28/05/2003

War on terror has created more fear than security claims Amnesty

People around the world are more insecure today than at any time since the end of the Cold War, human rights group Amnesty International has claimed today.

Speaking a the launch of the organisation's annual report, Secretary General of Amnesty International Irene Khan said that the 'war on terror', far from making the world a safer place, had made it more dangerous by curtailing human rights, undermining the rule of international law and shielding governments from scrutiny.

It had also deepened divisions among people of different faiths and origins, sowing the seeds for more conflict, she claimed.

Ms Khan also accused the US of self-interest in its attitude towards resolving human rights issues, saying that America had "actively sought to undermine the International Criminal Court", an arena for global justice, whilst purporting to be pursing justice for the people of Iraq.

"A war was fought in Iraq because of the suspected presence of weapons of mass destruction. But nothing was done to stop the well-documented flow of arms that fuel conflicts and cause massive human rights abuse in many parts of the world," she said.

The war in Iraq, Ms Khan said, had deflected the gaze of the media away from "a myriad of forgotten conflicts have taken a heavy toll on human rights and human lives", such as in Colombia, Burundi, Chechnya and Nepal.

More than eighteen months after the war in Afghanistan ended, millions of Afghans, including returning refugees, "face an uncertain and insecure future".

"There is a very real risk that Iraq will go the way of Afghanistan if no genuine effort is made to heed the call of the Iraqi people for law and order and full respect of human rights," she said.

(GMcG)

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