A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE
imposed after the brutal 1989 crackdown in institutions and individual states. That is one of the
Tiananmen Square in order to show the commitment reasons why governments contested Myanmar
of the EU to promoting human rights in China. It becoming the chair of the Association of Southeast
should not be removed until the Chinese government Asian Nations (ASEAN). That is why the EU decided in
has made significant human rights concessions. the end not to reverse the ban on arms sales to China.
The African Union (AU) has developed a progressive That is why India has put human rights considerations
framework on human rights, and played an important as a key element in its approach to Nepal.
role in resolving the crisis in Togo, but it is sadly Both on principled as well as pragmatic grounds,
lacking the capacity and political will to deliver on its human rights should be seen as a critical element of
promises consistently. Hampered by logistical sustainable global and regional security strategies,
constraints and the refusal of the Sudanese not as an optional extra for good times. There is no
government and armed militias to abide by doubt in my mind that the events of 2005 show that
international law, AU human rights monitors could the political and moral authority of governments will
not make a real difference on the ground in Darfur. It be judged more and more by their stand on human
showed no stomach to tackle the appalling human rights at home and abroad. Therein lies one of the
rights situation in Zimbabwe. It failed to convince most important achievements of the human rights
Nigeria or Senegal to co-operate with the efforts to movement in recent times.
bring to justice the former Liberian and Chadian There are clear challenges ahead. Vicious attacks by
presidents Charles Taylor and Hissène Habré. African armed groups, the increased instability in the Middle
leaders do a disservice to themselves and the African East, the mounting anger and isolation of Muslim
people when they use African solidarity to shield each communities around the world, the forgotten
other from justice and accountability. conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, growing inequalities
In the face of institutional lethargy and governments’ and glaring poverty – all are evidence of a dangerous
failures, public opinion, whether in Africa, Europe or and divided world in which human rights are being
elsewhere, is demanding a stronger commitment by daily threatened. But far from being discouraged, I
governments to human rights at home and abroad. believe these challenges make the impetus for action
Thanks to human rights advocates and others, and the even greater.
growing pressure of public opinion, the international As we set our agenda for 2006, AI and its millions of
community is being forced to acknowledge human members and supporters take encouragement from
rights as the framework within which security and the remarkable achievements of the human rights
development should be imagined and implemented. movement and the faith of ordinary people in the
Without respect for human rights, neither security nor power of human rights. We in AI do not underestimate
development can be sustained. that power. We will use it to fight those who peddle
In both international and regional contexts, human fear and hate, to challenge the myopic vision of the
rights are increasingly being acknowledged as a world’s most powerful leaders, and to hold
benchmark for the credibility and authority of governments to account.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S COMMITMENTS
In 2006, Amnesty International is committed to:
■ Resist attacks on human rights standards, in ■ Champion the right of women and girls to be free
particular the absolute prohibition on torture from violence and discrimination.
and ill-treatment. ■ Promote the protection of refugees, displaced people
■ Demand the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention and migrants.
camp and secret detention centres, and the disclosure ■ Expose the link between poverty and human
of “extraordinary renditions” and “ghost detainees”. rights abuses and hold governments accountable
■ Condemn strongly deliberate attacks on civilians by for poverty eradication through respect for all
armed groups. human rights.
■ Fight to end impunity and to strengthen national ■ Campaign to hold corporate and economic actors
and international justice systems. accountable for human rights abuses.
■ Expose human rights abuses committed during ■ Strive for universal ratification of the seven core
armed conflicts, and campaign for an international human rights treaties fundamental for human
arms trade treaty to control the sale of small arms. security and dignity.
■ Seek a universal moratorium on the death penalty as ■ Support human rights defenders and activists in their
a step towards its abolition. fight for equality and justice.
6 Amnesty International Report 2006
decisions in defence of basic human rights principles. Germany, Italy and Sweden into the role of
Even within the US government itself, tensions government officials in specific rendition cases; in
emerged over the curtailment of fundamental liberties. Spain, an investigation was opened by the Spanish
Information continued to emerge in 2005 that helped authorities into the use of Spanish airports and
to expose some of the secret and abusive practices airspace by aircraft operated by the US Central
developed by states in the name of fighting terrorism. Intelligence Agency (CIA). In Iceland, Ireland and the
For example, further information came to light about Netherlands, government officials or activists called
the illegal transfer of terrorism suspects from one for official inquiries.
country to another without any judicial process – a Investigations by journalists, AI and others in 2005
practice known in the USA as “extraordinary left little doubt that the US government was running a
renditions”. It was revealed that the USA had, through system of covert prisons, known as “black sites”. There
this practice, transferred many detainees to countries were persistent reports that the CIA had operated such
known to use torture and other ill-treatment in secret detention centres in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan,
interrogations, including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan and other unknown
Saudi Arabia and Syria. Such transfers effectively locations in Europe and elsewhere, including on the
outsourced torture. British Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia. About
What renditions mean in reality was highlighted in three dozen detainees deemed to have high
2005 by the case of Muhammad al-Assad, a Yemeni intelligence value had “disappeared” in US custody, and
living in Tanzania, who was arrested at his home in Dar- were allegedly being held in black sites, completely
es-Salaam on 26 December 2003. He was hooded, outside the protection of the law.
handcuffed and flown to an unknown destination. It In November the Council of Europe launched an
was the beginning of a 16-month ordeal of investigation into reports that the network of US secret
unacknowledged detention and interrogation, in which prisons and involvement in renditions included sites in
he had no contact with the outside world and no idea Europe. AI strongly endorsed calls to European
where he was. governments to investigate such allegations by officials
He was held for a year in a secret facility where he of the Council of Europe, one of whom declared: “not
was subjected to extreme sensory deprivation. His knowing is not good enough regardless of whether
masked guards never spoke a word to him, but ignorance is intentional or accidental”.
communicated their instructions in sign language. At a conference jointly organized by AI and the UK-
There was a constant low-level hum of white noise. based NGO Reprieve in London in November, former
Artificial light was kept on 24 hours a day. Muhammad detainees and families of detainees held in
al-Assad’s father was told by Tanzanian officials that Guantánamo or in UK facilities testified to the human
his son had been turned over to US custody, and that no cost of indefinite detention without charge or trial.
one knew where he was. His family heard nothing of Speaking of the trauma of the families of those
him until he was flown to Yemen in May 2005, where he detained, Nadja Dizdarevic, the wife of Boudelaa Hadz
was imprisoned, apparently at the request of the US of Bosnia and Herzegovina who has been held at
authorities. Muhammad al-Assad was still in custody in Guantánamo for four years, said:
Yemen without charge or trial at the end of 2005. “It is difficult to be a mother to my children
Other testimonies from former detainees collected because I have not enough time for them and I am
during 2005 by AI were shockingly similar to the everything that they have… At night after I put my
experience described by Muhammad al-Assad. Two children to sleep I start my work and while the
other Yemeni men were transferred to Yemen by the whole world sleeps in peace I tirelessly write
USA in May 2005, where they remained in custody complaints, requests, letters, learn the laws and
without charge or trial at the end of the year. In human rights conventions so that I could continue
separate interviews with AI in June, September and my struggle for the life and release of my husband
October 2005, all three described being held in and the others.”
isolation for 16 to 18 months in secret detention centres Governments have over the years requested
run by US officials. The interviews conducted by AI “diplomatic assurances” from countries known to use
provided strong new evidence of the US network of torture in order to allow them to deport people there.
secret detention centres around the world. In 2005 the UK government sought to rely on
In December 2005, after the UK Foreign Secretary diplomatic assurances and concluded Memorandums
said that he was not aware of any renditions flights of Understanding with Jordan, Lebanon and Libya, and
refuelling or using other facilities in the UK since was seeking similar agreements with Algeria, Egypt and
early 2001, AI published details of three flights that other states in the region. AI opposed the use of such
refuelled in the UK, hours after transferring detainees “diplomatic assurances” as they erode the absolute
to countries where they risked “disappearance”, prohibition of torture, and are inherently unreliable
torture or other ill-treatment. Information and unenforceable.
increasingly came to light in 2005, partly because Evidence that many governments had been engaging
evidence was uncovered by victims themselves and in, conniving in or acquiescing to the outsourcing of
partly due to governmental inquiries, that other torture underlined the need for greater transnational
European countries may have been similarly involved accountability in a world where human rights
in secret transfers. Inquiries were conducted in responsibilities do not stop at the borders of a state.
