World is becoming more polarized and dangerous: Amnesty

World is becoming more polarized and dangerous: Amnesty

Governments are making the world more polarized and dangerous by pursuing security policies that erode human rights and foment fear, Amnesty International said.

“Through short sighted, fear-mongering and divisive policies, governments are undermining the rule of law and human rights," Secretary General Irene Khan said as the organization published its annual report in London. “They are feeding racism and xenophobia, dividing communities, intensifying inequalities and sowing the seeds for more violence and conflict."

The US-led “war on terror," including the war in Iraq and the use of rendition flights, helped to create deep divisions that left the international community too impotent or weak-willed to deal with major human rights crises last year, Amnesty said.

Its 338-page report documented human rights violations in 153 countries. The report highlighted crises in Darfur, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Chechnya, Colombia and Sri Lanka, where it said the international community had failed to act swiftly enough. Darfur was a “bleeding wound on world conscience" and efforts to deal with it were hampered by distrust and double dealing among members of the United Nations Security Council, the report said.

The divide between Muslims and non-Muslims had deepened, fuelled by “discriminatory" counter-terrorism strategies in western countries, the report said. Incidents of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and attacks on religious minorities had increased worldwide.

“Ill-conceived counter-terrorism strategies have done little to reduce the threat of violence or ensure justice for victims of terrorism, but much to damage human rights and the rule of law globally," Khan said.