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World Unsafe After War On Terror

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  • ummyakoub
    HR abuses worsened in Pakistan, India: World more unsafe after war on terror launched, says Amnesty By Masood Haider NEW YORK, May 28: Human rights abuses
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2003
      HR abuses worsened in Pakistan, India: World more unsafe after war on
      terror launched, says Amnesty


      By Masood Haider

      NEW YORK, May 28: Human rights abuses worsened in many Asian
      countries, particularly in the context of the "war against terrorism"
      as well as "crackdowns on crime," the London-based rights watchdog
      Amnesty International said in its annual report released on Wednesday

      In the name of combating "terrorism", governments stepped up the
      repression of their political opponents, detained people arbitrarily,
      and introduced sweeping and often discriminatory laws that undermined
      the very foundations of international human rights and humanitarian
      law in several countries, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia,
      Bangladesh, India, the Republic of Korea and Australia, the report
      said.

      In Pakistan, the AI said that human rights abuses committed in the
      context of the government's continued support for the US-led "war on
      terrorism" included the arbitrary detention of hundreds of people
      suspected of having links with "terrorist" organizations and their
      transfer to the custody of US officials.

      The Pakistani authorities handed over more than 400 people to US
      custody without adequate human rights safeguards, in breach of
      domestic legislation regarding extradition. In addition, systemic
      human rights violations, including torture, deaths in custody and
      extra judicial killings, continued. Abuses committed against women,
      children and religious minorities continued to be ignored.

      At least 140 people were sentenced to death in 2002 and eight were
      executed, the report added. Amnesty International said that in India
      the right of minorities to live in the country as equals was
      increasingly undermined by both state and non-state actors, despite
      it being clearly asserted in the Constitution.

      "In Gujarat, Muslims were victims of massacres allegedly masterminded
      by nationalist groups with the connivance of state agencies. New and
      stringent security legislation, which gives wide powers of arrest and
      detention to the police, was misused to target political dissent in
      areas of armed conflict and elsewhere. Human rights defenders were
      frequently harassed by state and private actors, and their activities
      labelled as anti- national.

      "The criminal justice system remained extremely slow, under-
      resourced and difficult to access for people from socially and
      economically marginalized sections of society, including lower castes
      and women. Security agencies continued to enjoy virtual impunity for
      past abuses, thanks to specific provisions contained in security
      legislation and to political protection. International human rights
      monitors, including UN independent experts and international human
      rights organizations, were de facto denied access to areas of armed
      conflict and were granted only very limited access to the rest of the
      country."

      The report pointed out that Hindu nationalist groups continued to
      push their communal agenda, particularly the issue of the
      reconstruction of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya at the site where a
      mosque was destroyed in 1992, through violence and the penetration of
      institutions, leading to an increasing fragmentation of society on
      religious lines.

      KASHMIR: The report noted that the "ongoing tensions between India
      and Pakistan were heightened by renewed claims by the Indian
      government that armed opposition groups active in Kashmir were
      enjoying Pakistan's support. This claim received international
      legitimization in the context of the campaign against "terrorism" led
      by the US and supported by the Indian government. The result was a
      military stand-off on the India-Pakistan border, which started de-
      escalating only in October.

      The report said that the world's attention was still on Afghanistan,
      where grave human rights abuses and armed conflict continued.
      Millions of Afghans - both refugees and those who had remained in the
      country - faced an uncertain and insecure future. There were
      widespread abuses of the rights of people detained as suspected Al
      Qaeda members or alleged "terrorists." More than 600 people, captured
      during the war in Afghanistan, continued to be held at the US base in
      Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and an unknown number in Bagram, Afghanistan.

      Concerns about the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan continued
      with reports of dangerous overcrowding, lack of food and medicine,
      and lack of shelter from severe winter conditions. While the Afghan
      interim authority is formally responsible for detention facilities,
      under international law, the US has continuing responsibilities for
      the welfare of prisoners who were in US custody before being handed
      over to another country.

