In a 300-page annual report released today, Amnesty International state that human rights are in retreat worldwide and that the United States bears most responsibility.
All over the world governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, the report said.
“The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behavior worldwide,” Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International’s 2005 annual report.
“When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity,” she said.
“The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law,” Khan said.
She also noted Washington’s attempts to re-define torture, circumvent its own ban on the use of it as well as restrict the application of the Geneva convention.
The report also accused Israel of committing abuses that constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes.
It criticised the Israeli use of Palestinians as human shields, extra-judicial killings, systematic house demolitions, torture, collective punishment and closures and deliberate killing of civilians.
Some 700 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupying forces last year alone, an increase from the previous year’s figure of 600, according to the report. About 150 of these were children, many killed deliberately and unlawfully.