US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are among four world leaders pointed to by Amnesty International (AI) as being major contributing factors to the global rollback against human rights.
The two others in the ignominious list are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
AI released its annual report “The State of the World’s Human Rights” on Wednesday, Feb. 22. In the 408-page report, AI described 2016 as “the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs. them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s,” when Adolf Hitler rose to power in post-World War I Germany.
The new US president was blamed for employing “poisonous” rhetoric during his election campaign, which AI said exemplified “the global trend of angrier and more divisive politics.”
As of presstime, the White House had not responded to the report, but Malacanang shrugged off the report’s claim that Mr. Duterte also had a “toxic agenda.” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the AI report’s conclusions “does not reflect the sentiments of the majority of Filipinos.”
According to the AI report, grave violations of human rights occurred in 159 countries last year.
While based in London, AI opted to launch its report in Paris, where terror attacks occurred in 2015. France is one of the few developed nations in the AI watchlist.
AI Secretary-General Salil Shetty said France has used emergency powers following the attacks in an abusive and “deeply discriminatory” manner, confining more than 600 people -- mostly Muslins -- under house arrest and blocking more than 140 protests.
“Even states that once claimed to champion rights abroad are now too busy rolling back human rights at home to hold others to account,” the AI report said. “The more countries backtrack on fundamental human rights commitments, the more we risk a domino effect of leaders emboldened to knock back established human rights protections.”
France’s government has repeatedly defended the emergency powers as a necessary safeguard against the severe terror threat it says is facing the country, and parliament has repeatedly voted to extend those powers.
The report concluded that “the big question in 2017 will be how far the world lets atrocities go before doing something about them.”