America: a continent in decline in human rights protection

The USA was included this time due to the threat posed by the rhetoric of Donald Trump

America: a continent in decline in human rights protection


Amnesty International (AI) released its latest report on the state of human rights and the respective policies carried out to protect the integrity of people in 159 countries. According to the report, 2017 was not a good year for Latin America and the scourges of violence and discrimination drove back the region rather than making progress.


Violence, impunity, violations of freedom of expression and repression of minorities are the main causes of deterioration in human rights in Latin America, according to the report. In it, the NGO describes how abuse of force by the authorities has become the technique to silence opinions and criticism of the government in countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Paraguay.


El Salvador, Mexico, Brazil, and Honduras are positioned as the nations of the region with a shot rate of violence. In these nations, belonging to the LGBTI community, being of African descent, being a woman, or aborting are sufficient reasons to unleash hatred and aggression by members of the community and the state itself. Latin America boasts the highest rate of non-spousal assault against women in the world. Femicide rates reached high levels during the past year and abuses against indigenous communities continue to worsen.


Repressor unpunished and region


Mexico, Venezuela, and the US were the countries where Amnesty International made more emphasis on the deterioration of human rights. From the North American giant, the highlights included the construction of a border wall, unjustified change immigration policies, and the rhetoric of hatred and violence led by the state.


According to data collected in the report, 2017 was the most violent year of the past two decades in Mexico. 42,583 homicides were counted, equivalent to an average of 117 violent deaths each day. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and impunity remain unaddressed factor in the Aztec nation, a nation that for the fourth consecutive year, no official data delivery citizens killed or injured during clashes with the police or the army.


Venezuela is positioned on his part as the issue of most concern to AI. According to the organization, this country is facing one of the worst human rights crisis in its recent history, "fueled by an escalation of violence promoted by the government". In this South American country's social repression, lack of guarantees for access to health services, food and drinking water and the wave of mass immigration, representing the inability of President Nicolas Maduro to guarantee its citizens the most basic human rights.


As Erika Guevara, director of Amnesty International for Latin America, explained to the news agency EFE, the failure of states to guarantee the basic rights of people has generated social unrest that is used by politicians as discourse to divide or ratify unsound and baseless proposals.


'Peace' with no peace


Despite the signing of the peace agreement between the FARC and the government of Colombia, AI believes that the country has not progressed as expected on the protection of human rights and fears that the crimes committed by the rebel group remain unpunished. Although data provided by the state indicate that the number of civilians killed in military or paramilitary actions have fallen, in some regions of the nation it seems to have intensified the conflict.


While the conflict seems to have diminished, the rights of indigenous and peasant communities in the country are still being violated, as also seen in women and the underage community of Colombia, where more and more sexual assaults are reported.


Overall Amnesty International highlighted in its report that 2017 was a year where hatred and fear became the engine of violence: "The world witnessed a setback for human rights. The signals of that setback were everywhere. Throughout the world, governments were still repressing the right to protest, and the rights of women plummeted in the United States, Latin America, Russia, and Poland".



Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Translated from "América: un continente en retroceso en protección de DDHH"

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