Human Rights Report: West Too Soft on Abuses

Human Rights Report: West Too Soft on Abuses
# 25 January 2011 02:12 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Human Rights Watch says it believes the Western world, especially the European Union, is not pressing governments hard enough to respect human rights, APA reports quoting “The Voice of America”.

In its annual review of the status of human rights around the world, the international group also criticized U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for “weak leadership” on rights issues. The report said U.S. President Barack Obama has missed opportunities to take a strong stand against human-rights abuses.

HRW’s executive director said diplomats and national leaders have too often used “ritualistic support of dialogue and cooperation with repressive governments” as an excuse for “doing nothing about human rights.”

Kenneth Roth said in his introduction to the lengthy report that “the EU’s ’constructive dialogues’ are among the most egregious examples of this global trend.” He cited as an example what he said was the EU’s failure to put sufficient pressure on Uzbekistan’s and Turkmenistan’s governments to change their policies.

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, defended the EU’s record on human rights and said he raised key European concerns about human rights and fundamental freedoms in Uzbekistan during private talks he held on Monday with that country’s President Islam Karimov.

The report said some of the worst human-rights abuses worldwide exist in Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Yemen and Zimbabwe, among other countries.

Turning to the United States, Roth said President Obama’s “famed eloquence” has eluded him when it comes to defending those rights. He lamented that the White House “has also not insisted that the various agencies of the US government, such as the Defense Department and various embassies, convey strong human rights messages consistently.”

Across Europe, HRW said, the continent’s largest minority group, the Roma , continue to face discrimination, exclusion, and extreme poverty.

An HRW spokesman said major human-rights abuses are taking place in China, but that Western democracies are turning a blind eye, “partly because China has become such an important global player politically and economically.”

In addition to the major western democracies, Human Rights Watch said developing nations also need to do more on rightsd issues. “Brazil, India, and South Africa [are] strong and vibrant democracies at home,” Roth said in his introduction to the report. But, he added, those nations “remain unsupportive of many human-rights initiatives abroad, even though each benefitted from international solidarity in its struggle to end, respectively, dictatorship, colonization, and apartheid.”