Amnesty International Report 2006 9
The outsourcing of torture meant that the USA and after unfair trials and sentenced to long prison terms
some of its European allies, which had for decades for allegedly participating in the protest.
unreservedly condemned torture at all times and in all In China, the authorities continued to use the global
circumstances, openly defied the absolute ban against “war on terror” to justify harsh repression in the
torture. The implication was that they believed that Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), resulting
some torture and ill-treatment was justifiable in the in serious human rights violations against the ethnic
“war on terror”. Uighur community. While China’s latest “strike-hard”
The US administration continued its attempts to campaign against crime had subsided in most parts of
redefine and justify certain forms of torture or other the country, it was officially renewed in the XUAR in
ill-treatment in the name of “national security” and May 2005 to eradicate “terrorism, separatism and
public order. When questioned about the US position religious extremism”. It resulted in the closure of
on the treatment of prisoners, the US Attorney unofficial mosques and arrests of imams. Uighur
General, Alberto Gonzales, made it clear that his nationalists, including peaceful activists, continued to
government would define torture in its own way. be detained or imprisoned. Those charged with serious
Although the US leadership denied that the “separatist” or “terrorist” offences were at risk of
government condoned torture, evidence emerged that lengthy imprisonment or execution. Those attempting
the CIA used “water boarding” (simulated drowning), to pass information abroad about the extent of the
prolonged shackling or induced hypothermia on crackdown faced arbitrary detention and
prisoners held in secret prisons. Some people within imprisonment. The authorities continued to accuse
the US administration apparently continued to believe Uighur activists of terrorism without providing credible
that certain forms of torture and ill-treatment evidence for such charges.
practices were acceptable if used to gather intelligence In both Malaysia and Singapore, where national
to counter terrorism. However, growing challenges to security legislation allows prolonged detention
these policies both within the USA – where at the end of without charge of terrorism suspects, dozens of
the year the US Senate passed legislation affirming the individuals remained in detention under Internal
ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading Security Acts without charge or trial.
treatment – and among the USA’s allies in the “war on In Kenya and certain other African countries, the
terror” offered hope of a more principled approach to rhetoric of counter-terrorism was employed to justify
human rights and security in the future. repressive legislation which was used to silence human
Human rights abuses in the context of counter- rights defenders and obstruct their work.
terrorism policies were not confined to the USA and its The exposure during 2005 of the unlawful practices
European allies. In Uzbekistan, the authorities claimed of governments in the name of countering terrorism
that people taking part in a demonstration in Andizhan mobilized and affirmed the growing demands for
at which peaceful demonstrators were killed had been accountability. The determined work of human rights
coerced to do so by quot;terroristsquot;. Subsequently, more activists, lawyers, journalists and many others helped
than 70 people were convicted of quot;terroristquot; offences to lift the blanket of secrecy to expose states that
AI INTERVENES IN COURT CASES be at risk of torture or ill-treatment is and should remain
AI continued to seek the legal implementation of absolute. Four states intervened to argue that this
international human rights standards by intervening in prohibition is not absolute, but may be subject to a
cases before national and international courts. “balancing” test against such interests as countering
Preventing the erosion of the absolute prohibition terrorism. At the end of 2005, the decision of the Court
against torture in the context of the “war on terror” was was still pending.
the objective of two interventions in 2005. As part of its work against the death penalty, AI
In a case before the UK’s highest court, the Appellate intervened in a case concerning Guatemala before the
Committee of the House of Lords, AI coordinated a Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
coalition of 14 organizations in a joint intervention to Guatemala, which ratified the American Convention
challenge the admissibility as evidence in judicial on Human Rights in 1978, sought to extend the use of
proceedings of information extracted as a result of torture. the death penalty in 1996 to make it mandatory for
The government had contended that it should be allowed kidnapping. AI argued that the death penalty could
to introduce into judicial proceedings information not be extended beyond the legislation applicable
obtained from abroad allegedly as a result of torture, on when Guatemala ratified the Convention and that as a
the ground that no torture had been committed or result of a law passed in 2000, Guatemala had failed
supported by UK agents. The Law Lords ruled that such to guarantee the right of a convicted person to seek
information was inadmissible in UK courts. pardon, amnesty or commutation of sentence. In
In a case before the European Court of Human September the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Rights, AI intervened with six other NGOs to argue that ordered Guatemala to suspend the death sentence in
the prohibition on the transfer (refoulement) of a person this case, and not to execute anyone condemned to
from a state party to the European Convention on death for the crime of kidnapping under the current
Human Rights to another state where he or she would legislation.
10 Amnesty International Report 2006
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE continued to benefit from a national amnesty. AI was
2005 saw some significant developments towards concerned about the composition of the courts and
bringing to justice those responsible for crimes under whether the Cambodian judges would have the
international law, including genocide, crimes against necessary training and experience, given the serious
humanity, war crimes, torture, extrajudicial executions weaknesses in the Cambodian judicial system.
and enforced disappearances. However, there was also National courts in a number of countries also
continuing widespread impunity in national courts in contributed to the effort to end impunity by
the states where crimes were committed, as well as investigating and prosecuting crimes committed in
only limited use of universal jurisdiction by courts in other countries using universal jurisdiction legislation.
other states. People were convicted of crimes under international
In October, the International Criminal Court (ICC) law in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the
announced its first ever arrest warrants for five leaders UK. Canada opened its first case under its universal
of the Lord’s Resistance Army for crimes against jurisdiction legislation of 2000, charging Désiré
humanity and war crimes committed in northern Munyaneza with genocide, crimes against humanity
Uganda. AI called on the ICC and the Ugandan and war crimes committed in 1994 in Rwanda.
government to ensure that tens of thousands of other In September, Belgium issued a request for Senegal
crimes committed during the conflict were to extradite the former president of Chad, Hissène
investigated and prosecuted, including crimes by Habré, to face prosecution for the murder of at least
government forces. AI urged the Ugandan government 40,000 people, systematic torture, arbitrary arrests
to repeal an amnesty law which prevents Ugandan and other crimes, but Senegal referred the matter to
courts from addressing these crimes. the African Union. In November, former Peruvian
The ICC continued to investigate crimes committed president Alberto Fujimori was arrested in Chile. He
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but did not had been shielded from prosecution for extrajudicial
issue any arrest warrants during 2005. It also executions and “disappearances” by Japan, which
undertook preliminary analyses of eight other refused to extradite him to Peru.
situations. However, the President and Prosecutor of The long-awaited trial of Saddam Hussain started in
the ICC suggested that resource constraints would Iraq in October. Although the opportunity to obtain
limit its ability to undertake any new investigations justice for some of the crimes committed under his
until the current ones were completed. regime was welcome, AI had serious concerns about
While the UN Security Council’s referral to the ICC the lack of fair trial guarantees in the statute of the
of crimes committed in Darfur, Sudan, was a positive tribunal, denial of proper access to counsel and the
step in addressing impunity, it was disappointing that provision of the death penalty.
the Security Council, as part of a compromise to ensure Despite progress on international justice, much more
US support, included in its resolution a provision to remained to be done to address impunity. 2005 was the
exempt nationals of states not party to the Rome 10th anniversary of the massacre of around 8,000
Statute of the ICC (other than Sudan) from the Bosnian Muslims after the UN “safe area” of Srebrenica
jurisdiction of the Court. In AI’s view, this provision fell to the Bosnian Serb Army in 1995. While crimes
creates double standards of justice and violates the committed in Srebrenica have been recognized as
UN Charter and other international law. amounting to genocide by the International Criminal
The struggle against impunity was reinforced by the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the women of
work of other international and internationalized Srebrenica whose husbands and sons were killed are still
courts, notwithstanding some constraints and waiting for most of the perpetrators to be brought to
setbacks. The Special Court for Sierra Leone advanced justice. In June, AI voiced concerns to the UN Security
in three trials involving nine suspects charged with war Council about its efforts to close the International
crimes and crimes against humanity. However, the Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia without
Sierra Leone government took no steps to end an establishing effective national courts to deal with the
amnesty, part of the 1999 Lomé peace accord, which tens of thousands of crimes that the Tribunal was not
prevents prosecution of all others in Sierra Leone able to investigate and prosecute. (There were similar
responsible for crimes under international law. concerns over the future of the International Criminal
Ignoring calls from the international community, Tribunal for Rwanda.)
Nigeria continued, with the apparent support of the At the international level, the courts and tribunals
African Union, to refuse to surrender former Liberian require the full support of states, in terms both of
president Charles Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra providing resources and of exercising the political will
Leone, where he has been charged with crimes against to hand over suspects. At the national level, obstacles
humanity and war crimes against the population of to prosecutions, such as amnesties, have to be
Sierra Leone. removed, and where national justice systems have
Some progress was made in establishing special been destroyed by conflict long-term rebuilding plans
courts – Extraordinary Chambers – for Cambodia. are urgently needed. While the increase in universal
These were expected to try no more than half a dozen jurisdiction cases in 2005 was welcome, states still
people for crimes committed while the Khmer Rouge have to ensure that they do not provide a safe haven
were in power, while tens of thousands of others for people accused of crimes under international law.
14 Amnesty International Report 2006
from beatings, doused with kerosene and set on fire, action, and not nearly enough attention to basing
jailed for reporting that they had been raped or strategies on human rights principles.
murdered for daring to report that their husbands were Action by states to relieve poverty and deprivation
threatening to kill them. AI’s report on family violence globally is not an optional extra – it is an
in Spain analyzed the obstacles women face when international obligation. It was a measure of states’
trying to escape abusive relationships. In particular, failure to fulfil this obligation that in 2005, when the
migrant women, Roma women and women with world’s economic output was at its highest level ever,
physical or mental disabilities were rarely able to gain more than 800 million people around the world were
access to shelters and financial aid for survivors of chronically malnourished. At least 10 million children
gender-based violence. died before the age of five. Over 100 million children
During 2005 AI campaigned for the rights of women (the majority girls) did not have access even to
disregarded by the criminal justice system. Hundreds primary education.
of cases of women abducted and murdered in The disappointing outcome of the UN World
Guatemala were not adequately addressed by the Summit, which took place in September, illustrated
authorities and the government itself reported that 40 clearly the gap between political rhetoric and genuine
per cent of cases were archived and never investigated. commitment. A small number of countries blocked
Such official inaction sent the strongest signal possible efforts to make significant progress on human rights,
to those who perpetrated these crimes that they did so security, genocide and poverty reduction. Delegates
with impunity. had to work so hard to maintain commitments made
Despite moves towards greater legal recognition of in the past that they had little time to discuss
their rights in certain countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual implementation of the Outcome Document, a political
and transgender (LGBT) people continued to face declaration where governments made pledges in the
widespread discrimination and violence, often four areas of development, peace and security,
officially sanctioned. The authorities tried to ban human rights, and UN reform.
Latvia’s first ever Gay Pride march to mark the struggle The lack of progress on the Millennium
for the rights of LGBT people. Homophobic remarks Development Goals was particularly shocking in light
made by the Latvian Prime Minister and other senior of the fact that some of the Goals set levels of
figures – who, together with religious leaders, opposed expected achievement lower than those that states
the march – were reported to have encouraged a are required to meet under international human
climate of intolerance and hatred. In Saudi Arabia, 35 rights law. The Goal of halving hunger, if met, would
men were sentenced to flogging and imprisonment for hugely increase life expectancy, health and human
attending what was described as a “gay wedding”. AI’s dignity. Yet the 152 states that have ratified the
findings in a major report on the USA showed that LGBT International Covenant on Economic, Social and
people were targeted for human rights abuses by the Cultural Rights have, at the very minimum, an
police. The discrimination against them significantly obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate
restricted their access to equal protection under the and alleviate hunger for the whole population, even
law and to redress for abuses. A 60-year-old gay man in times of natural or other disasters.
arrested in St Louis, Missouri, told AI: While global poverty climbed up the international
“I did nothing wrong… did not hurt anyone and was agenda during 2005, it was also a year that exposed
targeted simply for being a gay male in a city park the gross economic and social inequalities within
… Nothing is more unfair than singling out a group even the wealthiest of countries. The aftermath of
and making them criminal when they are not.” Hurricane Katrina shocked many around the world as
Depriving a person of their rights because of a it revealed the underbelly of deprivation, racial
characteristic they cannot change or that is so central inequalities and poverty within the USA, the most
to their being that they should not be forced to change powerful economy in the world.
it, such as their race, religion, gender or sexual The riots in France drew attention to decades of
orientation, attacks the central premise of human social inequality and discrimination against migrants
rights – the conviction that every human being is equal and French nationals of African descent. The French
in dignity and worth. government responded by declaring a state of
emergency, imposing curfews and allowing law
POOR, EXCLUDED AND INVISIBLE enforcement officials to carry out searches without
During 2005 the international community’s warrants, close public meeting places of any kind and
commitment to “make poverty history” became more place people under “house arrest”. The government
prominent on the international agenda. However, also announced plans to expel migrants convicted
while government leaders pronounced their intention during the riots, regardless of whether they had a
to reduce poverty, particularly in Africa, most of the legal right to reside in France.
targets set under the UN’s 15-year Millennium In countries of all political colours, and all levels of
Development Goals showed little, if any, prospect of development, many were still unable to access even
being met. The first time-bound target to achieve minimum levels of food, water, education, health care
gender parity in primary education passed unmet with and housing. Deprivation in the midst of plenty could
little or no protest from the international community. not be blamed solely on a lack of resources – it resulted
There was more rhetoric than real commitment to from unwillingness, systemic corruption, negligence
22 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – AFRICA
REGIONAL killings, rape and other torture, population
displacements and other grave human rights violations.
In Darfur, civilians were killed and injured by
OVERVIEWS government troops, which sometimes bombed villages
from the air, and by government-allied nomadic
militias known as the Janjawid. Women were raped and
some were abducted and held as sexual slaves. Many
had fled conflict and extreme deprivation in the south
AFRICA and other parts of Darfur.
Civilians continued to be the victims of the 19-year
The signing of several peace agreements in 2005 conflict in northern Uganda. Despite peace talks,
resulted in a decline in armed conflict across the attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army increased
region. However, grave human rights violations, towards the end of 2005, and some dissident militias
including killings, rape and other forms of sexual remained active and clashed from time to time. More
violence, characterized continuing conflicts in Burundi, than 3 million IDPs and half a million refugees were
Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the expected to return to the south.
Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Many places faced political In Burundi, armed conflict continued throughout
instability and a serious risk of further conflict and 2005 between one armed group, the PALIPEHUTU-FNL,
violence. Refugees and internally displaced persons and government forces in the provinces of Bujumbura
(IDPs) in camps and urban areas had inadequate access rural and Bubanza, despite the presence of UN
to basic needs assistance and were exposed to serious peacekeeping soldiers. More than 120,000 people, most
human rights abuses. Impunity for human rights of them women and children, remained internally
violations remained widespread, despite some displaced and in exile at the end of 2005.
international and regional efforts to bring suspected No progress was made in demobilizing an estimated
perpetrators to account. Human rights defenders, 50,000 combatants under the peace process in Côte
journalists and political opponents continued to face d’Ivoire. The main obstacle to progress appeared to be
harassment, assault and unlawful detention for a lack of trust between the government and the
denouncing human rights violations or criticizing their leadership of the New Forces (Forces nouvelles), a
governments. coalition of former armed groups. Child soldiers were
Millions of men, women and children remained used by all parties to the conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire and
impoverished and deprived of clean water, adequate the DRC.
housing, food, education and primary health care. In October, Eritrea banned UN helicopter flights and
This situation was exacerbated by widespread and other travel to UN monitors, further restricting the
systemic corruption and the apparent indifference of multinational UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea,
governments to providing their citizens with the most whose 2,800 personnel administered a buffer zone
basic economic and social rights. Across the region, along the border. Both sides had rearmed since 2000
hundreds of thousands of families were forcibly evicted and deployed troops near the border in late 2005. The
from their homes, further violating their fundamental UN Security Council called on Ethiopia to implement
human rights. the International Boundary Commission’s judgment
The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and regarding the border areas, particularly its allocation to
Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa Eritrea of Badme town, the flash point of war in 1998,
entered into force during the year, but continuing but no progress was made on this during 2005.
violations of women’s human rights, including female Illegal exploitation of natural resources continued in
genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence, rape, the DRC, Liberia and Sudan. In Liberia, former
trafficking and sexual violence during conflicts, made combatants occupied rubber plantations and tapped
the development nominal rather than substantive. rubber, claiming it was their only means of survival.
A series of important regional initiatives, including They were reportedly responsible for killings and
the Pan-African Parliament, the African Union (AU) torture, including rape, of civilians.
Peace and Security Council and the African Peer Review There was encouraging progress in peacemaking in
Mechanism, became fully operational, although their some conflicts. In Senegal, for example, the 2004 peace
overall impact on respect for human rights was difficult agreement that ended two decades of conflict in the
to measure. The AU Assembly continued to make southern Casamance region of the country held
efforts to address human rights problems in the region, throughout 2005.
but its failure to respond firmly to the human rights
crisis in Zimbabwe illustrated the need for the AU to Impunity and justice
apply its human rights principles consistently. Despite widespread and systematic violations of
human rights, including war crimes and crimes against
Armed conflict humanity, most perpetrators were not held to account.
Governments and armed opposition groups continued Although investigations were opened in a few cases,
to abuse human rights and international humanitarian the justice systems in many countries continued to
law in Sudan (particularly in Darfur), northern Uganda, suffer from systemic corruption, lack of resources and
Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC, resulting in unlawful inadequate training for personnel. Despite encouraging
Amnesty International Report 2006 25
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – AFRICA
26 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – AFRICA
In Nigeria, thousands of people were made homeless country for fear of being persecuted or arbitrarily
without due process, compensation or the provision of arrested. Some previously outspoken human rights
alternative housing. activists were intimidated into silence.
In Niger, serious food shortages were compounded In Sudan, the government launched legal
by years of drought and an invasion of desert locusts in proceedings against one of the leading human rights
2004, the worst in more than a decade, which wiped out groups in the country, the Sudan Organisation Against
much of the country’s cereal production. The UN Torture, in an apparent attempt to silence it. Its
estimated that famine put in danger the lives of over a members faced more than five years’ imprisonment.
quarter of Niger’s population. The famine had a knock- Prominent human rights activist Mudawi Ibrahim was
on effect in neighbouring Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and arbitrarily arrested and detained without charge,
Nigeria, all of which experienced rising prices or food including when he was trying to leave Sudan to receive
shortages. Despite warnings of the impending famine, an award in Ireland for human rights activism. He was
international donors failed to respond quickly. In later released.
Mozambique, over 800,000 people needed food aid as In Somalia, Abdulqadir Yahya Ali, director of the
a result of prolonged drought. Centre for Research and Dialogue, was assassinated in
High death rates from AIDS-related illnesses Mogadishu in July by unidentified assailants.
seriously affected economic and social development in In Togo, a group of young people associated with the
many countries of the region. The southern Africa ruling party prevented the Togolese Human Rights
region continued to have the highest prevalence rate of League from holding a press conference. In Angola,
HIV in the world and severe problems in access to care Luís Araújo, coordinator of SOS-Habitat, a housing
and treatment. Swaziland had the highest rate globally NGO, was briefly detained in June and November
with 42.6 per cent, and more than three quarters of because of his activities to prevent forced evictions.
people known to need antiretroviral treatment were The authorities in Cameroon continued to use criminal
still not receiving it. In South Africa, new figures libel laws to imprison journalists in cases that appeared
revealed that around 6 million people had been to be politically motivated.
infected with HIV by 2004, with less than 20 per cent of In Equatorial Guinea, lawyer and human rights
them receiving antiretroviral drugs. In Mozambique, defender Fabián Nsué Nguema, a former prisoner of
approximately 200,000 people were unable to access conscience, was accused of misconduct and arbitrarily
antiretroviral drugs and other treatment for HIV suspended from the Bar Association for a year.
infection. Many prisoners of conscience in Eritrea remained in
indefinite and incommunicado detention, without
Death penalty charge or trial, and some were tortured or ill-treated. A
Prisoners remained under sentence of death in new law in May imposed severe restrictions on NGOs.
Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience
Somaliland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. were also held in Ethiopia. In Mauritania, however,
In Uganda, the High Court in Kakamega freed four several NGOs were officially recognized for the first
people who had been on death row since 1995 after a time.
successful appeal against their death sentences. In a
landmark judgment, the Constitutional Court of Uganda AI regional reports
ruled in favour of ending laws that stipulate a • Africa: Entry into force of Protocol on the Rights of
mandatory death sentence. The Attorney General Women in Africa positive step towards ending
appealed against the ruling. discrimination (AI Index: AFR 01/004/2005)
In the DRC, argument over abolition of the death • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
penalty resurfaced during parliamentary debates on Oral statement on Item 6 – Human rights situation in
the new Constitution. An early draft of the Constitution Africa; Ending Impunity in Sudan (AI Index: IOR
proposed abolition, but a majority in the Senate and 10/001/2005)
National Assembly rejected the change. • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
Oral statement on Item 9 – Human rights situation in
Human rights defenders Africa; Human rights in Zimbabwe (AI Index: IOR
Across the region, governments remained hostile to 10/003/2005)
human rights defenders, and many faced harassment, • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
arbitrary arrest and detention, and assault. Oral statement on Item 9 – Human rights situation in
In the DRC, Pascal Kabungulu, Executive Secretary of Africa; Fight against impunity (AI Index: IOR
the human rights organization Heirs of Justice, was shot 10/004/2005)
dead by three armed men in July at his home in Bukavu, • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
South-Kivu. An official commission of inquiry failed to Oral statement on Item 11 – The Establishment of the
report its findings, and no perpetrators had been African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AI
brought to justice by the end of 2005. In Zimbabwe, Index: IOR 10/005/2005)
numerous NGOs and individual human rights defenders • Oral Statement by Amnesty International: Item 8 –
were harassed and intimidated by the state. In Rwanda, The Establishment of the African Court on Human
several members of civil society, including staff of and Peoples’ Rights (AI Index: IOR 30/011/2005)
human rights organizations, were forced to flee the
Amnesty International Report 2006 29
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – AMERICAS
interrogation techniques constituting torture or other
AMERICAS ill-treatment, there was a failure to hold officials at the
highest levels accountable, including individuals who
The denial of human rights continued to be a daily may have been responsible for war crimes and crimes
reality for many people in the Americas, particularly against humanity.
those in the most vulnerable sectors of society such as US “war on terror” policies that undermined human
indigenous communities, women and children. rights standards were challenged during 2005.
However, civil society, including the human rights Legislation was passed prohibiting the torture and
movement, continued to gain strength and influence in inhumane treatment of detainees anywhere in the
their demands for better living conditions, government world, despite initial objections from the Bush
transparency and accountability, and respect for administration that the prohibition would hamper its
human rights. ability to obtain information from detainees. However,
The lives of the majority of people were blighted by the bill also severely limited the Guantánamo
discrimination and poverty, both of which led to social detainees’ access to federal courts and called into
unrest and political instability in a number of countries. question the future of some 200 pending cases in which
Indigenous movements, representing some of the detainees had challenged the legality of their
poorest and most marginalized people in the Americas, detention.
stepped up their challenge to traditional political The USA increased its military assistance programme
structures, particularly in the Andean region. in Colombia despite continued evidence of grave
Police abuse, torture and ill-treatment of detainees human rights violations by military personnel and
remained widespread. “Disappearances” continued to be paramilitary groups operating with their active or tacit
reported in the context of Colombia’s internal conflict. support.
Violence against women was endemic throughout the
region and the murders of hundreds of women in El Conflict and crime
Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, as well as the apparent The rule of law in several countries was threatened by
indifference of the authorities, caused widespread abusive government policies, corruption,
outrage. The conflict in Colombia and high levels of discrimination and inequality that sparked social
organized crime throughout the region, continued to protest by marginalized communities, particularly in
adversely affect the rights of vast numbers of people. the Andean countries. Indigenous movements were
US policies pursued in the name of security again at the forefront of many of the extended protests
undermined human rights both within the USA and in and were increasingly vocal in demanding their rights
many countries around the world. and participation in political life. The governments in
Natural disasters, including a series of devastating Ecuador and Bolivia were forced to resign as a result of
hurricanes, affected countries in the Caribbean and mass discontent.
Central America and the southern states of the USA, In Colombia, the rule of law was threatened by
exacerbating already serious levels of poverty and government policies in the context of the long-running
marginalization. In many cases, such as in New Orleans conflict. All parties to the conflict continued to commit
and other communities in Louisiana State in the USA, widespread human rights abuses principally against the
the authorities did not provide adequate protection civilian population.
and aid provision was slow and insufficient. Human rights and the rule of law were also under
threat through high levels of violence in several
National security and the ‘war on terror’ countries, especially in urban areas. In some
Hypocrisy and a disregard for basic human rights Brazilian, Central American and Caribbean cities,
principles and international legal obligations entire neighbourhoods were trapped between
continued to mark the USA’s “war on terror”. criminal, often gang-related, violence and the
Thousands of detainees remained held without repressive response of the state security forces whose
charge in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo methods violated the rights of entire communities.
Bay in Cuba, and in secret detention centres known as Although most public attention was devoted to crime
“black sites” believed to exist in Europe, North Africa against the wealthy, it was the lives of the urban poor
and elsewhere. Torture and other ill-treatment which, deprived of state protection, were most
continued to be reported and further evidence dominated by violence.
emerged that the US authorities “outsourced” torture The trend towards militarization of law enforcement
by means including “rendition” — the transfer of continued. In Central America the role of the armed
individuals to another country without any form of forces was increasingly directed towards maintaining
judicial or administrative process, sometimes in secret. public order and combating crime.
Around 500 detainees remained in Guantánamo Bay, In Haiti, illegal armed groups and police officers were
where they were held in conditions amounting to cruel, implicated in the killing and kidnapping of civilians.
inhuman or degrading treatment and continued to be The proliferation of small arms remained a concern,
denied their right to challenge the lawfulness of their despite attempts by some governments to restrict
detention. them. In a referendum in Brazil, 64 per cent of the
Despite mounting evidence that the US government electorate voted against a proposal to ban commercial
had sanctioned “disappearances” as well as sales of firearms.
30 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – AMERICAS
Amnesty International Report 2006 31
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – AMERICAS
Impunity and justice However, there were also significant setbacks. In
Members of the security forces continued to commit Colombia, the Justice and Peace Law threatened to
widespread human rights violations with impunity. guarantee impunity for members of illegal armed
Across the region torture and other ill-treatment, groups implicated in human rights abuses, including
sometimes resulting in deaths in custody, were war crimes and crimes against humanity, who agreed to
reported but few of the perpetrators were punished. demobilize. In Haiti, scores of former military and
Victims, their relatives or those representing them paramilitary officials serving sentences for their
when they filed complaints, as well as witnesses, involvement in past massacres escaped prison and
members of the judiciary and investigators, were some were granted unconditional release for no
frequently intimidated, harassed, threatened with apparent lawful reason. Despite five years in office, the
death and sometimes killed. Special Prosecutor assigned to bring to justice those
Many prisons were severely overcrowded and responsible for widespread human rights violations in
lacking in basic services. Often, the conditions Mexico in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s achieved virtually
amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. no progress.
This caused several riots across the region resulting in
scores of deaths, mostly of young, poor men. Gender-based violence
Inefficient, corrupt and discriminatory judicial systems Violence against women continued to be one of the
meant that detainees who came from poor and most pressing human rights challenges in the Americas.
marginalized communities could languish for months Countless women and girls faced violence on a daily
and even years in prison without being tried and basis and could not count on their government to
sentenced, and frequently without access to defence provide them with the basic level of protection and
lawyers. security that is their fundamental right.
Excessive use of force by the security forces to curb Governments across the region continued to ignore
crime and civil unrest were reported in Brazil, provisions enshrined in women’s human rights treaties.
Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Paraguay and elsewhere Although most countries in the region had laws to
in the region. In some cases, people were killed as a prevent and protect women from violence in the home
result. and community, police investigations into allegations
The lack of independence and impartiality of judicial of violence against women were rarely effective,
systems in the region – because of corruption or criminal justice systems frequently failed to take
political bias, or because of corporate interests within violence against women seriously and perpetrators
police and military courts – remained a serious concern were rarely punished.
and fed the cycle of impunity for human rights The number of women and girls murdered in Ciudad
violations. Juárez, Mexico, continued to rise and there was
There was significant progress in addressing the insufficient progress to end impunity for past
unresolved legacy of past human rights violations in abductions and murders both in this city and in the city
some Latin American countries. Former Chilean leader of Chihuahua. The number of women killed in
Augusto Pinochet was placed under house arrest on Guatemala rose to up to 665 compared to 527 in 2004,
charges related to human rights violations. Having been and the increase of sexual abuse and murders of
stripped of his legal immunity and declared “mentally women in El Salvador that began in 2002 continued.
competent” to stand trial, victims and their relatives Little progress was made in investigating these killings
were hopeful that their quest for justice for over 30 and preventing future ones.
years might be fulfilled. The lack of specific definitions in law to criminalize
Victims and relatives of more recent grave human violence against women continued to be an obstacle to
rights violations saw their right to justice move closer obtaining justice in a region where gender-based
to realization when the former Peruvian President, discrimination remained endemic in state institutions.
Alberto Fujimori, was arrested in Chile pending an However, some progress was made. In Mexico, the
extradition request on charges of murder, forced Supreme Court ruled that rape within marriage is a
disappearance and torture. crime, ending a 15-year legal battle during which
The Argentine Supreme Court of Justice declared the members of the judicial system argued that since the
Full Stop and Due Obedience laws null and void, purpose of marriage was procreation, forced sexual
opening the way towards truth and justice for relations by a spouse was not rape but “an undue
thousands of victims of human rights violations exercise of a [conjugal] right”. In Guatemala, the
committed in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Constitutional Court suspended a law that allowed
Adolfo Scilingo, an Argentine former naval officer rapists, in certain circumstances, to escape prosecution
who had admitted to being aboard planes carrying if they married their victim.
detainees who were drugged, stripped naked and Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
thrown into the sea during the military governments in people continued to suffer discrimination and
Argentina, was tried and sentenced in Spain on charges violence. In the USA a study carried out by AI
of crimes against humanity. In another case, a ruling by indicated a heightened pattern of misconduct and
Spain’s Constitutional Court opened the way for former abuse by police of transgender individuals and of all
Guatemalan President Rios Montt and other former LGBT people of colour or who are young, immigrants,
military officials to be tried for human rights violations. homeless or sex workers. In Nicaragua, gay and
32 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – ASIA-PACIFIC
bringing the USA into line with international standards
prohibiting such executions. Two people were released
from death row on grounds of innocence. However,
among the 60 people executed in 2005 were people With 56 per cent of the world’s population, two
with mental disabilities, defendants without access to emergent economic superpowers, a host of armed
effective legal representation and foreign nationals conflicts, a series of natural disasters and civil society
denied their consular rights. organization ranging from minimal to vibrant, the Asia-
Pacific region continued to provide a challenging and
Human rights defenders dynamic context for the promotion of human rights in
Human rights activists across the Americas campaigned 2005. Ongoing conflicts and security concerns
vigorously to hold governments and armed groups to persisted, heightening the vulnerability of populations
their obligations to respect international and domestic and providing the context for many grave abuses.
human rights standards. Welcome moves in 2005 towards a greater
Women’s rights activists struggled to reform acceptance of international human rights standards
antiquated laws on rape and domestic violence and included the ratification by Afghanistan of the UN
were often threatened or intimidated for trying to Refugee Convention, the ratification by India of the
support victims of violence and sexual abuse. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of
Indigenous activists in Central America championed the Child on the involvement of children in armed
their community’s rights to defend their livelihoods and conflict, and the ratification by the Indonesian
the right to be consulted on issues that affect their parliament of the International Covenant on Civil and
ancestral lands, such as the extraction of natural Political Rights and the International Covenant on
resources or the construction of dams. AI feared that Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
some gay, lesbian and transgender activists went National human rights institutions continued to
underground following mounting homophobia in operate in several countries, including Afghanistan,
Jamaica and some other Caribbean countries. India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka
The difficulties and dangers faced by activists in the and Thailand, although not in Bangladesh, China and
Americas ranged from intimidation and restrictions Viet Nam. In Pakistan, a draft bill to establish a national
on travel, to arbitrary detention and unfounded human rights commission was presented to parliament.
accusations of terrorism and other violent activities. There were also positive moves towards cooperation
The authorities often refused to take reports of between national human rights bodies, including those
violations against human rights defenders seriously, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
suggesting that the reports were fabricated or 2005 saw moves towards a thawing of relations
exaggerated. Activists working locally on rural between states historically hostile to each other. There
poverty and development, often in isolated areas, and were talks and cross-border transport between India
journalists covering issues such as corruption were and Pakistan, and six-party discussions on North Korea
killed in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. In progressed with an accord in which North Korea
Ecuador, members of an NGO that campaigns to pledged to abandon its nuclear programme in return
protect indigenous communities and the environment for assurances on aid and security.
from the adverse effects of oil drilling and fumigation Politicized religious movements impacted on the
of coca plantations were threatened with death. In everyday reality of human rights, especially in south
Cuba human rights activists, political dissidents and Asia. There were constraints on women’s movement and
trade unionists continued to be harassed and dress as well as impediments to the ability of minority
intimidated and attacks on freedom of expression and groups to practise their beliefs and live peacefully.
association were frequent. Asia moved centre stage in international trade and
The use of the judicial system to hamper the work of business affairs with the Global Compact and the World
human rights defenders by threatening them with Trade Organization’s meetings held in China and Hong
investigation or detention on unfounded criminal Kong. India and China continued to show fast rates of
charges was a serious problem in Colombia, Cuba, economic growth. However, national indicators
Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico. Cases were suggested that millions of people were living in poverty
also reported in the USA. — from more than a quarter of the population in
Government efforts to protect human rights Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal,
defenders at risk were marred by extended delays by Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, to
some authorities in implementing requests for around half the population in Bangladesh and Viet Nam.
precautionary measures to protect named Although the Internet was widely taken up, in parts
individuals, as recommended by the Inter-American of Asia it was not the tool of freedom of expression it
Commission of Human Rights. Some governments only had promised to be. In China, access continued to be
managed to offer protection measures such as bullet- heavily monitored by the state, with many websites
proof vests and were unable to muster sufficient blocked and users prosecuted for posting political
political will to tackle deep hostility towards human opinions or information embarrassing to the
rights work within their governments, or to correct government. In Viet Nam, the sharing of opinions and
legal provisions restricting the right to defend information on the web resulted in prosecutions for
human rights. “espionage”.
34 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – ASIA-PACIFIC
Amnesty International Report 2006 35
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – ASIA-PACIFIC
Armed conflicts global human trafficking was estimated to originate
Armed conflicts persisted in several places, including from or be located in Asia. Many countries in the region
Afghanistan, parts of India, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri continued to view trafficked women as illegal
Lanka and southern Thailand. immigrants and failed to prosecute the traffickers.
Two areas of armed conflict that were affected by the Justice and safety often escaped women facing
December 2004 tsunami saw very different developments violence because of inadequate or non-existent state
in the following 12 months. Indonesia underwent a mechanisms, or because penalties for perpetrators
process of negotiation leading to a peace agreement in were inconsistent or did not reflect the seriousness of
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam in August. By contrast, Sri the violence. As a result, many of those who
Lanka witnessed increased violence, including the perpetrated violence against women enjoyed impunity.
assassination of the Foreign Minister in August, growing The need for changes in attitudes as well as legal
insecurity in the east, and a marked deterioration of the reform meant that progress in challenging the violence
situation in the north in December, shortly after the was patchy and slow. Some notable efforts included the
election of a new President. At the end of 2005 there was establishment of an inter-ministerial council aimed at
deep concern about the escalation of violence in Sri combating violence against women in Afghanistan; the
Lanka and the viability of the ceasefire agreement. adoption or proposal of laws to protect women from
The conflict in southern Thailand continued to domestic violence in Cambodia, Fiji and India; the
deteriorate in 2005 with a considerable heightening of introduction of legislation against sexual harassment in
the climate of fear and constraint. Both sides to the China; the draft before parliament of anti-trafficking
conflict were implicated in human rights abuses and legislation in Indonesia; and the establishment of the
violence. In the Philippines a ceasefire between the first purpose-built shelter for victims of family violence
government and secessionist forces in Mindanao, in the Solomon Islands.
although fragile, largely held throughout 2005. The plight of the so-called “comfort women”
demonstrated the low priority of delivering redress to
Discrimination women victims of violence. Having been victims of
States continued to fail in their duty to protect the military systems of sexual slavery more than 50 years
human rights of all, both by maintaining discriminatory ago, these women continued to campaign for
laws and by failing to ensure that those who suffer reparations through the courts in Japan and elsewhere,
discrimination have adequate redress. but at the end of 2005 were still waiting for justice.
Ethnicity, gender, socio-economic factors and sexual
identities continued to provide the backdrop for Migrants and refugees
discrimination across the region. Among those targeted Asia continued to see significant migration flows within
were dalits (“low caste” people) and adivasis and beyond the region. Migrant workers and their
(indigenous people) in India; Ahmadis in Bangladesh, families faced uncertainty, vulnerability and poor
Pakistan and Indonesia; Montagnards and Buddhists in treatment in many countries, including Japan,
Viet Nam; indigenous peoples in Australia; Karen, Mon, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan. Few states in the
Rohingyas and Shan in Myanmar; Uighurs in China; and region, particularly receiving states, had ratified the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across International Convention on the Protection of the
the region. Among the abuses such targeted groups Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their
suffered were forced labour, displacement, Families.
persecution, and restrictions on freedom of expression Refugees and asylum-seekers faced marginalization,
and the right to practise their religion. harassment and arbitrary arrest. Laws and practice in
On a positive note, a landmark ruling by a Fiji court several states allowed ill-treatment of refugees,
recognized that provisions in the Penal Code used including caning of migrants and asylum-seekers in
against consensual homosexual activity violated Malaysia and arbitrary detention of asylum-seekers
constitutional guarantees on privacy and equality. and refugees in detention centres in Australia.
The conflicts in Sri Lanka and Nepal generated
Violence against women significant numbers of internally displaced people. In
Women and girls continued to suffer a vast array of Nepal, an estimated 200,000 displaced people suffered
forms of violence, including domestic violence, forced a severe lack of services, including housing, health and
abortions and sterilizations, forced marriages, killings education. In Sri Lanka, hundreds of thousands of
and crimes of “honour”. Such abuses were systematic people displaced by the conflict and the tsunami were
and carried out on a massive scale. particularly vulnerable to conflict-related violence.
