decision on al-Bashir’s arrest warrant
 flecheThe intensifying battle over Internet freedom
 fleche2009 World Report: Obama should emphasize human rights
 flecheKillings in Kiwanja - The UN’s inability to protect civilians
 flecheICC: First warrants requested for attacks on Darfur Peacekeepers
 flecheGovernments should improve access to pain treatment : millions worldwide suffer unnecessarily
 flecheICC: Good progress amid missteps in first five years
 flecheOAS adopts resolution to protect sexual rights
 flecheArmenia: civilians die as police suppress demonstrations and riots
 flecheReport : "On the Margins of Profit - Rights at Risk in the Global Economy"
 flecheKosovo: build new state on rule of law
 fleche2007 in photos
 flecheWorld Report 2008
 flecheDemocracy charade undermines rights
 fleche“Burma: children bought and sold by army recruiters”
 flecheHuman Rights Watch’s Statement to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council
 flecheBurma: fully cooperate with UN envoy
 flecheNicaragua: New Abortion Ban Puts Women’s Lives at Risk
 flecheRussia targets Georgians for expulsion
 flecheDarfur 2007: Chaos by Design - Report
 flecheDarfur 2007: Chaos by Design - Report

 flecheUganda: Press homophobia raises fears of crackdown
 flecheSpain: Migrant Children at Risk in Government Facilities
 flecheHuman Rights Watch Launches World Report 2007 on Guantanamo Anniversary
 flecheEU Should Fill Leadership Void on Human Rights
 flecheLes pionniers de la justice internationale
 flecheUniversal Jurisdiction in Europe : The State of the Art
 flecheHuman Rights Watch World Report 2006
 flecheUkraine: Migrants, Asylum Seekers Regularly Abused
 flecheHuman Rights Watch Statement on U.S. Secret Detention Facilities in Europe
 flecheD.R. Congo: Arming Civilians Adds Fuel to the Fire
 flecheRussia: Mothers With HIV and Their Children Face Stigma and Discrimination
 flecheSudan: Communal Violence Threatens Peace Process
 flecheBalkans: Srebrenica’s Most Wanted Remain Free
 flecheKyrgyzstan: Say No to Return of Uzbek Refugees
 flecheChina: Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims
 fleche'Diplomatic Assurances' Allowing Torture: Growing Trend Defies International Law


 flecheHuman Rights Watch International Film Festival
 flecheDans toute l'Europe, des organisations de défense des droits humains et des réfugiés demandent à l'Union européenne d'abandonner une proposition déterminante sur le droit d'asile
 flecheRepeating Clinton's Mistakes
 flecheU.S.: Abu Ghraib Only the “Tip of the Iceberg”
 fleche'Diplomatic Assurances' Allowing Torture
 flecheStop the export of U.S.-Funded Abstinence-only HIV/AIDS programs
 flecheCuba: EU Should Insist on Real Rights Progress
 flecheColombia: Armed Groups Send Children to War
 flecheU.S. Gag on Needle Exchange Harms U.N. AIDS Efforts
 flecheSudan: Atrocities, Impunity Threaten Lasting Peace
 flecheHuman Rights Day Statement
 flecheUnited Nations : Good Diagnosis, but Poor Prescription
 flecheIraq: Coalition Ignored Warnings on Weapons Stocks
 flecheBalkans: Local Courts Currently Unprepared to Try War Crimes

 flechePrisoners Who Disappear
 flecheHuman Rights in the War on Terrorism
 flecheOlympic Spotlight Shifts to China : Beijing Should Use Olympic Games to Improve Basic Rights
 flecheIraq: Insurgents Must Stop Targeting Civilians
 flecheU.S.: Hundreds of Civilian Deaths in Iraq Were Preventable
 flecheAfrica: Gender Inequality Fuels AIDS Crisis
 flecheTurkey: Acceleration of Reforms Needed Now for EU Bid
 flecheColombia — Widespread Use of Child Combatants
 flecheAfghanistan: Security Must Precede Repatriation
 flecheTrade Ministers Urged to Protect Labor Rights in FTAA

 flecheFTAA Summit: Reject Tighter Patents on AIDS Drugs
 flecheNAFTA Labor Accord Ineffective
13
SEARCH
Keywords   go
in 
Translate this page Traduire par Google Translate
Share

Share on Facebook
FACEBOOK
Partager sur Twitter
TWITTER
Share on Google+Google + Share on LinkedInLinkedIn
Partager sur MessengerMessenger Partager sur BloggerBlogger