Human Rights Watch World Report 2005 calls for the prosectution of Sudanese forces and government backed militia responsible for the slaughter of thousands in Darfur, and US government officials responsible for torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.
With regard to Darfur the report is a damning indictment of Western governments "cruel indifference" to the systematic violence against civilians by the Sudanese government.
for the death of an estimated 70,000 people and the displacement of some 1.6
million more in Darfur……the international response has been little more than to condemn the atrocities, feed the victims, and send a handful of poor equipped African forces to try, largely in vain, to stop the slaughter…..Darfur mocks the vows of "never again"..
Everyone has betrayed the people of Darfur. The UN security council has been hindered by vetos from China who has oil interests in Sudan which supersede the interests of the people of Darfur. Russia has been busy protecting it’s monopoly on arms sales to the Sudan.
The US and other Western governments have passed the problem over to the African Union which is does not have the resources or as a new organisation, the experience to deal with a large scale operation such as is needed. Meanwhile the US, Britain and Australia are busy in Iraq, France in Cote d’ Ivoire, NATO in Afghanistan and the EU in Bosnia.
African and Muslim countries have also been weak in their condemnation of Sudan if at all.
The non-permanent members also share
culpability. Algeria and Pakistan have been models of Islamic
solidarity, so long as that is defined as fealty to
an Islamic government rather than commitment to the lives of Muslim
Other African members of the council, Angola and Benin, placed a
loyalty to a fellow African government. In the U.N. General Assembly,
of governments, hostile to any human rights criticism because of their
records, opposed even discussing Sudan’s murderous campaign, let alone
Although the scale of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison is much smaller, the abuser is far more powerful.
governments breach international human rights and humanitarian law,
a violation. The breach is condemned or prosecuted, but the rule
Yet when a government as dominant and influential as the United States
openly defies that law and seeks to justify its defiance, it also
undermines the law
itself and invites others to do the same.
The US by its actions in Abu Ghraib has undermined human rights throughout the world. Governments defend their use of repression and violence against citizens by challenging the US own poor human rights record and quoting Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, said the US is obliged to maintaining the same standards as others instead of exceptionalism and t urged Bush to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate all those officials who "participated in, ordered or had command responsibility for torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
The report is 527 pages and covers human rights and religion as well as country reports – a summary of African countries will follow .