Violence against women continued to be closely
interrelated with cultural attitudes and practices of Natural disasters
gender discrimination, such as wanting babies to be The region suffered devastating natural disasters in
boys, the belief that women should not leave the home 2005, and the extent of the impact of the 2004 tsunami
and the view that women should not take decisions became clear during the year. In Indonesia, it emerged
relating to marriage. that over 700,000 people had died, were still missing or
Gender discrimination constrained life and had been displaced as a result of the tsunami. In
employment choices, thus making women and girls Thailand, at least 100,000 people had been affected. In
particularly vulnerable to trafficking – a third of all Sri Lanka, 35,322 people died and 516,150 were
Amnesty International Report 2006 37
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – ASIA-PACIFIC
displaced. In India, an estimated 15,000 people died Practices that aggravated the suffering of those
and more than 112,000 were displaced. awaiting execution included the sudden announcement
A powerful earthquake that struck the Pakistan/India of executions in Japan, so that those about to be killed
border region in October 2005 left an estimated 73,000 did not have the chance to meet their families and other
dead in Pakistan and at least 1,200 dead in India’s loved ones. In Pakistan, the unreliability of
Jammu and Kashmir state. Between 2 and 3 million documentation relating to registration of births led to a
people were made homeless. Further deaths and lack of confidence that all those facing execution were
widespread suffering were witnessed in the severe adults and that a 2001 commutation order for juveniles
weather conditions in the following Himalayan winter. on death row was applied to all child offenders
Concerns about relief efforts after the tsunami and the sentenced to death.
earthquake centred on ongoing conflict, access to Key abolitionist voices in the region included the
remote areas and allegations of discrimination. President and Chief Justice to the Supreme Court in
India, the Foreign Minister in Sri Lanka and the Home
Economic, social and cultural rights Minister in Japan. However, no country in the Asia-
India and China enjoyed considerable international Pacific region abolished the death penalty in 2005.
attention and support for their economic growth and
status as emerging players in the global economic Human rights defenders
scene. While claims of a decrease in the number of Human rights activists, particularly those defending the
those in “absolute poverty” were contested, any rights of women, came under increasing attack by
parallel improvement in human rights was not private individuals and groups as well as by agents of
manifest. Economic development did not prioritize the state. Human rights defenders across the region
realization of economic, social and cultural rights. In faced threats, harassment, and arrest and assault for
China, rural migrant labour continued to suffer dire their work. China detained many human rights
conditions, and hundreds of thousands of peasant defenders, including journalists and lawyers, and some
farmers were increasingly marginalized through land were sentenced to prison terms. Activists were also
expropriation, lack of health care and the failure of the arrested during political crackdowns in Cambodia and
state to provide education for millions of children in Nepal, and human rights defenders suffered death
rural areas. Rural-urban disparities and the growing threats in Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
gap between rich and poor fuelled social unrest in the Impunity for crimes against human rights defenders
countryside. In India, legislation was introduced in remained a problem, even in the most high-profile
2005 to guarantee minimum annual employment for the cases. In Thailand, for instance, despite pressure from
poor in selected areas. the Prime Minister to resolve the “disappearance” of
Across the region, conflict and environmental human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in March
degradation still adversely affected many communities. 2004, none of the suspects had been brought to justice
In Afghanistan, up to a third of the population could not by the end of 2005.
rely on safe or reliable sources of food, drinkable water Despite the tremendous pressures facing human
or shelter. In India, thousands of people were still rights defenders, the scale of human rights activism
awaiting remedies for the 1984 Bhopal disaster. across the region was remarkable. Human rights
defenders were at the forefront of struggles to advance
Death penalty economic, social and cultural rights, particularly in
The Asia-Pacific region continued to have a poor profile China, India and the Philippines. Women human rights
with regard to the death penalty, although a notable defenders began forging partnerships, including at the
minority of countries were abolitionist. The death first-ever global gathering of women human rights
penalty was retained in 26 countries, including defenders in Sri Lanka in December 2005. At this
Afghanistan, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, meeting, which brought together some 200 activists
Thailand and Viet Nam. Capital offences included tax from around the world, women activists developed a
fraud, murder, drugs smuggling, robbery and range of strategies to combat the violence,
kidnapping. discrimination and other abuses they experience
In South Korea an unofficial moratorium remained in specifically because of their gender and because of
place. A death penalty abolition bill introduced in 2004 their work in defence of human rights.
by a member of parliament and former death row In some cases, victims of abuse became committed
inmate passed its first parliamentary hurdle, with human rights defenders. In Pakistan, for example,
bipartisan support, in February 2005. Mukhtaran Mai, a survivor of gang-rape, became an
China and Mongolia still refused to make death activist for the right of all women to live their lives in
penalty statistics public and official statistics from safety and dignity.
some other countries were considered unreliable. Even
so, official statistics remained high. They included at
least 1,770 executions and 3,900 death sentences in
China, at least 31 executions and 241 death sentences in
Pakistan, at least 21 executions and 65 death sentences
in Viet Nam, and at least 24 death sentences in
38 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA
40 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA
countries with a history of torture or other ill- acknowledge that it faced a crisis of protection, rather
treatment. The authorities sought to rely on than of asylum. Elsewhere, intense international
inherently unreliable and ineffective “diplomatic pressure was placed on Kyrgyzstan to honour its
assurances” featured in Memorandums of obligation to offer protection to those fleeing the
Understanding agreed with states with a well- Andizhan events in Uzbekistan.
documented record of torture. In December the
highest court in the UK delivered a landmark Racism and discrimination
judgment upholding the absolute inadmissibility as Continuing racism, discrimination and intolerance
evidence in legal proceedings of information were often identity-based. In many countries in the
extracted under torture. However, earlier in the year region, Jews and Muslims were among those targeted
a German court ruled that evidence possibly obtained by individuals and organizations for hate crimes.
under torture or other ill-treatment was admissible in In Russia, there were hundreds of racially motivated
legal proceedings. In France, a draft anti-terrorism physical assaults; at least 28 of them resulted in deaths.
law would allow longer periods of incommunicado In France, migrants and French nationals of North
detention and so would remove safeguards against African and sub-Saharan extraction, apparently
torture and other ill-treatment. enraged by discriminatory practices in employment
Disclosures at the end of the year suggested the and other areas, and the often racist and aggressive
involvement of a number of European states in illegal conduct of the police, began rioting in cities and towns
and secret transfers (“renditions”) by the USA of across the country in October after the deaths of two
individuals to countries where torture was rife, or to US boys in disputed circumstances. A state of emergency
custody in military bases and secret locations around was declared.
the world. Both the Council of Europe and the European Across the region Roma remained severely
Parliament launched inquiries into allegations of secret disadvantaged in key areas of public and private life
US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detention centres such as housing, employment, education and health
in Europe and of CIA-chartered aeroplanes making services. They were also frequently the targets of
flights in or out of European airspace said to have been racism by law enforcement officials.
used in abductions and unlawful transfers of prisoners. In some countries of the former Yugoslavia,
In Uzbekistan, the authorities responded brutally discrimination on ethnic grounds in areas such as
when a group of armed men seized various buildings in employment and housing continued to block a durable
the city of Andizhan in May. Witnesses reported that and dignified return for many people displaced by the
hundreds of people were killed when security forces conflict.
fired recklessly and without warning on a mostly Others faced discrimination around issues of their
unarmed and peaceful crowd of demonstrators that legal status. Meskhetians in the Krasnodar Territory in
included children. Russia continued to be refused recognition of their
In a disturbing development in Turkey, against a citizenship on ethnic grounds, and so were unable to
background of increasing violence between the access a wide range of basic rights. In Greece, the
security services and the armed opposition Kurdistan authorities still refused to reissue citizenship
Workers’ Party (PKK), there were reports of direct documents to members of the Muslim population in
official involvement in the November bombing of a western Thrace, with those affected thereby denied
bookshop in the Ôemdinli district of Hakkâri in which access to state benefits and institutions. In Slovenia,
one man was killed. thousands of people unlawfully “erased” in 1992 from
the registry of permanent residents, mainly people
Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants from other Yugoslav republics (many of them Roma),
There was a consistent pattern of human rights were still waiting for their status to be resolved. As a
violations linked to the interception, detention and result of the “erasure” many were denied full access to
expulsion by states of foreign nationals, including their economic and social rights.
those seeking international protection. At least 13 A climate of intolerance against the lesbian, gay,
people were killed when trying to enter the Spanish bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in
enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla from Morocco, allegedly Latvia, Poland and Romania saw local authorities
as a result of Spanish and Moroccan law enforcement actively obstructing public events organized by LGBT
officers using disproportionate and lethal force to groups amid openly homophobic language used by
prevent them entering the enclaves. some highly placed politicians. However, in Spain and
Men, women and children continued to face the UK new laws recognized partnerships for same sex
obstacles in accessing asylum procedures. In Greece, couples.
Italy, Spain and the UK, some were unlawfully detained
and others were denied necessary guidance and legal Violence against women
support. Many were unlawfully expelled before their Domestic violence against women and girls remained
claims could be heard, including from Cyprus, Greece, widespread across the region, affecting all ages and
Italy, Kazakstan, Malta, Russia and Spain. Some were social groups. Positive attempts to tackle it included
sent to countries where they were at risk of human provisions in the new Turkish Penal Code offering
rights violations. The fact that EU member states were greater protection for women against violence in the
among those doing this illustrated the EU’s failure to family, and special courts established for women victims
Amnesty International Report 2006 41
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA
of domestic violence in Spain. However, the law in Spain Croatian Army General Ante Gotovina, although other
– as in other places – continued to leave the onus on the suspects continued to evade arrest. Lack of full
victim, not the state, to lodge a formal complaint or take cooperation with the Tribunal together with
the initiative in organizing protection. insufficient efforts by domestic courts remained an
Other gaps in legal protection included no specific obstacle to justice.
criminalization of domestic violence in countries such
as Albania and Russia. Too often, initiatives such as the Death penalty
opening of a shelter, the establishment of a helpline or There was further progress towards total abolition of
provision of other services happened through the the death penalty in the region. Legal amendments in
efforts of individuals and NGOs struggling with Moldova removed the last provisions for the death
inadequate funding. Moscow, the capital of Russia and penalty from the Constitution. Similar draft
a city of 10 million people, remained without a single constitutional amendments were proposed in
shelter for women who were victims of violence. Kyrgyzstan.
