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International Law Collapse: Amnesty Warns of Global Rights Abuses, Authoritarianism

International Law Collapse

Amnesty International: The persecution of human rights has intensified, international law has almost collapsed, and the United States, Russia and China bear responsibility

Amnesty International’s report on the world human rights situation for 2023–2024 highlights unprecedented violations of international law and human rights abuses in conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine, and countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, and Myanmar. The report criticizes Israel for its actions in Gaza, the United States for failing to condemn these violations, Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and China for supporting Myanmar’s military.

It also raises concerns about authoritarianism, restrictions on civil space, and the use of technology to erode rights and freedoms globally. The report emphasizes the need for regulation to prevent discrimination, disinformation, and division and calls on the Security Council to do more to protect civilians and uphold international law.

Key Concepts

  • International law is collapsing due to violations in conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.
  • Authoritarianism and human rights abuses are increasing in countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, and Myanmar.
  • Amnesty International’s report for 2023–2024 highlights the impact on women’s rights and gender equality.
  • Israel’s actions in Gaza and the failure of its allies to prevent civilian bloodshed are criticized.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and violations of international law are condemned.
  • China’s support for Myanmar’s military and human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority are highlighted.
  • The United States is criticized for failing to condemn human rights violations by Israel.
  • The Security Council is failing to protect people and uphold international law.
  • Repression of women’s protests in Iran and Taliban edicts against Afghan women are condemned.
  • Authoritarian ideas are spreading globally, restricting freedom of expression and association.

Amnesty International warned on Wednesday (April 24) that the world is amid a near-collapse of international law due to blatant violations of rules in the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, a multiplication of armed conflicts, the rise of authoritarianism, and massive human rights abuses in countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Myanmar.

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Amnesty International released the “Report on the World Human Rights Situation 2023-2024” on Tuesday, which provides a detailed assessment of the human rights situation in 155 countries, highlighting the increasing impact on women’s rights and gender equality in 2023.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said the level of violations of international order seen over the past year was “unprecedented,” the Associated Press reported.

She said, “The failure of Israel’s allies to prevent the unspeakable bloodshed of civilians in Gaza has exacerbated Israel’s blatant disregard for international law. Many of its allies were the architects of the international legal system after World War II.”

The report highlighted the United States’ failure to condemn human rights violations committed by Israel and its use of its veto to block a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The report also criticized Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, saying that Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power, invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and continued to violate international law by “deliberately attacking civilians” and using “torture or other ill-treatment methods” on prisoners of war.

The report also criticized China for providing weapons to Myanmar’s military and continuing to evade international scrutiny of its human rights persecution of the Uyghur minority and genocide of Uyghur culture and language in Xinjiang.

In its overview of the China section, the report also said Chinese authorities continued to use national security rhetoric to curb human rights, including freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Conduct rigorous scrutiny of offline and online discussions on many topics. Human rights defenders and others have been subjected to forced detention and unfair trials. Women’s rights activists have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, forced detention, and unfair trials.

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The report also said Hong Kong’s civil space is more restricted than ever, with authorities using national security as a pretext to impose widespread bans on peaceful demonstrations and jail pro-democracy activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and other activists. Hong Kong authorities are also trying to arrest opposition activists who have fled overseas.

Agnes said, “We have three powers here on the Security Council—superpowers in many ways—that have exhausted the potential of the Security Council and the ability of international law to protect people.”

The report also criticizes Iranian authorities for their brutal crackdown on women’s protests, Taliban edicts aimed at erasing Afghan women from public life, and legal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Poland, and other countries.

This year’s report also highlights how authoritarian ideas continue to spread around the world, saying its narrative is largely “based on hatred and fear.” Space for freedom of expression and freedom of association has been very limited, with groups such as ethnic minorities, refugees, and immigrants bearing the brunt, the report said.

The human rights organization also warned of the threats posed by new technologies if they are not checked and balanced, saying that rapid progress in generative artificial intelligence (AI) and mass surveillance tools could be used to provoke conflicts and erode rights and freedoms. Sowing discord in a landmark election year.

Agnes also said that unregulated technological advances “can be weaponized to discriminate, spread disinformation, and sow division.”

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