Unchecked authoritarianism causing ‘sea of human suffering’: HRW

London, Jan 12 (EFE).- Unchecked authoritarian power, political repression and atrocities are among the many issues trampling human rights around the world, according to Human Rights Watch’s annual report released Wednesday.

The international organization dedicated to investigating and exposing abuses of power and violations of rights details in a document of more than 700 pages its conclusions on the situation in more than 100 countries and territories during 2022.

The report, presented in London, reflects the brutality of the major conflicts that have taken center stage in recent months, while urging a focus on the injustices perpetrated in settings with less media coverage, such as the oppressive regimes in Sudan and Myanmar, as well the viewing of the climate crisis through a human rights lens.

“The obvious conclusion to draw from the litany of human rights crises in 2022 – from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deliberate attacks on civilians in Ukraine and Xi Jinping’s open-air prison for the Uyghurs in China to the Taliban’s putting millions of Afghans at risk of starvation – is that unchecked authoritarian power leaves behind a sea of human suffering,” HRW’s acting executive director Tirana Hassan said in the report.

She also told EFE that the report reflects the cynicism of many countries and their double standards in defending human rights.

The United States negotiates with Saudi Arabia despite President Joe Biden pledging to make Riyadh a pariah for its abuses, Pakistan backs monitoring abuses in Muslim-majority Kashmir but turns its back on possible crimes against Uyghurs in China, and many countries are tightening ties with India despite its government mimicking Beijing’s state repression-enabling abuses, the HRW report alleges.

Hassan said that among the people who have really felt this double standard are Afghan and Syrian refugees, many of whom are forced to sit at home, without the right to work, not knowing if their visa will be revoked or terminated and if they will have to return to a place where they no longer feel safe.

It is in stark contrast to what has happened in relation to Europe’s response to Ukrainian refugees, she added.

Less than a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the HRW report highlights the massacre in Bucha, the bombing of a Mariupol theater full of hiding residents and other “deliberate attacks” against civilians by the troops of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

In denouncing these atrocities, HRW maintains that the current situation stems from the “longstanding free hand to operate with impunity” that the international community has given Putin over the last decade.

It adds that action should against Putin have been taken in 2014, at the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and in 2015, with the Russian intervention in Syria, as well as on numerous occasions when the Kremlin violated human rights in its own country.

In Iran, the violent repression of authorities against the protests that spread after the death of the young Mahsa Amini in September after she was detained by the morality police is also reflected in the report.

Iranians have started a protest movement that has captured the world’s attention, said Tara Sepehri, HRW’s Iran researcher at the report’s presentation in London.

Mahsa’s death was not an isolated event but the latest example of the Iranian police’s systematic violence against women, she stressed. EFE


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