Politics of fear used to erode human rights: Khan

24 May 2007 at 10:37 am | Posted in Amnesty International, Irene Khan, News | Leave a comment

  
 Ms Khan launching Amnesty International’s 2007 Annual Report in London on 23 May 2007. (© AI)

2006 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Irene Khan said the politics of fear are fuelling human rights abuses and creating a dangerously divided world.

Writing in Amnesty International’s latest annual report, Khan was scathing in her critique of the current situation which she likens to the Cold War.

“Our world is as polarised as it was at the height of the Cold War and in many ways far more dangerous,” Khan, AI’s Secretary General, wrote. Fear, she said, was being used to erode the rights of people in the name of greater security.

Khan faulted governments and “unprincipled leaders” for undermining human rights and feeding racism with short-sighted, fear-mongering and divisive policies.  

Many governments, she said, failed to understand “that fear destroys our shared understanding and our shared humanity. When we see others as a threat, and are ready to negotiate their human rights for our security, we are playing a zero-sum game”.

“The politics of fear are fuelling a downward spiral of human rights abuses in which no right is sacrosanct,” Khan said.

In  the report, Khan took the United States, Australia and Zimbabwe among others, to task for their disregard for human rights.

The full Amnesty International 2007 Report can be accessed here.

You can also read Khan’s comment – Ending the politics of fear – published in The Guardian here.

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