News / Middle East

Rights Group: Arab Spring Movements Fall Short

A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 27, 2013.A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 27, 2013.
x
A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 27, 2013.
A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus January 27, 2013.
Anita Powell
Representatives of international watchdog Human Rights Watch say in their annual report that they're concerned about Syria, Mali and other areas of so-called Arab Spring unrest. The New York-based group released its report Thursday in London and Johannesburg.

Human Rights Watch says the euphoria and hope that spurred the Arab Spring movements two years ago have not brought about more rights for the people.
 
The 665-page report released Thursday profiles human rights in more than 80 nations, including the United States.

Syria's violence and repression dominated this year's report. The nation has been besieged by a rebellion that has left at least 60,000 people dead, according to United Nations estimates.

Rampant war crimes

Human Rights Watch's executive director Kenneth Roth, speaking on a live telecast from London, called on Russia and China to impose stricter sanctions on Syria in an attempt to further pressure the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

But the watchdog group also says both sides - the government and the opposition - have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, such as torture and executions.

Johannesburg-based spokeswoman Birgit Schwarz called for international measures.

"Our major concern about Syria is really that there's not enough pressure put on the Syrian government - and the Syrian rebels - at this point to stem the atrocities," said Schwarz. "The best way, really, to ensure that there will be accountability at some point would be a referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court. This is not a biased move because it would really mean that both sides, rebels as well as government forces, eventually would have to fear to be accountable."

Roth is critical of Egypt, saying the new Egyptian constitution is "filled with loopholes" that deprive citizens of their rights, and called for a strengthening of rights and free speech.

The group also expressed concern that Islamist-dominated governments in Arab Spring nations may restrict women’s rights.

Concerns over Africa

Tiseke Kasambala, advocacy director of the Africa Division, said Africa's rights landscape continues to worry them, too.

"The year 2012 witnessed some backsliding on democracy and improvement in human rights, the menace of terrorism in Nigeria, Somalia and Kenya, as well as increased national and regional tensions. Countries that continued to make important economic developments and strides, such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, continued also to impose tight restrictions on freedom of expression and association," said Kasambala.

Kasambala said Mali is of particular concern after a coup and a rebellion in 2012. French and Malian troops are currently trying to push back rebels in northern Mali.

"New or ongoing crises in Mali, Sudan and South Sudan, continued war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as longstanding repression in countries such as Ethiopia, as mentioned before, Eritrea, Sudan and Sim continued to undermine progress toward respect for human rights and the rule of law across the continent," said Kasambala.
 
In addition, the group is concerned about the potential for violence in elections scheduled for this year in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More