World seeing the wars in Gaza and Ukraine almost bring the international legal system to an end

photo by kirsty wigglesworth

,- With its yearly report, Amnesty International raised the alarm on Wednesday amid a turbulent global scene characterised by flagrant breaches of international law and intensifying hostilities in areas like Gaza and Ukraine, presenting a bleak image of a world on the verge of catastrophe.

The human rights organisation bemoaned a widespread contempt for the values inherent in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a blistering critique of the most powerful nations in the world, including the US, Russia and China. The secretary-general of Amnesty, Agnes Callamard, condemned the unprecedented degree of global turmoil seen during the last year, pointing out the terrible toll that civilians caught in the crossfire of wars have to endure.

Callamard cited how Israel broke international law and how its allies did little to stop the enormous number of civilian deaths in Gaza. She emphasised the irony of many of these friends having designed the judicial system that emerged after World War Two.

A long list of atrocities was highlighted in the study, ranging from Russia's persistent aggression in Ukraine to the US's inability to denounce Israel's rights abuses. Furthermore denounced were China's backing of armed troops in Myanmar and its avoidance of responsibility for its treatment of the Uyghur minority.

"We have here three very large countries, superpowers in many ways, sitting on the Security Council that have emptied out the Security Council of its potentials and that have emptied out international law of its ability to protect people," said Callamard.

In its extensive evaluation, which included 155 nations, Amnesty found a concerning pattern of resistance to gender equality and women's rights in 2023. It included among other transgressions the violent repression of women's demonstrations in Iran, Taliban directives seeking to eliminate women from public life in Afghanistan, and legal prohibitions on abortion in the United States and Poland.

The group also issued a caution on the unbridled development of new technologies, pointing out that, especially in pivotal election years, artificial intelligence and mass surveillance technologies could worsen tensions, violate rights, and cause unrest.

"Unregulated tech advances can be weaponized to discriminate, disinform, and divide," Callamard said, emphasising how urgently action must be taken to counter these concerns.

(Newsline paper Teams/Jay Richard)

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