Poverty, lack of education, family breakdown and Uzbekistan announced that capital punishment
crime networks contributed to the continuing problem would be abolished from 2008, but this was little
of trafficking of human beings, including of women and comfort for all those affected by the death penalty.
girls for enforced prostitution. Protection for the Dozens of people were believed to have been
survivors and prosecution of the perpetrators were sentenced to death and executed during 2005 in a
hindered by issues such as a failure to provide criminal justice system flawed throughout by
trafficked people with an automatic right to protection corruption and which consistently failed to
and assistance; the lack, or inadequate implementation investigate allegations of torture. Relatives,
of, witness protection law; failure to criminalize tormented by uncertainty, were not told in advance
internal trafficking; and threats and fears of reprisals. the date of executions and were denied the bodies of
One potentially positive step was the opening for their executed relatives and knowledge of where they
signature in May of the Council of Europe’s Convention were buried. Uzbekistan also flouted its international
on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. legal obligations by executing at least one person
whose case was under consideration by the UN
Abuses by officials and impunity Human Rights Committee, at one point even assuring
Torture and ill-treatment, often race-related, were the Committee that the man remained alive when the
reported across the region. Victims described a death certificate indicated that he had been executed
catalogue of abuses, including being beaten, stripped three weeks earlier. Belarus and Uzbekistan remained
naked and threatened with death; deprivation of food, the region’s last executioners.
water and sleep; having plastic bags placed over their
heads; and threats against their family. In some cases, Repression of dissent
detainees reportedly died as a result of such abuse or Civil, political and religious dissent remained
excessive use of force, including in Bulgaria, Russia and systematically and often brutally repressed in Belarus,
Spain. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan, official
Although there were some positive developments, attempts to block alternative reports of the many
including moves by new administrations in Georgia and deaths in Andizhan involved widespread intimidation,
Ukraine to tackle torture and ill-treatment, there were beatings and detentions, including of witnesses,
still obstacles in these and other countries that demonstrators, journalists and human rights
prevented the eradication of such abuses. The defenders. In Belarus, opposition activists were
obstacles included police cover-ups, victims’ fear of imprisoned on false criminal charges. In Turkmenistan,
repercussions, lack of prompt access to a lawyer, and political dissidents and members of religious minority
the lack of an effective, properly resourced and groups were among those harassed, arbitrarily
independent system to investigate complaints. Failure detained and tortured.
to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial In Russia, the climate of hostility towards human
investigations led to an overwhelming climate of rights defenders intensified and some individuals were
impunity in Turkey, Uzbekistan and elsewhere in the prosecuted for exercising their right to freedom of
region. In Russia, impunity remained the norm for expression. A new law affecting NGOs, requiring
serious human rights abuses in the context of the stricter registration rules and increased state scrutiny,
Chechen conflict. threatened to further compromise the independence of
In many countries, conditions in prisons, as well as in civil society.
detention centres for asylum-seekers and irregular In Serbia, increasing attacks by non-state actors on
migrants, were inhuman and degrading. human rights defenders, with the tacit support of the
Intense international pressure on some countries in state, were reminiscent of the period under former
the western Balkans produced improved cooperation President Slobodan Miloševi». In Turkey a wide range
with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former of critical opinions remained open to criminalization,
Yugoslavia early in the year, with the capture or with writers, publishers, human rights defenders and
apparently voluntary surrender of a number of academics among those prosecuted under a law which
suspects accused of crimes, including war crimes and penalized “denigration” of Turkishness, the state and its
crimes against humanity. Among those held was former institutions.
42 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
In spite of threats, intimidation and detention, some of the victims, although not yet justice. In Libya,
however, human rights defenders across the region the authorities announced a belated investigation into
remained resolute in continuing their work, inspiring the killing or “disappearance” of possibly hundreds of
others to join them in aiming for lasting change and prisoners at Tripoli’s Abu Selim Prison in 1996.
respect for the human rights of all. Women, for so long subject to discrimination in both
law and practice, finally won the right to vote in Kuwait
AI regional reports and achieved greater recognition of their human rights
• Europe and Central Asia: Summary of Amnesty in countries such as Algeria and Morocco. Even in Saudi
International’s Concerns in the Region: January-June Arabia, the exclusion of women from participation in
2005 (AI Index: EUR 01/012/2005) the country’s first ever municipal elections sparked
• Council of Europe: Recommendations to Strengthen debate and growing pressure for change.
the December 2004 Draft European Convention on Only time will tell whether these were the first signs
Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (AI Index: of real and overdue change or merely instances that
IOR 61/001/2005) bucked the trend. However, the emergence of an
• Human rights dissolving at the borders? Counter- increasingly active and outspoken community of
terrorism and criminal law in the EU (AI Index: IOR human rights activists was a further promising
61/013/2005) development. Using the Internet and the opportunities
• Amnesty International’s Statements to the 2005 provided by the growth and popularity of satellite
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting television, human rights activists were able
(AI Index: IOR 30/014/2005) increasingly to communicate information and share
• Delivering on human rights: Amnesty International’s ideas unimpeded by national boundaries both within
ten-point program for the UK Presidency of the and beyond the region and to derive new strength and
European Union (AI Index: IOR 61/017/2005) solidarity from the regional and global alliances to
• Reject rather than regulate: Call on Council of Europe which they contributed.
member states not to establish minimum standards However, 2005 also brought repression and misery to
for the use of diplomatic assurances in transfers to far too many people in the region as their human rights
risk of torture and other ill-treatment (AI Index: IOR were abused or denied. Some were targeted because of
61/025/2005) their political views, others because of their religion or
ethnicity, yet others for their sexual orientation.
Throughout the region women were subject to varying
degrees of discrimination and violence because of their
gender. Countless others were unable to enjoy fully
their economic, social and cultural rights.
MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA Conflict, violence and crimes under
At first sight, the pattern of widespread abuse that has The persistence of armed conflict and other forms of
long characterized human rights in the Middle East and political violence was the context for war crimes and
North Africa remained firmly entrenched in 2005. crimes against humanity perpetrated by several
Indeed, considering the appalling toll of abuses parties. Thousands of children and adult civilians were
perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in Iraq, the killed or injured in the continuing conflict in Iraq, many
continuing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, of them victims of suicide bomb attacks carried out by
and some of the views expressed by Iran’s new militant groups that frequently targeted civilians. Other
President, the picture could have appeared very bleak. civilians, including Iraqis and foreign nationals, were
Despite this and the persistence of grave violations abducted and held hostage; some were released but
across the region, there were some signs to suggest that others were killed by their captors. Troops of the US-led
2005 might come to be seen as a time when some of the multinational force and Iraqi government forces also
old certainties began to look less certain and a new committed widespread abuses, including torture and
dynamic began to take hold. The wall of impunity unlawful killings of civilians, and detained thousands of
behind which so many perpetrators of torture, political suspects arbitrarily and without access to due process.
killings and other abuses had sheltered for so long In November, the Iraq conflict spilled over to Jordan
began to fracture. Former Iraqi President Saddam when suicide bombers apparently linked to Iraq
Hussain was brought to trial on charges relating to targeted three hotels in the capital, Amman, killing 60
executions of villagers in 1982, and an unprecedented people and wounding many others. In Egypt, bombs
UN Security Council-mandated inquiry implicated that targeted civilians exploded in Cairo in April and
senior Syrian and Lebanese officials in the 2005 Sharm el-Sheik in July; 90 people were killed and at
assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq least 100 were injured.
al-Hariri. New evidence emerged of human rights violations
In Morocco, the Arab world’s first truth commission by governments and intelligence services in the
shed important light on grave human rights abuses Middle East/North Africa region and those in the USA
committed over a period of more than 40 years and and other Western countries in their close
brought acknowledgement and reparation for at least collaboration in the “war on terror”. AI interviewed
Amnesty International Report 2006 43
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
detainees in Yemen who said that they had been they were eventually brought to trial only for courts
briefly detained and tortured in Jordan and then held to dismiss their allegations out of hand without
for many months in secret detention centres under US investigation.
control, whose location they never learned, before The problem was exacerbated by the continued
being flown to Yemen. Yemeni authorities told AI that prevalence of exceptional courts, including military
the detainees were being held at the behest of the US courts empowered to try civilians. In Egypt and Syria,
government. such courts were maintained under long-standing
There was increasing information to indicate that states of emergency. Special courts were also used to
individuals suspected of terrorism by the US authorities try and sentence political suspects in Lebanon and
had been secretly and forcibly transferred to countries, Oman. In Libya, the General People’s Congress
including Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Syria, for abolished the People’s Court, a notoriously unfair
interrogation. Senior US officials continued to proclaim special court that had previously sentenced many
their administration’s opposition to torture despite critics and opponents of the government to long prison
such transfers (“renditions”) of suspects to countries terms or death. Despite this, neither in Libya nor in
whose security services had long records of torturing most other countries in the Middle East and North
detainees with impunity. Neither the USA nor any of the Africa could it be said that there was an independent
countries concerned disclosed the number of those judiciary, especially in cases having a political or
transferred, where they were being held or their security aspect.
identities. Police and security forces also operated largely
As a further sign of close collaboration, three behind a shield of impunity when they used excessive
countries – Lebanon, Libya and Jordan – signed force, causing deaths and injuries, whether in Iran and
bilateral agreements with the UK under which they Yemen, where the victims were often members of
agreed to accept individuals whom the UK authorities religious or ethnic minorities; in Egypt and Morocco,
said were suspected of terrorism and wished forcibly to where the targets included refugees and migrants; or in
expel. All three countries, under the terms of these the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where Palestinian
Memorandums of Understanding with the UK, were children were among those killed with impunity by
required to provide specific assurances that anyone Israeli troops. In Iraq, both US and other foreign forces
returned under the agreement would not be tortured or and those of the Iraqi government used excessive force
treated inhumanely, in implicit recognition that these with impunity.
