The US' human rights abuses have provided a rallying cry for terrorists and set a bad example to regimes seeking to justify their own poor humanitarian records, a leading independent watchdog said on Thursday. \nThe torture and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay has undermined the credibility of the US as a defender of human rights and opponent of terrorism, the New York-based Human Rights Watch says in its annual report. \n"The US government is less and less able to push for justice abroad because it is unwilling to see justice done at home," says Kenneth Roth, the group's executive director. \nThe report comes as the Bush administration prepares for inauguration next week. The administration has shown little interest in moderating its aggressive approach to its "global war on terror." \nThursday's scathing report argues that the US has weakened its own moral authority at a time that authority is most needed, "in the midst of a seeming epidemic of suicide bombings, beheadings and other attacks on civilians and noncombatants." \n"When the United States disregards human rights, it undermines that human rights culture and thus sabotages one of the most important tools for dissuading potential terrorists. Instead, US abuses have provided a new rallying cry for terrorist recruiters, and the pictures from Abu Ghraib have become the recruiting posters for Terrorism, Inc," it said. \nThe report says that America's disregard of human rights has encouraged other countries to follow suit: \nEgypt has defended a decision to renew "emergency" laws by referring to US anti-terror legislation. \nMalaysia justifies detention without trial by invoking Guantanamo. \nRussia cites Abu Ghraib to blame abuse in Chechnya solely on low-ranking soldiers. \nBut there are few signs in Washington of a change of approach. \nThe White House secretly persuaded Congress to overturn legislation passed last month by a 96-2 Senate vote that would have imposed restrictions on extreme interrogation methods, the New York Times reported on Thursday. \nNational Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice opposed the measure because "it provides legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled." \nThe US military is proceeding with trials of supposed Abu Ghraib torturers, arguing that abuse was the work of a small band of rogue soldiers. \nA series of official inquiries have largely spared the top ranks of the military and the administration itself, which first approved the loosening of guidelines on interrogation in 2002. \nAlberto Gonzales, the White House lawyer who approved the guidelines, and who told the president the Geneva conventions were "obsolete" in the face of the terrorist threat, has been nominated attorney-general. \nThe erosion of human rights standards has also reached the EU, Human Rights Watch warns.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged