Thursday, May 27, 2010

Amnesty calls on governments to be held accountable

Amnesty International has released the latest installment of their annual "The State of the World's Human Rights." This year Amnesty is calling on governments to held accountable for human rights abuses. Further, they say that governments must be held into account for not pulling their people out of poverty, not improving access to health care and education, and not meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Katie Nguyen recieved some quotes from Amnesty. Alert Net also has this companion piece that gathers some of the statistics in the report.

"Rights to food, education, health and housing are out of their reach, and they cannot claim them due to the non-existent, corrupt or discriminatory justice systems," Amnesty's interim secretary-general Claudio Cordone wrote in the report.

"This is shown by mass forced evictions of people from their homes, whether in African countries such as Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, or the Roma in European countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania and Serbia. The result: the poor are driven deeper into poverty."

Adding its voice to concerns about the ability of countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were drawn up in 2000 by 189 heads of state, Amnesty said governments were falling far short of the targets and that new thinking was needed.

It said to stand a better chance of meeting the targets for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and providing access to affordable essential medicines, the targets should be based on legal commitments governments have made to meet basic human rights.

"When it comes to the Millennium Development Goals we see that the rights that are embedded in those goals are still not really enforceable," Cordone told AlertNet in an interview.

"So, for example, you cannot go to court in most parts of the world to say 'I've been kicked out of my house, I've been evicted wrongfully, I need compensation'."

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