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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid