Amnesty International says democracy in Latin America is threatened by chronically weak institutions and undermined by a lack of independence of the judiciary, impunity and endemic corruption.

In its annual report Wednesday, Amnesty noted that violent crime and a lack of public security continued to be major public concerns. It said that youth and armed criminal gangs posed a serious threat in cities in Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Jamaica.

The report said several states, such as Brazil, are resorting to using the military for containing violent neighborhoods and prisons.

Amnesty said Colombian security forces, paramilitaries, and guerrilla groups continued to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, which also affected people living in neighboring Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela.

The report also noted that thousands of detainees remain in U.S. custody without charge or trial in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Amnesty said Chile, Peru, and Colombia had made progress in women's reproductive rights, but that gender-based violence and killings continued in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.