New Human Rights Report Shows Increase in Abuses

Human Rights Watch released a report on Wednesday that contains information on the development of human rights in 68 countries based on events through November 2005.

The 532-page World Report 2006 was conducted by the New York-based human rights group through the contribution of most of its more than 150 staff members.

In the introduction, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth noted that “torture and inhumane treatment are forbidden unconditionally, whether in time of peace or war, whether at the local police station or in the face of a major security threat.”

“Yet in 2005, evidence emerged showing that several of the world’s leading powers now consider torture, in various guises, a serious policy option,” he said.

The following are a few points presented in the 2006 report:

Burmese forces continue to attack and destroy villages uprooting the people and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Brutal and protracted fighting between the military government and various ethnic groups seeking autonomy and freedom has been consistent and ongoing.

The one-party state does not hold national elections, has no independent judiciary, leads the world in executions, aggressively censors the Internet, bans independent trade unions, and represses minorities such as Tibetans, Uighurs, and Mongolians.

There have also been many reports of police raids, arrest, and torture of unregistered house church members.

The country represses nearly all forms of political dissent and the government continues to enforce political conformity using criminal prosecutions, long-and short-term detentions, mob harassment, police warnings, surveillance, hours arrests, travel restrictions, and politically-motivated dismissals from employment. The end result is that Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law.

The Eritrean government’s tyranny became more ruthless in 2005, according to HRW. The government has arrested thousands of citizens for expressing dissenting views, practicing an “unregistered” religion, and on suspicion of not fully supporting government policies, among other reasons. Prisoners are often held in secret prisons, including underground cells, cargo containers, and overcrowded prisons. There are also many reports of psychological and physical abuse.

Religious persecution include closing all religious institutions in May 2002 except for those affiliated with the Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Eritrean Evangelical (Lutheran) churches and Sunni Muslim mosques. Unregistered religions have been suffering from persecution including arrest, beatings, and torture.

Respect for basic human rights in Iran, especially freedom of expression and opinion, deteriorated considerably in 2005. The government routinely uses torture and ill-treatment in detention, including prolonged solitary confinement. Paramilitary groups violently attack peaceful protesters, and intelligence services run illegal secret prisons and interrogation centers.

North Korea
North Korea is among the world’s most repressive regime. The country arbitrary arrests, pervasive use of torture, and lack of due process and fair trials, remain a grave concern.

There is no freedom of religion or freedom of information.

Ongoing human rights concerns include legal discrimination against and mistreatment of women and religious minorities, a rise in sectarian violence, and arbitrary detention of political opponents.

Turkmenistan remains one of the most repressive and closed countries in the world. There have been small positive steps to appease international critics, but policy of forced assimilation; restrictions on national and ethnic minorities in access to employment; forcible internal displacement and other restrictions on freedom of movement; and limitations on access to foreign cultures and art, as well as to foreign media and the Internet are some of the repression experienced by citizens of Turkmenistan.

Authorities continue to persecute members of independent churches, impose control over the Internet and the press, restrict public gatherings, and imprison people for their religious or political gatherings.

To read the complete HRW report visit: