Amnesty International condemns ‘weak’ EU over human rights

Amnesty International has accused the EU being “weak” and failing to protect human rights, citing the bloc’s tolerance of the CIA’s rendition flights and secret detention programme.

The group said several European countries had repeatedly violated rulings by the European Court of Human Rights against the return of terror suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture.

The human rights group’s annual global report, released on Thursday, also noted “clear accountability gaps” in the EU’s foreign policy.

It cited the bloc’s “weak and incoherent” response to a UN report which found that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza in 2009, and to similar allegations against government forces in Sri Lanka.

Amnesty also criticised the UN for its failure to intervene during the fighting in Sri Lanka. Thousands were killed during the war, and the UN at the time described the conflict as a “bloodbath”.

Amnesty also accused the EU and the US of using their influence with the UN Security Council to “shield” Israel from accountability in Gaza.

The report noted that Asian countries had done little to improve human rights in 2009. Amnesty said the justice gap was still starkly apparent in Asia, with refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s north-west frontier and the execution of 57 people by a private militia in the Philippines.

The human rights organisation took the US to task for President Barack Obama’s failure – despite promises – to close its prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Amnesty’s annual roundup of global human rights abuses urged members of the G-20 – a collection of major industrial countries and fast-growing developing countries – to set an example to the international community by signing up to the International Criminal Court.

The United States and others have refused to ratify the court’s founding treaty partly because they fear the court could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions of troops in unpopular wars like Iraq.

Published: 11:04AM BST 27 May 2010

Source: The Telegraph

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