countries had failed to respect the guarantees against Killings of civilians by Israeli forces and Palestinian
torture to which they had previously committed under armed groups continued in Israel and the occupied
international law. West Bank and Gaza Strip, although on a lesser scale
Several countries invoked the “war on terror” as a than in recent years. While Israel used a wide range of
justification for maintaining long-standing emergency judicial and extrajudicial means to punish Palestinians
powers, as in Egypt, or for introducing new legislation individually and collectively for killings of Israelis,
that threatened to violate human rights ostensibly in Palestinian victims were denied justice and redress.
the interests of protecting national security, as in Impunity remained the rule for Israeli forces who
Bahrain. Scores of prosecutions on terrorism-related unlawfully killed and ill-treated Palestinians. In July
charges were mounted in countries that included Israel passed a new law denying Palestinians the right
Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. In many to claim compensation for death, injury or damage
cases, defendants appeared before special or ordinary caused by Israeli forces. The Palestinian Authority also
courts whose procedures fell far short of those required failed to take action against Palestinian armed groups
by international fair trial standards. Some complained responsible for unlawful killings and abductions amid
that they had been tortured and ill-treated while held increasing lawlessness.
in pre-trial detention and forced to “confess”. However, The issue of impunity for past grave abuses came into
courts rarely ordered investigations or gave credence sharp focus during the year. In Algeria, the government
to such claims. held a national referendum to win support for its plan
to extend an amnesty to those responsible for the
Impunity, justice and accountability thousands of political killings, “disappearances” and
With few exceptions, perpetrators of human rights widespread torture that were so much a feature of the
abuses continued to benefit from impunity as internal conflict that raged from the early 1990s.
governments failed to hold them to account and In neighbouring Morocco, however, an Equity and
ensure justice for their victims. In many countries in Reconciliation Commission appointed by King
the region, security and intelligence services were Mohamed VI completed its inquiries into
given free rein to detain suspects for long periods, “disappearances” and other violations committed
often holding them incommunicado and without between 1956 and 1999, and at the end of the year
charge and exposing them to torture and ill- submitted its final report. Although its statutes
treatment, confident that they did so with official categorically excluded the identification of individual
acquiescence and without fear of intervention by the perpetrators, the Commission represented a unique
courts. Detainees were frequently tortured in Syria in initiative within the region, one that appeared likely to
pre-trial detention. In Egypt, Iran and Tunisia, clarify a good number of cases of past abuse and ensure
defendants frequently complained of torture when both official acknowledgement of, and the payment of
44 Amnesty International Report 2006
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Amnesty International Report 2006 45
REGIONAL OVERVIEWS – MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Many others were rounded up by Moroccan police, Human rights defenders
transported to remote desert areas along the border with Human rights defenders continued to face a
Algeria and dumped, left to fend for themselves without momentous task as they sought to promote wider
adequate water or shelter. Amid wide publicity and understanding and ensure more effective protection of
condemnation, both governments said they would the rights due to all people in the region regardless of
investigate the killings, but no government officials had age, gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or
been prosecuted or disciplined by the end of 2005. other defining characteristics. They faced many
obstacles and in some cases put their lives on the line to
Women’s rights defend their own and others’ fundamental rights.
Women continued to suffer legal and other forms of Independent human rights organizations were active
discrimination throughout the region, although 2005 saw in a majority of countries, despite restrictive laws
a quickening process of change. In Kuwait, women for designed to regulate the operation of non-
the first time became eligible to vote in the country’s governmental groups. However, human rights
national elections. In Morocco, King Mohamed VI defenders continued to be targeted for abuse or
announced that citizenship would be granted to all harassment, particularly in Iran and Syria. In Tunisia,
children born of women with foreign spouses and that a the run-up to a UN-sponsored world summit in
discriminatory law severely limiting this right would be November was accompanied by an increase in state
reformed. In Algeria too, amendments to the Family repression directed against leading human rights
Code removed some aspects of discrimination, although activists. The repression persisted through the summit
not enough to give women equal status with men. itself which, ironically, aimed to advance international
That such changes represented something of a information exchange through the use of new
breakthrough said a lot about how much further change technology. Sahrawi human rights defenders who
is necessary before women truly achieve equal status in documented abuses by Moroccan forces in confronting
the region. Violence against women, including within protests earlier in the year were jailed in Western
the family, remained widespread and insufficiently Sahara.
addressed by governments and state authorities. In
Iraq, where increasing religious sectarianism emerged AI regional report
as a feature of the political breakdown, women came • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Women
under greater threat of violence because of how they deserve dignity and respect (AI Index: MDE
dressed and behaved. 04/004/2005)
Economic, social and cultural rights
Many communities faced denial of or were hampered
from accessing basic economic, social and cultural
rights. Marginalized people were particularly
vulnerable, including Bedouins in Israel, Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon, members of ethnic and religious
minorities in Iran, and migrants, especially women
migrant workers in Gulf countries and Lebanon. For
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip,
Israeli policies and controls made life especially harsh.
Palestinians were left without shelter by destruction of
their homes; without livelihood by the seizure of land
and closures; and without access to adequate health
care due to road closures and checkpoints. Access to
scarce water resources increasingly emerged as a likely
flashpoint for the future.
Both Iran and Saudi Arabia continued to carry out
executions – at least 94 and 88 respectively in 2005. In
both countries the real totals were probably higher.
Iran’s victims included child offenders, while a large
proportion of those executed in Saudi Arabia were
foreign nationals, including some who were sentenced
after trials whose proceedings they did not understand.
In September, Iraq carried out its first executions
since the death penalty was restored in August 2004,
and the effective moratorium on executions that had
existed in the Palestinian Authority since 2002 was
ended by five executions. Algeria, Israel, Morocco and
Tunisia remained abolitionist in practice.
Amnesty International Report 2006 47
of the world's
Figures as of 23 May 2006, unless otherwise indicated.
of the world's
Remarkable progress on the abolition of the death penalty showed the potential for public pressure to bring
then now Number of countries that had abolished the
death penalty in law or in practice by 2005. In
1977, the year when the USA resumed the use
of the death penalty, only 16 countries were
Country known to AI that still executed juvenile
offenders in 2005.
of the world's
In 2005, the US Administration acknowledged the use of quot;renditionquot;. Rendition is the practice of transporting
persons forcibly and without due process from one country to another where they risk being interrogated under
torture or ill-treatment. Renditions are illegal under international treaties to which all European governments are
2005 was the year in which evidence was
made public of the involvement of European
governments in US-led renditions.
Approximate number of secret flights directly
linked to the CIA that used European airspace
between 2001 and 2005, some of which may
have carried prisoners.
Estimated number of persons who may have
been subject to renditions around the world.
Number of European countries implicated in the
rendition of 14 individuals to countries where
they were tortured.
Number of European countries that has issued
arrest warrants for CIA agents suspected of
kidnapping prisoners for rendition.
of the world's
Governments championed human rights on the one hand, and undermined them on the other.
Countries party to the UN Convention against
torture and other ill-treatment.
Countries out of the 150 in AI's 2006 report that
have tortured or ill-treated people.
of the world's
PARALYSIS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
The conflict in Darfur has been described as staggering in scale and harrowing in nature. Urgent action is
needed by the United Nations and the African Union to protect civilians in Darfur
Number of refugees and people displaced by
Estimated number of deaths from starvation,
disease and killings in Darfur since 2003.
Number of African Union monitors deployed in
African Union monitors
Number of UN Security Council resolutions
adopted on Darfur.
Number of United Nations peacekeepers
deployed in Darfur.
of the world's
At the Millennium Summit in 2000, the world's leaders set clear targets to solve some of the most vexing global
social problems. But, they failed to turn their promises into performance.
Governments promised to achieve universal primary education by 2015.
Number of children who remain out of school.
Estimated number of child soldiers.
300000 child soldiers
Number of girls in the world's poorest countries
with no access to primary education.
of the world's
TORTURE & TERROR
Thousands of people have been detained without charge or trial, tortured and ill-treated in the name of counter-
Number of days since the USA opened the
Guantánamo Bay prison camp for 'war on
terror' suspects on 11 January 2002.
Total number of people who have been
detained at Guantánamo Bay.
Age of Mohammed Ismail Agha when taken
into US custody in Afghanistan in late 2002
before later being transferred to Guantánamo.
The number of detainees at Guantánamo Bay
who have been convicted of a criminal offence.
of the world's
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
From birth to death, in times of peace as well as war, women face discrimination and violence at the hands of
the state, the community and the family.
2 million girls at risk of female genital mutilation
each year. Only 9 countries have specific
legislation outlawing female genital mutilation.
girls at risk of
25 % of women experience sexual abuse by an
intimate partner in their lifetime. 79 countries
have no legislation against domestic violence.
rapes conviction 5.3% of rapes reported in England and Wales
in 2003 resulted in a conviction.
England & Wales
UNKNOWN: the total number of women
raped in conflict. Rape is commonly used as
a weapon of war. Establishing exact figures
is difficult due to insecurity, logistics, fear
women raped of stigmatisation and risk of reprisal against
women who report rape.
of the world's
The proliferation of small arms is fuelling conflict, poverty and human rights abuses worldwide.
Two bullets for every person on the planet and
one gun for every ten.
An average of 1000 people are killed every day
may by small arms.
23 people killed
For every $1 spent on development assistance
assistance ONE DOLLAR ONE DOLLAR $10 is spent on military budgets.
ONE DOLLAR ONE DOLLAR
ONE DOLLAR ONE DOLLAR
ONE DOLLAR ONE DOLLAR
ONE DOLLAR ONE DOLLAR
88% of reported conventional arms exports are
from the 5 permanent members of the Security
Council - China, France, Russia, UK and USA.
conventional arms exports