The Amnesty International 2013 Report documents the state of human rights during 2012. In five regional overviews and a country-by-country survey of 155 individual countries and territories, the report shows how the demand for human rights continued to resound in every corner of the globe.
I’ve read through the reports on the U.S. and Israel, and I must conclude, as I have done since starting to download these things – I have no idea how they can possibly improve anything, anywhere.
And, judging by the sheer onesidedness of the parts I’ve read, I cannot see how the report can serve as a foundation for discussion. In many, many cases, it’s basically adopting the point of view of one of the sides in the disputes, shaping it in official language and calling it a day.
Here’s the report’s summary, the short version:
“The world became an increasingly dangerous place for refugees and migrants. Governments around the world showed more interest in protecting their national borders than the rights of their citizens or the rights of those seeking refugee or opportunities within those borders.
“Resistance to injustice and repression took many forms, often inspiring acts of enormous courage and determination from the communities and individuals facing seemingly insuperable obstacles. In the face of indifference, threats and attacks, human rights defenders pursued legal challenges at the national and international level to long-standing impunity and endemic discrimination.
“The report reflects an approach to tackling human rights abuses that is informed by both the challenges and the opportunities for change. As Amnesty International moves into its sixth decade, this report bears witness not only to the plight of those living in the shadow of human rights violations, but also to those who continue to be inspired to action by the principle of human dignity.”
Now, here are some of the countries in which we are especially interested—now, the fact that we’re re-printing these reports without comment does not at all mean that we agree with them. I also apologize for not flipping all the “Occupied West Bank and Gaza” into “Liberated Gaza, Judea and Samaria,” to maintain the authenticity of the cites.
For the full report, kindly go to State of the World 2013:
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
There are separate reports on the PA, which includes Gaza, but I must point out this remarkably autistic version of history:
“Periodically throughout the year, Israeli military forces carried out air strikes on Gaza while Palestinian armed groups launched rocket attacks on Israel. Israel continued to fire live ammunition to enforce the land and sea “exclusion zones” inside Gaza’s perimeter and territorial waters, killing at least six civilians and injuring others. Israeli leaders publicly advocated bombing Iranian nuclear sites.”
Yes, that’s exactly how I remember it…
Elsewhere in the report, you’ll find this telling paragraph:
“Israeli forces carried out aerial and artillery attacks n the Gaza Strip periodically throughout the year and during an eight-day military campaign in November, killing many civilians and destroying homes and other civilian property. Palestinian armed groups periodically red indiscriminate rockets into Israel from Gaza, and red over 1,500 rockets during the November conflict.”
In other words, judging by this narrative, first Israel attacked civilians in Gaza for no apparent reason, which was followed by retaliation—with rockets.
The report is chock full of these “minor” inaccuracies.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continued, particularly of their respective political opponents. In both areas, security forces tortured and otherwise ill treated detainees with impunity. Four detainees died in custody in suspicious circumstances; two in Gaza and two in the West Bank. Palestinian armed groups in Gaza continued to commit war crimes by firing indiscriminate rockets into Israel, especially during an eight-day armed conflict with Israel during November. During that conflict, Hamas’ armed wing summarily killed seven men accused of “collaborating” with Israel. Both the PA and Hamas arbitrarily restricted the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and their security forces used excessive force against demonstrators. Women in both areas continued to face violence and discrimination; at least six women were reportedly killed in “honor” killings. In Gaza, at least five people were sentenced to death and six people were executed. One man was sentenced to death in the West Bank; there were no executions there. The 1.6 million residents of the Gaza Strip continued to suffer severe deprivation due to Israel’s ongoing military blockade and the sanctions imposed on Hamas by other states; however, conditions eased in comparison to previous years.