UNI echoes Amnesty International concerns on the state of human rights around the world

According to a new report by Amnesty International, the world is facing an increase in hate-filled rhetoric from demagogues, discriminatory policies and human rights abuses. The survey of 159 countries shows that across the globe, respect for human rights is diminishing and governments are reacting forcefully to dissent by implementing policies which further exacerbate the plight of marginalised groups.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “All around the world, we are seeing a closing of democratic spaces. We have a President in the US who has no regard for human dignity and has been selling American workers down the river. In Brazil, we see a legal witchhunt against a former President with no regard for human rights. In Korea, our brother President Han Sang-gyun is still incarcerated for merely exercising his right to protest. In Turkey, we are seeing a punitive and violent crackdown on trade union rights and freedom of expression. On top of this, according to the ITUC, union rights around the world have also been attacked, with 83% of countries violating the right to strike, and 82 % violating the right to collective bargaining.”

“UNI will continue to raise our voice loud and clear, alongside organisations like Amnesty, to ensure that the democratic rights we have fought so hard to enshrine over the last century are not destroyed. We are standing strong with our friends in the peace movement as a voice for peace in this fractured world.”

Roseann Rife, Amnesty’s East Asia research director, said, “It’s been clear from the conflicts in Syria and Myanmar that when the international community is reluctant to step in and intervene, we see these atrocities escalate.”

She added that the Trump administration has taken the US a step back from advocating for human rights, and no other world leaders have stepped in “to fill that void.”

The Trump administration’s decision to ban entry to people from six Muslim-majority countries was “transparently hateful,” and set a woeful precedent for the year, said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.

At the same time, Amnesty warns that as we enter 2018, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and even the continued right to peaceful protest cannot be guaranteed or taken for granted.

“Governments think they can declare open season on human rights activists. They may shut down our newspapers, undermine judges and jail activists, but we refuse to be silenced,” said Shetty.