      The AI said that in Bangladesh the government repealed the Public
      Safety Act, but continued to detain people under the Special Powers
      Act which overrides safeguards in Bangladeshi law against arbitrary
      detention. Additionally in October, some 40,000 army personnel were
      deployed across the country in a joint army-police crackdown on crime
      under the name "Operation Clean Heart."

      By the end of the year, more than 10,000 people, including members of
      the opposition and ruling political parties, had been arrested. At
      least 38 men died, allegedly as a result of torture in army custody.
      Despite international calls for independent inquiries into these
      deaths, no investigations were carried out.

      A WORLD MORE UNSAFE: The report said the US "war on terror" had made
      the world more dangerous by curbing human rights, undermining
      international law and shielding governments from scrutiny.

      In a scathing denunciation of the US and the UK, the AI said that the
      policies pursued by the US and Britain in response to the attacks of
      September 11, 2001, had made the world more unsafe.

      If the war on terror was supposed to make the world safer, it has
      failed, and has given governments an excuse to abuse human rights in
      the name of state security, it said.

      "What would have been unacceptable on September 10, 2001, is now
      becoming almost the norm," Amnesty's secretary-general Irene Khan
      told a news conference in London, accusing Washington of adopting "a
      new doctrine of human rights a la carte".

      "The United States continues to pick and choose which bits of its
      obligations under international law it will use, and when it will use
      them," she said, highlighting the detention without charge or trial
      of hundreds of prisoners in Afghanistan and in a US military camp in
      Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

      "By putting these detainees into a legal black hole, the US
      administration appeared to continue to support a world where
      arbitrary unchangeable detention becomes acceptable."

      Amnesty urged the world to do more to sort out Iraq's problems now
      that the Gulf War is over. "There is a very real risk that Iraq will
      go the way of Afghanistan if no genuine effort is made to heed the
      call of the Iraqi people for law and order and full respect of human
      rights," Ms Khan said. "Afghanistan does not present a record of
      which the international community can be proud."

      The Amnesty accused Israel of committing gross human rights
      violations in the occupied territories noting that "at least 1,000
      Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army, most of them
      unlawfully. They included some 150 children and at least 35
      individuals killed in targeted assassinations. Palestinian armed
      groups killed more than 420 Israelis, at least 265 of them civilians
      and including 47 children, and some 20 foreign nationals, in targeted
      or indiscriminate attacks."

      AI said that certain abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted
      war crimes. These included unlawful killings, obstruction of medical
      assistance and targeting of medical personnel, extensive and wanton
      destruction of property, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment,
      unlawful confinement and the use of "human shields."

      The deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinian armed groups
      constituted crimes against humanity. At least 158 Israeli
      conscientious objectors and reservists who refused to serve in the
      Occupied Territories were imprisoned. Several Israeli soldiers and
      settlers were arrested on charges of selling weapons and munitions to
      armed Palestinian groups, and four Israeli settlers were arrested and
      charged with attempting to bomb a Palestinian school, AI said.

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top5.htm&date=20030529

      ------------------------------------------------------------------
      16 Pakistanis freed by Uganda
      ------------------------------------------------------------------
      ISLAMABAD, May 28: Authorities in Uganda have released 16
      Pakistanis apprehended by the law enforcement agencies on May 19
      on suspicion of links with terrorism as the charges could not be
      established.

      According to a report from Uganda, Pakistan's High Commissioner
      Hameed A. Kidwai, on receipt of information about detention of the
      Pakistanis, contacted the authorities there and followed up the
      case.....(APP)

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top8.htm&date=20030529
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Foreigners held in US face harsh conditions
      ------------------------------------------------------------------
      WASHINGTON, June 2: Foreigners detained as part of the
      investigation into the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the United States
      were held too long without being charged and subjected to "unduly
      harsh" conditions of confinement, a US Justice Department audit
      report, released on Monday, said.

      The audit by the department's inspector general found "significant
      problems" in how authorities handled the 762 foreigners who were
      detained for immigration violations during the investigation into
      the hijacked airliner attacks.....(Reuters)

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top14.htm&date=20030603

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