Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Amnesty International map

Along with its annual report, Amensty International created an interactive map pinpointing major human rights hot spots across the world. (Photo: Amnesty International)

New Report Highlights 'Thirst for Justice, Dignity, and Equality' Amid Increased Attacks on Human Rights

"The coming year provides a vital opportunity for a renewed commitment to the transformative idea of human rights."

Jessica Corbett

In its new annual report, Amnesty International documents "the struggle of many people to claim their rights, and the failures of governments to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights," in 159 countries and territories over the past year.

"As we enter 2018, the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take any of our human rights for granted."
—Salil Shetty, Amnesty International

"As we enter 2018, the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take any of our human rights for granted," Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty writes in the foreward of the report, which details how, "faced with unprecedented challenges across the world, people have shown repeatedly that their thirst for justice, dignity, and equality will not be extinguished."

Shetty outlines human rights abuses around the globe, while also noting that 2017 "demonstrated the enduring willingness of people to stand up for their rights and for the values they want to see in the world." He urges advocates to continue their fights.

"We certainly cannot take for granted that we will be free to gather together in protest or to criticize our governments. Neither can we take for granted that social security will be available when we are old or incapacitated; that our babies can grow up in cities with clean, breathable air; or that as young people we will leave school to find jobs that enable us to buy a home," he concludes. "The coming year provides a vital opportunity for a renewed commitment to the transformative idea of human rights, as we ask what kind of societies we want to live in. We must not squander it."

The report includes five regional overviews—one each for Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa—in addition to detailed reports from various nations and territories. It also features a "Spotlight on Austerity," which describes the impacts of cuts to government spending and tax increases through which officials aim to reduce public debt.

"Since the financial crisis of 2008, austerity has become a familiar term and experience for millions of people," the report notes. "Austerity is a human rights issue. It affects people's access to education, health, housing, social security, and other economic and social rights. It also leads to abuses of civil and political rights, as governments respond to protests and other dissent in draconian ways or cut services that affect access to justice, such as legal aid."

In an interactive map of "human rights hot spots" around the world, which was published on the group's website with the report, a descriptor attached to the U.S. pin notes how "the shockwaves from Trump's presidency were felt globally," and the numerous ways the Trump administration has failed to protect the rights of U.S. citizens and others. 

United States of America

While, in the report's forward, Shetty denounces leaders of wealthy countries who have "continued to approach the global refugee crisis with a blend of evasion and outright callousness," he highlights the approach of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose efforts "to ban entry to all citizens of several Muslim-majority countries based on their nationality was a transparently hateful move."

The U.S. section of the report addresses not only refugees' and migrants' rights, which focuses on Trump's executive orders and actions by the Department of Homeland Security, but also:

  • women's rightsattacks were "broad and multi-faceted";
  • rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people—murders of LGBTI people skyrocked while discriminatory measures by the government also increased;
  • counterterrorism and security;
  • torture and ill-treatment;
  • excessive use of force—"authorities continued to fail to track the exact number of people killed by law enforcement officials";
  • gun violence; and
  • the death penalty—eight states executed a total of at least 23 men.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Utterly Obscene': Just 8 Pfizer and Moderna Investors Became $10 Billion Richer After Omicron Emerged

"Pharma execs and shareholders are making a killing from a crisis they helped to create," said one justice campaigner.

Jon Queally ·

Ilhan Omar Calls Kevin McCarthy 'A Liar and a Coward' for Refusing to Condemn Boebert's Islamophobia

"This is who they are," said the Minnesota Democrat. "And we have to be able to stand up to them. And we have to push them to reckon with the fact their party right now is normalizing anti-Muslim bigotry."

Jon Queally ·

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·

Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo