Amnesty: Human Rights Under Threat, cites backlash against Muslims
ININ NOTE: You can read the Amnestry statement at:
Amnesty: Human Rights Under Threat
October 4, 2001, 3:10 AM EDT
LONDON -- The terror attacks on the United States have endangered human
rights worldwide and caused a backlash against Muslims, Amnesty
International said Thursday.
The London-based human rights group urged governments not to use the
attacks as an excuse to clamp down on civil liberties.
"The horror of the attacks on Sept. 11 should not result in other
communities around the world being victimized in the name of 'fighting
terrorism,"' Amnesty said in a statement Thursday.
The group said it had documented evidence of a backlash against Muslims
and people of Middle Eastern or Asian origin or appearance in at least 10
In America, more than 540 attacks on Arab-Americans and at least 200 on
Sikhs were reported in the week following the attacks, Amnesty said.
"It is a sad irony that, only weeks after the United Nations World
Conference on Racism, many communities around the world are facing
increased discrimination and racist abuse," the statement said.
Amnesty also said some governments were rushing to pass laws that
threatened civil liberties and warned that measures to clamp down on
illegal immigrants -- being debated in a number of countries _ threatened
to undermine the rights of asylum seekers.
"There is also a danger that, while the attention of the world is focused
elsewhere, governments will increase their repression of opponents. While
the world is looking the other way, abuse and repression can be carried
out without fear of rebuke," the organization added.
Amnesty said official statements by Chinese authorities suggested they
might use the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to
"further increase their harsh repression of Muslim ethnic groups."
"While Amnesty International recognizes the right -- and indeed the duty
-- of all governments to take measures to protect their citizens, it is
essential that these measures do not lead to violations of human rights,"
the organization said.
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