Rights Group Issues Report Warning of Declines in Human Rights

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Human Rights Watch issued it's "World Report 2013" on Thursday, a 665-page PDF report that formed its 23rd annual review of global human rights practices.

The report, issued with a website that showed essays, photos, and country chapters, made mention of the Arab Spring uprising from two years ago and how, according to Executive Director Kenneth Roth, "euphoria seems a thing of the past."

Here's a closer look at the newly released report and what Human Rights Watch says the global rights landscape looks like in 2013.

* As noted by an ANI report, new governments have been deciding between returning to the old order in order to build a new government or whether to support genuine democracy in their process. "The uncertainties of freedom are no reason to revert to the enforced predictability of authoritarian rule," Roth said. "The path ahead may be treacherous, but the alternative is to consign entire countries to a grim future of oppression."

* Countries highlighted included Chile, which faced accusations of police abuses, inappropriate use of counterterrorism laws, overcrowding and poor prison conditions, and the United States, in which the death penalty, juvenile life without parole, Guantanamo Bay, and state secrets policies were highlighted. A total of 112 countries and transnational groups, like the European Union, were listed among the country chapters.

* Photo essays included "Breaking Barriers", a closer examination of the disability rights movement in Russia, "A Heavy Price," an essay looking at lead poisoning and gold mining in Zamfara state, Nigeria, and xenophobia and violence in Greece with "Hate on the Streets."

* The report includes three additional essays that focus on how discriminatory traditions have harmed the lives and rights of people, how powerful non-governmental actors like corporations have operated without rules and with impunity in some countries, and a third essay that discusses the harm done by environmental neglect.

* Other issues addressed included how countries handle women's rights, in particular in post-Arab Spring countries. "As the Islamist-dominated governments of the Arab Spring take root, perhaps no issue will better define their records than the treatment of women," Roth said, according to ANI.

* In his keynote for the report, Roth noted that unbridled majority rule is a global problem, even in Burma where the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) has failed to work to secure rights for marginalized ethnic groups.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.

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